Beauty Redefined Blog

Cellulite, Rimples and Dimples: A Beautiful Reality Check

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It’s everywhere in real life and absolutely nowhere in TV, movies or magazines. It’s unrelated to health, yet constantly depicted as a sure sign of lazy slobbiness. Large or small, the vast majority of women have it, but it gets depicted as shocking headline news in media non-stop. A multi-million dollar industry has claimed for decades to have the keys to cure it, but it’s just as prevalent today as it ever has been. What is this mysterious ailment?

CELLULITE!

Edited to protect the guilty. Right here in Salt Lake City.

Call me crazy, but I love it when I catch a glimpse of a few thigh dimples when a beautiful actress or model crosses her legs on a TV talk show or gets photographed on a beach. It’s refreshing to see a few unretouched rimples or skin puckers in all their human, realistic glory! Seeing your own seemingly inhuman, humiliating “flaws” reflected back to you in mainstream media is a surprisingly comforting experience. But that should NOT be the case! How has something found on at least 80% of women’s bodies (and some mens’) come to be SO vilified? How has one of the most natural, commonly found characteristics of even fit and healthy women’s bums, thighs and stomachs been turned into a secret shame? Just follow the money trail.

The trail leads directly to “body contouring,” “laser lipo,” “firming creams,” “skin tightening solutions,” fitness magazine headline claims, shapewear of every kind, and so many more. Countless companies and industries claim to hold the keys to “fixing” the “flaws” of dimply bums and cottage cheese thighs and they pay HUGE money for media advertising, so it’s incredibly risky and unprofitable for any media outlet to showcase a woman who isn’t looking perfectly ideal – especially in a positive light, like as a protagonist, love interest, or successful in any arena. Honestly, can you think of any mass media examples showing otherwise? We can’t.

Breaking news! Un-Photoshopped bodies look different than Photoshopped ones!

When we are lucky enough to see unretouched photos of celebrities (which, unfortunately, are tasteless, invasive tabloid images), we see all the so-called unsightly aspects of having a female body. Some of those characteristics are natural and lifelong, and some are achieved with age and experience: stretchmarks, breasts of all shapes and sizes at all levels of perkiness and sagginess, loose skin, body fat anywhere and everywhere, wrinkles, spots, hair, etc., etc., etc. Despite our ability to look eye to eye and see those realities among even the most beautiful and successful of women, way too many of us have been driven to body shame, anxiety and scam “solutions” in order to feel and look acceptable.

Never-ending and cohesive depictions of smooth, flawless female perfection in all mass media have pushed women to silence. Rather than uniting in our shared set of otherwise-invisible physical traits, too many women let themselves be kept silent, lonely, and financially/emotionally drained by the embarrassment of feeling sub-par and abnormally unattractive.

It’s time for a rimply, dimply reality check!

The vast majority of us have got it! It’s a naturally occurring, built-in fact of the way women’s fat cells attach to skin’s connective tissue* – no matter how little fat or how much fat she may have. Women’s fat cells attach in a cube-like pattern, creating protrusions at the top that create a rough surface. Men’s fat cells attach in a criss-cross pattern that prevents any puckering. Men also have thicker epidermis and dermis tissue levels, leaving a smooth surface regardless of how much fat they have. The procedures and potions that claim to remove cellulite, and have the awful before-and-after pictures to “prove” it, have very temporary effects, if any. Many are simply BS. No large-scale study has ever proven the effectiveness of any cellulite-fixing anything. Slow weight loss (as opposed to fast weight loss that doesn’t give skin’s elasticity a chance to catch up) can make cellulite less pronounced, but does not remove it. Weight loss does not change the structure or shape of fat cell chambers. That means, regardless of how fit you are, cellulite is inevitable for most women. We’re going to have to work with what we’ve got.

