Fat cells under the skin are organized in a web of connective tissue, or collagen. The loosening of this mesh of connective tissue is the main cause of cellulite.
About 90% of women will experience cellulite some time in their life, and only 10% of men may have such a problem.
Hormones, particularly estrogen, maintain healthy blood flow to the body and also control the production of collagen and elastin. If there is any shortage of production of estrogen, the body loses collagen and elastin, and the skin becomes thin and loses its elasticity. This phenomenon occurs during menopause when the level of the estrogen hormone declines, and the skin becomes thin and pale and shows all other signs and symptoms of menopause.
Estrogen levels fluctuate during menstruation, too, and this is the main cause of cellulite—in fact, that is exactly why most women get cellulite. During menstruation, when the level of estrogen drops, there is a break down of collagen fibers (connective tissue, or fascia). Each cycle creates further break down, and the end result is a loosening of the web of collagen. The loose collagen cannot hold fat cells, and the fat tissue starts to protrude in between damaged collagen fiber. This leads to the typical dimpled, lumpy appearance of cellulite.
On the other hand, when the collagen mesh that holds fat cells cannot keep them tight, the fat cells get more room to grow, and even larger fat cells make cellulite worse. Cellulite happens mostly in the areas of the body where the web of collagen keeps the fat cells tight, like the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen.
Since the main cause of cellulite is fluctuating estrogen levels, it is extremely hard to treat. Exercise, a healthy diet, cool sculpting (freezing the fat cells), liposuction, Endermologie, massage, suction, and every other treatment are merely temporary relief, and none is a permanent solution. All of these techniques reduce the number of or shrink the fat cells, and hardly any of them maintain estrogen levels and collagen production.
A healthy diet and regular workouts keep the amount of fat low in the body, and, thus, when there is the loosening of collagen fiber and room for fat cells to grow, they won’t grow, as there is not much fat in the body. A low-stress, healthy lifestyle and a regular, healthy sex life limit high fluctuation of the estrogen hormone and prevent collagen and elastin destruction.