Ordinary body: Why fight with cellulite is pointless

Before the modern society is a lot of serious issues, such as the struggle to increase life expectancy, the establishment of world democracy or the colonization of Titan. Surprisingly, this very society is still experiencing irrational horror at the dimples in the hips.

Cellulite is considered a disease, perceived as ugliness, used as an insult, serves as a cause for concern and despondency of millions of women. It is time to understand the nature of this phenomenon and understand how another natural part of physiology has turned into an occasion for collective neurosis.

Who invented cellulite

Young girls are afraid of him, women shamefully delete photos he has damaged, and retouchers all over the world sit in photoshop day and night, aligning the uneven skin on the hips of world-famous models. The Internet is overwhelmed with advice, and the market with cellulite destruction services.

There are endless amounts of anti-cellulite products. Creams and serums, scrubs and wraps, brushes and massagers, herbs and algae, electrostimulation devices, injections and surgeries — all this only exists to help us cope with what is groundlessly considered a sign of laziness, ill health and unattractiveness.

Surprisingly, but cellulite as a global problem has not been fifty years old. Thanks to artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Courbet, overflows of light on uneven female buttocks, hips and stomachs adorn the best museums in the world.

Hollywood divas also did not think that cellulite should be treated. Even the promotional photos of the legendary actresses Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield or the erotic model Betty Page never occurred to anyone to retouch.

In the 1920s, the French came up with the name for the type of female skin on the hips, buttocks and shoulders — «orange peel». But even then no one spoke about the fact that bumps on the female body are bad, that this is not the norm, but an unpleasant exception.

However, for half a century, the idea of ​​cellulite crossed the Atlantic: in 1973, the enterprising owner of the New York beauty salon Nicole Ronsard published the book «Cellulite: these lumps, bumps and bumps that you could not get rid of before.» The work was immediately reviewed by Vogue magazine, acquired by two hundred thousand women, and then it was repeatedly reprinted as a bestseller.

The book stated that cellulite is the «wrong» fat, and the tuberous buttock is a sign of impaired blood and lymph flow and the cause of the accumulation of toxic substances that the body cannot cope with. At that time, Ronsar had to work hard to find a cellulite-free model for advertising the book: only the thirtieth girl who came to the casting did not have it.

But in the end, the author hit the jackpot, starting to sell «anti-cellulite» cosmetic services: from ointments to massages. Immediately took off sales of cactus washcloths, hard loofah, magic creams, vitamin supplements.

After a while, in order to reach an even wider circle of consumers, four stages of the development of cellulite were invented.

The last of them was similar in description to fibrosis, and the first was called ingeniously — «hidden cellulite» — and as if hinted at the fact that if you do not have cellulite, you should still be afraid, because it just hides. To detect it, it is recommended to squeeze suspicious zones, find fat cells under the skin — and immediately run to the procedure.

In subsequent years, the cosmetic market adopted the idea of ​​cellulite, having justifiably seen a gold mine in the female fat layer. Courses of «treatment» poured out hundreds of dollars for clients.

The American Medical Association in 1978 announced that such a diagnosis as cellulite does not exist, and, of course, it has never been in the International Classification of Diseases. However, frightened consumers began to believe that the cream can penetrate the skin and dissolve fat cells, that polyethylene wraps will help to «evaporate» them, and that there are anti-cellulite exercises for «problem areas».

There was even an idea that cellulite is not fat, but a gel-like substance of water, fat and toxins that can be consumed by diet.

Not so long ago, a horror story was born that cellulite is a sign of endocrine diseases, problems with the thyroid or pancreas.

Of course, from the point of view of physiology, all these are absurd assumptions. In just a couple of decades, the idea that they «suffer» from cellulite was also driven into our heads, but they also forced us to buy various placebo and give more and more money to cosmetic companies.

It is time to leave this realm of ignorance and understand two things: the first — that cellulite is far from always possible and necessary to get rid of, the second — that this is not a problem.

Is there a difference between cellulite and “regular” fat

Cellulite is not a medical term. From the point of view of medicine, this is just the body fat, that is, the norm: for doctors and biologists it simply does not exist.

To understand the features of body fat, scientists collected men and women with and without cellulite, took samples of subcutaneous tissue from each of them from the «problem» and not affected by the visible layer of layers. Then a series of tests was carried out to find out if the samples of the material from the cellulite zones differ in the biochemical composition or condition of the tissues.

In the course of repeated tests, it turned out that there is no difference between cellulite and ordinary adipose tissue, and its presence is not associated with either health or life expectancy.

Despite this, cosmetologists continue to call cellulite lipodystrophy, deftly replacing concepts.

The characteristic appearance of body fat, however, has its own reasons. In the subcutaneous layer are fat cells, adipocytes. The fibers that connect the skin to deep tissues form cells containing accumulations of fat. When fat cells increase in size, these «compartments» form bulges on the surface of the skin.

