What is a Cellulite?

Cellulite is a collection of normal fat beneath the skin that looks bumpy because it is pushing up against connective tissue.  Cellulite is not harmful and the only reason for wanting to get rid of it would be for cosmetic purposes.

There are more than 3 million cases of cellulite in the United States per year and the condition is more common among women than men.  Cellulite is not as noticeable on darker skin and is not caused by being overweight.  It’s important to note, however, that those who are overweight can reduce the appearance of cellulite on their bodies by losing weight.

Cellulite is a hereditary condition and its amount and appearance can be adversely affected by poor diet, the absence of physical activity, hormone changes, dehydration, a slow metabolism, fad dieting, and the thickness and color of the individual’s skin.

What are the Symptoms of Cellulite?

The only symptoms is represented by the appearance of uneven dimpled lumpy flesh on the butt, thighs, hips, and belly.

Cellulite Causes

Cellulite is caused by fat deposits pushing through the connective layers below the skin. Women are more likely to get cellulite because the connective tissue is vertical. Men are less likely to get cellulite because the connective tissue is a criss-cross pattern.

Hormones are also believed to play a role in cellulite formation. One theory is that as women get older and estrogen drops, the blood flow to the connective tissue decreases, reducing the amount of oxygen and lessening collagen production. In addition to lower collagen production, fat cells expand as estrogen drops. Cellulite also runs in families, so if your female family members have cellulite you’re likely to get it too. Diet also plays a role in the formation of cellulite – a diet high in unhealthy foods leads to an increase in cellulite. People who are at an unhealthy weight are also more likely to develop cellulite because of the increase in body fat.

How is Cellulite Treated?

Cellulite treatment includes

Cellulite creams have not proven to be effective and some of them even contain aminophylline that is used to treat asthma and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Liposuction is not recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology because it may actually worsen the appearance of the cellulite.

Cellulite Prevention

It isn’t possible to completely prevent cellulite. As we age and the skin and connective tissues start to sag, cellulite is going to appear. Ways to delay the appearance of cellulite is to exercise, eat healthily and take good care of your skin.

There are treatments available to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and the most common ways involve cutting the connective tissue and increasing blood flow to encourage the production of collagen. Holistic approaches haven’t proven to be effective. The two main issues are the procedures didn’t work, or the research method is flawed.

Sometimes compression garments are used to increase blood and lymph flow to reduce visible cellulite. However, once cellulite appears it’s there for life, although its appearance can be reduced using various cosmetic surgeries. Another way to lessen the appearance of cellulite is to make sure your weight is in a healthy range. Losing weight and toning up won’t make it go away completely, but it will reduce the appearance.

Last Reviewed:
October 01, 2016
Last Updated:
November 29, 2017