Cottage cheese, orange peel, or even ‘sexy braille’ - Cellulite can throw off even the most confident of women especially when summer is fast approaching and those revealing clothes leave no-where to hide behind. First thing’s first; you are not alone! The cosmetic condition affects a shocking near 90% of women at some point in their lives. Even those who are slender and fit are known to have suffered; even Victoria Secrets Models are not immune from Gods wonderful gift to (mainly) women.
Men vs women
Although both men and women can get cellulite, it is much more prevalent in women due mainly to the production of our good old friend estrogen. Estrogen decreases collagen synthesis whereas testosterone increases collagen production. This is the reason that female skin is more delicate, thin and softer (one bonus!) as opposed to males with thicker skin tissue.
Additionally, the actual structure of the skin is different. According to the German association for sports nutrition, the majority of collagen in women’s skin are arranged in parallel, while in men they form more of a meshwork, this meshwork is able to hold fat much more efficiently than a women’s parallel fat cell arrangement. See the picture below for a clearer explanation:
Men also have some estrogen in their bodies and they too can form fat clumps that could potentially lead to cellulite however, seeing as women have thicker subcutaneous fat pads as well as thinner skin, the cellulite is much more likely to show on a woman than a man (sigh). Think of it this way, men have cellulite too but unfortunately they possess a magic invisibility coat covering most of it up, if only women could have been blessed with this genetic trait!
Who can get it?…Anyone
There is a trend with being overweight and having more cellulite but don’t be fooled by thinking that exercising and eating super healthy can stop you from getting it full stop. Yes these things will help to reduce the appearance but unfortunately, women of all shapes and sizes are susceptible. Shira Ein-Dor, owner of the American Cellulite Reduction Center in New York City explains; "I even treat Victoria's Secret models, they're very lean, they work out and eat well, they do everything right but they still have cellulite." This is because whether or not you get cellulite isn’t just down to your lifestyle but unfortunately also down to those pesky genetics too! Though just because you do have a genetic predisposition to cellulite, doesn’t mean that you have to develop it, lifestyle choices can both exacerbate and reduce the amount of cellulite you are genetically susceptible to.
How does cellulite form in the first place?
As mentioned earlier, estrogen and testosterone work in different ways when it comes to cellulite. Estrogen in women causes fat cells to clump together, these clumps gather together and eventually push through the layers of collagen fibers or connective tissue beneath the skin and show through the skin as the orange peel that we all despise. Connective tissue can be weakened by not only hormones but a lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat as well as poor circulation. According to New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher MD., Estrogen is designed to make fat whereas testosterone actually breaks it down. So a women's body is pretty much—and it pains me to say it—genetically designed to develop and harbor cellulite.
It’s not all doom and gloom!
It’s important to know how cellulite is formed and what can increase the chances of getting it in order to address how to reduce and banish it. Now that we know the science behind cellulite, stay tuned for our upcoming article on what you can do to prevent and reduce it.