fight_cellulite_inside.jpgThe truth is, nobody dies from cellulite, though some of us may agonize about it like the plague.

Strictly speaking, cellulite is a cosmetic problem. It isn't a disease, though if it were, it would already be an epidemic. Ninety percent of women who have gone through puberty are affected by some form of cellulite. The good thing is, if you have it, the only "dying" you ever have to fear is from embarrassment. That is, if a little "orange peel," as cellulite's texture is often described, bothers you that much.

Most also have some idea that cellulite is the result of pockets of fat stored under the skin, but only a few bother to find out why it appears, what causes its appearance, and most of all, what can be done about it. This is because it is widely believed that cellulite, like those stubborn stretch marks, can never be completely erased--an idea that even many doctors share.


THE AWFUL TRUTH

Quick test: Do you have cellulite? here's how to find out: Pinch the skin of your thigh between both hands. If there is a dimpling on the pinched area, you have it. For some women, cellulite is visible even without pinching.

Cellulite is the term used to describe the fat deposits under the skin that outwardly give the skin a dimpled or orange peel-like appearance. It usually appears on the thighs, hips, and buttocks due to estrogen production, but can also show up in the inner knees, hips, lower abdomen, and upper arms.


Awful truth # 1: You are already predisposed to cellulite simply because you're a woman.

Cellulite is most often seen in women because the fat in the female body is arranged in large chambers separated by columns of collagen fibers. In overweight people, excess fat is stuffed in these compartments, causing them to bulge outward. On the surface of the skin, the bulging provides the dimply appearance of cellulite, especially in areas such as the hips, buttocks, and thighs.

Although some men have cellulite, women have a natural propensity for them because of the formation of their connective tissue bands is different due to hormonal changes.


Awful truth #2: Even skinny women have cellulite.

A common misconception is that only people who are overweight can get cellulite. These pockets of fat in our leg area, arms, tummy, and buttocks usually appear when our metabolism slows down due to age or lack of exercise or when we start to gain weight around the hips and waist.


Awful truth # 3: If your mom has cellulite, chances are you'll have it, too!

Cellulite is predetermined by genetics so that even thin women can develop the appearance. Factors such as hormones, pregnancy, and aging all contribute to the weakening of collagen fibers which in turn gives cellulite its appearance. Other factors that can cause cellulite are tension, fatigue, stress, smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol, drugs, and rich food.

There are two types of cellulite: the fatty type and the one caused by water retention. Fatty cellulite is stubborn, persistent, and can be determined by soft hips, thighs, and buttocks. They are caused by a fat-rich diet and lack of physical activity. The one caused by water retention is soft to the touch. It is triggered by poor blood circulation and inactivity.

But there are certain food that can help you combat cellulite. Read on and find out what these are as well as which ones you should avoid.

Want to know what else you can do to fight cellulite? Read these articles to find out:
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(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, On the Cover section as "Fighting Cellulite" in April 2007; photo by lululemon athletica via Flickr Creative Commons; adapted for use in Female Network)
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