The good news is, cellulite is not caused specifically by poor diets and lifestyles – an accusation that’s been leveled at women for years. “The theory that cellulite is caused by trapped toxins is an internet myth,” explains cellulite specialist Georgios Tzenichristos from the Lipo Therapeia clinic. “Men are actually less careful with their diet, alcohol and smoking. So if someone had to have lots of cellulite because of high consumption of toxins, that would have to be men, not women.”
Cellulite is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and more women than ever are proudly showcasing theirs on social media.
Over the years, however, I’ve heard countless theories as to why we get cellulite – some discouraging (“it’s caused by chocolate”), others downright barmy (“leggings are to blame”). It can be difficult to decipher fact from fiction, but findings from a new study have put paid to some of the more spurious myths out there.
The bad news is, “women develop cellulite because they have weaker connective tissue and larger fat cells, due to the effect of female hormones.” Umm… “Men, on the other hand, have much stronger connective tissue and much less subcutaneous fat, so they normally do not develop cellulite”, Georgios adds. “The combination of larger fat lobules pushing the skin upwards and less collagen anchors that offer little resistance to the upward pressure of fat, gives the appearance of cellulite,” he explains. Which, to put it in context, means that, like Trump, cellulite is a little bit sexist…
Why do women have larger fat cells? I hear you ask. Happy to answer. Remember that thing women do? The bit where they carry a baby, push it out of their body and feed it? Well, that requires a fair bit of energy. And the extra fat we carry around our hips and thighs basically act as back-up food reserves for if we lactate later.
“Increasing the fat percentage in your body will certainly not help with cellulite occurrence,” says Dr Edwin Anthony, Medical Director at EA Clinic. To combat cellulite, “obviously you have to reduce the size of the fat lobules and increase skin collagen,” says Georgios, “which, in practice, means more everyday movement, more exercise, less calorie intake [there goes your favourite snack] and more collagen-boosting foods, such as vegetables, berries, herbs and lean protein.” Another tip? “Avoiding hormonal contraception can also prevent further deterioration of connective tissue and enlargement of fat lobules,” Georgios suggests.
Other factors include ageing (which inevitably leads to the further breakdown of collagen). “Poor blood circulation does not help either,” says Dr Edwin. “It results is less nutrition getting through, leading to the skin weakening and allowing fat cells to push through. Nicotine in cigarettes result in poor blood circulation, for example. And, too much sun exposure ages the skin prematurely weakening the skin’s elasticity making cellulite more obvious,” he adds.