Cellulite is a French word for the distressing (to some) cosmetic skin defect in which the skin takes on the appearance of orange peel, or lumps.


It shouldn’t be confused with ‘Cellulitis’ – an unpleasant diffuse, inflammatory and often infectious process involving connective tissue cells that generally shows up as angry pink patches of skin.


With cellulite, the primary areas affected are the thighs, buttocks, sometimes the stomach, and more infrequently, the neck. There is no change in skin colour, just appearance. Cellulite comes about when the three layers of subcutaneous (fat beneath the skin surface) fatty tissue that lies beneath the dermis (the surface skin) become disturbed. The reason this affects more women than men is to do with the fundamental difference in the structure of the subcutaneous fat in men vs women.


The first layer of subcutaneous fat in men is slightly thinner than in women. The male fat cells have walls of criss-crossing connective tissue. By contrast, female the subcutaneous fat layer on a woman’s thighs or buttocks is made up of large upright fat cells separated by curved connective tissue walls.


When female fat cells protrude up to the dermis (visible layer of skin) the fatty lumps are projected onto the skin’s surface, giving it that ‘orange peel’ appearance.


The difference is especially clear if you pinch the skin and compare the difference between men and women. On women there is more likely to be bulges and pits – like the surface of a mattress. But on most men the skin will only furrow or fold.


As women get older their connective tissue becomes thinner, which contributes to the development of cellulite. In the rare instances when this mattress phenomenon is seen in men, it usually suggests a hormonal (androgen) deficiency. Recent DNA based animal research has discovered that females store fat more efficiently than males. By this I mean they lay down more fat than men whilst eating the same diet.


The fat cells of women also behave differently to those of men.  In women, the tissues on the thighs have more of a certain kind of receptor that actually causes the fat cells to make even more fat. These receptors (alpha-adrenergenic receptors) outnumber the fat-burning thermogenic beta-adrenergenic receptors by a huge nine to one ratio. It’s no surprise that women get cellulite on their thighs despite being significantly more efficient at burning calories whilst exercising than men are.


These anatomical differences shouldn’t prevent women from recovering from cellulite.

Gradual weight reduction if overweight, lymphatic massage on the affected areas, skin brushing, caster oil packs and exercise taken as part of a lifestyle choice should begin the slow but effective road to a better visual appearance on thighs etc.  Whilst this is not a quick fix like surgical removal, it is safe and works over time.


Diet plays a large part in anyone’s health, so does taking a look at hidden toxins in your life. Toxins are everywhere in modern society and avoiding them is very difficult. Raising ones awareness of where toxins may be coming from is a bit like being a health detective. For instance phthalates, SLSs, parabens and so forth are all present in cheap shampoos and other grooming products.  The time it takes for these to enter the blood stream and into the circulation has been measured at 26 seconds. It is almost better to eat a food with toxins present (like salmon) than it is to have the product on skin. The digestive process and liver will help to flush these toxins from the body. Whereas with cleaning products the toxins have a direct pathway to the blood and everywhere in the body and the liver can flush only flush out the worst and eliminate them through the colon. When toxins enter the blood supply the reaction is to displace the toxins into fatty tissue. Much fatty tissue therefore becomes a toxic waste dumping ground.


Clear up your diet and eat fresh vegetables and fruit in a ratio of 5:2, much more vegetables than fruit. Buy organic where possible. Organic is definitely best because it doesn’t have the toxic chemical overload on the skin of the plants (and slightly deeper) to keep the fruits/vegetables ‘healthy looking’ and large.


Clear up your home and bathroom and chuck out the toxic cleaners, shampoos, conditioners, and so on, and opt for ‘Free From’ products like ‘Green People’, a brand now entering the high street and supermarkets by demand. It is more expensive but it’s well worth it.


Exercise in the form of dance, pilates or yoga if you are overweight and until you have lost weight. Jogging whilst over weight can lead to over straining the heart and is not recommended.  Dance predominantly moves hips, thighs and butts – the big problem areas, as well as developing balance, poise and self awareness.


Beside diet and exercise, massage can be done regularly using a string glove or loofa using your own aromatherapy oils. Although there are a raft of cosmetic formulas on the market making big claims, when put to the test under long term scientific scrutiny most have been found to be no more effective than a home made oil rubbed into the skin. Try combining the following.:

Avocado or almond oil           47ml

Fennel oil                                1 ml

Juniper oil                                1 ml

Cypress essence                      0.5ml

Lemon essence                        0.5ml

Gently massage the affected areas every day, twice daily if possible using five drops of oil over small areas and ten drops over larger areas.

Homoeopathy and herbal remedies are also highly effective. Homoeopathic remedies need to be in the lower potencies to have maximum impact. There’s also scientific proof of its effectiveness, established by an extended homopeopathic proving involving a group of male and female medical practitioners. (Allg Homoopath 21g, 1960; 24:127)


One of the better known herbs for skin conditions is horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

For more information and a consultation on the long term management of your skin, diet and lifestyle for better health, longevity and energy, contact Cynthia Sillars on 07599520406 or email Cynthia@healingtouchtherapy.co.uk




Please be aware that the above has not been tested/approved by the Amercian Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).