Cottage cheese thighs - let's see what are the truths and lies
If you're suffering from cellulite just know that you're definitely nor alone on this one. This cosmetic issue affects nearly 90% of women at some point during their lives, even women who are otherwise slender and fit.
What are the myths and realities about reducing cellulite?
As common as cellulite is, there's also an awful lot of misinformation out there about what it is, what causes it, and how to get rid of it. So before placing blame, scheduling a cosmetic procedure, or spending a fortune on over-the-counter products, read up on the real story behind cellulite.
1. Women get more cellulite than men - fact
Women tend to carry more fat around their hips and thighs. We also have less supportive connective tissue to keep it all in place. "If you think of a scaffolding outside a building that has those X crosses on them, that is sort of what men's fat chambers have," says David McDaniel, MD, director of the Institute for Anti-Aging and assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
The estimations show that about 10% of men suffer from cellulite, as well.
2. Cellulite is caused by toxins in your body - myth
Some over-the-counter cellulite products may claim to help remove impurities and toxins from the body. But neither their efficacy nor their claims about what causes cellulite are supported by science.
Rather, cellulite occurs when underlying fat deposits begin to push through layers of collagen fibers or connective tissue, under the skin (often in the buttocks and thigh areas, but also on arms, stomachs, and other common trouble spots, as well).
Connective tissue can be weakened by hormones, lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat, and poor circulation, says New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD. But the condition is not caused by "toxins."
3. Cellulite may be in your genes - fact
It's true that cellulite runs in families; if your mother and grandmother had cellulite, you have a better chance of also developing it. In fact, there's even a genetic test on the market that can tell you whether you have a gene variant that puts you at higher risk for moderate to severe cellulite—but, considering that most women will develop cellulite in their lifetimes (and the fact that you'll know it when you see it), it's not exactly worth its hefty price tag.
If you're not one of the lucky ones with smooth-skinned relatives, take heart: Genetics is only one small part of the cellulite puzzle; factors like diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight also play a role.
4. Cellulite gets worse with age - fact
Hormones also seem to play a role in the appearance of cellulite: As women age, their bodies produce less estrogen—a hormone that helps keep blood vessels flowing smoothly.
Less estrogen can mean the worsening of our circulation, which can also mean a decrease in new collagen production and the breakdown of older connective tissue.
5. Cellulite only happens to out-of-shape people - myth
Being overweight does make the appearance of cellulite more noticeable; the more fat you have underneath your skin, the more it's likely to put stress on your connective tissue and bulge out of its weak spots. But cellulite also happens to women of all shapes and sizes, even if you're lean and eat well.
6. Exercise can reduce the appearance of cellulite - fact
A regular exercise practice cannot cure cellulite—but in many cases it can help prevent or reduce its appearance. Cellulite occurs when connective fibers underneath the skin become weak or lose their elasticity, but stretching and strengthening those areas (in addition to burning away excess fat overall) can help.
Firming and toning those muscles will in turn tighten the skin, giving the illusion that cellulite is less noticeable. Yoga routines that target the butt and thighs can help, as well as strength-training moves that build muscle and boost circulation.
7. Cardio is the best way to reduce cellulite - myth
Running or other forms of cardio can help keep weight off, which may reduce the appearance of dimples and dents. But to really smooth out your skin, you've got to strength train. One study by researchers at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that adults who did three 30-minute aerobic workouts each week for eight weeks lost four pounds, but gained no muscle—and only slightly improved body composition.
hen they paired 15 minutes of aerobic activity with 15 minutes of strength training three times a week, however, they lost 10 pounds of fat, added two pounds of muscle, and saw a greater overall improvement in body composition. In other words, they looked better and lost some of the wiggle!
8. Skin-firming creams can cure cellulite - myth
Despite what you might read on their labels, no topical creams—prescription or over-the-counter—have been shown to permanently reduce the appearance of cellulite. Studies have found, however, that products containing retinoids (labeled as retinol over-the-counter) may provide some temporary effects by creating a thicker skin cover that can help camouflage bumps.
There is limited evidence that creams or scrubs with stimulant ingredients, like caffeine, ginger, and green or black tea, may also help by improving circulation and breaking down fat-cell stores, but they are less proven. "Mostly I think if these topical creams work—and I think most probably do little or nothing—they are more likely to help with slimming and body contouring, which is not the same as cellulite," says Dr. McDaniel.