A Look at What Causes Cellulite

Anyone dealing with cellulite knows beyond the shadow of any doubt what a frustrating condition it can really be. Not only is it unsightly, but it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of as well. Cellulite really doesn’t play fair either. Although it can be more prevalent in people who are overweight, it’s certainly not something that’s exclusive to overweight people. That said, a person can eventually reach a point where they’re considered downright skinny but still be dealing with cellulite. So what exactly are the causes of cellulite? What can you control – and what can you not?

What Causes Cellulite

More than the Usual Suspects…

The reason for this is that cellulite is a condition that has many causes and contributing factors. Being overweight and being out of shape are only two of those… and they’re not even the ones with the most impact on whether or not you ever develop cellulite. However, before you can understand the causes of cellulite, it’s helpful to have a working understanding of what cellulite really is and how it develops.

A Closer Look at Cellulite Development

causes of cellulite

Fat deposits under the skin give cellulite its appearance

Also known as adiposis edematosa, cellulite is what you get when fat deposits form directly under the surface of the skin. The fat itself places pressure on the web-like connective structure of your skin. This causes the appearance of the fat to bubble up in some areas, but remain restrained in others. This phenomenon is responsible for the trademark dimpled, cottage cheese-like appearance we associate with cellulite.

Medically speaking, cellulite comes in a variety of “grades”. The most minor of these grades describes cellulite that exists on a structural and cellular level, but doesn’t really manifest outwardly as far as visible indicators (i.e. the “cottage cheese” effect). The most severe grade of cellulite involves a visible dimpling and roughness as far as the skin’s outward appearance. Cellulite of an intermediate grade falls somewhere between the two extremes. Where you fall as far as the severity of your own cellulite is going to depend on where you rank as far as the following factors.


cellulite causes

Thanks Mom!

Many people seem to associate the appearance of visible cellulite with being overweight or leading a lifestyle that’s generally unhealthy. However, while weight and lifestyle do factor into the equation, they’re far from the most influential factors at work. The largest cause of visible cellulite in a given individual is actually one that’s beyond anyone’s control – simple genetics!

The reason for this is that genetics actually govern many of the variables that can dictate whether or not cellulite is going to be a problem for you. Your genetic background determines what your gender is, as well as what your ethnic make-up is going to be. Genetics are going to dictate whether or not you have thin, delicate skin that is more prone to the development of cellulite. Issues like metabolic function, circulatory efficiency, and specifics as far as how your body distributes the fat it stores all are governed by genetics as well.

Hormonal Factors

hormones cause cellulite

The gift that keeps on giving

Just like genetics, other aspects of one’s unique body chemistry are going to play a major role in whether or not you personally have to deal with cellulite. In fact, hormones are one of the leading reasons that women tend to be more prone to cellulite as a rule than men are. Female hormones – such as estrogen and prolactin – all contribute to the formation of cellulite. However, many medical experts believe that noradrenaline, insulin, and various hormones produced by the thyroid also play an important role.

If you suffer from hormonal imbalances, then you may find that speaking to a doctor and seeking treatment makes a difference over time as far as cellulite goes. However, some effects hormones have on cellulite are simply things that you need to learn to live with and manage to the best of your ability.

Lifestyle Choices

As is the case with most body related issues, cellulite is undeniably linked to various lifestyle choices. Although being overweight and inactive are far from the most important factors when it comes to the development of cellulite, they’re still important things to take into consideration. Rising body fat levels and persistent weight gain are naturally going to increase the appearance of cellulite as fat deposits grow.

Inactivity is a huge part of this equation. The rising prevalence of day jobs that require people to log long, sedentary hours behind a desk staring at a computer screen instead of working with their hands provides the perfect set of conditions for the development of cellulite. Other people may work on their feet, but nevertheless wind up standing in one position for long periods of time. Retail workers and cashiers are perfect examples.

Even clothing choices can contribute to whether or not cellulite is an issue for you. For instance, underwear or even tight pants that can restrict blood flow to cellulite-prone areas like the thighs and the buttocks can cause or exacerbate cellulite development. People who smoke or drink heavily are thought by many experts to be more prone to cellulite as well.

Dietary Choices

foods that cause cellulite

Let this hot man demonstrate your choices…

Anything body-related – cellulite included – will always be related to diet. After all, we really are what we eat. People who eat unhealthy foods that are high in the wrong types of fat or high in refined carbohydrates are going to be more prone to the development of cellulite. Processed foods, junk food, fast food, and alcohol all also contain chemicals and compounds that the body finds hard to digest. This makes the calories obtained from those foods more likely to be turned into body fat and also cellulite.

Poor diets also tend to be low in fiber and deficient when it comes to water intake. This inhibits the body’s ability to purge itself of toxins. Toxic build-up can contribute to many health issues, including but not limited to cellulite.

Although there’s no way to fight back against factors like genetics, you can certainly do something about lifestyle-related choices if you’re worried about your cellulite. Do what you can to clean up your diet and stay active in at least your spare time. Drink plenty of water, quit smoking, and avoid drinking too much. You’re sure to notice an improvement in the appearance of your cellulite over time.

Want to learn more? Check out my blog posts below
What is Cellulite?
Does Fish Oil Cause Cellulite?

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