Can endocrine disruptive chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), cause cellulite?

Endocrine disruptors, cancer and obesity

It is now well accepted that several man-made chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, causing obesity and cancer, among other health conditions. Such chemicals are aptly named endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and examples comprise substances such as tributyltin, bisphenol A, diethylsilbestrol, phthalates and possibly polybrominated diphenyl ethers and perfluoro-compounds. These chemicals are widely used in materials and devices of everyday usage, including food and drink packaging, clothes and fabrics, food, cooking utensils, perfumes, furniture and wood, animal feed, and others. Their pervasive use is regarded to be one of the reasons behind the obesity and cancer epidemic today, and one cannot fail to spot the obvious connections between EDCs and cellulite.


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) and cellulite

Cellulite is characterised by an excessive proliferation and hypertrophy (enlargement) of adipocytes (fat cells). Given that EDCs directly act on the fat cells causing them to proliferate and enlarge, it is not very difficult to see the connection.

EDCs can lead to obesity (or localised obesity of the superficial tissues of the legs, called cellulite) via several different mechanisms. According to research conducted in the last decade, appetite increase, estrogenic action, adipocyte enlargement and proliferation, and lipid imbalance are the most important obesogenic mechanisms.

Seeing things from a historical perspective, we can easily see the connection between the emergence and consequent prevalence of endocrine disrupting chemicals and that of cellulite. The appearance of EDCs and the prevalence of cellulite occurred at the same time, i.e. at the second half of the 20th century, and continue unabated today!

The so called pre-cellulite tissues specifically, are particularly vulnerable to the accumulation of endocrine disrupting toxins. This is because blood circulation and lymph drainage in those areas tends to be poor, and also because the cellulite fat cells act as traps for the, primarily fat-soluble, EDC toxins.


Putting things into perspective / practical advice

Of course cellulite is also caused by overeating, living a sedentary life, smoking, drinking, and by making use of another very common endocrine disruptor: hormonal contraception, in the form of pills, injections and patches. However, we should not discount the influence that those endocrine disruptive toxins have in our body.

Therefore, emphasis should be given on avoiding exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. That's the first line of your defence. Boosting the body's natural detoxification system is the second line of defence against EDCs.

The third line of your defence is fighting cellulite proactively, with regular cellulite prevention treatments. Given that now cellulite affects 90% of women at some time in their life and once it appears it does not usually go away solely with diet and exercise, many proactive (or perfectionist) women choose this option. Cellulite creams are a more economical proposition, and if they are concentrated enough and used regularly can also contribute towards cellulite prevention and reduction at a relatively low cost.