Got cellulite? Odds are that you do. At least 85% of post-adolescent women have the scourge of this skin dimpling on their thighs, hips, or tummies. It is not so lovingly referred to as orange peel or cottage cheese skin. Fortunately, researchers have discovered what causes it, and the good news is that it is not from having too much fat. It is from the relationship between fat in your skin and how well the connective tissue keeps it in check.
Any of several factors can lead to the structural changes in skin that form cellulite. They include hormonal imbalance, genetics, female-specific skin structure, changes in metabolism, dieting, circulatory problems, inflammation, and even a high-stress lifestyle. Just finding out what is behind your particular cellulite would be an extensive scientific investigation all by itself.
In spite of that challenge, and regardless of the underlying causes of cellulite, certain ingredients in natural skin care products can be very helpful for reducing the dimpling effect. One of the best such ingredients is caffeine. That’s right, the same stimulant from coffee or tea that gets you going in the morning also improves skin health.
Skin is normally smooth and taut due to a healthy network of connective tissue. Dimpling appears when this network weakens. This weakening is what allows pockets of underlying fat to extend into the connective tissue itself. The uneven distribution of weakened connective tissue infused with fat results in a dimpled appearance.
The amount of fat under the skin doesn’t matter. This means that cellulite is not necessarily associated with excess fat. That’s why even the slimmest and fittest-looking Hollywood celebrities are prone to cellulite. One of the reasons that cellulite is seen more often in women than in men is that women’s skin is slightly different structurally and it is thinner in areas where cellulite commonly appears.
The Role of Caffeine in Skin Health
One of the most important properties of caffeine in all natural skin care products is that it gets into the skin in the first place. Caffeine is lipophilic, which means that it dissolves in fat. Skin typically absorbs lipophilic ingredients very well because of its fatty composition.
Caffeine is also an antioxidant. As such, it acts to protect skin against damage by UV light and normal aging. Caffeine also enhances microcirculation in the tiny blood vessels that healthy skin depends on for bringing oxygen to the cells and for shuttling toxins out of them.
In regard to cellulite, it is equally important that caffeine has the ability to stimulate the breakdown of fats. A recent scientific review of the roles of caffeine in cosmetics explained how caffeine works to reduce fat. It was published in 2013 in the international journal, Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, by researchers at the Academy of Cosmetics and Health Care in Warsaw, Poland.
It turns out that caffeine inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, which is an enzyme that drives the synthesis of fat. Caffeine also activates another enzyme, called hormone-sensitive lipase, which leads to the breakdown of fat. This anti-fat double whammy from caffeine comes from the inhibition of fat synthesis along with the simultaneous activation of fat breakdown. As a consequence of its effects on fat, in preliminary studies caffeine has been shown to shrink the size of fat cells.
For many years scientists have known the effects of caffeine on the buildup of a structural repair protein called fibrin. Fibrin is like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde molecule. It plays a critical role as glue for holding tissues together when they have been damaged. It is the primary protein in scar tissue, for example. The reason that scar tissue looks different than normal tissue is due to how it is quickly put together to connect cuts and abrasions.
While this role is crucial, the main problem is that fibrin becomes too much of a good thing. In other words, it can overdo repairs and build excess tissue that is not necessarily the right structure. Fibrin doesn’t duplicate normal tissue. It just replaces it.
Caffeine has the effect of disrupting the formation of excess fibrin. This effect gives tissues more time to put together the right connective tissues in the form of collagen. Damaged skin then has a better chance of building the right network of connective tissue that can properly resist the intrusions of wayward fat into it. The net result is a reduction in cellulite.
We still have a long way to go in our understanding of cellulite. Nevertheless, it is clear right now that caffeine is a very important ingredient in natural skin care products that are truly useful against such unsightly skin dimpling. In fact, it is one of the key ingredients in the Cellulite Serum by Jadience Herbal Formulas from NaturalSkinRX.