So, if you’ve got the dreaded cellulite, you may have inherited it (really, there’s a huge genetic component to fat distribution), you may have earned it with age, you may have been born with it, and you may have done everything possible to remove or hide it. So now, lucky ladies, let’s OWN IT. That doesn’t mean we want you take pictures of your naked bums or thighs and post them on the Web. Really, we don’t. Let’s be more than collections of body parts to gaze at on the Internet. Even if they’re beautiful and real. Here’s what we can do: Be an example of your own beautiful reality by taking back beauty to its rightful place. Own your body – whether you’re rocking cellulite, stretchmarks, fat, no fat, wrinkles, whatever. Own it with your confidence – faked or otherwise. Treat it well. Exercise. Fuel it with healthy foods. Make improvements in your lifestyle if you need to, but remember that doing it for your health and happiness is the only lasting motivation.

Go about your days with confidence. Don’t avoid activities or opportunities because of not wanting to be looked at or judged. Swimming is so fun. I swear. Beaches are amazing – whether you look like Helen Mirren in a bikini or not. Zumba is super fun too. It ain’t pretty for most of us, but wow, it is worth it. Stop spending precious time and money on products, services and procedures that claim to remove or reduce cellulite. They don’t work. A new one will pop up tomorrow. It won’t work either. Liposuction even makes it worse, though it is regularly advertised as a fix for cellulite.

This doesn’t work. Promise.

Don’t hide in the back of every photo or volunteer to be the photographer just to avoid being seen. Get in there and work it for the camera! Don’t complain about how you can’t wear khakis because they show your bum dimples or how you’re too skinny for that form-fitting dress. Saying it aloud makes you internalize it further. Saying it aloud also reminds other people to fret about their own perceived imperfections. Act like you are more than just a body to be looked at.

Own what you’re working with! Do it for your daughters, your friends, your husband, your entire family, the people who see you out in the world and need an example of beauty and confidence to look up to. Your influence is more powerful than you recognize. Cellulite is literally headline news for some of the highest-selling magazines and highest-rated TV shows. “Celebrity Cellutlite,” “Dimples of the Stars,” “Worst Beach Body.” Rather than silently buying into the sensationalizing of a bodily fact that at least 80% of women (according to the Mayo Clinic) have, let’s normalize it!

You don’t need to put your parts on display, but maybe lose the sarong or the board shorts once in a while if you feel like it. Ditch the Spanx. They’re messing up your circulation and slowing down your potty breaks anyway. Talk about all those vilified body characteristics in a casual way with your daughters, your students, your friends, or your family. Talking about cellulite or stretchmarks or anything else invisible in media in a non-disgusted way is hugely powerful for people who have been taught to see it as an abnormal flaw. Self-disclosure with people you trust can be a really powerful way to break out of that shameful silence.

Truth be told, I once had a friend with a notoriously nice bum pull down her pants just to prove to another friend she was not alone in her bum-dimpliness! Now that is true friendship. If you’re feeling especially crappy about some aspect of your body and you feel like it’s holding you back in some way, be brave enough to tell a friend or family member about it. Realizing or being reminded that you’re not alone is helpful — and occasionally letting people know you need a confidence boost is not a bad idea. (Just don’t be the friend who challenges a body complaint by one-upping it: “You’ve got nothing on me! Do you see these bags under my eyes??”)

Even though cellulite is sure to remain headline news for media and beauty industries, let’s make sure it is no longer headline news in our own lives. Don’t let your own dimples (or wrinkles, gray hair, sagging skin, small breasts, stretchmarks, insufficient lashes, unslightly armpits, or whatever else they come up with) hold you back from living a full and active and awesome life. Don’t let profit-driven media convince you that those body characteristics are shameful, gross, or anything other than 100% normal, healthy, and part of a truly beautiful reality. Let’s redefine beauty for ourselves by making it more inclusive of reality — warts, wrinkles, dimples, and all!

Ladies with cellulite, UNITE!

