What Is Cellulite and How Does It Form?
What is cellulite
Cellulite is commonly referred to as the infamous ‘cottage cheese’ or ‘orange peel’ look. This describes the dimpled look on the dermis due to fat accumulation.
What causes cellulite
It’s completely normal and common for people to get cellulite. It’s really not that big of a deal and doesn't mean that anything is wrong with you. They are just normal fat underneath your skin. The lumps form because they push against the connective tissue. The pressure makes the skin above it pucker. That’s why regardless if you’re tall or small, thin or round, anyone can get them.
How does cellulite form?
We will look at a scientific explanation of how they form:
Whenever the skin’s dermis starts to deteriorate and blood vessels begin to break down, this is called stage one. The top section of the skin dermis starts losing its capillary networks. Fat cells which are covered by freestanding fat cell chambers start to engorge with lipids. They swell two to three times their normal size. Tissues start to accumulate fluid because of the breakdown in the capillary system. Fat bulges start to occur in the dermis, and there’s an increase in Glycosaminoglycans, which is responsible for the increased ability of the tissues to retain excess water.
During the second stage, dermal deterioration continues and the microcirculatory system proceeds to decline. Fat cells clump and engorge more, which forces the blood vessels further away. Due to the normal inflammatory process, it’s common for gaps to appear in the dermis. The inflammatory process activates specific enzymes like collagenase and elastase, building a path for immune cells to move to the area of inflammation. Fluids continue to accumulate producing the 'orange peel' effect.
The microcirculatory system continues degenerate causing the metabolism in the dermis’ cells to slow down. Both synthesis processes and protein repair are drastically reduced. This commonly contributes to the thinning of the dermal layer. Protein deposits begin to form around fat cell clusters.
Stage four is the last stage of cellulite formation. Hard nodules become visible in the dermal region. They are made up of fat cell clusters encased in a hardened protein shell.
There are many options for cellulite treatment, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist to see what will work best for your skin type.