An In-Depth Look At the Causes of Cellulite


Article By Dr. Danné Montague-King

An in-depth look into what causes cellulite and how cellulite manifests within the underlying structure of the skin. Follow the links at the end of the article to learn more about DMK’s safe, non-invasive solution for the treatment of cellulite

Cellulite Anatomy & Physiology

Cellulite is a term used to express a visible physical change, resulting in an uneven skin texture Cellulite is a natural process in females induced by the hormone oestrogen. Males having relatively small amounts of oestrogen have very little cellulite.

The breakdown of collagen is a basic biological function of estrogen. The process starts by oestrogen stimulating the collagenase formation in the fibroblast, and the collagenase breaking down the muscle fibers.

When collagen is relaxed or weakened, the superficial fascia weakens and gives way, and the fat bulges upward creating a wavy surface. Thus we can conclude that the underlying cause of cellulite is weakened connective tissue.

How Cellulite Happens

Adipocytes are found in the adipose fat tissue and held in place by fibers made from the connective tissue, which act as a supporting network. An increase in their size or number leads to an excess fat accumulation and water retention. This increase can be caused by over-eating, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances or a combination of these.

Accumulated adipocytes compress both the supporting fibers in the connective tissue and the capillaries running through this tissue, thus decreasing blood circulation. When there is a lack of oxygen (asphyxia) the fat cells form nodes (fat cells become surrounded with a membrane-like wall) that appear under the epidermis and can be diagnosed visually from the surface of the skin.

The arterial blood vessels (arteries) carry blood containing oxygen, water and nutritive substances throughout the body. The arteries connect into a vast network of extremely small, single cell walled, blood vessels called capillaries.

The capillaries are responsible for releasing oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood into the cells. It is also in these capillaries, that the blood absorbs metabolic waste products before returning to the heart through the body’s network of veins. When the capillaries are obstructed, the living cells cannot function normally.


Possible Alterations to the Circulatory System Caused by Cellulite:

  • An increase in capillary permeability (i.e.; Hormone changes)
  • An increase in blood pressure inside the capillaries
  • An obstruction to the lymph circulation

These alterations will enhance the potential of oedema and water retention, which mean that excess liquids that would normally be absorbed and removed by the capillaries, remain trapped in the spaces between the fat cells. These liquids can contain lipid-hardening toxins. This decrease in blood circulation may also result in a decrease in body temperature, especially in the hands and feet.

Oedema often forms with excess water retention. The presence of oedema, in turn, exerts a negative effect on the normal functioning of the lymphatic circulation and on the adipocytes, creating a complex and negative situation which is manifested in a hardened or orange peel appearance to the skin. This is often accompanied by a feeling of tiredness and irritability, which is caused by improper functioning of the lymphatic circulation.

As a result there is an alteration in the metabolism that favors the accumulation of adipocytes. A breakdown of the connective tissue which loses its flexibility and elasticity in the connective tissue and the encapsulation of altered adipocytes in the dermis. This may manifest as a dimpled or orange peel effect in skins that are thin.

The Classifications of Cellulite

  1. Hard Cellulite
  2. Soft Cellulite
  3. Endomatous Cellulite

Active Principals That Can Affect Cellulite

Anti-Oedema during the process of the formation of cellulite, oedema appears because of the retention of liquids in the spaces between cells. Certain active ingredients obtained from plants, such as saponin act on the malfunctioning of the circulatory system, decreasing the swelling and inflammation which may result in oedema.

Saponin a complex molecule formed by a sugar fraction and a sapogenin, such as White Oak Bark, Sweet Birch, Fenugreek.

Plasmatic certain natural rubefacient such as cayenne pepper, cassia, garlic and eucalyptus, menthol and camphor create a pseudo heat (or pseudo cold) sensation in the skin. The sensations bounce back and forth between low porosity plastic wraps and the epidermis striking the fat cells with heat/cold, creating a hydrolysis of the fat cell.

Cassia causes a plasmatic effect that stimulates all the proper functioning of the circulatory and lymphatic system to function more effectively, reducing and eliminating the alterations in the metabolism that cause the accumulation of adipocytes and breakdown the connective tissue stopping the rough wrinkled skin with underlying plaque nodes created by lack of elasticity in the connective tissue.

Thermogenesis Creates a thermogenic effect creating a heat production derived from lipids (fats). The body uses the stored fats to be converted and used as energy to provide the heat.

Thermogenics helps to increase the blood circulation, flushing and strengthening the capillary network increasing essential nutrients and oxygen that helps to repair and strengthen the weakened connective tissue. This along with improved lymphatic drainage reduces the fluid retention and oedema which manifests in a hardened orange peel effect

Essential Fatty Acids are essential to be taken when treating cellulite. EFA’s also strengthen connective tissue, help with fluid regulation and help to normalize fat metabolism. The cells should respond to EFA’s since isoflavones block the effect of oestrogen on connective tissues surrounding the fatty tissue. Oestrogens support collagenase secretion that attacks connective tissue by making it weak. By blocking this action EFA’s will reduce or prevent the tendency of the fatty tissue to herniate into the dermis

When seeking effective treatment options for reducing eliminating and preventing cellulite you must take into account the anatomy and physiology behind why cellulite occurs the degenerative processes that take place in the body and then devise an effective treatment program that targets restores and repairs these processes working with the body’s chemistry. Taking this approach will ensure optimal results and maximum long term benefits.

To learn more about home solutions for the treatment of cellulite, visit the Treatment for Cellulite and Stretch Marks page on this website. Click here to learn more about DMK's BODY SCULPTING Treatment for addressing cellulite and other skin problems.

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Danné Montague-King South Africa

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