“Orange peel syndrome” or “cottage cheese skin”: no matter what you call it, cellulite is an esthetic problem that affects most women, whether you’re thin or curvy, a teenager or a baby boomer. Find out how to keep cellulite at bay.

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is a mass of fat cells under the surface of the skin that makes the skin look bumpy and dimpled. Cellulite is most often found on the thighs, buttocks, hips and stomach. About 90% of women have cellulite to different degrees, compared to 2% of men. Although cellulite is essentially an esthetic problem, in more severe cases it can become sensitive or painful to the touch.

It’s important not to confuse cellulite, or “orange peel skin,” with cellulitis, which is a skin infection caused by a  bacteria. Cellulitis results in redness, swelling and pain, and requires antibiotics.

What causes cellulite?

The causes of cellulite have not been clearly established, but we know that there is a major hereditary component. If your mother had a lot of cellulite, you have a good chance of getting it too.

Besides heredity, other factors also seem to promote cellulite to varying degrees, depending on the person: excess weight, a bad diet, a lack of physical activity, hormone fluctuations, stress, blood circulation problems, smoking and alcohol.

How to prevent cellulite

Unfortunately, for the moment, no treatments make cellulite disappear completely. Creams, detox cleanses , massages or liposuction can improve the appearance a bit, but these treatments can't make cellulite go away for good.

Cellulite creams may be beneficial but generally only provide a temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite, and whatever improvement they do provide tends to be minor. You also have to get into the habit  of using these products every day, as the effect wears off as soon as you stop applying them. Natural health products and diuretics are also used to treat cellulite, but no study has yet demonstrated their effectiveness.

Beauty clinics offer lymphatic drainage, ultrasound and infrared treatments that have shown results in some women. But get all the information before turning to these treatments, as they are very expensive and the results aren’t guaranteed for all women.

Overall, the best way to prevent or reduce the appearance of cellulite is to adopt a healthy lifestyle:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • get regular exercise (including strength exercises)
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • limit your intake of salty foods
  • drink a lot of water
  • drink alcohol in moderation 
  • don’t smoke

You can do other things to promote good blood circulation and keep cellulite from getting worse:

  • Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight around the legs. Instead, wear loose clothing.
  • Avoid high heels and wear flats. 
  • Vary your posture. Don’t stay in the same seated or standing position for too long.

In the fight against cellulite, exercise and a healthy weight are your best allies. Women from all backgrounds can enjoy the beauty of a healthy lifestyle—which is affordable for everyone. Ask your pharmacist for advice!

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