Cellulite is fat, water and lymphatic fluid which is trapped in a web of tough collagen fibres under the skin. If this connective tissue is weakened, small pockets of fat and fluid can then push through towards the surface of the skin and therefore become more visible. It is generally seen on thighs and the bottom but can appear on the calves, ankles, stomach, and upper arms and it usually occurs after puberty.
The causes of cellulite are not well understood, but there are a few theories, amongst these are:
Hormonal factors – hormones are likely to play an important role in cellulite development. It is believed that estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.
Genetics – certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genes may predispose an individual to particular characteristics associated with cellulite, such as gender, race, metabolism, distribution of fat just underneath the skin, and circulatory insufficiency.
Diet – people who eat too much fat, too many of the wrong carbohydrates, or salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite.
Lifestyle factors – cellulite may be more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time, all of which impact on the circulatory system and lymphatic drainage.
Clothing – underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks (limiting blood flow) may contribute to the formation of cellulite.
Why do women have more cellulite than men?
Women have a vertical distribution of collagen fibres in their lower body whereas men have a criss-cross formation. This straight up and down arrangement of fibers is the major reason females get cellulite and men do not.
The vertical distribution of female collagen fibers, more prevalent in the female lower body, form a pocket in which fat cells then grow (see the picture above). As the fat cells increase in size they are essentially ‘fenced in’ and packed tightly together by the collagen fibers. Imagine a sponge ball stuffed in between links in the fence. This tight packing of fat inside the “collagen pocket”creates the characteristic puckering of cellulite.
Recommended treatments for cellulite:
- Radio Frequency
- DermaPure Roller
- Massage with G5
Q: How does the Radio Frequency break down cellulite?
A: The monopolar radio frequency waves create a thermal reaction within the area that is being treated. This heat can reach depths of 18 mm within the skin. This depth is at a level of the subcutaneous layer (hypodermis) where the adipose tissue is sited.
Adipocytes make up the adipose tissue and these cells play an important role. They are an energy store, insulate and protect vital organs.
Within the adipose cell there is a nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondria, other organelles and a fat reservoir, this reservoir makes up approximately 90% of the cell. This fat reservoir houses triglyceride molecules these cause the adipocyte cells to increase in size creating a larger volume of tissue and can contribute to cellulite.
Adipocytes are highly thermolabile meaning they are easily changeable by heat. When the mono polar is applied to an area the deeper tissues are heated by the radio frequency waves vibrating the water molecules in the tissue. This affects the collagen in the area and the adipocytes: the lipids within the cell start to breakdown using the process of the LPL (lipoprotein lipase) which breaks the triglyceride molecules into glycerol and free fatty acids. Glycerol is a non soluble molecule and this is transported by the albumin in the blood to cells which need energy, the fatty acids are transported to the liver by the interstitial fluid within the blood and then excreted as needed. This results in the adipocytes reducing in size. This process can take a week to several weeks to be noticed.