The dreaded orange peel skin
Posted on 26th April 2017 at 07:30
With the clocks having changed a few of weeks ago – and the annual fortnight in the sun approaching fast – it’s not surprising that many new year’s resolutions are currently being resurrected. Particularly those focussing around looking good. And, as an added bonus, feeling good too (!).
One thing we’re guaranteed to be asked about at this time of year is the dreaded orange peel skin. With so many myths and misunderstandings about it, it’s not surprising that many people succumb to some rather strange – not to mention messy and time consuming (!) – methods that promise to deal with it. Sadly these don’t tend to live up to the hype – and, when you understand what Cellulite is, it’s easy to see why.
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite – also known as Gynoid Lipodystrophy – is caused by underlying fat deposits pushing through the connective tissue found just under the skin, causing the skin to appear dimpled on the surface. If you imagine connective tissue as being like a very fine net – or scaffolding – the fat deposits below simply push through the gaps.
And before you think “fat = bad” it’s not quite that simple. Yes, it can be used to provide storage (!) – particularly for toxins – but fat is also needed to provide insulation and padding / protection for what’s found further below.
So now you can see why all those lotions, potions and creams simply don’t work. At best they’ll make your skin feel soft and smoother, but don’t go deep enough to make any real difference. Sorry to shatter all your illusions, that’s just how it is.
Why does it appear in some areas and not others?
This is all down to the connective tissue itself. There is less connective tissue in the buttocks, inner thighs, stomach and underarm areas; so this is where cellulite tends to occur.
Why do women tend to get it more than men?
Again, it’s down to the connective tissue, with women having less of it in these areas than men. This is why slim women can be seen with Cellulite too. It’s estimated that about 90% of women will experience Cellulite at some time in their lives. By contrast only about 10% of men will be affected.
And did you know Cellulite is graded?
Grade 0, no Cellulite is present. Hurrah!
Grade 1, skin is smooth while standing but bumps and dimples appear when sitting.
Grade 2, the bumps and dimples appear whether sitting or standing.
Grade 3, the bumps and dimples appear much deeper.
What triggers these changes?
Several factors are thought to play a part, with two hormone related ones being top of the list.
The first one is oestrogen, which helps to control the monthly cycle and declines around Menopause. As oestrogen levels fall less collagen is produced which, as a major component of connective tissue, causes it to weaken; making it easier for the underlying fat to bulge through. Falling oestrogen levels also affect the circulation of blood, so making matters worse.
The other, which may come as a surprise, is adrenaline. Where stress is ongoing – rather than the immediate life threatening scenario – the body starts to lay down fat stores in preparation for possible tough times ahead. With the hips, stomach, buttocks and arms being prime fat storage areas it’s not surprising that cellulite appears in these places.
Two other hormones may also play a part in Cellulite. Thyroxine, which controls the metabolism and so the speed with which body processes occur. Prolactin, which stimulates the production of breast milk. It also causes fat to be deposited to guard against any future food shortage while the baby is being breast fed. As an aside, this is the reason mothers will often seem to put on weight on the stomach and thighs while breast feeding but this quickly disappears once they stop.
Stress may also come in the form of a poor diet or environmental toxicity. Diets high in processed foods – sugar, transfats, artificial flavourings, additives and preservatives – create toxicity, causing long term stress on the body.
Similarly all those chemical laden home and bathroom products, as well as pollution from the air we breathe particularly in built up areas. Where these toxins cannot be removed from the body by the usual means – and we’ll leave that to your imagination (!) – they’re safely stored in the liver or fatty tissues. The fat cells then expand, placing stress on the connective tissues and cellulite.
Cellulite has also been linked with Diabetes, where elevated blood sugar levels are converted to fat and stored – whether to existing fat cells or as new ones.
Prolonged sitting, standing in one position and a sedentary lifestyle have also been found to play a part. It’s thought that this is due to reduced circulation in these areas, as well as raised blood sugar levels, as it’s not needed to provide fuel for a more active lifestyle.
Finally smokers have also been found to have a higher risk of developing Cellulite.
Things you can do at home to help
As usual, there are no prizes for guessing the first thing we’re going to say (!). So, all together, clean up your diet AND make sure you drink plenty of water.
And don’t forget to take regular exercise which includes an aerobic component to help burn up fat while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow. Targeted exercises such as squats, the dreaded plank – ask anyone who does yoga or pilates about it (!) – and side leg raises with a resistance band can also help.
Switch to more natural body products and moisturisers, so helping to prevent the further build up of toxins while allowing those already deposited in the fat cells to be removed.
Dry skin brushing. Using a soft brush, make long gentle sweeping upward movements over the affected area(s). And the important words to remember here are GENTLE and UPWARD. While it may not seem as though this could possibly do any good, it’s incredibly powerful.
This technique stimulates the movement of blood and lymph within the area, exfoliates the skin and helps to soften the fat deposits so they’re distributed more evenly. This is exactly what lymphatic drainage treatments do, but you can replicate them in the comfort of your own home. Doing this for a few minutes every day before having a shower can make a real difference over the longer term.
Balance your hormones. Plant tinctures are brilliant for gently helping to balance the hormones, although we would recommend seeking professional help to ensure the best results. If you want to find out more just give us a call or e mail.
Address long term or ongoing stresses – and we know this isn’t always easy – while ensuring you’re taking regular time out to top up your batteries. Regular gentle exercise such as walking, pilates or yoga will help to burn off excess adrenaline and make you feel better and more in control. Meditation and mindfulness help to calm down a busy head.
Take Vitamin C which, among its many other benefits, helps in detoxing generally and the burning of fat.
Like most health concerns there are lots of things you can do at home to help. They’re simple, easy and have lots of other health benefits as well. Miracle lotions and potions may seem like the answer but, sadly, they don’t produce the long term results you’re looking for.
As always, the choice is yours.
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