Why Do I Have Cellulite? Dr. Haley Answers:


If you have cellulite, you are not alone. Cellulite affects more than 85 percent of all women to some degree. It is characterized by alterations to the skin surface, presenting as dimpled or puckered skin, primarily involving the thighs and buttocks.


Understanding how to best treat cellulite starts with understanding its causes. After all, you need to know your enemy before you can figure out how to defeat him. Doctors currently believe that cellulite is caused by a combination of coexisting factors. There is no consensus on what exactly causes cellulite, but these are the current ideas.

The architecture of the connective tissue. In women, bands of connective tissue are oriented longitudinally, from the muscle to the skin. These bands separate fat into channels. As the fat layer enlarges, these bands pull the skin down towards the muscle and squeeze the fat, pushing it up toward the skin surface and creating an uneven appearance of the skin.


Hormones. Hormonal changes (especially estrogen) in women that occur after puberty promote fat deposition in the hips and thighs and make the elimination of fat particles deposited in these areas difficult.


Disturbance of the lymph and blood circulation. Anything that reduces blood flow to these areas causes fluid buildup (edema). Swelling increases the volume of fat, thus making the protrusions more obvious. External toxins including alcohol, tobacco and caffeine inhibit movement of fluid from these cellulite prone areas.


Dietary habits. High-sugar and high-refined carbohydrate diets tend to make cellulite worse, possibly through tissue edema.


Genetics. Blame it on your parents. If your mom has more than your friend’s mom, you are likely to have more cellulite than your friend.


Chronic inflammation. Have you ever run into a friend who had been through a stressful time? You can see it on her face— weathered, unhealthy, dull skin. This is the result of stress and inflammation on the skin. The visible appearance of cellulite has as much to do with the health of the skin as it has to do with fat. If you have thick, healthy skin overlying the layers of fat, cellulite will be less obvious. Unhealthy, thin skin = more cellulite exposed.


Sedentary Lifestyle. Weak, flabby muscles don’t support the overlying tissues and results in more skin irregularity.