What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is the changes in skin texture that result in an “orange peel” or “mattress” appearance to the skin. Cellulite is much more common in women. Studies show 85-98% of women has some cellulite. Men and women organize their fat differently. In men, the connective tissue fibers that organize and support fat run primarily parallel to the skin. This means that men have minimal pulling down of the skin by fat deposits, and therefore smoother skin. Unfortunately for women, their fat is organized perpendicular to the skin. This results in a pulling down of the skin by the connective tissue support structure and an uneven surface.
There are two main skin layers of skin the outer layer (epidermis) has four sub layers. The inner layer (dermis) has two sub layers, the papillary (first) and reticular (lower) layers. The bottom layer shown in the picture (hypodermis) is not really part of the skin. It is a layer of connective tissue, fat cells, blood vessels, and nerves. The hypodermis is the connection between the skin and the structures under it, such as muscles.
And it is here in the Hypodermis that the real problem with Cellulite lies.
If we take a closer look at the hyper dermis we can see where the problem lies.
“To understand an effective treatment for cellulite we must first understand what causes the problem.
Until recently, very few studies had looked at the cause of cellulite. As a result, theories abounded but answers were few. Recent studies have revealed two major causes of cellulite. The first is a hardening of the connective tissue support system of fat. These are referred to as connective tissue (fibrous) septae. These are made of collagen. Over time, these septae harden and contract. The contraction results in most of the dimpled appearance that characterizes cellulite. Additionally, the contraction leads to a blockage of the blood vessels and lymphatic. The blood vessel blockage further hardens the septae. The lymphatic blockage leads to thick, swollen appearing skin. The second major cause of cellulite is protrusion of fat cells into the lower part of the skin known as the reticular dermis This protrusion results in worsening of the dimpling.
Cellulite is a normal process in women, so for many years medical science was not interested in treating it. Only in the last few years have any studies been done to identify the cause of cellulite. Effective treatments are an even more recent development. Cellulite forms in the superficial fat. All fat is not cellulite, only the part present in this superficial layer. The superficial layer is the last area to be affected by weight loss. Therefore, exercise and weight loss do not eliminate cellulite. Even women who exercise regularly and follow low-fat, nutritious diets may still have cellulite. This makes weight management and cellulite treatment completely different issues.
Why is it that mostly women have to endure the unsightly appearance of Cellulite?
While men are often heard to describe Cellulite as one of the things they would most like to change on their partners, the story may be different if they had to suffer the same phenomenon. But male and female body structures differ and only around 10% of men have Cellulite. In men, the connective tissue fibers that organize and support fat run primarily parallel to the skin, unlike that in women.
This means that men have minimal pulling down of the skin and therefore smoother skin. Unfortunately for women, their fat and connective tissue is organized perpendicular to the skin. This results in a pulling down of the skin by the connective tissue support structure and an uneven surface. Cellulite forms in the superficial layer. “All fat is not Cellulite (only the part present in the superficial layer, the last area to be affected by weight loss) and Cellulite is not all fat. Therefore, exercise and weight loss do not eliminate Cellulite.”