Does Taking Birth Control Pills Cause Cellulite?

No matter how much you want to maintain a flawless body, there will always be some skin conditions that can be out of your control such as the appearance of cellulite. According to experts, a majority of women can develop cellulite at some point in their lives. While it is a fact that it is caused by fat pushing against the connective tissues in the skin, there is one theory that hormonal contraceptives can increase the risk of having cellulite.

So is there a relationship between birth control pills and cellulite formation? In a way, yes. Cellulite in women can sometimes be caused by hormonal imbalances. Taking an oral contraceptive may lead to high levels of estrogen, the female hormone which is responsible for fat distribution and can aggravate cellulite formation in the thighs and buttocks. Birth control pills also have a side effect of weight gain which can make cellulite more noticeable. 

Melt Away Your Cellulite Today at the Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ

Should You Worry About Cellulite If You’re Taking Birth Control? 

Cellulite is a harmless condition that is characterized by the dimpling of the skin surface and it typically appears with uneven color or rough texture. It’s not unusual to think that cellulite can appear along with weight gain since an increase in fat cells can lead to visible bulges or dimpling in certain areas of the body. 

However, putting on weight is just one of the factors that can affect cellulite formation. In women, hormones can be pointed out to be the primary cause of cellulite development. If you think about it, cellulite rarely occurs in men and this is because of the estrogen hormone that is commonly present in high amounts in females. 

All healthy women need estrogen to store up fat in the body, especially in the breasts, hips, and thighs. This is normal because the fat deposits act as an energy source in preparation for future pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, some individuals have fluctuating hormone levels and need birth control pills to regulate their hormones. Those who are taking oral contraceptives may expect to deal with the appearance of cellulite. 

What Oral Contraceptives Do To Your Body And How They Affect Cellulite

Birth control pills or hormonal contraceptives are medications that are intended to inhibit the chances of pregnancy in women. These are also sometimes prescribed for individuals with irregular periods, heavy menstrual cycles as well as health issues like endometriosis polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). 

These pills typically contain the estrogen and hormone progestin. They are present in small amounts in the contraceptives and they can work by stopping ovulation and restoring hormone balance to regulate monthly periods. Here are some of the common types of hormonal birth control that can be used by women: 

  • Combination contraceptives - They are also known as combined estrogen-progesterone pills and they contain synthetic forms of the female hormones. 
  • Progestin-only pills - This is a type of birth control that contains progesterone but no estrogen hormone. They are usually given to manage bleeding in girls and women with abnormally heavy menstruation. 
  • Non-oral contraception forms like birth control patch and IUD - Birth control is also available in transdermal patches that release hormones through the skin or IUD and birth control ring which are devices that are implanted into the uterus. 

As with any medication, women can experience some reactions or changes in the body while they are on the pill. Some of the common side effects of contraceptives are nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, mood changes, and bloating. The appearance of cellulite with birth control methods may be associated with the pills' effects on weight and fluid retention: 

1) Taking progestin may lead to increased appetite 

Weight gain is a temporary side effect of hormonal birth control pills. It usually happens within the first few months of taking the contraceptive and can be attributed to the progesterone hormone which is said to stimulate appetite. Progestins may trigger the activity of ghrelin which is thought to be the hormone that controls food cravings and intake. 

The weight gain that you experience while on birth control may make cellulite more noticeable on the skin. The increase in hormones may likewise cause more fat to accumulate and push against the skin’s connective tissues and result in its dimpling appearance. However, some experts say that any body weight changes will go back to normal within 2 to 3 months of taking the pill and this may help improve your cellulite.  

2) High levels of estrogen may increase water weight 

Some methods of birth control can also cause increased fluid retention. To better understand, high amounts of estrogen in the body may cause bloating in women taking oral contraceptives. This particular hormone is believed to retain water in the body and this may have an effect on your overall weight.

While the increase in water retention alone does not cause cellulite, it can lead to poor blood circulation in the tissues. This can cause toxins to build up on excess fat cells and result in the formation of skin cellulite. Additionally, poor circulation can slow down the delivery of nutrients and weaken the connective tissues which can make cellulite more pronounced. 

Other Possible Causes of Cellulite Appearance  

hot of an attractive woman crossing her elbows and posing against a green background

Having cellulite is not always caused by birth control pills so you can still safely take them as prescribed or needed. Several other factors have been identified to increase the risk of getting cellulite such as age, genetics, skin structure, lifestyle, and diet. 

