Can you prevent cellulite?
Orange peel, cottage cheese – if you’re in the 80-90% of women who have cellulite, you know exactly what it looks like. Commonly found on the thighs, stomach, buttocks and upper arms, some men can have it, too. If not directly visible, a little pinch of your skin in these areas can tell you if you have cellulite.
While you may not like the look of lumpy, dimpled skin, cellulite is harmless. Doctors aren’t sure of the exact cause of cellulite, but they do know it involves fat that pushes between the connective tissue beneath the skin, making the surface of the skin pucker and look lumpy.
Gender, genetics and aging can influence whether you have cellulite.
“While you can’t control these factors and prevent cellulite,” says Dr. Pamela Portschy, who specializes in plastic surgery and cosmetics at Aurora Health Care in Sheboygan, Wis., “there may be a few lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce the look of cellulite.”
For example, Dr. Portschy says although having cellulite doesn’t mean you’re overweight – and even thin or very fit people can have it, it can be more noticeable in those with more body fat.
“Eating a healthy diet, watching your portion sizes and exercising more can help shed extra weight,” she says. “Also, make sure your exercise routine combines aerobic exercise with strength training. Replacing fat with muscle can improve the appearance of cellulite.”
Besides an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, other lifestyle factors that can play a role include dehydration and smoking, which affects and ages the skin.
What about all the creams, devices and treatments that promise to eliminate cellulite?
“Unfortunately, products, treatments and medicines can’t make cellulite go away permanently,” Dr. Portschy says. “Some may improve the look of your skin and hence the cellulite, but results may not last long.”
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About the Author
Mary Arens, health enews contributor, is a senior content specialist at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has 20+ years of experience in communications plus a degree in microbiology. Outside of work, Mary makes healthy happen with hiking, yoga, gardening and walks with her dog, Chester.