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Cellulite affects almost every woman as she gets older. The unsightly skin dimpling and bumps are typically seen on the thighs, hips, and buttocks and unfortunately is a condition that women have endured for a thousand years or more. The cures for cellulite are widely available but not all work. There are billions of dollars spent on specialized creams, diets, and massage therapies and most have not conqured the cellulite problem. The reason why these methods have failed is because they have approached cellulite as purely a cosmetic problem and neglected to address its underlying causes. Fortunately, for todays woman, new scientific discoveries have uncovered the factors that cause cellulite. There are now powerful topical agents that target cellulite by correcting the underlying abnormalities involved in its formation. These active botanicals have been shown to help restore smooth and youthful body contours to the hips and thighs.

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Ideally, an herbal cream to combat cellulite should target the three main causes of cellulite that have been identified. These are excess fat deposition, weakened connective tissue support structure, and poor circulation. There are seven compounds that may be especially promising as a multi-modal approach to correct the underlying causes of cellulite. The first is Glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound derived from licorice root that targets fat storage in response to stress. Next horse chestnut and gotu kola improve circulation, while also supporting connective tissue integrity. All three compounds have additional benefits that may improve the appearance of cellulite prone skin, including antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity. While the combination of glycyrrhetinic acid, horse chestnut, and gotu kola has demonstrated favorable anti cellulite effects, scientists have discovered four additional nutrients that have demonstrated profound fat-reducing benefits a key missing link to resolving cellulite.

Fat storage and breakdown are controlled by two sets of special receptors called alpha and beta receptors on the surface of each fat cell, or adipocyte. Regulated by the hormone epinephrine, beta-adrenergic receptors promote fat breakdown (lipolysis), where  alpha-adrenergic receptors prevent fat breakdown and promote fat storage. In the case of cellulite fat, the alpha receptors outnumber the beta receptors. Women also tend to have more fat-storage alpha receptors than fat-breakdown beta receptors in the hips and thighs  so that storage exceeds breakdown in these areas. This  helps cause swelling of the stored fat within cells. Stimulation of these receptors also leads to changes in a crucial fat-breakdown enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase. This enzyme is located directly in the fat cell and is activated when beta receptors are stimulated, breaking down triglycerides in fat to release free fatty acids and glycerol into the bloodstream. Conversely, alpha-receptor stimulation inhibits this enzyme and promotes fat storage. Aerobic exercise improves the ability to mobilize and break apart triglycerides for energy use, whereas obesity makes the fat-breakdown enzyme hormone  sensitive lipase less sensitive to epinephrine.

Cellulite, which affects the majority of adult women  is now regarded as an unpleasant vestige of unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle. Scientists have discovered that cellulite arises from a number of age-related physiological changes. Gender differences in hormonally influenced fat deposition as well as effects of the stress hormone cortisol, connective tissue differences in skin between men and women, and poor circulation and lymphatic drainage all compromise skin integrity. As a result, the the layer of skin beneath the outermost layer (dermis)  weakens in cellulite prone areas, paving the way for swollen fat cells to protrude to the surface. Many currently available products marketed for cellulite treat this disorder as a purely cosmetic problem. However, products designed to treat cellulite need to also address the physiological basis of the condition.

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Cellulite is almost exclusively a condition that affects women, occurring in 85% to 98% of women after puberty, mostly over the thighs, buttocks, and hips.

The causes of cellulite include the stress hormone cortisol, gender differences in fat storage, and metabolism in the top layer of fat and the structure of connective tissue in these areas, as well as fluid leakage from small capillaries in these areas.

To be effective, a topical cream for cellulite would have to address all of these causes and its use would have to be continued to maintain benefit.

Several compounds that may be especially promising as a  modal approach to correct the underlying causes of cellulite.

The compounds for topical therapy of cellulite include:

1) Glycyrrhetinic acid derived from licorice root, which fights stress-induced fat deposition related to cortisol secretion

2) Horse chestnut, which improves circulation and reduces capillary leakage

3) Gotu kola, which stimulates collagen synthesis. These herbal extracts also contain compounds with potent antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory activity, which may promote skin health, clarity, tone, and overall youthful appearance.

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A quick way to tell if you have cellulite is the pinch test: Use your index finger and your thumb and pinch the skin on your outer thigh, buttocks, or abdomen, and look for dimpling. This is the Nurnberger-MulIe scale. This scale classifies cellulite into four stages

Starting Stage is Stage 0 where no noticeable dimpling while standing or lying, and the pinch test shows folds and furrows, but no mattress-like appearance.

The next stage is known s Stage 1 and there is no dimpling while standing or lying down, but the pinch test shows mattress-like appearance.

Stage 2 shows spontaneous dimpling when standing, but not when lying down.

Stage 3 shows spontaneous dimpling when standing and when lying down.

If you show that you have cellulite, regardless of the stage, do not despair because there is help now!

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