The "cottage cheese" appearance seen on the thighs and buttocks of many women is cellulite. Some 90 percent of women have cellulite. Even the thin and physically fit are prone to dimpled thighs. The true cause of cellulite is not completely understood. However, it appears that in individuals with cellulite, there is irregular connective tissue under the skin. To understand what cellulite is, you need to understand a bit about musculature and fatty tissue.
If you look at a cross section of a woman's thigh, you'll see tight fiber bands connecting muscle through the fat to the skin. Where the bands aren't attached, the fat bulges up. When enough fat is deposited under the skin, it will tend to bulge through the connective tissue much like a balloon bulges when you squeeze it. In essence, the irregular connective tissue squeezes the fat and causes it to bulge. This may explain why cellulite has an irregular "cottage cheese" or "orange peel" appearance. Men generally don't have the problem because their fibers criss-cross and the fat can't bulge up as easily.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of cellulite are genetics, hormones (specifically estrogen), stress and diet.While many remedies have been proposed to reduce cellulite (creams, herbs, massage, etc.), many have little effect on this condition. Creams have not been shown to be very effective at all, but some forms of massage may be beneficial. The use of deep tissue massage or a self-myofascial release (SMFR) technique has worked for a number of women. Using a foam roll is the easiest way to accomplish this.
While there's not much you can do to control genetics or the way your body responds to hormones, you can help to smooth out the lumps and bumps by:
- Reducing stress levels
- Eating a well balanced high fiber diet
- Staying hydrated
- Quit smoking
- Workout following an integrated training program complete with SMFR