Cellulite is one of the most common topics Cosmetics readers ask about, particularly in the spring. And while the causes are still largely unknown (some researchers believe metabolism and physiology may be contributors), the condition itself makes men and women feel very self-conscious about their bodies. Cellulite often appears during puberty for many women. Doctors believe this could be caused by changing hormones. We asked our resident dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett to explain what cellulite is and how it forms.
Cosmetics: What is cellulite and how does it form?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Cellulite refers to the irregular appearance and texture of the skin as a result of the distribution of fat underneath the skin. It can form anywhere and in anyone but is more common in women in the areas of the buttocks, hips, abdomen and thighs.
Cosmetics: Why does it form around the waist and legs only?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: It often occurs in areas of larger fat distribution and that is typically where the body stores more fat cells.
Cosmetics: Can men get cellulite or is it predominantly in women?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Yes, men can get it too, but since the percentage of body fat in a healthy male is on average lower than in women, it is less common. The higher the percentage of body fat, the more likely you will have cellulite.
Cosmetics: What is the dimpled texture associated with cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: This texture is because of the distribution of fat within the fibrous septae underneath the skin. The fat isn’t distributed in a nice, even manner. It collects in spots which causes uneven texture on the skin.
Cosmetics: Is cellulite hereditary? Are there certain outside factors that can contribute to cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Cellulite can be hereditary in that certain body types can be hereditary. For example, a pear-shaped body type with large hips can be hereditary – passed down from generation to generation. Again, since a higher percentage of body fat is stored around the hips and thighs in this body type, the greater the chance of cellulite. Outside factors such as weight gain and an increase in size due to increased caloric intake can contribute to cellulite.
Cosmetics: Can targeted exercise get rid of cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Exercise and diet can decrease weight and overall body fat, but even models with very low body fat percentages can have cellulite.