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Bodycare - Cellulite

Cellulite has been the subject of much dispute as many doctors consider it to be just another term for fat, whereas many women maintain that it's a specific condition. They argue that cellulite is caused by the way women's fat cells are packaged under the skin. All fat is stored in little sacs divided by connective tissue. Whereas in normal skin, the sacs lay smooth and flat, in areas of cellulite, the sacs are bulging and uneven, creating a lumpy surface. In appearance, cellulite can be described as a dimpled, orange peel effect.

There are many theories about the causes of cellulite, but it seems to have its origins in adolescence when the female hormone oestrogen starts to trigger the laying down of fat by enlarging cells in the sub-dermis, particularly on the hips and thighs. These fat cells are surrounded by connective collagen, a tissue that holds them in place. Lymph fluid that runs through the tissue gradually begins to accumulate, generally because circulation can be poor in this area. As a result, the fat cells are compressed and start to harden into lumps, which in time become obvious through the skin. Some experts also believe that lifestyle factors, including a high intake of toxins, such as alcohol and coffee, and lack of exercise, increase your chances of cellulite.

An inactive lifestyle is often thought to contribute to the build-up of cellulite. The modern workplace sees many of us sitting at a desk all day long and prolonged inactivity of this kind can cut off circulation. When treating cellulite, therapists often notice that cellulite deposits are at their most stubborn where the legs meet the chair edge: the place where circulation is cut off most. Lack of exercise leads to a sluggish circulation, making it even harder for the blood and lymphatic system to get rid of toxins and send oxygen around the system. The best kind of exercise is brisk and gentle at the same time, such as swimming or walking.

Skin brushing and self-massage are brilliant beauty habits to fall into as they help the clearing and cleansing of the lymphatic system, rev up circulation and disperse cellulite that has been long held in body cells. For skin brushing, an ordinary loofah won't do. You need a long handled wooden brush made from natural fibres. Brush in an upward direction using firm sweeping strokes - light tickling won't benefit the skin at all. Start on the soles of the feet and work upwards, paying particular attention to the cellulite-prone areas using small circular movements. Do not over-brush or the skin will redden. Alternatively, invest in a knobbly wooden massage tool to boost circulation on thighs and buttocks. In the bath or shower, work some soap or shower gel into a rich lather and gently massage the skin using slow, circular movements. Rinse.