What Are the Different Causes of Cellulite?

Gregory Hanson

The causes of cellulite are varied, but lifestyle and general health, gender, and heredity are particularly important in determining when or if cellulite deposits will appear. Men and women who lead more active lives and who have healthier diets are less apt to develop cellulite, and men are significantly less likely to develop cellulite than are women. Certain people have a genetic predisposition both to cellulite and to weight gain, which can, in turn, lead to the appearance of cellulite.

Some people are genetically predisposed to developing cellulite.
Some people are genetically predisposed to developing cellulite.

Cellulite consists of uneven and lumpy deposits of fat located just below the surface of the skin. The mechanics of the biological causes of cellulite are straightforward. Some parts of the skin are more tightly bound to underlying tissues than are other parts. When fat deposits form in these areas, they stretch the skin but do not break the tight connection, which leads to fat deposits that have a lumpy appearance. This process can be envisioned by pressing a mesh bag against a soft part of the body.

Cellulite on the stomach is common.
Cellulite on the stomach is common.

These deposits typically occur in areas where fat deposits normally accumulate. Cellulite on the legs, stomach, and buttocks are all common. Although many people consider the lumpy appearance of these deposits to be unsightly, they do not pose a health risk, and can form even on people within a healthy weight range for their height.

The most significant causes of cellulite relate to poor diet and lack of exercise. As the body gains weight, it is progressively more and more likely to turn some of that weight into cellulite deposits. Very lean bodies simply lack the necessary amounts of subcutaneous fat to form large accumulations. An unhealthy diet will cause the body to put on more weight in the form of fat, and this buildup of fatty tissue is one of the known causes of cellulite.

Biological gender is important in determining whether or not a person will develop cellulite, and women are much more likely to develop it than men. The specific mechanics of this process are not perfectly understood by scientists, but a main factor stems from the fact that women naturally put on more weight in areas where cellulite typically manifests while men tend to store fat in areas where it does not. Most women will show some sign of cellulite during the course of their lives.

Heredity is another of the most important causes of cellulite. Certain people are more prone both to accumulate fat and to build cellulite deposits, and can pass this predisposition on to their children. The specific genes responsible have not been identified, but cellulite is known to have some genetic causes.

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