All Puckered Out: What Really Works (and Doesn't) to Get Rid of Cellulite
What Cellulite Is, Exactly
I can't tell you how many times I've cast my envious gaze on those women in yoga class who can put their ankles behind their necks or contort into a full wheel while I struggle to reach my toes. Today, though, as I twist in front of the mirror, trying to look at my own butt, I'm grateful for my inflexibility. It's as if my body is protecting me from the dimpled, puckered truth.
I am talking about cellulite, which some 80 to 90 percent of women -- even Olympic beach volleyball players and supermodel yogis -- have. While those oh-so-attractive lines and divots in your fatty bits are in no way harmful to your health, the dermatologists and plastic surgeons who study the condition have nonetheless staged its severity just as they have cancer. From what I can tell, my butt is between stages I and II: a bit of visible orange-peel texture when I am standing, which is more obvious when I clench or grab a chunk (sorry -- TMI!). In stage III, you see more ripples on your skin, and stage IV has even more and deeper pits on a larger area of your body, like the surface of the moon in a bad sci-fi movie.
Surprisingly little is understood about cellulite. Here are seven things docs do know.
- It's more than skin-deep. In the simplest terms, cellulite is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue, called septae, that are under your skin.
- Cellulite definitely discriminates. Women of all races get it, while virtually no men do. That's because septae are different in women than they are in men. Guys have sturdier bands in a crisscross formation that keeps fat in place more effectively. Women have flimsier vertical septae that fat can more easily push through.
- Size doesn't matter. Both thin and heavy women get cellulite. The more body fat you have, the more likely you are to also have significant dimpling. But even skinny women have some fat between their muscles and skin. That's all it takes for cellulite to happen.
- You can't diet cellulite away. Losing weight sometimes makes it better, but ironically, it can also make it worse. When you drop pounds, you also ditch flab, meaning, theoretically, that you should have less cellulite. However, your skin can become saggy after weight loss, which can make cellulite more pronounced.
- Your mom may be to blame. Cellulite runs in families. Genes help determine how you store fat and how likely that flab is to push through the septae that are supposed to contain it.
- Hormones play a role. But exactly what role isn't known. Because cellulite starts at puberty, doctors think estrogen is involved. However, that hasn't been proved.
- Treating it isn't easy. Liposuction, which has been marketed as a treatment for cellulite, often makes the condition worse. Removing fat with lipo can leave your skin even more puckered looking than it was before.
So what can you do to reduce cellulite and hopefully get rid of it? Read on for the latest info.
What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.