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How Do We Get Cellulite?

Uh oh. You grazed your hand under your thigh and felt a strange, foreign bump, hoping for the worst. It is the dreaded cellulite. Thoughts started running through your mind. Do I have toxins trapped in body? Or is it a lack of blood circulation in my thigh? Relax, it is just good old-fashioned fat.

Cellulite is a condition where the fat beneath the skin pushes against the connective tissues, causing the skin to form the lumpy appearance. Most noticeable around the buttocks and thighs, cellulite usually occurs after puberty. It is generally harmless, but it does make you a little bit more self-conscious.

According to dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus, there different types and grades of cellulite.

The different types of cellulite.

  • Adipose cellulite: firm; orange peel effect on loose skin.
  • Oedematous cellulite: fluid retention, soft cellulite; on loose skin.
  • Fibrotic cellulite: hard, compact cellulite; orange peel effect.

The different grades of cellulite.

  • Grade 1: Not visible, even when skin is pinched.
  • Grade 2: Not visible when standing or lying down. Pinching the skin allows the orange peel texture to be seen.
  • Grade 3: Cellulite visible only when standing.
  • Grade 4: Cellulite visible when lying down and standing.

Contrary to popular belief, having cellulite does not mean that you are overweight. Even thin people may have cellulite. However, losing weight when you are overweight may reduce cellulite.


Cellulite occurs more frequently amongst women than men. This is due to the honeycomb-like structure of connective tissue fibres in women, resulting in lumps of fat bulging out of the tissues when there fat level increases. Men has less cellulite due to the horizontal alignment of their fibres, and these intersecting lines obstructs fats from dimpling.


The connective tissue is also another reason why we see more cellulite as we age. These connective tissues get thicker over time. Compounded with our thinning skin, cellulite becomes greatly prominent.

Aside from age, inactivity results in a higher chance of having cellulite. Haus states that cellulites form in areas with little circulation, so the best way to counter this is to give your body a good scrubbing to improve circulation. Regular exercises that increase blood circulation such as running and swimming will help in fighting cellulite formation.