Understanding and treating cellulite

Cellulite is not merely a symptom of being overweight or obese. Even lean people can get cellulite.

Cellulite is not merely a symptom of being overweight or obese. Even lean people can get cellulite.

A lot of misinformation is circulating about cellulite, a condition that affects around 90 percent of women at some point in their lives. Separating the cellulite fact from fiction can help those interested in finding out what causes it and how to make it less noticeable.


Cellulite is easy to recognize. It often forms as dimpled skin or bumpy areas on the thighs and buttocks. Sometimes it is described as looking like cottage cheese or an orange peel. While cellulite is most common on the lower part of the body, it also can be found on the breasts, lower abdomen, and upper arms.


According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulite can come in different forms and range from mild to more severe cases. Mild cellulite may not be visible when lying down or standing but can be viewed when the skin is pinched. More severe cases will be visible when standing or lying down, and the bumps and valleys may be more pronounced.


Cellulite is not merely a symptom of being overweight or obese. Even lean people can get cellulite. Cellulite also can come in different forms. Adipose cellulite is the firm, orange peel-type cellulite. Edematous cellulite is caused by fluid retention and will be softer to the touch. Fibrotic cellulite is hard and compact.


Although little is known about what causes cellulite, it is believed to involve fibrous connective cords that attach the skin to the underlying muscle, offers The Mayo Clinic. Fat lies in between these layers. When fat cells accumulate, they can push against the skin while the cords pull down. This creates the dimpling effect. Cellulite is much more common among women because they tend to have higher percentages of body fat. As women age or gain weight, skin becomes less flexible and cellulite becomes more visible.


While some miracle creams and cellulite treatments blame cellulite formation on toxins in the body, circulation, loss of skin elasticity and heredity are more likely the culprits. Circulation is necessary to strengthen the collagen in the skin and tighten the connective fibrous bonds. Increasing circulation to the areas where cellulite forms through swimming, running, brisk walking, and even some massage can reduce dimpled skin if women make such activities part of their regular routines. This will help loosen fat from the difficult areas. Women also can hit the gym and firm and tone muscles in the problem areas, thus tightening the skin. 


Nothing can vanquish the cellulite beneath the skin. Topical creams and lotions are designed to plump and firm the skin. There is limited evidence that creams or scrubs can permanently reduce the appearance of cellulite. Laser and radio-frequency techniques can be effective for long periods of time for women who have the time for such practices. But exercise and skin-firming techniques can suffice for women looking to get rid of their cellulite.

Posted on June 1, 2017 .