On a personal level, I was elated with the initial results of my dry brushing experiment. But from a scientific standpoint, it didn’t add up. How could brushing the skin have any effect on cellulite? Dr. Oz described cellulite as marshmallowy fat cells that swell together and bulge up underneath the skin, creating that unsightly dimpling effect. With this understanding of cellulite, all external treatments are ineffective because they don’t get inside the fat cell. But what is inside a fat cell? That’s simple. Fat.
Like most people, I always thought fat cells are the body’s way of storing reserves of energy for later use. When you eat more calories than you burn, your body automatically stores the excess as fat. Since most of us tend to eat more rather than burn more on a daily basis, the fat accumulates in certain predisposed areas, depending mostly on our individual genetic makeup. Then it just sits there, a perpetual benchwarmer, growing ever more dejected as it waits for its big chance to get back in the game.
But in the last ten years or so, scientists are discovering that fat is much more complicated (and clever) than we tend to believe. Medical researchers now assert that fat is not a passive repository but an active organ that performs a variety of essential functions, functions we are just beginning to understand.
Endocrinologists (the scientists who study hormones) recently discovered that fat is the largest endocrine organ in the body! Like the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland, fat is responsible for sending and receiving certain key hormones. These hormones work to relay important messages between the fat and other organs, including the brain.
Cellulite is located in our subcutaneous fat, or fat attached to the skin through a network of connective tissue. Besides providing cushioning, insulation, and temperature regulation, subcutaneous fat is now known to be particularly instrumental in the production of hormones that regulate appetite, blood pressure, and reproductive functions. The material connecting the subcutaneous fat cells to the skin is composed of fibrous bands called septa. Cellulite forms when the septa and the fat cells beneath them start to push against each other. But why does this happen?
I’m still figuring out how to set up our forum, but feel free to come over and say hi while I’m working on it. It’s always nice to hear from my fellow cellulite investigators!