Uncovering The Truth About Cellulite

Table of Contents

Uncovering The Truth About Cellulite

Date of Content: September 24, 2023
Written by: Jess Gayo
Reviewed by: Maarit Tiirikainen, PhD



Throughout their lives, many people encounter a variety of skin ailments, from minor aesthetic concerns to more significant problems. You have the right to worry (or not worry) about these aesthetic issues for whatever reasons are important to you. For many people, particularly women, cellulite in particular can be problematic.

Cellulite is a widespread cosmetic issue that many people experience worldwide. This skin condition is characterized by the appearance of dimpled, lumpy skin, typically on the buttocks, thighs, and occasionally even the belly. It is also known as “cottage cheese” or “orange peel” skin. Medically speaking, cellulite is not harmful, but its presence might affect one’s self-esteem and perception of their physique.


What are the Main Causes of Cellulite?

Cellulite is incredibly common, affecting around 80-90% of women at some point in their lives. It can also occur in men but is less common due to differences in fat distribution and connective tissue structure. Cellulite’s prevalence underscores its significance as a widespread cosmetic concern. The psychological impact of cellulite should not be underestimated. Many individuals experience lowered self-confidence and self-esteem as a result of their presence. This can lead to body image issues and, in some cases, even hinder social and romantic relationships.

So what causes cellulite and is there any way to prevent it from forming in the first place? The main causes of cellulite include hormonal factors, genetics, lifestyle choices, and the structure of connective tissue. Understanding these underlying causes can guide individuals in adopting preventive measures and choosing appropriate treatments to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Genetic Causes

Genetic factors do not completely cause cellulite, that annoying dimpling of the skin, but there is strong evidence that they play a significant part in its development. Knowing these hereditary contributing variables can help explain why some people are more prone to cellulite than others.

According to a study, experts investigated the relationship between cellulite and 25 polymorphisms in 15 potential genes using a case-control study of 200 lean women with cellulite and 200 controls who were age- and BMI-matched and had cellulite grade 0 according to the Nurnberger-Muller scale.

Two of the 25 polymorphisms were substantially related to cellulite at the P < 0.01 level, according to the study’s findings. Using logistic regression analysis, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios for cellulite were 1.19, meaning that people with the risk variant are 1.2 times (or 20%) more likely to get cellulite (95% CI: 1.10-1.51; P < 0.01) for ACE rs1799752 and 0.6, meaning that people with the risk variant are 1.4 times (or 39%) more likely to get cellulite. The OR 0.61 is for the allele that is not the risk variant. (95% CI: 0.45-0.88; P < 0.01) for HIF1A rs11549465, after accounting for age, body mass index, the prevalence of contraceptive usage, and smoking.

Other genes with certain relevant functions have also been considered to have a role in the formation of cellulite:

Genes Affecting Fat Storage

A number of genes influence how the body stores fat. Where and how fat is stored can vary based on genetic factors. People with particular genetic profiles might be more prone to storing fat in regions where cellulite is frequently seen, such as the thighs and buttocks.

Genes in Connective Tissue and Collagen

The strength of connective tissue and collagen is crucial for keeping smooth skin. Collagen and connective tissues’ structure and integrity can be affected by genetic factors. Cellulite’s dimpled look is caused by the ability of fat cells to pass through weaker collagen and connective tissue.

Genes Related to Hormones

Changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen, might affect the appearance of cellulite. The way a person’s body reacts to hormones might be influenced by genetic variables. Some people may be genetically susceptible to more severe hormonal swings that affect connective tissue strength and fat distribution.

Inflammation-Related Genes

Cellulite formation and collagen deterioration are thought to be influenced by chronic inflammation. Genetic variations can affect a person’s inflammatory response, perhaps increasing their risk for cellulite if their body has trouble successfully controlling inflammation.

Metabolism Genes

An individual’s metabolism and how well their body burns and stores fat can be influenced by genetic variables. Changes in metabolism can have an impact on fat storage and cellulite formation.


It’s important to understand that genetics only accounts for a small portion of accruing cellulite. Hormonal changes, environmental circumstances, and lifestyle decisions all have a big impact. Cellulite may be a genetic propensity, but that does not mean that you will necessarily get it. Modifying one’s lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating, regular exercise, and quitting smoking helps lessen the severity of cellulite. The multifactorial condition of the skin is influenced by a number of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors.

Non-Genetic or Environmental Causes

Other factors might increase your chances of developing cellulite. However, even when combined with genetics, these factors do not mean that you will absolutely develop the skin condition. Environmental factors may also play a significant role in the development and severity of cellulite.

