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The Complete Guide To Cellulite

Updated: May 26, 2021

Cellulite is likely to affect more than 80% of women at some point in their lives. Although cellulite is not a dangerous medical condition, it can be embarrassing and have a negative impact on self-confidence. Here's what you can do about it.

Cellulite is likely to affect more than 80% of women at some point in their lives. Commonly referred to as “cottage cheese skin", this condition creates lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and hips. It can happen to men and women but is much more common in women and female adolescents. Although cellulite is not a dangerous medical condition, it can be embarrassing and have a negative impact on self-confidence.

In short, cellulite is skin that is dimpled and uneven. Its appearance and texture are often compared to that of cottage cheese, an orange peel, or a lumpy mattress. It is often graded in terms of its severity. Mild cellulite is slightly sagging skin with an orange peel appearance and 1-4 superficial depressions, moderate cellulite shows draped skin with a cottage cheese appearance and 5-9 medium-depth depressions, and severe cellulite is seriously-draped skin with a mattress look and 10 or more deep depressions.

Mild cellulite can be difficult to detect without pinching the skin. More serious cases of cellulite fat deposits require no pinching to detect, creating obvious peaks and valleys on the surface of the skin. Cellulite most commonly develops on the buttocks, and thighs, but can occur on the abdomen, breasts, and upper arms too.

Scientists are not quite sure what causes cellulite, but it involves the interactions between the body fat tissue and connective tissues that lie beneath the surface of the skin. Fibrous cords that bind the skin to underlying muscle tissue form a matrix. When fat tissue underneath increases in size and volume, it can push up through this connective tissue matrix, creating uneven skin dimples. Some of the factors that are connected with the formation of cellulite include:

  • Fluctuations in levels of hormones including estrogen, T3 and T4 thyroid hormones, insulin, prolactin, and norepinephrine (noradrenaline)

  • Genetic factors including the strength of the circulatory system, subdermal fat distribution, metabolic efficiency, and ethnicity

  • Lower levels of collagen and elastin that are common with aging

  • High-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-sodium, low-fiber diets

  • Lack of physical exercise or a sedentary lifestyle

  • Excess fat from weight gain

  • Cellulite may also be more likely to develop in those who stand in one spot or sit down for long hours at their jobs and is most common in women over 25 years old who have excess body weight. However, people with a healthy weight and good fitness, teenagers, and men can also develop this skin dimpling condition.

  • The reason cellulite occurs more commonly in women lies in the differences between the connective tissue matrices in women and men, as well as how their bodies distribute muscle and fat tissue. Connective tissues are arranged in a repetitive vertical pattern in women, while men's connective tissues form a criss-cross design. The more complex design of this connective tissue in men is thought to make it more difficult for fat cells to penetrate upward to create cellulite depressions.

Cellulite Treatments and Procedures

Cellulite is not considered dangerous and treatment of cellulite is not medically necessary. However, millions of people are concerned about their appearance. Board-certified plastic surgeons and licensed dermatologists offer various surgical treatments for cellulite removal, including:

The G5 Cellutec Massage

The G5 massager is a massaging piece of equipment with the ability to be used in a variety of applications that works on breaking down fatty deposits, cellulite and removing toxins and excess fluid from the body through the lymphatic areas. This technique further stimulates blood circulation, improves skin elasticity and collagen flow. 

Home Remedies Numerous creams, scrubs, massage rollers, and essential oils are said to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. However, these products lack scientific evidence to support their use and may not be effective. Shop carefully and pay attention to previous user reviews if you are considering these at-home cellulite treatments.

Creams and Scrubs Various scrubs and creams are offered to help combat cellulite and smooth out the skin simples it causes. These products contain different recipes of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbal extracts, and other compounds that may be helpful for reducing cellulite in some people. However, there have been no studies on these products and some are linked to possibilities for skin rashes and other adverse side effects.

Essential Oils A variety of essential oils are recommended for improving the appearance of cellulite including cinnamon, cypress, geranium, juniper, neroli, and rosemary. Be sure to choose non-GMO, organic essential oils that are certified by a third party to be free of contaminants and to contain what they claim to.

Massage & Rollers Massage roller products for cellulite treatment are claimed to increase circulation, stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, reduce fluid accumulations under the skin, and remove toxins from the body that contribute to the formation of cellulite. These products may provide some degree of improvement with regular use, but the results are typically short-lived and minimal.

Clearly, there are numerous treatments for cellulite dimples. However, aside from plastic surgery and radiofrequency energy treatments, most produce temporary and marginal results. Many of the cellulite treatment products for sale fail to meet their marketing claims and provide minimal if any benefits.

Healthy lifestyle choices about eating, drinking, aerobic exercises, strength training, and not smoking can go a long way toward inhibiting the development of cellulite, especially as you age. For everything else, talk to your board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.


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