Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelina Jolie, Madonna; Jun Sato / WireImage; Flynet

I have seen photos of, like, Madonna and Angelina Jolie where the blood vessels in their arms seem all swollen and protruding—like there's no layer of fat. Is there some secret weight loss thing going around?
—MMinerva07, via the inbox

If by "secret weight loss thing" you mean starvation, or close to it, then yes, that is "going around," though I can't say for sure which specific A-listers may have adopted that tactic.

I got to the bottom of this veiny arms trend, which is real:

According to registered dietician Sharon Richter of Manhattan, the ugly phenomenon generally—we're not talking about any specific celeb, here—stems not from a lack of calories, really. Instead, blame a lack of another necessary substance.

"A lot of times these stars are following a very clean diet, with very few processed foods and instead a lot of foods that are very, very low in salt," Richter explains to me.

And that lack of salt prevents the body from holding on to skin-plumping hydration, she explains. "That's why the skin looks almost dehydrated; they have very little salt in their diet."

Cleanses—you know, lemonade cleanse, all that stuff—and good old-fashioned temporary starvation may also be at fault, Richter says.

"Sometimes, before a photo shoot, celebrities will even do epsom salt baths, which draw the salt out of the body," Richter says. "Or they may undereat for a few days, eat as little as possible, say, 800 calories, to make a certain weight."

For the record, Richter, of course, recommends none of the above, and neither do I.

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