Nutrition and Diet

Poor dietary decisions can cause weight gain and fat accumulation, which can make cellulite appear worse. Increased intake of processed foods, carbohydrates, and saturated fats can cause inflammation and promote cellulite formation. Cellulite can be reduced with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and with appropriate hydration.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Lack of exercise can cause increased fat storage and decreased muscular tone. Regular exercise can assist in increasing circulation, burning fat, and toning muscles, all of which can lessen the appearance of cellulite.

Hormone Changes

Cellulite development may be influenced by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. Hormone replacement therapy and birth control medications may also affect cellulite development. Cellulite can be controlled by addressing these hormonal changes with medical guidance.

Use of Alcohol and Smoking

Smoking can damage circulation, and decrease blood flow to the skin which can cause cellulite to get worse. Overindulging in alcohol can dry out the skin and accentuate cellulite. Skin health can be improved by giving up smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.

Choices in Clothes

Tight clothes, particularly undergarments with tight elastic bands, might limit lymphatic drainage and blood flow. This may exacerbate the development of cellulite. This problem can be resolved by choosing clothing that is looser and more breathable.


Dehydration brought on by insufficient water consumption can cause the skin to become less elastic and make cellulite more obvious. Keeping hydrated promotes healthy skin and could help with cellulite reduction.


Chronic stress can result in hormonal imbalances and more subcutaneous fat being stored, both of which can aid in the development of cellulite. It can be good to practice stress-reduction methods like yoga or meditation.

Cellulite is a complex disorder and these external factors frequently interact with inherited traits. As a result, treating and minimizing the appearance of cellulite can be achieved by a holistic strategy that incorporates a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and stress management. Always seek out individualized counsel from dermatologists or medical professionals for ways to improve cellulite treatment techniques.

Is Cellulite the Same as Stretch Marks?

Both cellulite and stretch marks are common skin concerns, but they are distinct in their causes, appearance, and treatment. Stretch marks are mostly caused by the rapid stretching of the skin, appearing as streaks, whereas cellulite is related to fat distribution and connective tissue, resulting in a dimpled appearance. Genetics can affect both illnesses, but environmental variables also have a big impact. Both conditions are treatable, although total eradication can be difficult.


Under the skin’s surface, the structural makeup of fat cells is the main contributor to cellulite. It happens when weakening collagen and connective structures allow fat cells to press through, giving the skin a distinctively lumpy or dimpled appearance. 

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are caused by the skin being stretched rapidly, which frequently happens during growth spurts, pregnancy, weight gain, or rapid muscular development. The elastic fibers of the skin tear as a result of these modifications.


Cellulite frequently resembles the texture of cottage cheese or orange peel and typically manifests as dimples or lumps on the skin. It frequently appears on the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

Stretch marks first show up on the skin as pink, reddish, or purple streaks. They turn a silvery-white tint as they age. The tummy, breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks are the areas where they are most frequently found.


Genetics, hormonal changes, a bad diet, insufficient exercise, and other lifestyle variables can all have an impact on cellulite. While genetics do play a part, lifestyle choices can either accentuate or lessen the condition’s symptoms.

Rapid variations in skin tension and suppleness are the main causes of stretch marks. Stretch marks can sometimes be inherited, but mechanical stretching of the skin is the main factor that causes them.


Cellulite visibility is reduced using a variety of treatments, such as topical creams, massage techniques, laser procedures, and dietary and activity changes. Complete eradication is difficult, though.

Stretch marks can be treated using topical lotions, laser therapy, microneedling, and microdermabrasion. Stretch marks might not entirely disappear despite the fact that these treatments might make them look better.

Is Cellulite Permanent?

Whether cellulite is permanent or if there are techniques to reduce or get rid of it is one important subject that comes up in many beauty and skincare discussions. Below are some factors that may affect how cellulite is formed and if they will ever completely go away.

Genetic Tendency

An individual’s vulnerability to cellulite is influenced by genetics. If cellulite runs in your family, you may be more likely to get it, and this genetic predisposition can make cellulite harder to get rid of.

Natural Process of Aging

Skin elasticity tends to decline with age, and connective tissues may become more brittle. Cellulite can persist and get worse with time as a result of this normal aging process.

Lifestyle Factors

Choices made about one’s lifestyle have a big impact on the emergence and durability of cellulite. Cellulite can worsen due to poor diet, inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, making treatment more challenging.

Weight Fluctuations

Significant weight changes can stretch the skin and change how cellulite appears. While weight gain may make cellulite worse, weight loss might lessen its prominence.

Hormonal Changes

Cellulite can be affected by hormonal changes throughout adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause. While controlling these hormonal fluctuations can help reduce cellulite, you may not be able to completely get rid of it.

