Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Body Glossary: Cellulite

The ingedients you need to address this body issue.
By Liza Finlay

The dimpled skin seen on most—OK, almost all—women, whatever their weight, results when the bands of connective tissue binding fat cells to skin cells weaken and sway, squeezing fat cells and trapping toxins. So even when you lose weight, you won’t lose the pesky fat cells imprisoned in the rubble of fallen connective tissues. “We believe estrogen plays a key part in cellulite because only women get it, but we don’t yet know how or why,” says Oakville, Ontario-based dermatologist Dr. Sheetal Sapra. “Cellulite is caused by the deterioration of connective tissue, causing it to collapse on fat and cellular debris.”
The degree of cellulite you are cursed with depends largely on the genetics that dictate hormone levels. But take heart: Some doctors believe cellulite fulfills a higher, nobler biological purpose. According to Olay dermatologist Dr. Kucy Pon, “The body stores fat [in the form of cellulite] in certain areas in a woman’s body to ensure there are enough calories available for future pregnancy and lactation.” Small comfort.
The most effective combatants are those that free imprisoned fat cells and toxins, escorting them into the bloodstream and out of the body. “Ideally, you want a two-fold action: You want the fat cells trapped in the skin to be dislodged, and you want to promote circulation in the area so they are flushed out,” says Sapra.
Caffeine: A chemical found in coffee, caffeine is a stimulant that puts fat cells on an intense cardio program. “It’s as if the fat cell is put on a treadmill, where it is forced to burn energy until, ultimately, it’s burned up,” says Leanne McCliskie, education manager at the International Dermal Institute. But before you pour yourself another cuppa, consider that caffeine applied topically has a stimulating effect on a localized area (which you want), while the java you drink by the mugful prompts the entire circulatory system to use and store fat and can actually promote the creation of more toxins (which you don’t want).Where to get it: L’Oréal Sublime Slim Patch ($25, at drugstores), Yves Rocher Spa Energie Vegetale Massaging Body Refiner ($36,, Galénic Elancyl Shaping Smoothing Specific Flat Stomach ($40, at drugstores), Vichy Lipocure Anti-Dimpling Decongesting Serum ($48, at drugstores) and Yves Saint Laurent Profil Minceur Non-stop Release Contouring Gel ($78, at Holt Renfrew).
Algae (and seaweed): Thought to encourage the movement of fluids surrounding the cells, algae (or kelp, plankton and marine extracts) are touted for increasing lymphatic drainage. The Liquid-Plumr of the circulatory system, they are said to flush out fat cells and toxins stuck in the pipes. "Because our bodies are made up of so much water, algae are readily absorbed," says McCliskie. "That's why marine extracts are so effective at promoting detoxification." Where to get it:Dove Intensive Firming Cream ($13, at drugstores), Lubriderm Skin Nourishing Revitalizing Moisture ($9, at drugstores) and La Mer The Body Serum ($205, at Holt Renfrew).

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