Causes of orange peel skin
When you see famous dancers, models or actresses with perfect bodies and without even a hint of cellulite in magazines or on television, many women always feel a little envious of them. Why does cellulite seem to especially afflict slightly plumper bodies, and spare those who are more slender? And here we find a first problem: despite clichés, cellulite affects women of all ages, both thin and rounder, and does not spare even teenagers. Cellulite is a disorder that afflicts around 90% of women, mainly in rich and industrialized countries, since it is also partly a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle and an unbalanced diet. From a physiological point of view, cellulite is caused by the swelling of fat cells that begin to push through the collagen and then appear on the skin as a series of small depressions and bumps. But why do women have cellulite, and men don't? For two reasons. First of all, male collagen has a more robust structure, so fatty deposits are retained better and the typical orange peel does not form on the outside. Secondly, cellulite also has hormonal causes (estrogens) which affect correct blood circulation and fat storage. Hereditary and ethnic factors also influence the appearance and extent of cellulite (white Caucasian subjects suffer more from it), without forgetting stress, hormonal imbalances, smoking, blood circulation disorders, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.
The importance of a timely fight
As if its appearance wasn't annoying enough, cellulite also has a decidedly unpleasant scientific name: edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy of adipose tissue. From a scientific point of view, there are four degrees of cellulite:
- first degree: there are no obvious signs of orange peel skin, but it is possible that there is already an impairment of circulation and lymphatic flow;
- second degree: the skin appears slightly wrinkled due to weakening of the tissues;
- third degree: the classic orange peel is visible, and it is possible to feel the typical cellulite nodules pressing against the external tissues;
- fourth degree: the nodules are large and well defined, and the appearance of the skin presents evident protuberances and depressions.
The sooner you intervene with cellulite treatments, while adopting healthy lifestyles, the better the results you can achieve. Therefore, the best strategies are timely ones, since as time passes and the symptoms worsen, it becomes increasingly difficult to eradicate these blemishes.
How to fight cellulite
The cultural and in some ways also sociological anxiety linked to cellulite has done nothing but make the cosmetics industry proliferate, offering every kind of possible and imaginable treatment to free oneself from these blemishes. Among the shelves of supermarkets, in pharmacies and specialized shops it is possible to come across dozens of different products that promise to give the buttocks, legs, stomach and arms a long-limbed appearance free of orange peel, but let's face it clearly: up to this moment, a real cellulite "killer" has not yet been invented. Despite the constant testing of new active ingredients and high-tech methods, such as lasers or ultrasounds, doctors are still searching for the "holy grail" for the definitive elimination of cellulite. For example, there are creams, gels or muds on the market to be applied to the skin containing L-carnitine, caffeine, escin and other substances capable of stimulating the metabolisation of fats and microcirculation, but these are not truly 100% effective remedies because the problem is not only here. Cellulite, in fact, is fought by acting on the connective tissue and circulation at a local level, as well as by improving one's lifestyle.
Remedies: mesotherapy and ultrasound
To remove fatty deposits located on the hips, legs, buttocks and stomach, various techniques are available that fall within the field of aesthetic medicine. Among them we find mesotherapy, which consists in the infiltration of active substances directly into the mesoderm (the layer of connective tissue located immediately under the epidermis). For this therapy, small syringes equipped with very thin needles are used which convey drugs capable of dissolving fat cells, the residues of which will then be eliminated from the body. While mesotherapy is an invasive treatment which involves the introduction into the body of drugs which can cause sensitization problems, and which make the use of the technique inadvisable in the presence of particular pathologies, a "softer" approach is that of cavitation aesthetics. This treatment is carried out using special machines that produce ultrasound capable of penetrating into the tissues affected by cellulite. The particular frequency of these electromagnetic radiations – safe for health – is able to explode fat cells, removing fat accumulations. Also in this case the residues are then naturally drained from the body, and these treatments can also be carried out at home, as there are equipment for DIY aesthetic cavitation.
Adopt a healthy diet
Despite the means that modern aesthetic medicine makes available to combat cellulite, the first and most effective strategy is represented by the adoption of healthy daily habits in terms of nutrition and physical exercise. As regards the diet, it is best to favor foods with a reduced calorie content such as seasonal fruit and vegetables, but also legumes, whole grains, white meats and fish rich in omega-3. However, highly seasoned or heavily cooked foods (e.g. fried foods), sweets and sausages should be avoided, as should foods that contain excessive quantities of salt. Of course, every now and then there is an exception to the rule, but it is always good to observe a 'purifying' day after these small concessions. Also very useful are foods containing high quantities of vitamin C, capable of protecting blood vessels (citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflowers, broccoli…). In herbalist's shops it is possible to purchase supplements or herbal teas containing blueberry, centella or horse chestnut, ideal for stimulating microcirculation. Even the regular consumption of foods characterized by diuretic properties is able to improve the blemishes of cellulite, therefore in your diet you must always include fennel, artichokes, chicory, pineapple, and in summer melon and watermelon. Carbonated drinks rich in sugar should be avoided; much better, instead, to consume (in moderation) light variants or slightly sparkling water with a few drops of natural fruit juice.
Regular physical exercise
Practicing healthy daily physical activity can also do a lot to reduce orange peel, and moreover it is a much cheaper alternative to expensive creams or cosmetic surgery treatments. For physical exercise to be good for cellulite, it must be practiced at moderate levels of effort and for a long time. it is perfectly useless to run for ten minutes at full speed while remaining out of breath: by doing so, cellulite and fat deposits will remain where they are. The "secret" is, instead, walking at a fast pace, training on the step or riding a bicycle (or exercise bike) for at least 45-60 minutes, maintaining a good pace. This means being a little out of breath, but having no problems continuing the exercise for the indicated time. To obtain all the benefits of physical activity it is necessary to have consistency and regularity, and train at least three times a week. To make training less repetitive and boring you can vary it, dedicating one day to the exercise bike and another to brisk walking; every now and then you can also alternate with exercises using cardio machines supplied in any gym such as the elliptical exercise bike, which also trains the upper body. From time to time it can be integrated with swimming or in winter with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
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