Although cellulite is typically not thought of as permanent, a number of factors can affect how long it lasts. Even while getting rid of cellulite completely can be difficult, making lifestyle changes along with the right treatments and upkeep can help lessen its appearance and stop it from getting worse.

Different Treatment Options for Cellulite

Several treatment options are available to address cellulite and improve skin texture.

Skincare Products

Topical creams frequently include chemicals like caffeine, retinol, or antioxidants that make the claim that they can reduce fat buildup, stimulate collagen production, or enhance the look of cellulite by enhancing blood flow. Even if these creams might provide a short-term benefit, consistent and long-term results might be few.

Bodywork Therapies

Aiming to increase blood and lymphatic circulation, methods including lymphatic drainage massage, deep tissue massage, and myofascial release may lessen fluid retention and inflammation linked to cellulite. While massage can temporarily relieve pain and make the skin look smoother, the effects might not remain.

Radiofrequency and Laser Therapies

Heat radiation is used in laser and radiofrequency treatments to target and destroy fat cells, promote the creation of collagen, and tighten the skin. The look of cellulite may noticeably improve with these procedures, like so-called Cellulase and Thermage. However, different people will see different effects, and multiple sessions might be necessary.


Endermologie is a non-invasive procedure that involves massaging and kneading the skin with a tool that has rollers and suction, promoting blood flow and collagen synthesis. It may temporarily lessen the appearance of cellulite, but follow-up treatments are usually required to maintain improvements.

Injectable Treatments

Skin texture can be improved with injectable therapies like Sculptra, which includes poly-L-lactic acid to encourage collagen formation. Although they don’t happen right away and require several sessions, benefits can last for up to two years.


Cellulite dimples are caused by fibrous bands that are released using subcision, a minimally invasive treatment. Smoother skin may be achieved using this procedure, although it may take several sessions and some recuperation time.


A surgical treatment called liposuction removes fat from below the skin. While it can help with body shaping, cellulite may not be adequately treated by it, and in some situations, it might even make it worse.

Personal Lifestyle Changes

Modifying one’s lifestyle is one of the best strategies to combat cellulite. The appearance of cellulite can be diminished by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, stopping smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, and drinking plenty of water.

Always seek the advice of a trained dermatologist or healthcare provider to choose the best course of action for your unique requirements and objectives. In many instances, a mix of therapies together with dietary and other lifestyle adjustments may produce the greatest cellulite management outcomes.

About LifeDNA’s Skincare Report

DNA analysis can be used to identify genetic cellulite propensity. Based on your individual genetic composition, DNA testing can determine your genetic chance of getting this skin ailment. When you combine this with other cellulite-causing elements, you can gain a better understanding of cellulite and learn how to treat it should you ever develop it. 

There are millions of skincare products produced by thousands upon thousands of beauty and cosmetic companies, all of which promote their ability to reduce cellulite. Not to mention the numerous surgical and non-surgical methods that may be purchased. Try a skin DNA test to learn your potential hereditary susceptibility to specific skin issues. 

The LifeDNA Skincare Report provides individualized guidance on skincare regimens, product suggestions, and lifestyle adjustments. For instance, you can get personalized recommendations for lifestyle adjustments and potentially affordable treatments if you are genetically predisposed to developing cellulite. DNA tests for cellulite gene groups that promote cellulite formation are covered in the LifeDNA Skincare Report. Come get yours today.


  • Cellulite is a common cosmetic problem that affects a lot of people globally. This skin ailment is distinguished by the appearance of lumpy, dimpled skin, typically on the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.
  • About 80–90% of women will experience cellulite at some point in their life. Due to variations in connective tissue structure and fat distribution, it can also affect men, though it does so less frequently.
  • Cellulite, the unsightly dimpling of the skin, is not entirely influenced by genetic factors, but there is compelling evidence that they play a considerable role in its development.
  • Only a minor part of cellulite tendency is inherited. The effects of hormonal shifts, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices are all significant. 
  • Cellulite can be treated in a variety of ways that can also overall enhance skin texture and condition.

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*Understanding your genetics can offer valuable insights into your well-being, but it is not deterministic. Your traits can be influenced by the complex interplay involving nature, lifestyle, family history, and others.

Our reports and suggestions do not diagnose or treat any health conditions or provide any medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any other concerns about your results.


*Understanding your genetics can offer valuable insights into your well-being, but it is not deterministic. Your traits can be influenced by the complex interplay involving nature, lifestyle, family history, and others.

Our reports have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents on our website and our reports are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any other concerns about your results. The testimonials featured may have used more than one LifeDNA or LifeDNA vendors’ product or reports.