By Laurel House, Planet Green
Roughly 90 percent of all women are affected by it. The unsightly skin condition is unbiased, tackling women of all shapes and sizes- skinny, average or overweight, even supermodels (Tyra Banks most recently admitted to having it). Still, the media makes a big deal out of cellulite — causing a frenzy to try to find a cure. While treatments ranging from non-invasive laser procedures to surgery, plus a slew of chemically infused topicals, tout their smoothing ability, those of us who try to maintain a more natural and green beauty mentality feel stuck in the cold — forced to suffer with the rippled dimples. Thankfully, there are green lifestyle changes we can make to help minimize the appearance of cellulite without going under the knife or surrendering to toxic treatments. Yes, you can tackle your cellulite troubles and save money by going green!
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is not caused from fat. It’s actually an issue of weak connective tissues. When the bands of connective tissue that separate the layer of normal fat from the dermis (the middle layer of skin), free-floating fat cells can penetrate the weakened lattice and become trapped just below the surface of the skin. It’s that trapped fat that results in the dimpling of the skin that we know as cellulite.
Why do connective bands weaken?
- Hormones (which is why few men have cellulite)
Is cellulite a superficial or a serious problem?
Both actually. Cellulite may start as just a cosmetic problem. But it’s a progressive condition that worsens with age. As it worsens and the fat sacks become fuller and tougher, they can actually be quite painful when under pressure (like when you are sitting down). Thankfully, similar to other progressive medical problems, cellulite can be minimized, managed and therefore contained…more or less. However, there is no cure for cellulite. The biggest problem with cellulite treatments is that there really aren’t any great treatments. There are some good options out there, but they are temporary fixes. If you want to help minimize the appearance of cellulite and stop its proliferation, the best plan of attack is to strengthen the fibers of the connective tissues so that no more fat can permeate into the dermis, by making green lifestyle changes.
Next: How to prevent, contain, and minimize the severity of cellulite
Certain foods and supplements strengthen connective tissues, repair cell membranes, and increase circulation. We suggest:
- Starting your day with an antioxidant-rich breakfast that includes organic berries to boost your immune system and fight off free-radicals.
- Regular and continuous all-day hydration with water and green tea.
- Eating one or two lecithin-rich organic eggs each week (including the yolk which is where are majority of lecithin comes from).
- Regularly incorporating raw local, organic fruits and vegetables into your diet (cooking them extracts much of their water and nutrients).
- Snack on goji berries, a popular dried Chinese berry that’s often considered to be a “wonder food” due to its high levels of amino acids, trace minerals, anti-inflammatories, and vitamin C—500 times that of an orange and more beta-carotene than a carrot!
Exercise is also an essential component to a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to cellulite, exercise enhances skin circulation, tightens the thighs and butt, and minimizes the skin surface area (thanks to weight loss) which in turn minimizes the appearance of cellulite.
In excess, the sun’s damaging UV rays can wreak havoc on cell walls and connective tissue, causing blood vessels to weaken and cellulite to form. Avoiding excessive sun exposure and protecting the skin with SPF helps maintain skin’s strength and integrity.
Next: What to apply directly to cellulite
Certain ingredients can actually help control cellulite when either consumed or rubbed directly onto the affected area. Instead of believing the hype about expensive spa treatments and products, be an informed consumer and understand what you’re paying for. What you’ll find is that many eco beauty products are actually some of the most effective thanks to highly active ingredients that help stimulate collagen, encourage circulation, minimize fluid retention, repair weakened tissue, and nourish with nutrients–the best lines of defense in the fight against cellulite.
Yes, just like our am buzz that instantly enlivens our brains and stimulates our day, caffeine (a known diuretic) gets fluid flowing, pulling excess water out of the cells and temporarily minimizing cellulite’s appearance.
DIY: Many natural cellulite-care products use caffeine as their active ingredient, but you can do-it-yourself by taking used coffee grinds and exfoliating the back of your thighs when in the shower for a similarly slimming effect.
Seaweed and Algae
The ocean is rich with healing, nutrient-rich minerals that help strengthen the body and its tissues when both eaten and applied topically. Thankfully, the ocean’s bounty is now bottled and one of the many benefits is that it temporarily firms and tightens the skin, while slightly plumping the surface area and therefore filling in the dimpled spaces that cellulite creates.
DIY: Seaweed may not be a very common ingredient in western diets, but it is in eastern. Want to add a dose of seaweed to your diet? Think sushi, seaweed salad from Japanese restaurants, or simply snack on sheets of nori (you can often purchase it at healthfood markets).
Lecithin and Fatty Acids
Ingredients that include lecithin (such as egg yolk), and essential fatty acids (flax seeds, fish and nut oils) help repair cell membrane and minimize fat’s ability to squeeze through connective tissue. In other words, it has the ability to stop the proliferation of cellulite in its tracks.
DIY: Cellulite supplements are often considered “active” because of the inclusion of lecithin and fatty acids in addition to antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. But you don’t have to drop a bundle on cellulite-specific pills. Instead, add flax seed (in the form of oil or ground seeds), eggs and Omega-3 boosted fish like salmon to your diet.
Cayenne or Chili Pepper
Topically stimulating the skin with potent herbs and spices—like cayenne and chili pepper, help encourage circulation and cell turnover, helping to improve and smooth skin’s appearance.
DIY: Similar to caffeine, several cellulite serums and creams contain cayenne as their active ingredient. If you want to make a cayenne-boosted concotion at home, simply add a teaspoon of the firey stuff half a cup of body lotion. Massage it into cellulite-infested areas, but make sure to massage it into dry skin. Rub it in completely. You may notice that the area takes on a red hue, becomes warm and slightly swollen. That’s normal and should go down in about 30 minutes.
Bottom line: Green your lifestyle with fitness, sun protection, and natural skincare treatments to fight against cellulite!