Many factors can negatively influence the structural changes in skin that lead to cellulite. They can include hormonal imbalance, genetics, female-specific skin structure, dieting, changes in metabolism, inflammation, circulatory problems, and even stress. Just finding out what is behind any particular case would take a scientific investigation all by itself.
In spite of the challenge of not knowing exactly how it gets started, certain ingredients in natural skin care products can be very helpful for reversing the dimpling effect. One of the best-known of such ingredients is caffeine. That's right. It is the same stimulant from tea or coffee that gets your morning started.
Insights into Cellulite
Skin is taut and smooth when it has a healthy network of connective tissue. Cottage cheese skin forms when this network becomes weak. Such weakening is what enables pockets of undering fat to protrude into the connective tissue itself. The irregular distribution of weaker connective tissue that gets infused with fat makes that dimpled appearance.
The amount of fat does not matter. Cellulite is not necessarily associated with excess fat. That's why even the fittest-looking and slimmest of the Hollywood celebrities are sooner to cellulite. Cellulite is seen more often in women than in men because women's skin is slightly different structurally and it is thinner in areas where cellulite typically appears.
The Role of Caffeine in Skin Health
One of the most important characteristics of caffeine in all natural skin care products is that it gets absorbed into the skin in the first place. Caffeine is lipophilic, which means that it is fat-soluble. Skin easily absorbs lipophilic ingredients very well because of its own fatty composition.
Caffeine is also an antioxidant. It acts to protect skin against damage by UV light or by normal aging. In addition, caffeine improvements microcirculation in the tiny blood vessels that skin depends on for bringing oxygen to the cells and for transporting toxins out of them.
Regarding cellulite, it is significant that caffeine has the ability to enhance the breakdown of fats. A 2013 scientific overview of the uses of caffeine in cosmetics discussed how caffeine works to reduce fat. It was published in the journal, Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, by scientists at the Academy of Cosmetics and Health Care in Warsaw, Poland.
We now know that caffeine inhibits a key enzyme called phosphodiesterase. This enzyme drives the synthesis of fat. Caffeine also activates another enzyme, called hormone-sensitive lipase, which leads to the breakdown of fat. This is an anti-fat double whammy – ie, the inhibition of fat synthesis along with the simultaneous activation of fat breakdown. These effects on fat metabolism explain why, in preliminary studies, we see that caffeine shrinks the size of fat cells.
Scientists have long known the influence of caffeine on the synthesis of a structural repair protein called fibrin. Fibrin is like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde molecule. On one hand, it plays a critical role in 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 quickly it is put together to fix cuts and abrasions.
On the other hand fibrin often becomes too much of a good thing. It can overdo repairs and build excess tissue that is not necessarily the right structure. Fibrin does not duplicate normal tissue. It just replaces it.
Caffeine can disrupt the formation of excess fibrin. This effect gives tissues more time to assemble the right connective tissues by forming healthy collagen. In doing so, this gives damaged skin a better chance of building the right structural tissue that can resist any intrusions by wayward fat. The net result is less cellulite.
We still have a quite a ways to go before fully understanding cellulite. Neverheless, it is very clear that caffeine is a chemical ingredient in natural skin care products that are really helpful useful against unsightly skin dimpling.