For a long time, we've been led by the beauty industry to believe that cellulite is something shameful that we need to cure or hide.
We're saddened by how often we receive questions asking how you can reduce cellulite, but we're here to remind you that it's completely normal and natural, and something nearly every body will have at some point in their life.
Did you know that not that long ago cellulite simply didn’t exist? Of course, skin lumps and bumps were still present on most bums and thighs, only they were not considered a flaw and didn’t have any stigma attached. They just peacefully existed.
Going back even further in time, you’d find that those with a higher body fat percentage, and subsequently, lumpier skin, actually represented wealth and prosperity in society.
You see this reflected in works of art and paintings from the Victorian Era where high-class women were pictured nude, embracing their rolls, folds, and not-yet-existent cellulite, as a show of their richness and beauty.
Fast forward to today, we're constantly bombarded with cellulite treating products, mass media and marketing that makes us feel like we should be changing our natural bodies.
We promise we'll never give you a clickbait workout routine with the 'best moves to eliminate cellulite'.
Instead, it's time to normalise the bumps and lumps, and embrace the skin you're in once and for all. Let’s take a closer look at the cosmetic defect of the century.
So, what even is cellulite?
Cellulite is the appearance of lumps and dimples under the skin, often found on the thighs, bum and lower stomach. You may have heard it referred to as 'orange-peel skin' because of it's bumpy texture.
Cellulite is caused by an interaction between the connective tissue below the surface of the skin and the layer of fat tissue directly below it.
Men are less likely to have cellulite, as their connective tissue tends to have a criss-cross structure where the fat cells have nowhere to poke through and create dimples.
In women however, the fat layer and the connective tissue are arranged vertically, which increases the chances of the fat layer protruding and showing up as lumps and bumps. Certain factors can make cellulite more visible on some, such as:
Despite these, cellulite is ultimately a completely natural and harmless feature for most women, no matter your level of fitness, body composition, or quality of diet.
It’s also very hard – if not impossible – to get rid of. To a certain extent, lowering your body fat percentage can reduce its appearance, and so can some cosmetic procedures.
However for most people, 'getting rid' of cellulite completely is rare, which is why the beauty industry has jumped to selling us all kinds of creams and treatments.
When did cellulite become a problem?
The term 'cellulite' made its first appearance in a 1993 issue of Vogue Beaute, being referred to as a flaw that must be fixed in order to look desirable and pretty.
It’s also worth noting that the original medical definition of cellulite had nothing to do with dimples and bumps of fat. Rather, it was used to describe cells or tissues in a state of inflammation or infection (very much like the modern diagnosis of cellulitis).
Vogue Beaute clearly had different views - in the article, cellulite was described as a combination of “water, residues, toxins, fat, which form a mixture against which one is badly armed.”
It’s not entirely clear why this particular attribute of female physique was targeted, but the idea quickly spread to Western cultures, and the panic turned cellulite into one of the biggest ‘invented diseases’ in history.
American women got introduced to the concept in a 1968 with a Vogue article titled “Cellulite: The Fat You Could Not Lose Before”, and from there followed years of misinformation about the mythical causes and cures of cellulite.
People proposed false solutions from using rolling pins on the body, to extremely expensive salon treatments, many of those later banned by the FDA for false advertising.
These days, treatments and products targeting cellulite come with much more careful promises. After all, cellulite is near impossible to get rid of, primarily because there is no real problem to fix.
The bottom line
Many people have some degree of cellulite, actually around 90% of women. It’s a completely normal anatomical feature that mainly has to do with connective tissue and the layer of fat underneath, and not your degree of beauty whatsoever.
Certain factors, such as having a lower body fat percentage and improving your skin elasticity can reduce the appearance of cellulite, however, don’t expect any miracles, and most of all, don’t stress about it.
So what if you have a bit of cellulite? Instead of looking at it as a 'flaw', reframe your mindset to accept your body the way it is, and put your focus towards expanding your self-love, and leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle that you enjoy.