Summer beach holidays are coming up, and if the sight of your corrugated thighs is enough to send you screaming for the nearest chocolate, get ready to be empowered with the full inside story on how to get rid of cellulite.
Cellulite is a funny thing. Some (even medical experts) say there's no such thing, while others (also medical experts) say it's actually an indicator that something is not entirely ticketyboo on Planet You.
Whatever your beliefs, we can all recognise it. After all, if you're a woman, chances are you have it - it affects over 90 percent of us (and only about 10% percent of men, grrrr, although the numbers are said to be increasing). Yet not all overweight women have cellulite and many thin, fit women do. Many of us find that when we gain weight, it piles on to the thighs, knees and bottom, yet when we lose weight, it disappears from our upper body... curiouser and curiouser.
Why do so many women and so few men get cellulite? Blame our female hormones. The fact that by the time we've passed through adolescence, most women will see some signs of cellulite is a tell-tale sign. While we all have them, the levels of oestrogen are much higher in women than in men. And then there's the fact that men have much thicker, stronger connective tissue and skin, and even the way our fat is laid down is different to men's fat distribution (!), so the fat is less likely to pop through.
If you're worried about whether you will get cellulite, take a look at your mother and grandmother, because it is true that cellulite runs in families, although it's only a small part of the puzzle. Sad to say, our cellulite will probably worsen during pregnancy, when we start taking 'the Pill', and with age (those hormones again at menopause). As the appearance of cellulite is associated with poor circulation, the decrease in oestrogen that happens as women age can also mean a decrease in collagen production and the breakdown of connective tissue.