The truth about cellulite

By Paola Bassanese

An article from Scientific American is a good starting point to understand the myths about cellulite.

Hormones and a sedentary lifestyle are to blame, more specifically the influence of oestrogen on fat cells. In the article, the suggestion is to tackle cellulite from three different fronts: reduce the overall body fat by exercising more, improving the collagen structure of the skin through healthy eating (a diet full of vitamins and minerals) and improving the circulation through massage and exercise.

Cellulite diagram, credits: The Mayo Clinic

Cellulite is not a medical condition but more of a cosmetic issue. In fact, “cellulite” is a term coined by the beauty industry.

Cellulite is the swelling of fat cells within a mesh of connective tissue. This mesh or net is supposed to contain fat cells but if they keep expanding these fat cells will start bulging therefore the surface of the skin will appear uneven. Water retention instead would make the skin taut and in more serious conditions like lymphoedema the skin can become hardened, tight and sensitive to the touch.  The human body has been designed to detoxify automatically; drinking more water will simply produce more urine.

Medline  explains that cellulite is made worse by the weakening of collagen fibres in the connective tissue. The Mayo Clinic created a clear diagram to show how cellulite would look like under the skin.


In conclusion, although cellulite is not a medical condition but an unsightly cosmetic problem, making better lifestyle choices are key to improve the health of the skin, muscles and connective tissue.