Cellulite is a cosmetic issue that causes the skin to have a lumpy and dimpled appearance. This condition is highly prevalent in the general population, affecting as many as 98% of women[i].
Even though cellulite does not pose a risk to one's physical well-being, it is often viewed as unattractive and unwanted. As a result, it can create feelings of stress and anxiety for those who have it.
This article delves into the reasons for cellulite, whether diet contributes to its development, and what measures you can take to eliminate it.
Cellulite is the result of alterations in the composition of the fat cells and connective tissues that are situated beneath the skin's surface. These modifications can cause the fat cells to enlarge significantly and protrude outward into the connective tissue below the skin.
Furthermore, changes in blood circulation to areas affected by cellulite may lead to the accumulation of additional fluids in the tissue. This creates the characteristic bumpy texture associated with cellulite.
Interestingly, cellulite is found almost exclusively in women, and it generally develops in the thighs, abdomen, and buttocks.[ii]
The reason people develop cellulite is still not fully understood, but it’s most likely triggered by a combination of factors.
Hormones: high levels of insulin could create a higher risk of cellulite development[iii]
Gender: Women are far more likely to develop cellulite than men[iv] .
Inactive Lifestyle: The presence of excess fluid in the surrounding tissues can exacerbate the appearance of cellulite. Some researchers have hypothesised that changes in the blood flow to areas affected by cellulite may contribute to this phenomenon[v].
Inflammation: An alternate hypothesis is that cellulite is a result of a connective tissue ailment that is triggered by persistent, low-level inflammation. Several researchers have detected immune cells associated with chronic inflammation[vi].
Nutritional therapy may help with cellulite by improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and lowering fluid retention. A well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet along with appropriate lifestyle changes and supplement intake, can promote healthy skin and connective tissue, potentially reducing the severity and appearance of cellulite.
A nutrient-dense diet that includes antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can combat oxidative stress and inflammation. Foods high in fibre and healthy fats, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, can support healthy blood flow and reduce fluid retention. Drinking plenty of water can also help flush toxins out of the body and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Nutritional therapy can address nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to cellulite, such as low intake of vitamin C, which is vital for collagen production and maintaining connective tissue[vii].
Reduce salt: too much salt may increase water retention, which could exacerbate the appearance of cellulite.
Focus on slow release carbohydrates: cellulite has been linked to high levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin is a hormone affecting the levels of sugar in our blood. Try to incorporate slow-release swaps such as rice for cauliflower rice, courgette noodles or spaghetti squash, bread for lettuce leaves or low-carb tortillas and potatoes for cauliflower. Slow release carb swaps are food substitutions that replace high glycaemic index carbohydrates with those that are low glycaemic index, providing a gradual and sustained release of energy and promoting stable blood sugar levels [viii][ix].
Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that can potentially reduce the appearance of cellulite by enhancing blood flow and circulation in the body. It contains flavonoids and terpenoids that act as antioxidants and enhance the elasticity of blood vessels. This improvement in blood flow may reduce fluid retention and inflammation, which are contributing factors to the appearance of cellulite[x]. Try: A Vogel Ginkgo Biloba Drops or Cytoplan Cyto-Renew (60 capsules)
Centella asiatica aka Gotu kola: Gotu kola is a natural supplement that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. It may have potential benefits for reducing the appearance of cellulite. Gotu kola contains compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin, potentially reducing the dimpled appearance of cellulite. Additionally, Gotu kola has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce fluid retention and swelling in cellulite-affected areas[xi]. Try: The Organic Pharmacy Slim Tincture
Skin brushing is a practice that involves using a dry brush with stiff bristles to massage the skin. It is believed to have several benefits for cellulite, including stimulating blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Skin brushing can also help exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and improving skin texture. However, it's important to note that while skin brushing may be helpful, it should not be relied on as the sole solution for cellulite, as other lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, are also important factors in reducing the appearance of cellulite.
Try: Cytoplan Skin Brush
Weleda’s Birch Cellulite Oil: is a completely natural treatment for cellulite using precious plant ingredients. Extracts from organically grown young birch leaves, rosemary and butcher’s broom (ruscus) stimulate the skin’s metabolism. They’re blended with active carrier oils, including vitamin rich wheatgerm and jojoba.
Cellulite Tincture 50ml The Organic Pharmacy: Circulation boosting and aids cellular congestion. Fat burning support from Garcinia is combined with circulation boosting Horse Chestnut and Gotu Kola to help cellular congestion.
Contouring Concentrate by Caudalie: This dry body oil firms and smooths the skin, for a more defined silhouette and radiant skin. The energising and invigorating notes are naturally derived from lemon, lemongrass, rosemary and juniper berries.
Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Milk: Dr Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Milk is therefore perfect as post-exercise skin care as well as for those with weakened connective tissue.
Olverum Firming Body Oil: is an intensive body sculpting treatment, exactingly formulated with contouring botanicals Grapefruit and Black Pepper for a tightening, toning sensation.
[i] Khan MH, Victor F, Rao B, Sadick NS. Treatment of cellulite: Part I. Pathophysiology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Mar;62(3):361-70; quiz 371-2.
[ii] Rossi AB, Vergnanini AL. Cellulite: a review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2000 Jul;14(4):251-62.
[iii] Leszko M. Cellulite in menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2014 Oct;13(5):298-304. doi: 10.5114/pm.2014.46472. Epub 2014 Nov 2.
[iv] Proebstle TM. Zellulitis [Cellulite]. Hautarzt. 2010 Oct;61(10):864-72. German.
[v] Rossi AB, Vergnanini AL. Cellulite: a review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2000 Jul;14(4):251-62.
[vi] Avram MM. Cellulite: a review of its physiology and treatment. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2004 Dec;6(4):181-5.
[vii] Smalls LK, Lee CY, Whitestone J, Kitzmiller WJ, Wickett RR, Visscher MO. Quantitative model of cellulite: three-dimensional skin surface topography, biophysical characterization, and relationship to human perception. J Cosmet Sci. 2005 Mar-Apr;56(2):105-20.
[viii] Proebstle TM. Zellulitis [Cellulite]. Hautarzt. 2010 Oct;61(10):864-72. German.
[ix] Leszko M. Cellulite in menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2014 Oct;13(5):298-304.
[xi] Bylka W, Znajdek-Awiżeń P, Studzińska-Sroka E, Brzezińska M. Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013 Feb;30(1):46-9.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.