Cellulite - What Is It? And Have I Got It?

If you're someone who gets cellulite - that unattractive lumpy, bumpy skin texture found around the bum and backs of the legs - you're in good company. Around 80 per cent of western women think they have it. But contrary to what you might have been told, cellulite is not necessarily anything to do with weight at all. In fact, if you have it, there isn't much you can do about it. You were destined to get it from birth!

How to get rid of cellulite

A tissue! A tissue!

So what exactly is this weird pock-marked fatty stuff that we're all so het up about? Well, cellulite is a kind of fatty tissue which connects the fat cells underneath the skin. We all have these fat cells - even the skinniest of models - as they provide protection for our body and cushion our muscles and organs. But when cellulite occurs, what is happening is that this layer of tissue between the fat cells has become fibrous - something like a scar - as a result of fluids and toxins trapped deep in the skin. These fibrous areas start to pull together around the fat cells, rippling and hardening causing the dimples and bumpy appearance that we all recognise as cellulite.

Getting hormonal

So that's the science bit over, who gets cellulite - and why do they get it? For a start, men rarely develop it as their fat cells are embedded much deeper in the skin. What's more, the women who do get cellulite are pre-destined from birth to develop it. Its formation is closely linked to hormones, especially the female sex hormones when levels start to change dramatically. Therefore, it is common for it to begin to appear in girls around the time of puberty and in woman during pregnancy. Many women also find that cellulite worsens after childbirth as it takes a long time for the body's waste system to get rid of the enormous flow of oestrogen in the body.

The hard cellulite

You might be surprised to hear that there are in fact two types of cellulite that you can get. Hard, or solid, cellulite usually occurs in active women such as runners or dancers - hence those occasional and surprising glimpses of athletes with dimply thighs. This type of cellulite is actually difficult to get rid of because it doesn't lift from the body easily. It's also harder to see because it attaches directly to the muscle. Soft cellulite is the kind the rest of us are far more used to! It's not as concentrated as hard cellulite and is much more visible. What's more, as it doesn't attach so strongly to the muscle, it's looser and often sagging from the body.