Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cellulite - A Universal Pain in the A**

Alright Beauties...
Penny is about to talk about something many of us never want to discuss...Cellulite. It's a universal pain in the petunia because it affects so many of us regardless of our weight, shape and overall health. Cellulite commonly appears on the hips, buttocks and legs, in 90% of post-pubescent women, but is not caused by being overweight, as many believe. (Being overweight may exacerbate the problem however). Cellulite appears in the subcutaneous level of skin tissue. Fat cells are arranged in chambers surrounded by bands of connective tissue called septae. The result shows areas of the skin being held down while other sections bulge outward, resulting in the lumpy, 'cottage-cheese' or 'orange peel' appearance. The causes of cellulite are poorly understood, and may involve changes in metabolism and physiology such as gender specific dimorphic skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, vascular changes and inflammatory processes.

The question many of us have is "how do we get rid of cellulite without surgery and special treatments  (i.e., Liposuction, Mesotherapy, Endermologie, etc)?" My research indicates that 'realistically there is no cure for cellulite.' Some say diet and exercise is the key, while others promote the use of topical products, laser treatments, and spa therapies. There are so many factors to consider when looking at the cause of cellulite...genetics, excess estrogen, smoking, poor blood circulation, poor lymphatic flow, stress, etc. Penny is confused by it all because I know active, healthy people that are fit but have cellulite, and I also know that my own cellulite got progressively worse the more weight I gained these past few years. I also have tried only a few anti-cellulite treatments* and found no improvement (*Nivea Good Bye Cellulite Cream/Patches, massage).

Cellulite has been around for centuries but we are no closer to finding a cause or a cure. One highly recommended book I came across is: The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor's Program for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples and Stretch Marks, by Howard Murad, M.D. This program outlines simple nutritional and lifestyle modifications, combined with topical treatments (by Murad), which work together to provide the body with all the tools needed to repair uneven, lumpy skin.

It is a controversial topic to say the least. Some believe that no lotion or cream will help cure cellulite because ointments can't alter the connective tissue (septae). However, there are more and more beauty products on the market 'claiming' to reduce the appearance of cellulite each year. Penny advises you to "read between the lines" carefully...cellulite products often claim to diminish the appearance of cellulite...what they don't say is how temporary that result might be. So if you find a product that works for you cosmetically, be prepared to invest in it often for the 'maintenance' of the problem. Topical and spa treatments are also often expensive. (Read full story...)
Creams & Lotions
Anti-cellulite creams do not remove cellulite appearance completely, but they can be a temporary technique for cellulite reduction. They work by plumping up the skin, creating a smoother texture when massaged on cellulite prone areas. For better results, choose anti-cellulite creams that contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and other ingredients that help to stimulate blood flow.  Key ingredients include:

Caffeine, the active ingredient in many cellulite creams, works to tighten blood vessels. There have not been any reports showing that caffeine is successful in cellulite reduction, however, we are seeing this as a very big trend in creams. So some products may list "caffeine" or "coffee" but remember that "caffeine" can be derived from black and green teas as well -- so make sure to read the label carefully.

Aminophylline - Cellulite cream containing aminophylline is used to reduce the bumpy, dimpling effect of cellulite. Aminophylline is said to break down fat cells into fatty acids. The extent of effectiveness of aminophylline in cellulite reduction is still unknown. However, some patients reported successful reduction of cellulite after using aminophylline treatment cream. Take note that anti-cellulite cream containing aminophylline must be kept away from heat and used quickly.

Retinol - Some anti-cellulite cream use Retinols to improve skin texture and is a common ingredient in wrinkle treatment creams. Though its effectiveness of retinols in fighting cellulite is still in debate, retinol is used to improve the thickness of the epidermis and circulation to the skin. Since retinoid or Vitamin A derivatives can be destroyed when expose to light, it is best to apply retinol based cream at night.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) - More and more cellulite cream make used of AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid to fight cellulite. AHA helps accelerate the removal of the superficial layer of dead cells. 

Herbal Cellulite Lotion - Citric, Tartaric and Phytic acids derived from fruits and plants are active ingredients used in cellulite treatment lotions. Herbal cellulite lotion helps to improve the tone and texture of skin in cellulite prone areas.

Diet & Exercise
Some medical professionals believe exercise and diet are essential in the fight against cellulite. They say that exercise can help minimize cellulite by burning off fat and building muscle. Exercise is extremely important in aiding proper circulation. It firms muscles and the tissue surrounding the muscles. Physical fitness is particularly important in fighting cellulite as women age.  Search for exercise techniques that target your problem areas. "Each decade women lose about 5 pounds of muscle and gain 15 pounds of fat. Women who modify their diet and engage in 45-minute sessions of aerobic exercise, weight training and stretching three times a week should see results within two months." ( A good exercise regimen will not only improve your cellulite, it will promote a sense of well being and improved health all around.

Remember that most products only work with continued use; once you stop, your skin may revert back to the way it was. So think of the cost of maintenance. Penny believes that a combination of exercise, diet, and cellulite products that have been proven to improve the skins texture, might be the best solution to the problem. Always check the Return Policy before purchasing any product. Penny also advises that you do your research on the product or treatment you want to try; check on the side effects of any treatment, and be realistic about the expected results.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

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