Most women are familiar with cellulite. Even if you are thin, you might notice a dimpled “orange peel” look start to appear on your thighs or stomach. Cellulite can affect both men and women, but it develops much more often in women, especially as we age. In fact, cellulite affects the majority of women to some extent. According to research, about 85 percent of women over the age of 20 have some cellulite. (1)
If you’re similar to a lot of women, you may have tried different lotions and creams to get rid of cellulite. The quest to eliminate cellulite can be very frustrating, especially when nothing seems to work. While it might not be possible to banish cellulite entirely, replacing declining hormone levels may help.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is just fat that pushes up through the connective tissue under the skin. As the fat puckers up through the skin, it creates an uneven or lumpy surface.
Although cellulite is fat, you don’t have to be overweight to develop it. Cellulite may first appear during young adulthood. But it is more common in middle-age. Usually, it develops in areas of the body that tend to store more fat, such as the upper arms, buttocks, and thighs.
What are the causes of cellulite?
The exact cause of cellulite is not entirely clear. But it appears cellulite develops due to the interaction between fat and the connective tissue, which is just below the skin.
Women tend to develop more cellulite than men, which might be due to the arrangement of the connective tissue. In females, the bands of connective tissue and fat cells are thinner than in men and arranged vertically. In males, the bands of tissue are thicker and arranged in a criss-cross pattern, which keeps the fat from puckering through and creating cellulite. Also, women often have a higher percentage of body fat than men. It’s also thought that hormone decline and imbalance plays a role in the development of cellulite.
The estrogen deficiency-cellulite connection
Cellulite may appear anytime in a woman’s life. But when estrogen levels decline, cellulite may increase. Lower levels of estrogen may contribute to the development of cellulite in a few ways. For example, reduced estrogen may cause vascular changes, such as decreased blood flow to the connective tissue, increased permeability and fluid retention under the skin, which may all play a part in the development of cellulite. (2)
Decreased estrogen also may mean reduced production of elastin fibers and collagen, which keep the skin firm and toned. When levels drop, the connective tissue becomes weaker. The skin also becomes thinner. The combination of both factors is ideal for the development of cellulite. (3)
When does estrogen decline in a woman’s life?
Estrogen levels drop during menopause. But levels can also fluctuate for years prior to menopause during perimenopause. Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, and it can occur several years before a woman is considered post-menopausal.
During perimenopause, estrogen levels may be too low or too high. But these conditions can affect cellulite development. For example, estrogen dominance can develop during perimenopause, which can contribute to an increase in fat. More fat stored under the skin may increase the risk of cellulite.
During menopause, as estrogen declines, aging skin is also becoming thinner and less elastic. Between decreased estrogen and sagging skin, it’s no surprise that many women notice cellulite increasing.
A natural solution to for cellulite
While there are all types of anti-cellulite lotions and treatments on the market, studies are limited regarding their effectiveness. Research that involved a meta-analysis of 67 journal articles containing information on in vivo human studies on the efficiency of cellulite treatments indicated no proven treatment. Some of the studies did not have a placebo control, which made them inconclusive. The results indicated that there is no definitive evidence that cellulite treatments, such as lotions and laser modalities, are effective at treating cellulite. (4)
So, what works to treat cellulite? Bioidentical estrogen may help to reduce cellulite by replacing the hormone that is missing. Remember, estrogen affects the vascular activity of the skin, as well as fat levels and collagen production. By replacing estrogen and returning levels back to normal, it prevents changes in the tissue and skin that contribute to the formation of cellulite. Bioidentical estrogen is a way to replace your natural hormones to the proper level.
Are there lifestyle changes that can help prevent or reverse cellulite?
There is not really any way to completely prevent the development of cellulite. However, there are a few things you can do to decrease the amount of cellulite you have now or that may develop in the future. Consider the following suggestions:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for your overall well-being. Thin people still develop cellulite. But the more fat you have under the skin, the higher the chance it will push through the connective tissue and cause skin dimpling.
- Do strength training exercises: Strength training firms your muscles and may help improve skin tone, which in turn could decrease the appearance of cellulite.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking damages your skin by disrupting the body’s ability to make collagen. It also decreases healthy circulation. The combination of both of those factors can make you more likely to develop cellulite.
- Drink bone broth: Bone broth contains collagen, which helps keep your skin supple. Collagen supports healthy skin.
- Try dry brushing your skin: Dry brushing is done to improve blood and lymphatic fluid flow to the skin. It involves using a dry loofah or bath brush and brushing the skin in one direction. Avoid bruising too vigorously, which can lead to bruising. Although it most likely will not be a cure-all for cellulite, it might help.
Do you have symptoms of hormone decline and imbalance?
Do you suffer from fatigue, weight gain, hot flashes, migraines, brain fog, depressed moods, insomnia, anxiety, low libido, irregular menstrual cycles or menstrual cramps? Take our symptom checker to help discover what could be the underlying cause.
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- Cellulite and its treatment
- Cellulite: a review of its physiology and treatment
- Cellulite in menopause
- Cellulite: an evidence-based review