*From Dr. Len Kravitz, PhD (no relation to Lenny, I’m assuming). Read this link for everything you ever wanted to know about cellulite from a non-profit-driven source. Notice how much the information varies between this doctor and any cosmetic surgery website: http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/cellulite.html

 

 

  1. Caitlin
    Caitlin12-07-2012

    Not only do anti-cellulite “treatments” not work, but sometimes they have caused serious damage or even death. It’s amazing to me that we have so demonized a harmless condition to the point that some women are willing to risk their lives in an attempt to be free from it.

  2. Jenna
    Jenna12-08-2012

    I LOVE this post. And I’m actually quite freaked out about it because it was stewing in my brain earlier this week as a future blog post — why being “curvy” is OK, being “skinny” is OK, but having cellulite is NEVER OK. I’m here to say I have had cellulite since I was a teenager. Now in my mid-20’s, I am finally starting to accept that it’s not going away and that’s fine!

  3. Tamra
    Tamra12-09-2012

    Now I am NOT saying that I disagree with anything in this article, but I have done my research, and the genetics factor doesn’t play as huge of a role as some people think.

    When it was first looked into it was easily confused with being passed through the genes mother to daughter, etc… But looking at the hard facts that 85-90% of women are susceptible to a little dimpling here and there (or more) because of how the dermis tissue is formed and attached.

    There may be no way to banish cellulite forever but there are certainly steps that can be taken to smooth out the skin and reduce the appearance. :)

  4. Saoili
    Saoili12-10-2012

    I have to say, cellulite is not something that I’ve been conditioned to worry about. I am far from as happy with my body as I try to be. But thankfully I genuinely don’t know, or care, if I have cellulite. And I don’t ever remember friends or acquaintances bringing it up.

  5. lila
    lila12-11-2012

    First I blame the government for letting these companies rip off innocent and stupid women. Secondly I blame the retarded, stupid women not using her brain buying products because of a photoshopped celeb or model in the advertisement. That model or trashy celeb with no talent such as Kardashians laugh all the way to the bank while the person who buy product go broke most of the time. Also I blame the Women’s magazines for insulting women and working for paedophiles and companies. People who work for womens magazines are con artists. I blame the companies selling products that does not work, have no effect as well as duping retard and stupid women in order to make money. Those innocent or stupid women should be made aware of such conns.

    • Keighty
      Keighty01-08-2013

      Lila, I don’t think it’s fair to label these women as “supid” or any of the other adjectives you chose when describing the motivation behind their choices. When you are flooded with information from every external source (which the media dominates), it is difficult to question when that information has become your normal. There is a reason these amazing ladies behind bR are getting the doctorates in this thing– it requires specific training, research, and experience to be able to critically question these things, and they’re doing a great job of passing that information on to the rest of the world through their work. To assume that people who have yet to hear the message that contradicts the self incriminating gospel that has been preached from every street corner, advertisement, and media outlet are “stupid” is causing further damage to a population that has been attacked from the beginning and is already making choices out of feelings of inadequacy. Let’s not resort to the level of marketing companies and those willing to sacrifice the feelings of self-worth of others to make a few bucks because we don’t feel they are making the same educated choices those who have been blessed with an ounce of media literacy make. Let’s instead focus our energy on being examples and guide those through our example to show that happiness and self-acceptance are attainable, but not through purchasing a cream.

      • Grackle
        Grackle02-23-2013

        Very well said, Keighty.

  6. George
    George12-17-2014

    May I give you all one man’s perspective, for what it’s worth?

    I promise you, this is completely sincere. I am not a pervert, and I am not trying to patronize or mock anybody, but in total honesty, I’d like you all to know that I, personally, think cellulite is BEAUTIFUL! The most gorgeous women I know have cellulite in varying degrees, and I find it very attractive (especially on my beautiful wife, with whom I’ve been happily married for 15 years). I think women with “full” figures are far more desirable than the gaunt, near-anorexic “norm” that fashion models are forced into. I think the “plus-size” catalogue models are the true standard for healthy beauty.

    I want you all to know that there is at least one man (and I must assume there are others) who think you are perfectly gorgeous if you have cellulite–you have NOTHING to be ashamed of whatsoever!!!

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