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Cellulite, the bane of women's lives everywhere. It's been estimated that more than 90% of women will have cellulite at some point during their lives. It happens after puberty, and the thighs, buttocks and abdomen are the areas most affected. Cellulite refers to the fatty deposits under the skin that cause it to dimple. Cellulite affects women of all shapes and sizes, and rarely men, though some do experience the condition. It is not a serious medical matter, though the presence of cellulite may affect how a woman feels about herself.
Consequently, supermarket shelves are packed with lotions, potions, creams, and cures, all claiming magnificent cellulite reduction results. However, these are not backed up by serious, independent, peer-reviewed scientific research. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, and improving diet can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, but currently there is no such thing as a miracle cure for cellulite.
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Common causes of cellulite include;
- Poor diet
- Bad circulation
- Fluid retention
- Sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise
- Crash diets
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Cellulite and Genetics
Genetics is now widely considered to play a role in the development of cellulite. If you're a woman and your mother has cellulite then you are also likely to experience the condition. However, the exact gene or genes have not yet been identified. It is likely that several genes will be involved.
It is thought that cellulite forms from an accumulation of swollen fats cells which push against the connective fibres that surround them. The result of this is that the connective fibres pull and bend the skin inward, resulting in the characteristic dimpled appearance.
The presence of cellulite depends on a number of factors such as the age of the individual, elasticity of the skin, the amount of fat in the body, and circulating hormones. All these biological factors are under the direction of genes, and gene variants may well account for the varying degrees of cellulite severity amongst individuals.
If genes are identified that increase the risk of cellulite forming then new cellulite reduction treatments could be designed to neutralise their effects. Or perhaps the faulty genes could be replaced by gene therapy?
Comparative studies may also shed some light as to why some women develop cellulite and others don't. For example, cellulite is far more common in Caucasian women than Asian women. What is it about the genes of some Asian women that make them immune to the lumps, bumps and dimples?
Genes may well provide the basis for a miracle cellulite cure, but it won't be ready for years to come. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that cellulite is a fact of life, and whilst some cellulite treatments may improve appearance, they won't make the markings disappear completely. So the challenge is there to find a solution, and as the condition primarily affects women maybe the X-chromosome is good place to look around for clues?