Cellulite is a common condition that affects 90% of women and 10% of men. While harmless from a health perspective, cellulite's characteristic dimpled appearance can be embarrassing. This so-called "orange peel" or "cottage cheese" skin can appear anywhere but is most apparent on the thighs, buttocks and knees.
It’s unclear precisely what causes cellulite. Currently, it is believed to be linked with an accumulation of fat cells in between the fibrous tissues that connect our muscles to our skin. The muscle pulls down on these long fibrous cords, pushing the fat up against the skin and giving the skin an uneven, lumpy surface.
Women are more prone to developing cellulite, especially after puberty. As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels start to decrease, and blood circulation diminishes. This lack of blood circulation, in turn, reduces nutrition and collagen production in the area, which may contribute to cellulite formation. Because of this, cellulite is known to be more prominent in older women.
Age and weight gain are also linked to cellulite, as more fat and a lack of elasticity in the skin may contribute to it. However, people of any age, any body type and any state of fitness can have cellulite. Genetics is also a factor.
Although cellulite poses no health risk, many people feel self-conscious about it and seek treatment to improve their appearance.