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Understanding Cellulite

In this article we'll discuss the dimpled appearance of the skin, and what causes it. This dreaded condition is more commonly known to us all as cellulite. Cellulite manifests itself by generally targeting the thighs, buttocks, lower limbs and to a lesser degree the torso. If left untreated, it can become very severe and hard to eradicate.

The word Cellulite is sometimes confused by Cellulitis. Cellulitis is in fact term for the infection of skin and its underlying connective tissue.

Cellulite (also known as adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, gynoid lipodystrophy, andorange peel syndrome) is the rupturing  of subcutaneous fat within fibrous  connective tissue that manifests topographically as skin dimpling and nodularity, often on the pelvic region (specifically the buttocks), thighs, lower limbs and abdomen. Cellulite occurs mainly in most post-pubescent females

History of Cellulite

The term was first used in the 1920s by spa and beauty services to promote their services, and began appearing in English language publications in the late 1960s, with the earliest reference in Vogue magazine; "Like a swift migrating fish, the word cellulite has suddenly crossed the Atlantic." Its existence as a real disorder has been challenged, and the prevailing medical opinion is that it is merely the 'normal condition of many women'. The prospect of sales creates an incentive for disease mongering. Based on recent research, it is more likely that cellulite is a natural part of the human body than a disease


The cause of cellulite include metabolic changes, physiology, dieting too hard or too much, sex-specific dimorphic skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, hormonal factors, genetic factors, the microcirculatory system, the extracellular matrix as well as subtle inflammatory alterations.

Hormonal factors
Hormones play a dominant role in the formation of cellulite.  Estrogen may be the important hormone to initiate and aggravate cellulite. However, there has been no reliable clinical evidence to support such a claim. Other hormones, including insulin, the catecholamines*, adrenaline and noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin, are all believed to participate in the development of cellulite.

Genetic factors
There is a genetic element in individual susceptibility to cellulite. Researchers  have traced the genetic component of cellulite to particular  polymorphisms in the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1A (HIF1A)  genes.

Predisposing factors
Several factors have been shown to affect the development of cellulite.  Sex, race, biotype, distribution of subcutaneous fat, and predisposition to lymphatic and circulatory insufficiency have all been shown to contribute to cellulite.

A high stress lifestyle will cause an increase in the level of catecholomines*, which have also been associated with the evolution of celluliteCertain dieting practices can also diminish the level of these chemicals, and decreasing body fat typically results in the reduction in appearance of cellulite
*Catecholamines are water-soluble and are 50%-bound to plasma proteins when they circulate in the bloodstream.  (In the human body the most abundant catecholamines are adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine.


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