As 95% of women have some degree of cellulite, it could be argued that it is simply normal. However, it is now being accepted as a real medical condition rather than just a superficial beauty condition. X-rays and thermal imaging, used in the diagnosis of circulation disorders, are now being used to study cellulite.
As Elizabeth Dancey, whose book is revolutionizing how we treat cellulite explains, “There are medical factors that contribute to the development of cellulite: damage to micro-circulation, venous or lymphatic drainage due to waste and toxin build-up. There is always some overlap, which increases as the condition progresses”.
CELLULITE STAGE 1
Visible signs: The pre-cellulite stage when skin will show no real visible signs, although bruises and cuts may be slow to heal. When pinched gently between the forefinger and thumb, the skin shows a slight ‘orange-peel’ effect’.
Inside the body: A general slowing in the flow of blood through the microcirculation and the venous/lymphatic drainage. Blood flow in the smaller veins and capillaries comes almost to a standstill: lymph fluid begins to build up in the tissues and some protein may separate out from the fluid and set to form fibers.Tissues will be more susceptible to forming cellulite and to fluid retention.
CELLULITE STAGE 2
Visible signs: Close examination of the skin reveals broken veins and skin discoloration. Bruises may appear after the smallest of knocks. The skin feels thicker and slightly tender if pinched gently between the forefingers and thumb. You can also see definite ‘orange-peel effect.
Inside the body: The veins and capillaries are now weakened and break down under the pressure from the backing of blood. Blood and lymph fluid now seep off among the tissues. This increases the pressure and restricts the blood circulation and lymphatic drainage still further.
CELLULITE STAGE 3
Visible signs: Without pinching, the skin appears tethered and puckered- this is known as ‘mattress skin’. It is obviously swollen, defining the appearance of the sweat glands and hair follicles. Fluid retention is now a permanent feature, giving the skin the classical orange peel effect. Bruising occurs spontaneously. The skin feels cold to the touch. Broken veins may be present, and if so, these will be large and often clearly visible below the cellulite areas.
Inside the body: The lymph vessels are damaged and squashed by the increasing pressure, which brings lymph fluid to a virtual standstill. This causes protein to separate out of the fluid and congeal into fibres. The fibres form a meshwork around the fat cells, trapping fluid and creating the courser tethering effect. Fluid retention is now a permanent feature. Blood bypasses the congested area rather than flow through it.
CELLULITE STAGE 4
Visible signs: The skin is becoming deprived of oxygen and nutrients, it now bruises easily, is swollen and is becoming tender to the touch because of the fluid causing pressure in the tissues. The skin now feels cold to the touch.
Inside the body: the lymph system is at a virtual stand still, if nothing is done the problem will sure to increase, because the blood and lymph is beginning to by-pass the areas. Therefore diet and exercise have very little effect on the condition.
CELLULITE STAGE 5
Visible signs: all of the previous stages are visible, but now with the build up of pressure the blood is forced through the area to respond to metabolic toxins. These cause hot islands amongst the otherwise cold tissue, making the skin appear blotchy, with red-hot islands.
Inside the body: The blood has been redirected around the effected tissue.
CELLULITE STAGE 6
Visible signs: the body’s silhouette begins to disfigure, forming bulky solid masses of lumps and bumps. All of the previous stages are present, but the condition can continue to build, due to the body’s natural fat storing receptors. The fibres become thicker and more numerous, forming huge honeycombs of fat, fluid and fibre know as steatomes.
Inside the body: the presence of steatomes and the distorted silhouette show the cellulite to be well established. Fat cannot be naturally eliminated from the cells because of the poor blood circulation. However, fat continues to be stored in the cells because of the preponderance of fat-storing receptors on the surface of the cells.
So the fat increases while the fibres get thicker and more numerous.The areas where the blood now flows are forced to respond to metabolic toxins nearby, by opening up and allowing large amounts of blood to pass though the affected area, forming ‘hot islands’ among the otherwise cold tissue.