1) Age and cellulite 

Cellulite can also be more prominent due to the changes brought by natural skin aging. As you get old, the body produces less collagen which makes the skin thinner and less elastic, resulting in laxity that can make cellulite more recognizable. This is why postmenopausal women often struggle to deal with cellulite. Additionally, you lose some muscle mass which can weaken the connective tissues that hold the body fat.

2) Genetics and cellulite    

If the majority of your family has cellulite, there’s a possibility that you will develop them as well. The idea that cellulite can be inherited can be linked to your metabolism and fat distribution under the skin which are usually dependent on your genetic makeup. 

3) Skin structure and cellulite

Another reason why women have more cellulite than men is because of the differences in skin structure. For one, males naturally have thicker skin due to the presence of testosterone hormone and this lessens their chances of getting cellulite. Meanwhile, females have connective tissues that run perpendicularly which means that any excess fat cells can easily push up against the fibrous bands to form cellulite. 

4) Lifestyle and cellulite

Having a sedentary lifestyle can also be a risk factor for cellulite. Lack of regular exercise can make you gain weight, increase fat, and decrease muscle tone which can all contribute to the development of cellulite. You should also watch out for prolonged hours of sitting since this can reduce blood circulation and lead to cellulite.  

5) Diet and cellulite 

Eating way too many carbohydrates can contribute to your overall body fat and worsen the appearance of cellulite. Likewise, consuming salty foods and snacks can increase fluid retention and result in cellulite formation. 

How to Deal With Cellulite While Taking Birth Control

A minority of women can experience cellulite due to weight gain from birth control pills. But fortunately, it’s easy to manage their appearance by incorporating some lifestyle changes, getting cellulite massage, and using topical cellulite creams. 

  • Eat more healthy and nutritious foods - If you’re on birth control or hormone replacement therapy, consuming foods that are high in protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats can help keep your weight in check and reduce cellulite.
  • Get more exercise in your daily routine -  One of the best ways to make sure that cellulite doesn’t worsen is to tone and firm up your muscles. Strength-training workouts and lower body exercises that target the glutes, thighs, and buttocks can help increase blood flow to improve cellulite appearance.
  • Try an anti-cellulite massage therapy - A massage treatment for cellulite is thought to help by breaking down the fat cells under the skin. It is also said to be beneficial for increasing blood pressure and removing excess fluid in areas where cellulite is present. You can do self-massage at home with foam rollers or you can visit a medspa to get the procedure from a licensed massage therapist.
  • Apply cellulite creams - Topical skin products that can contain retinol and caffeine may also help improve the appearance of cellulite. They are thought to work by enhancing overall skin quality, restoring elasticity, and increasing blood flow to make cellulite less visible. 

Cellulite Removal Procedures That Actually Work 

Before and After shot of a cellulite treatment

Not all cellulite problems may go away with simple home remedies. In these cases, there are specific cellulite treatments that can offer a convenient and proven effective method to reduce their appearance. Most of these cellulite reduction procedures are minimally invasive and long-lasting so you can confidently enjoy cellulite-free skin. 

  • QWO Cellulite Removal -  This is a cosmetic injectable that contains a solution of enzymes known as collagenase which can dissolve the fibrous band that causes the cellulite. It is also believed to stimulate new collagen which can soften and smooth the skin in the treated area. QWO injections can help treat cellulite on the thighs and buttocks and their results can last anywhere from one to two years.
  • Cellulaze - This cellulite treatment uses laser technology to heat and reduce the fat layer that is pushing against the skin. It can also encourage collagen growth to thicken the skin and improve its overall texture. Patients who underwent Cellulaze can expect improvements in their cellulite to last for up to two years.
  • Cellfina - This procedure works by releasing the cellulite-causing septae underneath the skin. During a Cellfina treatment, the provider will use a special device that will insert a small needle into the skin and then manually break up the fibrous bands using the subcision technique. The effects of Cellfina can usually last for several months to a year. 

Get Rid of Stubborn Cellulite at Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ 

Cellulite should be the least of your worries when taking necessary medications or birth control pills. While home treatments can help manage the effects of your hormonal contraceptive on cellulite formation, it’s still best to turn to trusted procedures like QWO to address the root of the condition. 

At Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ, we provide QWO injectable services for patients who want to safely eliminate unwanted cellulite. We have a team of professional physicians and trained injection staff who can ensure that clients get the best cellulite removal experience possible. To schedule a consultation with one of our specialists, call us now at (908) 739-6045

Melt Away Your Cellulite Today at the Cellulite Treatment Center of NJ


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