Cellulite: Cottage Cheese Thighs

Do you dread the approaching summer season because of the way bathing suits and shorts expose your cottage cheese thighs? You're not alone. Most women, some 90%, develop cellulite at some time after adolescence, though it's rare to see this dimply skin in men.

Cellulite describes fat pockets that develop under the skin. The dimpling effect caused by this trapped fat makes irregular patterns that have sometimes been described as resembling orange peels.

The most common location for cellulite is in the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Cellulite is sometimes mistaken for obesity but is just as likely to occur in thin women as in women who are overweight.

Fat Layers and Cellulite

Beneath the dermis and epidermis lie three layers of fat. Cellulite is found in the subcutaneous fat layer. This fat layer is unique because the fat forms compartments created through links of tissue that surround each chamber of fat. Hormones, in addition to the individual's metabolism, serve to regulate the storage of fat within this subcutaneous fat layer.

Cellulite tends to form in women as they go through hormone changes like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Birth control pills will also affect cellulite formation. Estrogen and folliculine are two hormones that play a role in the formation of cellulite. Female hormones affect blood flow, fat formation, connective tissue, and drainage of the lymph system.

Fat cells that are contained between the two fat layers that lie beneath the subcutaneous fat layer can dissolve. How much fat is stored in these areas depends upon diet, lifestyle, metabolism, and genetic makeup. But these two layers have nothing to do with the formation of cellulite deposits.

Upright Chambers of Fat and Cellulite

In women, the subcutaneous layer of fat is arranged for storage purposes into large chambers situated in an upright position. In men these same chambers are slanted, store smaller quantities of fat and therefore are less likely to form cellulite.

The formation of cellulite is complex and there is little a woman can do to prevent its occurrence. Eating right and getting regular exercise don't seem to have any obvious effect on the process, though poor habits will make the appearance of cellulite worsen. For this reason, drinking lots of water, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a nutritious diet can help you look your best even when cellulite is a problem.

But there are some factors you just can't help. For instance, age causes the connective tissue in the dermis and superficial fat layer to lose its tone and thickness. Cellulite will be the noticeable and unfortunate result of this process.

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