Cellulite refers to an unsightly distribution of fat under the skin, in particular areas of the body—especially the thighs and buttocks. The subcutaneous fat is distributed in a manner that creates hollows and bumps in these regions.
Cellulite is not an abnormal medical condition. Although its appearance may be disturbing, it only represents the pattern of distribution of body fat.
Cellulite is much more widespread in women than in men, affecting 80% to 90%, especially older than 35 years. The high prevalence among women suggests that it may be related to hormonal factors.
Why Does Cellulite Appear?
Under the dermis lies a layer of fat, called the subcutis. This layer is made up of many fat cells that coalesce to form fatty tissue. These lumps of fat are surrounded and separated from each other by rigid strands, as illustrated.
If there is a high dietary intake of fats or carbohydrates (converted to fat in the body), the fat cells fill up with fat, swell up, and may grow to three or more times their normal size. At the same time, the rigid strands cannot stretch beyond a certain amount. Thus, the fatty tissue bulges out from the strands around it.
Prevention Of Cellulite
Attention to Diet and Avoiding Weight Gain
Since healthy dietary habits prevent an increase of subcutaneous fat, there is a certain logic to the suggestion that one should avoid gaining too much weight. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that cellulite has a significant hereditary factor. There are some thin women who take great care with their diet but who still have cellulite.
- A woman who has excess fat in the thighs and buttocks and goes on a reduction diet to lose weight may not necessarily lose fat from those particular areas.
- The loss of fat from areas that were bulging for an extended period may result in excess skin that had previously been stretched over the fatty areas.
It is important to adhere to sensible dietary habits over many years, to maintain a stable weight and to avoid weight gain. A “crash” diet losing, say, 20 kg in 10 days is in any case undesirable, not only for the reasons mentioned above but also for other medical reasons.
Physical exercise can further improve the appearance
- by converting fat tissue to energy with a subsequent decrease in excess fatty tissue, and
- by increasing the bulk of the muscles—instead of the fat accumulating in large “lumps,” muscle tissue tends to grow in a uniform, smooth, more aesthetically acceptable manner.
How NOT TO Treat Cellulite
- It has not been demonstrated scientifically that any dietary product can “burn” and get rid of excess fat.
- “Exercise” machines that cause passive repeated movements of the fatty tissues of the thighs and buttocks so as to “burn up” the fat have not proven to be effective.
Cosmetic Preparations For Cellulite
Cosmetic products to treat cellulite are supposed to penetrate through the keratin layer, the epidermis, and the dermis and “dissolve” the excess fatty tissue. The active ingredients commonly present in these preparations are methylxanthines (present in the tea leaves and coffee beans), various plant extracts, and vitamin A derivates. Recently, some of these compounds have been combined with liposome technology, which is an excellent delivery system that may assist in deeper penetration of the active ingredients into the skin. The effect of this combination is still to be assessed.
Ivy – Hedera Helix Anticellulite Oil
The common Ivy is an evergreen climbing plant which grows from 3 to 50 meters, and its botanical name is Hedera helix. It has a high, ligneous stem and sticks to walls and trees using its roots to hook.
This plant has great antifungal, anthelmintic, molluscicidal, anti-mutagenic as well as cellulite control properties.
Ivy extract contains Hederine, an active saponin which is responsible for blood vessel protection and permeability decrease. It helps to reabsorb the edemas present in the initial stages of cellulite.
The saponoside in Ivy support other components present to be absorbed by the skin and assist the fat contents stocked in the fat cells to go back into the blood stream and to be either used as a source of energy or to be eliminated.
How to prepare:
- 4.5 Oz carrier oil (grapeseed oil, argan oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil)
- 15 to 20 large fresh Ivy leaves
- Tip of a fresh rosemary sprig
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon freshly grounded coffee beans (I use organic Robusta since it has more caffeine than Arabica)
- 1/2 teaspoon grounded cinnamon
- Grind the plant material with a pestle & mortar or similar.
- Place in a clean glass container and put over the oil.
- Use a chopstick to push the herbs into the oil and to dislodge any trapped air bubbles.
- Leave in a sunny spot for about 4 Weeks.
- Strain off and save the infused oil into a clean glass container.
Use the oil as you would any massage oil on the affected areas, with upward strokes to move the circulation towards the heart. Do this preferably after skin brushing with a dry sisal brush or similar.