How Trapped Fat Forms

Yesterday we discussed the many ways that the body uses fat. Today we will delve a bit further into how the body stores fat, and why fat becomes trapped in the subcutaneous layer of the skin.

Within the subcutaneous layer are fat chambers formed by a fibrous, connective tissue. As fat cells enlarge with weight gain, they push against the walls of these chambers and cause them to stretch. In women these chambers run vertically, which is one of the reasons why women experience cellulite in addition to trapped fat. In men these chambers are structured in a diagonal, web-like manner, which prevents them from experiencing the dimpled effect of cellulite at the surface of the skin. They can, however, still experience trapped fat.


Since fat storage in the subcutaneous layer is controlled by hormones, trapped fat can form any time hormone levels fluctuate. Trapped fat can form due to periods of weight gain, weight loss, and/or dieting. Any change in diet causes the body to react with a change in hormone levels, increasing the potential for trapped fat formation.

Trapped fat can also form if someone exercises sporadically, or exercises regularly for an extended period of time and then suddenly stops. Regardless of whether he or she starts exercising again, fat will get trapped in the subcutaneous layer and remain there.

During short periods of weight gain, fat cells within the subcutaneous and reserve layers of fat swell and enlarge; during long periods and/or dramatic weight gain, they swell, enlarge, and multiply. Either way, when the individual begins a regime of dieting to lose weight, it shocks the body and sends it into fat storage mode, making the fat cells more resistant to shrinking. If the person sticks to this new routine, he or she will eventually burn off the excess fat stored in the lower “reserve” layer and lose some weight. The enlarged fat cells within the subcutaneous layer, however, are unaffected by exercise and dieting and will remain swollen.

Physical exercise isn’t the only reason that people who practice yoga stay in such great shape. Stress causes hormonal changes within the body, and thus can cause trapped fat to form. Meditation relaxes the mind, and thus the body, and therefore can hinder the production of these hormones. Considering how few of us meditate – and all of the daily stressors inherent in our modern lifestyle – it’s a miracle that we aren’t all rolling around like Violet Beauregarde from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in danger of bursting at any minute.

Aging is yet another cause of trapped fat, and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop it. Not only do hormone levels change with age, but almost everyone gains additional inches over time due to the slow breakdown of the dermal layer, and the consequent buildup of blood and waste fluid that accumulates as a result.

As mentioned above, diet and exercise have no effect on trapped fat stored within the subcutaneous layer, and unfortunately, liposuction won’t solve this problem, either. Liposuction can only target fat stored in the lower reserve layers, and in fact, liposuction can actually make the problem worse by damaging the delicate blood and lymph vessels in the dermis. This in turn will cause additional fluids and wastes to build up within the dermal layer and increase swelling even more.

You may be wondering, “if I can’t get rid of trapped fat through dieting, exercise, or liposuction, then how do I get rid of it? Is it even possible?” Thankfully, it is not only possible to reduce (and even eliminate) trapped fat, but you won’t even have to break a sweat to do it! The White Tea Med Spa offers two treatments proven to reduce and/or eliminate trapped fat: VelaShape and LPG Endermologie. To read more about each treatment, and how it can help eliminate trapped fat in both men and women, please click the appropriate links below.

VelaShape FAQs
LPG Endermologie
LPG Endermologie FAQs

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