In Part 1 of this article series, we discussed cellulite in general. In this article, we discuss about how cellulite develops.
Women start becoming prone to cellulite as soon as they begin menstruation. Hormonal influences is one of the key causes of cellulite. These hormonal influence causes the body to store fat over the buttocks, thighs and hips. This is sometimes called “stubborn fat” because its very easy to store fat in these areas but very difficult to lose it. These fat stores are meant to be an emergency stockpile for the unborn fetus during times of famine. This design characteristic has allowed humans to pro-create and survive where other creatures could not.
The other key factor is the compartmentalized storage of this stubborn fat in the the thighs and buttocks. This anatomical feature which defers largely in men, is pivotal in uncovering the cellulite mystery.
How Cellulite is Formed
The skin is divided into 3 layers. Imagine that the upper layer of your skin is like the upper layer of a mattress. The upholstery on the upper surface of the mattress is held by pegs to give it a plush feeling. This gives a mattress the dimpling effect as seen in the picture.
The human skin has a similar structure. Connective collagen bands anchor the inner layer of the skin (dermis) to the muscle below. These connective bands hold the skin that covers over your body.
Incidentally, its the firmness of the collagen connective bands that gives babies their lovely soft and supple skin. As we age, these bands lose their elasticity. Have you ever pinched the skin of a baby. Try pinching the skin of an 80 year old person. It takes some seconds before the skin gets back to normal.
Cellulite tends to develop in the subcutaneous fatty layer. This layer of fat is unique in its structure compared to the other layers because fat globules are structured into specific chambers by strands of connective collagen bands. Fat globules are lumps of fat cells. As more fat globules are added, the compartments fill up and push the skin outwards. A dimpling effect is caused as a result of the fat globules pushing the skin outwards and the collagen connective bands restraining the stretch by anchoring the skin to the muscles.
Why Men Don’t get Cellulite?
Have you ever seen men with cellulite? Well actually men have a very low susceptibility to cellulite. In fact 95% of men don’t form cellulite. Why is this? To answer this question, we need to get back to the collagen connective bonds that hold the upper layer of the skin. The collagen connective bands in men are X shaped bands. They attach from the skin to the muscle at approximately 45 degree angles. This results in very small chambers that are only able to hold small amounts of fat globules. As mentioned earlier, women have perpendicular bands that create large chambers. These chambers are able to store more fat globules and thus produce a more prominent dimpling effect.
This phenomenon has been documented in Skin Research and Technology in 2002.
In summary, the collagen connective bands in women produce large chambers that eventually get filled with fat globules. As these chamber overflow, the fat protrudes outwards toward the skin. The collagen bands restrain the flexing of the skin thus producing the dimpling effect.
In the next article (Part 3), we will discuss on some of the factors that aggravate cellulite.