Cellulite is caused by fat inside fibrous columns underneath the skin. Women’s collagen fibres run from the area where the muscle is out towards the skin, like if you were holding up your skin with toothpicks. Between these columns of collagen fibres are fat cells. Cellulite is the look of the fat pushing on the skin between the columns. Men have more like a criss-cross mesh, so have far less cellulite than women by design.
These fibres are in these columns in women’s lower bodies predominantly. The way a fat cell works is that it swells and shrinks depending on how much fat is inside of it (after puberty, you don’t grow new fat cells), so with the columns – which are fixed in place – and swelling and shrinking fat cells, the fat bulges out the top.
But the chemistry is all different too, because women are designed to retain fat – fat cells actually cause the conversion of testosterone into oestrogen, and we need oestrogen for our menstrual cycle.
The way we are designed to retain fat
Women have more adrenergic receptors in their lower bodies. Adrenergic receptors are bound by our fat-burning hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, so when adrenaline hits the receptor, one of two things happen: in men, who have more beta receptors, fat is released from the cell, and in women, who have more alpha receptors, fat release is dramatically slowed, and not much fat is released.
Women have nine times more alpha receptors than men, which is why men don’t tend to retain fat as much as women. Oestrogen is responsible for the large number of alpha receptors in women. Men who have a lot of fat tend to have more oestrogen (because fat cells convert testosterone to oestrogen) and thus more cellulite.
Reducing the load of oestrogen in your body can therefore help reduce the number of alpha receptors, thereby increasing your capacity to burn fat and reduce cellulite. Additionally, insulin also triggers off the alpha receptors (to stop you burning this fat), so addressing a high-carbohydrate diet can also help to keep the alpha receptors switched off.
How can you tell how much oestrogen you have?
Well, you can look at your body shape for starters. Pear and hourglass figures tend to have the most oestrogen, while apple figures have less. Take a look at any woman with those lovely pins who has never had the shadow of cellulite a day in her life, and you’ll see that she probably tends to put on weight around her middle, instead of the thighs, breasts, or buttocks (like many men do).
How do you manage oestrogen levels?
Oestrogen is not something to be ‘gotten rid of’, but you can encourage oestrogen to be excreted out of the body. Your liver and bowels are the main exit points for oestrogen, so making sure these are clear, clean, and operating optimally is a good place to start. That means having plenty of fibre in your diet to clean out your bowels regularly, drinking plenty of water to flush you out, and making sure you aren’t overburdening your liver with fatty food and liquor.
How we treat cellulite
When cellulite is very stubborn or going through diet and lifestyle changes isn’t an option, we use radiofrequency treatments to tighten skin, dissolve fat, and soften the collagen fibres. Our CelluFix program is designed with cellulite in mind – we can reduce or remove your cellulite for far longer than other methods by stimulating the fat tissue so it drains fluid, receives more oxygen, and stimulates the collagen.