Cellulite is not necessarily related to excess weight, it also occurs in people with normopeso or healthy weight, and even in those considered thin. This is a subdermal layer dysfunction, which involves the accumulation of fluid and fat caused by an alteration at the venous return level and lymphatic system, with the consequent hypertrophy of fat cells. Hormonal changes determine the appearance of cellulite throughout a woman’s life, with puberty, menopause and pregnancy being the most affected stages. In general, men usually do not have cellulite in an obvious way, and if it does, it is almost always linked to hormonal alterations or treatments. Also, the origin of cellulite is multi-factorial and part of the hormonal aspects, also involved in the emergence of genetic factors, vascular, or modifiable factors related to lifestyle, such as diet, sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, as well as the use of clothes too tight to hinder circulation.
What are the stages or stages of development of cellulite?
Stage one. At this stage, circulatory problems appear due to different factors, causing a slowing of venous and lymphatic microcirculation.
Stage two. It slows down the normal drainage of the fluids and the wall of the small venous vessels and lymphatics are rendered more permeable thereby causing the filtering of the serum to the subcutaneous tissue. This liquid is very rich in electrolytes (mainly sodium) and mucopolysaccharides. The result is significant water retention and loss of skin elasticity.
Stage three. The liquid becomes viscous, becomes a geloid substance that further hinders the exchange of nutrients between the fat cells of the subcutaneous tissue and the vessels that supply it. Fat cells grow in size because they cannot remove their residual products to the circulation, and it can be so much the increase, that they can even burst, pouring their fat content abroad.
Stage four. Fibrous tissue appears, and a three-dimensional mesh is created that encompasses all the elements: fat cells, venous and lymphatic vessels, further complicating the nutritional exchange between cells. In addition, this fibrous network oppresses nerve endings and fat cells, producing pain and the “orange skin” aspect of cellulite which in the next phase becomes even more noticeable.
Stage five. Increases the rigidity of subcutaneous tissue. In this phase, nodule macro is generated, giving rise to the appearance of padded skin so typical of cellulite.
Where does cellulite usually appear?
In women, it is usually found in the lower limbs such as buttocks, thighs, and knees. It may also occur in other areas of the body such as the arms and lower abdomen.
How to combat it
Prevention is the best way to avoid cellulite, because once it appears, it can be reduced, but its total elimination is very difficult. Good eating and lifestyle habits will help fight it.:
Avoid sedentary lifestyle and exercise regularly. It is advisable to combine exercises that enhance the three basic physical qualities: muscle toning (for hardening), aerobic exercise (to avoid fat accumulation) and stretching exercise (to shape the muscle and increase flexibility). In addition, physical activity will encourage circulation.
Avoid the use of toxic substances such as alcohol or tobacco. Nicotine in tobacco reduces the amount of oxygen carried by blood and nutritional substances that feed our tissues, so it does not contribute precisely to the good state of the skin. Alcohol, for its part, favors the fatty deposit, and also only supplies energy (“empty” calories) without improving the nutritional status at all.
Avoid the use of tight clothing and positions that hinder blood circulation, such as crossing legs when sitting, for example.
Follow a balanced diet adapted to each person’s caloric needs. Excessive calorie intake will favor fatty deposits. Especially when it comes to calories of poor nutritional quality, in the form of simple sugars and saturated fat. Avoid pastry, pastry products, sweets, sugary drinks, as well as sausages and very fat meats.
Moderate sodium intake in the diet. It regulates the balance of body fluids at the intra and extra-cellular level and its excess can favor fluid retention. Since salt is the main source of sodium in the diet, it is appropriate to control its intake through the diet by moderating the consumption of foods such as cured cheeses, sausages, as well as manufactured foods, as salt is a good preservative and is added as an additive in this type of food.
Eat potassium-rich foods. Potassium, unlike sodium, has the property of eliminating water, so it is interesting to include in the diet foods containing this mineral, such as vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grain cereals.
Providing vitamin C to the diet. Vitamin C is necessary in the formation of collagen, the main protein on which the integrity of connective tissue depends, since it maintains the unity of the cells. Foods rich in this vitamin include oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons, kiwis and strawberries, among others.
Drink water to maintain proper body hydration. It is convenient to prioritize water over other drinks.