We are well into summer now and swimsuit season is in full swing. One of the major concerns for practically every woman during swimsuit season is the dreaded C word...cellulite...that lumpy, dimpled, orange-peel texture that seems to target skin on thighs, bottom and backs of arms and is the shame and embarrassment of anyone who has it.
Cellulite affects nearly every woman as she gets older. Major scientific discoveries have uncovered the factors that cause cellulite.
Although there are three layers of fat under the skin, only the top layer is involved with cellulite. Changes in the connective tissue structure in this top layer of fat, caused by pregnancy, hormonal, structural, vascular changes, genetics and aging, trigger the formation of cellulite allowing fat to protrude deeply into the dermis (the layer of skin beneath the outermost layer), which is what causes the characteristic lumpy appearance of cellulite.
Hormones secreted in response to stress, particularly cortisol, also encourage fat deposits in problem areas. Pregnenolone is the precursor hormone from which all other hormones are created. It is an important precursor for the body's production of progesterone which blocks cortisol receptors.
Some of the essential oils that combat excess cortisol are Balsam Fir, Conyza, Fennel, Peppermint and Frankincense essential oils.
Magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that women with cellulite have pillar-like columns separating the fat chambers, which are larger and deeper than those in men. These large vertical chambers can store an abundance of fat.
Collagen supporting tissues of men, on the other hand, is more like a criss-cross net that is organized into small diagonal chambers, which hold only small amounts of fat...that's why men typically don't have cellulite.
Cellulite is mostly related to the underlying structure or framework and relationship of adipose to connective tissue in women. Scientists are now saying that cellulite is a disease of the connective tissue and is the product of extensive connective tissue destruction and that the three main causes of cellulite are excess fat deposition, weakened connective tissue support structure and poor circulation.
Fat storage and breakdown are controlled by two sets of special receptors called alpha and beta receptors on the surface of each fat cell. The beta receptors promote fat loss and are regulated by the hormone epinephrine, whereas the alpha receptors prevent fat breakdown and promote fat storage.
In the case of cellulite the alpha receptors outnumber the beta receptors. Women also unfortunately tend to have more fat storage alpha receptors than fat breakdown beta receptors in the hips and thighs.
Increasing production in the body of the enzymes hormone sensitive lipase and the enzyme protein kinase A will help break down the fat cells and release them into the bloodstream and is a key component of helping to eliminate fat and cellulite.
As well as connective tissue degeneration, poor circulation and lymph drainage can also aggravate and worsen cellulite. Exercise can stimulate epinephrine release, which can to some degree help reduce the appearance of cellulite but it's not enough to completely eliminate cellulite. Increasing circulation will help increase lymph flow and also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Here are some essential oils to the rescue that are well known to help with circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system and encouraging the elimination of toxins and water retention, all of which help with reducing the appearance of cellulite.
Because some of these particular essential oils are quite strong, they can be irritating to sensitive skin so it is important, if you have sensitive skin, to dilute them in a carrier base oil such as almond, jojoba, coconut, olive, grape seed or avocado oils. All of these oils are great for the skin.
Just make sure you are using an organic and expeller pressed oil still in its raw natural state so that its chemical composition hasn't been altered or destroyed and that its skin nurturing properties are still in tact.
Most all oils when heated past 103 degrees Fahrenheit, with the exception of grape seed and coconut oil, are destroyed, change chemical structure and can even become toxic. A good rule of thumb is if you shouldn't eat it then you shouldn't put it on your skin because the skin will absorb it into the body.
So here are the essential oils that will help reduce the appearance of cellulite:
Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and scopulorum)- Has been used for centuries as a diuretic and is excellent for relieving fluid retention. Renowned for its detoxifying and purifying ability, Juniper essential oil clears waste, promotes excretion of toxins and increases vascular circulation.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)- Rosemary increases warmth and stimulates blood circulation and is especially useful for circulatory problems of extremities. I stand on my feet for long periods of time and when my legs and calves swell up, rubbing Rosemary essential oil on them relieves the swelling and edema in about 2 minutes. It's really incredible for combating fluid retention and lymphatic congestion making it very effective for cellulite and obesity (and great for keeping the legs from swelling up during air travel as well).
Cypress Essential Oil (Cupressus sempervirens)- This essential oil is most used for the circulatory system as it improves circulation and strengthens blood capillaries. It also helps in fluid reducing. It is excellent for varicose veins due to its vasoconstricting effect.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)- Excellent for all skin types due to its ability to balance sebum. It improves blood flow, is a liver and pancreas stimulant and dilates the bile ducts for liver detoxification. Geranium essential oil also helps to balance the hormones.
Lemon (Citrus limon)- Lemon essential oil is stimulating for the circulatory system and improves microcirculation, strengthens vascular tissues, it is used for treating varicose veins by improving circulation and relieving pressure on the veins (together with Cypress essential oil in a 1 to1 ratio).
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)- Lavender oil may also be used in the treatment of stretch marks.
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)- Relieves congested and oily skin, having a toning effect on both skin and tissues. For this reason it is a good oil to use when treating cellulite.
Orange (Citrus sinensis) - There is some resemblance between cellulite skin and that of an orange peel and that might be one of the first clues that Orange essential oil is an exceptional oil for reducing the appearance of cellulite. Orange essential oil is a diuretic and is great for relieving fluid retention, it also softens the epidermis, stimulates blood circulation and lymph fluids and is very helpful in treating swollen tissue.
I have mixed equal parts of Orange, Lemon, Cypress and Juniper essential oils and massaged these oils straight into my skin with no carrier oil but adding a few drops of base carrier oil might be a good idea if you have sensitive skin. I noticed a huge difference in the appearance of cellulite within about half an hour.
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article is based solely on the use of 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils due to their high quality and tested purity. The use of a brand of uncertain quality and/or purity will provide you with potentially dangerous, if not lethal, results. The author assumes no responsibility for your improper use of this information.
The statements about these oils and supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These oils are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
R. Noel is the author of The Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Info Blog where you can find out everything you want to know about essential oils and their uses with topics ranging from treating insect bites to making an awesome pesto to which oils to use for colds and the flu to making your own scented aromatherapy cards to aromatherapy accessories and much more.