Let’s talk cellulite – what is it?
“Noun : persistent subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin”
So let’s talk cellulite – Cellulite is the term used to describe the unattractive lumps and bumps that form in fat tissue …..
80-90% of western women will experience cellulite at some time of their lives. More women experience cellulite compared to men because they have more subcutaneous fats than men do.
Most of the time, dimpled skin and orange peel skin (the main characteristic of cellulite), are visible and may occur in more than one area of the body. The condition does not cause discomfort unless it reaches its later stages, although this is not classed as a health risk. The main concern is that it can be embarrassing and annoying, especially because this structure is not always easy to improve.
Pathology of Cellulite
Herniation of fatty deposits into the dermis as connective tissues contract and harden. Cellulite shows a differing pathology over time as it develops. There are two ways to classify the condition based on the severity.
Classification of cellulite
The first method of classification of the condition was the CSS Cellulite Severity Scale developed by Hexsel et al.
Based on 5 key morphologic aspects each graded 1-3
- Number of depressions
- Depth of depressions
- Clinical morphology
- Skin laxity, sagging and flaccidity
- Nurnberger-Muller classification grade (see below)
The Nurnberger-Muller scale classifies cellulite into four categories. Test by gently pinching a few inches of skin between your thumb and forefinger in the area of the buttocks, thighs, abdomen or upper arms.
No dimpling is seen on the skin when you are standing naked in front of the mirror. When the skin is pinched no orange peel effect is seen.
No dimpling is seen on the skin when you are standing, but when you pinch your skin you have bumps and lumps.
You can see dimpling or the orange peel appearance when standing naked in front of the mirror, but not when lie down.
You can see dimpling both when you are standing and lying down.
Each variable is graded 1- 3 and then the overall condition given a score
Causes of Cellulite
Cellulite is caused by fat deposits that naturally sit between connective collagen fibres beneath the skin. Two things happen over time, the first being that the fat cells expand and the connective fibres do not expand with them. The second is that circulation is impeded.
There are variety of factors that effect this, such as:
- Genetic factors,
- Hormonal imbalance, etc.
These are the influencing factors that trigger these fat deposits to expand and the connective fibres to resist expansion.
Swollen or expanded subcutaneous fat presses on the connective fibres around them. The connective tissues which are attached to the skin’s surface bend. they then pull the skin downward to which these tissues are connected. As the condition worsens these fibrous spetae harden and loose the elasticity they had. This further impacts on the flow of blood to the tissue and impedes the removal of waste via the lymphatic system.
This effect causes the dimpled skin area we see whenever cellulite forms on certain body areas. These dimples trigger the appearance of orange peel-like or cottage cheese-like skin surface affected by cellulite.
Why do some people get Cellulite and others don’t?
The reason why fat beneath the skin in the reticular dermis expands and presses on the connective fibres remains indistinctive. Although it’s important to note that cellulite is not connected to being overweight, fit women with no excess fat might still get cellulite.
Some women have connective tissues that are easier to ply together, making cellulite formation more possible. Once these connective tissues are plied together. It is difficult to restore its original structure, making cellulite dimples uneasy to get rid of.
As cellulite develops, the circulation decreases in the tissue and it becomes less well-nourished, this results in waste being less effectively removed.
Five physiological differences in tissue with cellulite.
- Slowdown of the Lympho – Venous microcirculation
- Tissue Inflammation and stagnation, causing pressure on the nerve endings and discomfort.
- Reduction of Arteriole microcirculation lowering the dermal and epidermal temperature
- Metabolic structural alterations in connective tissues causing hardening of the septae
- Alterations to the muscle structure.
Treatment for Cellulite
One of the main influencing factors required in treatments for cellulite is to reverse the effect of poor circulation, this gives the tissue a chance to recover and restore to its normal appearance.
Any technique needs to address the stagnation of waste fluids, lymphatic drainage and the need to bring nutrients in to repair the area. The process needs to consider the discomfort and the overall well being of the client.
Endospheres therapy is a new method of treating the condition using Compressive Microvibration which has been proven to smooth the skin and restore the tissue to its natural healthy function.
Discover more about compressive Microvibration here: