The Truth About Cellulite

Cellulite — Cottage Cheese Thighs — Orange Peel Syndrome – whatever you call it, it seems most woman have it (in fact, almost 90%), but some much more than others.

You’d think with something as common as Cellulite there’d be some solid information circulating about what it is and how to fix it, but there isn’t.

The ‘myths’ around what causes cellulite are too ridiculous to mention. And the fixes? Oh, don’t get me started. Most of them are about applying expensive lotions, taking cleansing powders to eliminate toxins or undertaking a fitness regime that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would buckle under.

So, What is the TRUTH…


Cellulite… arises when fat deposits under the skin begin to push through layers of connective tissue under the skin. That’s the lumps and bumps you see – the bulging through the connective tissue. Women get it more than men (nature’s a bitch) as women carry more weight on their upper thighs and their skin is thinner than men’s.

What Causes it?

There isn’t just one cause, there are a number. Which ones apply to you?

Dysbiosis… a term for a microbial imbalance in the body. In most cases, linked to an intestinal bacteria overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria with low numbers of beneficial bacteria speicies. Endotoxins produced by the pathogenic bacteria accumulate in fat tissues, trapping fat inside the cells. Treating dysbiosis can help eradicate pathogenic bacteria which cause chronic inflammation.

Hormonal imbalances… While there is no hard-clinical evidence, some studies reveal that Oestrogen and fluctuating levels of Progesterone/Oestrogen, may play a role in its development. Contraceptives – either oral or implants – can amplify the problem. Also, as we age, and Oestrogen levels reduce it can result in declining collagen production and connective tissue breakdown. Even more reason to take care of your health as you age

Excess Weight… Carrying even an extra 3-5kgs can result in cellulite as the fat pushes up against the connective tissue weakening the fibres and bulging out of the weak spots. Having said that, even thin people can get cellulite however carrying excess weight makes it more noticeable.  

Poor Circulation… increases cellulite. Blood delivers nutrients to every cell in the body. This includes connective tissue. When there is poor lymphatic and blood circulation, your chances of cellulite are greater.

Lack of Muscle Tone… makes cellulite more noticeable as the skin is not firm and tight.

Genetics… play a role. You’ve gotta love scientists and their love of finding underlying genetic influences. Enzo Emanuele an Italian Clinical Pathologist has found a link to cellulite with variations in the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) and Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1A (HIF1a) genes (1). I’m blaming my cellulite on this one – he he 😉

Stress… causes an increase in epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine – all Catecholamines which have been linked to cellulite. These hormones are released as part of the fight-or-flight response when we are stressed.

Age… Cellulite can get worse as we get older – especially if carrying excess weight and you lose muscle tone due to not exercising. Connective tissue gets weaker as we age so you have to put in a little work to rectify.

Now you know what the causes are, I suppose you’d like a few fixes?

Ok, but a little forewarning…

…If you’re not prepared to make changes – including diet, sleep, movement, lifestyle etc. — or want some magic cream — then stop reading here.

If you’re prepared to make some changes, read on!

How to Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite…


Eat a predominantly plant-based, well-balanced diet… to reduce inflammation in the body.  A diet including animal products, packaged and processed foods cause dysbiosis and inflammation which causes weight gain which leads to cellulite. Poor diet also creates hormonal imbalances. I have lots of tips on my blog on how to include more plants in your diet.

Stay hydrated… by drinking plenty of water and eat more foods with a high-water content. This not only helps with the weight aspect but also keeps connective tissue firm and supple. Water rich foods are watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, oranges, grapefruit, red cabbage, spinach, strawberries, blueberries – just to name a few – are all about 80-90% water.

Throw away the SPANKS… For 2 reasons. (1) Always sucking your Gut in is not facing the problem of why you need to wear them in the first place. (2) Those form-fitting undergarments limit blood flow which is not helping your cellulite one little bit (see cause: Poor Circulation)

Exercise… alone won’t cure cellulite, but if coupled with a healthy diet, it can prevent or reduce its appearance and increase circulation.  Weight bearing exercises that build muscle e.g. light weights and resistance training can strengthen, firm and tighten the skin. Resistance training with rubber bands work well – there are great instructional videos on a YouTube. And, Walking and Yoga are excellent as they boost circulation, increase lymphatic flow and help to burn excess fat.

Reduce stress… You’re probably thinking – I’m busy with work, kids, life – “How do I reduce stress”. You don’t have to meditate to reduce stress you just need to take time to do the things you love! Think… what do you really love to do? Read a book? Watch a movie? Sleep? Garden? Bake? Walk?

Sleep well, sleep long… easier said than done especially when you’re busy with work and family but it is essential to reduces cortisol levels. You see, Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. It suppresses the digestive and reproductive systems which influences your weight and hormones. So, you need to switch off your mobile, turn off the TV, sign out of Facebook and finally… this article.

Moisturize with Oils not lotions… Most lotions are water-based and while they may make your skin feel good for a while, they ultimately dry out the skin.  Instead use a body oil – I recommend Voi Organic Oils – and apply after your bath/shower while the skin is slightly damp and warm. I love the Relaxation blend as it helps to moisturize, reduce stress levels and helps me sleep. Just remember, our bodies require essential fatty acids to manufacture new cells and repair old ones.

Comment below and let me know what you believe to be behind YOUR Cellulite, that’s if you have it. Natalie xx

P.S. Check out my YouTube video about Cellulite.

  1. Emanuele, E; Bertona, M; Geroldi, D (2010). “A multilocus candidate approach identifies ACE and HIF1A as susceptibility genes for cellulite”. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment