WE’RE SO OVER CELLULITE – SHAPE MAGAZINE JULY 2009
TIRED OF TRUNDLING DOWN THE SAME BUMPY THIGH WAY? WE ARE TOO, WHICH IS WHY WE’VE SOUGHT OUT THIS SEASON’S BEST ANTI-CELLULITE ADVICE
The clothes have come off and eek, they’re still there! Those lumps and bumps we’ve hidden so beautifully under layers during winter are back in the limelight. But before you reach for the tights and tracksuit, there’s hope: scientists have identified a new cellulite enemy and now that we know what it is, we’ve a better chance of winning the war.
According to some laboratory gurus, cellulite is a consequence of skin that is “damaged”. Dr Daniel Maes, Estèe Lauder’s senior vice president of Global Research and Development, says tiny holes appear in the collagen of damaged skin where fats, toxins and fluids then wedge themselves, causing the skin to “cave in”.
Dermatologist Dr Howard Murad blames hormones for the damage. They “attack” the collagen, causing it to harden. This inhibits blood supply and eventually the skin becomes weak and damaged. Fat cells then push and poke through, causing those tell-tale lumps and bumps.
The answer then is for healthy, strong skin to keep fat cells where they belong, so the hunt is on for ingredients that plump up, repair and tighten the skin, creating a smooth and natural “girdle” to keep cellulite in shape.
Not surprisingly, the skin-strengthening ingredients which work successfully in protecting and stimulating collagen growth in facial skincare products, are now showing up in anti-cellulite formulas. Look out for products and treatments with potent concentrations of retinoids, peptides, and amino acids like carnitine and creatine.
Caffeine is an undisputed champion of the cellulite wars: a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reveals that a cream containing only seven percent caffeine can dramatically improve the orange-peel look, while eight out of 10 women using a caffeine-rich product for a month claimed that their skin became tighter and they lost up to two centimetres off their thighs. The reason caffeine works is because it contains theophylline, a chemical which blocks the enzymes in fat that prevent the body from flushing it out.
Our pick of the best cellulite blasters around include: RoC Retinol Body Range Retinol Anti-Cellulite Intensive with retinol, forskolin – an Indian root long used in Ayurvedic medicine, which triggers lipolysis, causing fat cells to shrink, caffeine and carnitine; Placécol Advanced Body Care Cellulite and Firming Treatment, with coffee, ginger and arnica to stimulate, rejuvenate and firm; Dermaphuzion Serum Anti-Cellulite Firming Gel contains forskolin; Dior Plasticity Body Beautifying Micro-Peel; Comfort Zone Body Strategist Refiner Cellulite; Anesi Soin Du Corps Draining-Shaping Cream; Thalgo LC24 Concentrate Slimming Booster 24hr Caffeine Effect; Avon Anew Clinical Lift and Tuck Professional Body Shaper and Annique Cellulite Decrease Green Rooibos Cellulite Cream.
YOUR CELLULITE Q&As
I’m skinny. Why do I have cellulite?
Female hormones and lifestyle are to blame. Our diet, smoking, drinking, drugs (prescription and otherwise) and lack of exercise all contribute to the build-up of toxins responsible for the formation of cellulite.
Why don’t men get cellulite?
Apart from the fact that men are literally more thick-skinned, the male hormone testosterone seems to stop cellulite from forming. The female hormone oestrogen triggers it, and many women encounter cellulite for the first time after starting the Pill, HRT or with pregnancy.
Why is my overweight friend cellulite-free
Cellulite is not a fat issue, you should not blame your weight. Even if you have the body of a supermodel, you can still have cottage cheese thighs.
My mother and sister have cellulite. Is it hereditary?
Hormones and lifestyle play a much stronger role in the formation of cellulite than your genes.
Does cellulite get worse with age?
Yes, age plays a role. Aging results in a loss of thickness and tone of the connective tissue within the dermis and the superficial fat layer. Loss of collagen and elastin results in damaged and aging skin.
Does stress play a role?
Stress and lack of exercise will make your body sluggish. Stress causes high levels of cortisol which contributes to a slowing down of blood circulation and the lymphatic system, which helps your body get rid of toxins causing cellulite. Exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress.
How do I know if I have cellulite?
You can tell if you have cellulite by squeezing the skin of your upper thigh between your thumb and forefinger. If it feels and looks lumpy and bumpy, it is cellulite. You might also find that cellulite patches look paler and feel colder.
Will exercise help?
Exercise tones and improves circulation, so it will definitely help to improve the appearance of cellulite-affected areas and help to smooth the dimples, even if they don’t disappear al-together. When you work out, the blood flow through the arteries increases, circulation gets a boost and, as you build muscle, the cellulite becomes less obvious.
Which exercise is best?
Your best bet is to choose a form of exercise that you enjoy, says sports scientist Kathleen Mc Quaide. “Incorporate both cardiovascular (aerobic) and some resistance exercise (toning). The resistance exercises will tone the muscles beneath the fat layers, and these will be more visible when some of the fat is lost. Resistance exercises also increase your lean tissue (muscle mass). Muscle tissue burns up more energy than fat tissue, which results in an increase in your metabolic rate.” All of this should translate into a leaner, more toned, less dimpled you!
How can diet make a difference?
A healthy diet of protein, good fats and antioxidants from plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for your skin. Protein (fish, chicken and eggs) is rich in hydrating essential fatty acids which restore tone and firmness to skin, says Dr Howard Murad in his book The Cellulite Solution (Piatkus). Cut out junk food which is stuffed with fat and sugar and limit your salt intake, which can cause water retention.
Will it help if I get a suntan?
A tan can camouflage that pasty cottage cheese look and create the optical illusion of smoothness and tone, BUT make it self-tan and don’t let the sun do the job. We now know that cellulite-ridden skin is damaged skin. Overexposure to the sun will further damage and weaken skin and encourage the appearance of even more – and – worse cellulite. And no, the heat doesn’t melt away the lumps. Sorry!
Does exfoliation help to smooth dimply thighs?
Brushing skin with a soft brush in long, sweeping movements towards the heart revs circulation and gets rid of dead skin cells, leaving skin rosy and glowing. Don’t be tempted to go at the offensive areas with a loofah – dermatologists warn that you can scratch the skin and even risk infection. Using an exfoliating product prepares skin to be optimally responsive to a cellulite cream or treatment following your bath or shower. Blitz hips and thighs with a high-powered shower jet, alternating hot and cold water.
Is cellulite cream a waste of money?
No. If the formulation contains the latest skincare ingredients which help to restore thick and healthy skin, you should see better skin tone and texture within weeks. You should also apply it with a vigorous and strong massage movement to stimulate circulation; use firm, strong strokes, massaging upwards to help chase toxins towards the lymph glands so they can be flushed out. Dr Murad says creams will work on 20 percent of the problem, but the rest relies on lifestyle changes.
Do supplements help?
Dr Murad suggests lecithin, glucosamine and amino acids. Antioxidants and fatty acids like omega-3 also do good. At least six cups of green tea per day have strong antioxidant and healing properties; keep the caffeine limited to the ingredient in your anti-cellulite cream!