Cellulite, or “orange peel skin”, as it is infamously known, does not only affect overweight women as many believe; it is simply part of the natural process of ageing and is more of a cosmetic concern than a health one. And though it affects more than 90% of women, it is still one of the world’s most commonly complained about “health” problems.
WHAT CAUSES CELLULITE?
Cellulite is not simply a build-up of fat. The connection between cellulite and fat is primarily that when fat cells enlarge, they can put pressure on the connective tissue between the fat chambers, changing the smoothness, texture and appearance of skin.
As women age, this elastic connective tissue layer and the layers between the fat tissue become thinner, losing flexibility, which causes the fat cells to become misshapen and enlarged –causing the “dimpling” effect we know as cellulite.
Another contributing factor to cellulite is the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels in our bodies responsible for filtering waste. This system relies on the movement of our bodies (it does not have a pump like our blood) to move these vessels along. Cells of these lymph vessels are attached to surrounding cells by collagen and elastin fibres – and it is the movement of our bodies that opens up gaps in these collagen and elastin fibres to allow fluid in and move it along. This causes “saggy” collagen and elastin that contributes to a sluggish lymphatic system, which can create cellulite.
There is no easy answer to eliminating cellulite once it develops; Patrick advises maintaining your ideal body weight, exercising regularly, minimizing exposure to toxins, boosting your circulation and skin brushing to curtail the development of cellulite and help to reduce that which you already have.
Reduce your intake of toxins
Poor diet and a lack of exercise will cause your body to be sluggish, leading to a build-up of toxins. The healthier your body is, the easier it can burn fat and get rid of these unwanted toxins.
Eating fresh, unprocessed foods, raw vegetables in particular, will help eliminate toxins your body is exposed to. Be sure to include foods rich in Vitamin C, such as peppers, kiwi fruit, broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries and peas, as well as foods with bioflavonoids such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries, red grapes and buckwheat. These also help to strengthen connective tissue.
Healthy weight loss
Following Patrick’s low-GL diet is the best way to lose weight healthily and for the long term. Avoiding a build up of toxins when it comes to your diet means eating fresh, unprocessed foods – and as much organic food as possible. Patrick advises avoiding all commercially processed foods, which are generally low in nutrients and high in additives and the wrong fats. Avoid foods that are rich, heavy, fatty and stodgy – these are foods which leave you feeling “not so good” after you have eaten.
Also ensure your daily diet includes plenty of fresh, colourful vegetable and fruits and avoid foods containing sugar and animal fats.
Other than exercise to stimulate lymph flow, skin brushing and lymphatic drainage massage (done by a professional) are effective ways to help the lymph flow along.
To skin brush, use a natural bristle brush and brush your entire body when it is dry – before your morning shower is the ideal time. Start with your feet and work your way up your legs, towards your arms, chest and across your back.
Strengthen your skin from the inside out
A helpful supplement for beating cellulite is gotu kola (Centella asiatica), a herb found in the wetlands of Asia. The active ingredients found in Gotu kola stimulate the basic structures deep in the skin that support collagen, the protein that lends elasticity to our skin. Patrick advises to take 30 mg of gotu kola a day from a source containing 70% of these acids.
Certain elements in skin creams can also help to shrink fat cells, such as Myriceline (bayberry extract), which helps with the metabolic processes of fat storage.