Having a perfectly smooth, spotless, clean skin is the pride of a lot of people. They want to be able to flaunt the skin everywhere and anytime. Particularly in this era of ‘freedom’ and ‘free expression’, people have never taken more pride in showing off more and more skin as the clothing items get smaller and smaller. But cellulite is one thing that can deflate this pride very much.
Unfortunately, the skin is quite a delicate organ. It is not only delicate, but it is also the largest organ of the human body, stretching over the entire body. It is in constant contact with the outer environment. Furthermore, it is subjected to so much pressure also. It should thus not be much of a surprise that it can so easily develop myriads of problems, ranging from infections to injuries to inflammations, and even this cellulite.
Caution! Cellulite is not Cellulitis.
According to WebMD, “Cellulite sounds a lot like cellulitis, but the two conditions have nothing in common. Cellulite is a dimpled skin caused by fatty deposits.” On the other hand, “cellulitis is a painful skin infection that happens when bacteria enter a break in the skin. It can become life-threatening if left untreated, so call your doctor ASAP if you have a red, swollen, tender rash,” WebMD adds.
So what is cellulite then?
Thankfully, cellulite is not particularly life-threatening, but it is pride and self-esteem threatening.
As earlier mentioned, it is a caused by fatty deposits in skin. Cellulite is the dimpled and lumpy appearance of skin caused by the protrusion of subcutaneous adipose tissue. The skin is a quite delicate and intricate organ. So, which of the skin’s many technicalities is responsible for cellulite?
Well, the skin is anchored to the deeper layers by strands of fiber, and these divide the skin up into septa. Now, conditions may arise to make subcutaneous fatty tissue push out through these septa, giving a bulging appearance on the skin over each septum, and a dimpled appearance on the adjacent areas. We’ll address these conditions shortly.
If a whole group of these septa have fats pushing through them, then you’ll have that bulging-dimpled, bulging-dimpled appearance all over that area. The areas that are more prone to cellulite are the posterolateral thighs(around the outer side of the back of the thighs), buttocks, and abdomen.
Cellulite affects women more, and here is why.
Why does cellulite affect more women than men? Well, remember those septa? They are quite differently arranged in women than in men. It is traceable to a variation in skin anatomy.
In a woman’s skin, the septa are all oriented perpendicularly, in straight, vertical, lines. The problem is that, with this kind of arrangement, the fats can easily protrude into the septa, giving the characteristic dimpled appearance. In a man’s skin however, these septa are arranged in a slant, diagonal format, with a crisscrossing pattern. The orientation here makes it more difficult for the fat to push through into the septa. As a result of this, men have less risk of developing cellulite.
And don’t be fooled by all those beauty pictures you see on TV commercials and all. Most of those photos have been digitally altered and edited by professional photo editors. The fact is that, 80-90% of women who are beyond puberty have cellulite.
Symptoms of Cellulite by degree of severity.
Cellulite’s primary symptom is the dimples that appear. However, depending on how advanced, or what grade the cellulite is, the dimples might appear different, and have varying densities on the skin. The size or depth of the dimples is also a factor.
- Orange-Peel Appearance: This is the lowest level. Here, the skin appears to look like an orange peel. It is marked by 1-4 superficial depressions, with a slightly draped appearance.
- Cottage Cheese Appearance: Cheese has deeper depressions than an orange peel for sure, more marked ones. This is marked by 5-9 medium depth depressions, with a moderately draped appearance.
- Flaccid, Mattress Like Appearance: This is the highest level. With greater than or equal to 10 depressions appearing severely draped, the skin really looks like a mattress.
Cellulite from an Ayurvedic perspective.
Cellulite is a disturbance with the meda dhatu(that is, the fat tissue). Meda dhatu is a junction between twak(skin) and mamsa(muscle) dhatus. To resolve this condition then, the meda dhatu has to be restored to normal.
Furthermore, when agni (the digestive fire) burns low, there’s is low metabolism, and a resultant accumulation of ama(toxic waste product of metabolism). This ama accumulation then disturbs vasa. This vasa is supposed to lubricate tissues, regulate complexion, etc. If it is then disturbed, then it severely affects the complexion and the skin as a whole.
What conditions can precipitate cellulite?
The primary cause of cellulite is when fat pushes through the skin septa and causes the bulges and dimples. It was mentioned earlier however, that some conditions can make this protrusion likely to happen. These conditions can ‘incite’ the fat to protrude. Some have been listed here.
- Hormonal changes in pregnancy, stress or aging. The hormone estrogen in particular, among others, plays a great role. When estrogen levels rise, blood flow to the connective tissue under the skin drops, and there’s loss of oxygen supply. Consequently, there’s less collagen produced. Collagen is supposed to strengthen the skin, but when it is not sufficient, the skin is weakened, and the subcutaneous tissue(the fat) finds it easier to bulge out.
- Age makes the skin less elastic, thinner and more likely to sag. Cellulite can capitalize on these and get its ball rolling on your skin. Lots of holes those balls dig.
- Genetics also plays a roll here. The genes controlling the speed of metabolism, fat distribution under the skin, circulation under the skin can contribute to the development of cellulite based on their composition and mode of operation.
- Bad lifestyle habits like smoking, being sedentary, eating bad, can also cause this.
- Wearing tight elastic clothing across the buttocks impede circulation and drop blood flow.
Moreover, though anyone of puberty age or above can have it, it is more likely after 25 years of age.
How Modern medical science approaches cellulite.
For treating cellulite, with there are numerous modern techniques available. However, they are mostly temporary. Cellulite is a stubborn skin condition.
- Acoustic wave therapy: This involves transmitting sound waves with a hand-held device to the affected skin area. It requires several sessions of treatment to see results.
- Lasers are also employed. It is done by inserting a laser probe to break up the tissues. This helps to increase collagen production, thereby strengthening the skin. Another treatment will be needed after a year though.
- Laser assisted liposuction.
- Carboxytherapy involves inserting carbondioxide gas into the skin. This may result in burning sensations and discomfort however.
Ayurvedic remedies for cellulite.
So, you’re wondering, how do I cure cellulite with Ayurveda? Treatments for cellulite in Ayurveda that are available include:
- Vasthi: an enema like procedure. T his cleasnes the body and regulates agni. It can also be made lekhana vasthi by addin some ingredients. At this level, it also regulatess meda, removing any excess fat.
- Gotu Kola: Make this gotu kola into paste and apply directly to the cellulite.
- Ghrsana: this is a form of massage. It is done with silk gloves and is intended to break up fat deposits.
- Udvartana: is another form of massage. It is done with an herbal mixture however(almond and specific powders). It is effective for enhancing skin texture and reducing clots.
Ayurvedic lifestyle tips for managing the skin.
To manage cellulite and prevent it also, these lifestyle tips are useful:
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Keep active.
- Quit smoking if you do it. As if the risk of heart and lung problems that come with it are not enough.
- Exercise legs and thighs, and exercise generally. It helps alleviate fats and also to improve circulation.
- Practice yoga.
Diet for cellulite.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
- Take light and warm food.
- Take pepper and ginger in moderate amounts. This helps with the ama accumulation.
- Take enough liquids.
- Take a kapha pacifying diet. Avoid olive oil, cheese, butter, fries, cold food and drinks.
Remember that cellulitis is not cellulite. Cellulitis could be life-threatening and should not be toyed with. Don’t mix them up. However, whichever one it is, you can always look to Medhya Herbals to help you out.