In women adipocytes are larger than in men and have the ability to accumulate more fat. In women, as a rule, by nature, more sensitive, thin and supple skin — under it, fat is especially noticeable. However, due to age-related degeneration of the skin or a sedentary lifestyle, cellulite can become even more visible.

In the body of an average woman without overweight, the percentage of fat is, in principle, higher than in the male body. This difference appears along with puberty and persists throughout life, as a result of biochemical sexual differences. The accumulation of fat in the body during adolescence ensures the normal course of a hypothetical pregnancy in the future.

The reason for this difference is in the female sex hormones estrogens: it is thanks to them that the distribution of fat in the body occurs «according to the female type» (it is more on the buttocks and hips), and its accumulation is several times more effective.

Moreover, adipose tissue is largely responsible for the production of hormones, including the same estrogen, which is why those who lose too much fat from starvation or exercise may lose their periods.

Lumpy hips are not a sign of obesity, but a mature female. According to various sources, from 85 to 98 percent of women have visible accumulations of fat in the buttock-femoral region, and this does not depend on their height and weight, but is due to female hormones. This means that cellulite is not observed in approximately every fortieth woman.

About shame and prejudice

The market of cosmetic services still persistently offers us «treatment» and «getting rid» of cellulite, convincing us that if this is not a disease, then it is certainly an aesthetic problem. However, often procedures that are not considered anti-cellulite are considered. Liposuction, a popular method of surgical removal of fat, is not only not aimed at the «treatment» of cellulite, but can exacerbate the uneven distribution of fat under the skin.

Mesotherapy, considered a simple and quick alternative, is actually an aggressive and often dangerous procedure. The main active ingredient of lipolytic drugs, phosphatidylcholine, is banned in several European countries, because procedures based on it often cause serious complications.

Beauticians say that 10-15 sessions of wrapping will bring visible results, and many women naively wrapp in polyethylene at home. In fact, the maximum that can be lost from wraps is liquid.

The effect of massages, as well as ointments, scrubs and creams, is not directed to fat, but to the skin: these measures improve blood flow and tone, make the skin more elastic. This can make cellulite less noticeable, but does not affect the state of fat cells. A balanced diet, moderate physical activity, good sleep, smoking cessation and other good habits can also help — universal recommendations in any situation.

An advertising campaign of anti-cellulite products so purposefully attacks the consumer’s brain that cellulite has become stigma and has become considered a sign of laziness, licentiousness and a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, many active women, including professional athletes, have the necessary — and visible — fat layer. It’s a little sad that we have to look at each other’s hips in order to feel confident.

I hope that sports observers will someday get rid of the sexist custom of endlessly shooting ass of athletes at competitions and focus on the score.

But, cynically, these photographs make it possible to understand that miniature Lucimara da Silva and powerful Serena Williams have cellulite — and this does not prevent them from being strong, agile and beautiful.

During sports, muscle mass is increased and fat is burned, but with a healthy approach, this happens while maintaining the hormonal, and hence the fat balance in the woman’s body. Physical activity makes cellulite less noticeable due to improved blood circulation in the skin, but even professional bodybuilders have problems with self-esteem due to such a natural thing as an uneven thigh surface.

Despite the fact that 80-98 percent of women have cellulite, we not only have learned to be ashamed of it — but we often consider it the norm to poison those who come under the arm with «unsuccessful photography». This is extremely beneficial for cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies that earn on our complexes. Every time we buy anti-cellulite products and services, we not only fill their pockets, but also invest in our own insecurity.

The importance of a healthy body attitude

The only way to change the look at cellulite is to contrast the advertising retouch with a real picture. So says Canadian blogger Kenzie Brenna, who coped with her dysmorphophobia and eating disorder, began to lead a healthy lifestyle and launched the #CelluliteSaturday campaign on the Web.

Within its framework, Kenzie urges every Saturday to upload photos that show cellulite. This hashtag should help girls create a realistic visual environment and unite in the fight against inappropriate shame.

Body-positive agenda is taking more and more celebrities. Kim Kardashian openly spoke about cellulite to the British Cosmopolitan:

«I have cellulite — and what’s wrong with that? It is foolish to assume that a person should be perfect simply because the attention of the press is directed to him.»

According to Kim, ice cream with cookies and cream is well worth the cellulite dimples.

Rappers Iggy Azalea also believes that they should not be shy:

«It is important that people see that celebrities, including me, have cellulite and that we know about it. I have no problems with this, I’m still confident in myself, ” — she says in an interview with WHO magazine.

Behind a biased attitude to the natural properties of our body, whether it is fat, menstruation, sweat, or tears, shame and fear are usually hidden, and in the marketing strategies of many companies, unfortunately, it is still possible to speculate on these human feelings.

But almost every one of us has cellulite — and this is absolutely normal. It is important to develop a healthy attitude towards your body, learn to love it and appreciate the changes that happen to it.

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