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What is Cellulite? | The Truth About What Causes Cellulite

What is Cellulite?

No site about how to get rid of cellulite would be complete without a proper definition of the condition – so here goes.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite is a skin condition where the surface of the skin appears dimpled and lumpy.  It often begins to occur after puberty, occurring more often in older people than the relatively young, and is caused by underlying fat deposits.  The skin sometimes looks a bit like orange peel – and is occasionally referred to as ‘orange peel skin’ or ‘orange peel syndrome’.

There are a number of other names for cellulite, including adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis and gynoid lipodystrophy.

Cellulite on the legs

Cellulite rarely occurs in males, but is much more common in females – indeed it is believed to occur in as much as 90% of the population of women over the age of puberty.  The most often affected parts of the body are the pelvic region – the buttocks, thighs and hips.

The term ‘cellulite’ originated in the 1920s and was popularised in the 1960s, although the condition has obviously existed for much longer than this.

What Causes Cellulite?

There are four main currently known causes of cellulite.


As suggested earlier, with women being by fat the most affected by ‘orange peel skin’ around the hips, the cause if often hormonal.  Cellulite is rare in men – most male cases are in those who are suffering from an androgen deficiency – such as those with hypogonadism or men who are receiving oestrogen therapy.  Indeed, hormones are often cited as the ‘dominant factor’ in those who develop the condition.

Although it has been linked to oestrogen, there has been no scientifically proven case to date.  Other hormones, including insulin, are also believed to have an impact.


Unfortunately, some people are apparently more likely to get cellulite than others – and some will get it more severely than others.

Like many things (ability to gain weight and fat is among them) whether or not you will get cellulite can depend on your genetics, as well as other predisposed factors such as sex, biotype and race (among others).


Cellulite has been linked to stress too.  When we are suffering from a lot of stress in our lives, our bodies produce increased levels of catecholamines; an organic compound that has a catechol and a side-chain amine if you want the scientific definition.

However, the link between stress and cellulite is disputed by some.


Losing weight fast has been linked to the development of cellulite by a number of those with the condition as well as medical professionals and researchers.  Extreme diets or crash diets are often blamed for causing patches of unwelcome cellulite.

There are often suggestions that cellulite can be reduced or eliminated through exercise – a position I personally believe to be accurate – however, eating the right foods is also important.

This is one of the least controversial causes – and exercise is one of the most effective solutions.

Can Cellulite be Cured?

It can in many people certainly be reduced in appearance and/or prevalence.  One of the most effective solutions in my view is the right kind of exercises (I have written much more extensively about this through out this web site), however, there are a number of skin treatments, etc. that have been reported to be effective too.

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