Cellulite Physiology and TreatmentCellulite is the alteration of skin, topically described as the ‘dimpling’ appearance of thighs, buttocks, and sometimes the upper arms and lower abdomen of women. Nearly 85 percent of women, will develop some form of cellulite. Rarely observed in males; however, those affected by cellulite are typically due to deficient male hormones.

What is Cellulite?

The outer layer of skin is called the epidermis and under this layer is referred to as the dermis. The next layer beneath the skin is fat. According to researchers, cellulite is developed from small protrusions of fat into the dermis. The structural alteration of fat protruding into the dermis gives the skin the ‘dimpling’ appearance, which is referred to as cellulite. Another theory by researchers conclude that cellulite is the result of laxity or weakening in the connective tissue bands in the dermis which allows for the fat protrusions. See more on Cellulite: Pathophysiology and Treatment (Basic and Clinical Dermatology).

What is the Dermis?

The dermis is the connective tissue that provides the framework, stability and insulation layer below the epidermis. The dermis is composed primarily of collagen which is the tissue that gives skin its ability to extend and return to its normal constituency.

Why is Cellulite Rare in Males?

Men and women possess a different connective tissue structure at the first layer of subcutaneous fat. The adipose tissue in females is contained in chamber-like structures that supports the expansion of the adipose tissue into the dermis. On the contrary, men’s connective tissue architecture is criss-cross which allow for the subcutaneous fat to expand laterally and internally with little to no protrusion into the dermis. Men also have a thicker epidermis and dermis tissue layers in the thighs and buttocks. Hormone variations can differ between genders and according to some researchers, can cause subcutaneous fat cell appearance similar to females in men who are born deficient in male hormones.  See more on The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor’s Program for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples, and Stretch Marks.

Treatments for Cellulite?

Endermologie: a massage technique developed in France. The skin is rolled for 10 – 45 minutes with a low-pressure vacuum. Research shows that deep mechanical massage will induce changes in the dermis connective tissue. The claims are that the endermologie improves fat tissue architecture, lymphatic drainage and capillary circulation.

Massage treatment: massage techniques manipulate the skin tissue and enhances the removal of accumulated fluid in the dermis area. Message alone does not remove cellulite, but does offer a temporary effect in reducing the appearance of ‘dimpling’ in the affected areas. Similar to endermologie, deep massages can induce alterations in the dermis connect tissue.

Take aways for Cellulite Treatment?

Improving diet and exercise can aid in improving the appearance of cellulite. Studies have shown that women who lose weight have cellulite appearance. Therefore, a diet in which calorie intake is managed along with a comprehensive exercise plan such as aerobic exercises and resistance training can reduce some of the underlying body fat that contributes to the appearance of cellulite. Because fat is layered on top of muscle, if the muscle in the thighs, hips and buttcks are weak, this will contribute to the ‘dimpling’ view of the skin surface. Resistance training is effective for minimizing the appearance of cellulite. See more on the The Selfish Workout Guide: The No Gym, No Weights, Fail-Proof Way To Get The Body Of Your Dreams.

Investing time and money into quick fix solutions like liposuction, injectables, thermotherapy, topical ointments and other manipulation techniques for cellulite management are not effective solutions and are often costly, painful, temporary or outright disappointing. However, laser therapy is showing good potential for reducing the appearance of cellulite. Laser therapy is non-invasive and has little side effects. See more on the Disorders of Fat and Cellulite: Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment (Series in Cosmetic and Laser Therapy).
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