What percentage of women have cellulite

What Percentage of Women Have Cellulite?

Cellulite is far more common than most people realize. In actual fact, some studies show that roughly 98% of all women have cellulite, while others argue that the number is between 80 to 98%. Yet it is not only women who suffer from cellulite. Scientific American reports that 10% of men in industrial nations, such as the USA & UK, also battle with unsightly cellulite.

With this being as widespread as it is, there is no reason to shy away from discussing and understanding the dreaded orange peel, dimpled appearance which we call cellulite. Here we’ll take taking a closer look at the statistics and discussing why these groups of people are more afflicted than others. Cellulite, medically known as gynoid lipodystrophy, is something which can be brought under control once you fully understand how and why it occurs.

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How Does Cellulite Appear?

There are many factors which predispose one towards cellulite. Genetic factors increase the chance of it appearing, while studies show that it has absolutely nothing to do with the body fat percentage which you hold. The structure of the fat plays a far greater role. Your circulation determines the pressure forces against the fat set upon the top layers of tissue. When connective tissues weaken caused by various factors ranging from estrogen levels in flux to the pressure from excessive weight gain, the subcutaneous fat becomes stressed and pushes to the fore.

This results in the dimpled appearance known as cellulite. Women are more affected than men due to the regular fluctuation of estrogen which they experience. The fluctuation affects both the blood circulation to the connective tissue (weakening them) and it affects the circulation of your lymphatic system. Stagnant lymph become encased in weak connective tissue which worsens the appearance of cellulite.

The Formation of Cellulite is a Natural Process

Cellulite forms naturally in females due to being induced by the production of estrogen. The primary function of this hormone is to break down collagen found in the cervix during the time of delivery which allows the baby passage. When there is not enough estrogen to complete this process properly, women begin to suffer from cellulite. Estrogen acts upon the fibroblasts which then degrade the collagenase, responsible for the breakdown of collagen which surrounds the fat cells.

Fat cells are then allowed to disperse toward the soft tissue surface of the upper layer of skin and loose fat cells begin to expand by multiplying. This final stage is what results in the appearance of cellulite. When there is enough estrogen available there is no loss of collagen which prevents fat cells from escaping towards the surface of your skin. If fat cells do escape and reach their full size, new adipocytes are formed, otherwise known as a lipocyte or fat cell. Women need to take extra care to regulate and balance their hormones, pre-emptive to their cycles.

When Does Cellulite Normally First Occur?

Many women first notice the appearance of cellulite as they enter perimenopause. When this happens the blood circulation to the lymphatic circulation is impaired, while the body also experiences a dramatic drop to collagen production. This normally occurs for most women in their forties, however some experience premature menopause in their late thirties. In rare cases, this will only happen in your fifties.

A deficiency of collagen creates the perfect environment for cellulite to arise, weakening the connective tissue and thinning the skin. Without adequate elasticity, the dreaded “cottage cheese” is sure to appear.

Where Does Cellulite Typically Occur?

Cellulite typically occurs in the thighs, abdomen and buttocks. This is mainly due to cellulite being an interaction between the adipose tissue and connective tissues which are reacted upon by sexual hormones such as estrogen. The hips and thighs of women are influenced to a great degree by pregnancy, as these areas are used the most during pregnancy and lactation. This also makes them the least common areas for cellulite to occur in for men.

Cellulite can however also form in the belly, upper arms, and breasts. Irregular dietary habits, drugs and hormonal treatments are typically the root cause of cellulite in men, and for those who are afflicted at a young age. In many cases, a hormonal imbalance caused by another ailment in the body unknown to be connected, sets off a hormonal imbalance resulting in cellulite.

Smokers are More Likely to Suffer Cellulite

With blood circulation playing the greatest role in the up rise of subcutaneous fat and the consequent appearance of cellulite, smokers are at high risk. Smoking disrupts your circulation which hampers the body’s ability to produce collagen. In addition, smoking also degrades muscle tone. Yet another factor which makes cellulite appear even more dimpled and irregular.

Those who are overweight and smoking are therefore at the highest risk of having their skin distort to a dimpled appearance, making the cessation of smoking a fantastic choice for anyone suffering from cellulite.

Sedentary Life and Its Effect on Cellulite

Living a sedentary lifestyle, or one where you spend most of your time seated, can also result in unsightly cellulite. A lack of physical exercise causes poor muscle tone and weak connective tissue, worsening the problem. The stress placed upon your skin, connective tissue and the underlying subcutaneous fat, while in a fixed seated position on a regular basis, stresses through the appearance of cellulite.

Cellulite is Still Seen as a Major Problem

Despite the formation of cellulite being completely natural, mainstream society still views the condition in a horrible light. Statistics show a major rise in non-invasive surgical procedures enacted to get rid of cellulite. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports a rise of 19% in non-surgical cellulite treatments which is a 55% increase since the year 2000.

Non-invasive fat decreasing treatments that freeze away fat are up by 7% in 2018, while non-invasive skin tightening treatments targeting fat and tightening dropping skin rose by 9% between 2017 and 2018. Yet there are more and more people awakening to an attitude of acceptance rather than conforming to an adopted preferred self-image. The sooner this happens to a sufferer of cellulite, the sooner they can begin understanding the root issues behind it and taking steps to remedy the cause.

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How to Get Rid of Cellulite Fast

If you suffer from cellulite, you are not alone. As many as 98% of women have some degree of cellulite, and nearly 10% of men have it as well. However, the fact that it is so common doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause problems with a person’s appearance and self-esteem. Many people want to learn more how to get rid of cellulite fast, so let’s explore more the problem and look at solutions.

What is cellulite? How to get rid of cellulite fast

Cellulite is the formation of visible pockets of fat beneath the fibrous connective tissues of the skin. Cellulite is also known as “orange-peel skin,” “cottage-cheese skin,” and “hail damage,” because it creates a dimpled, uneven appearance to the outer layer of the skin. It is common in women, and usually appears on the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen, although it can appear anywhere that the body stores subcutaneous fat.

Fundamentally, cellulite is simply the interaction between the body’s fat cells, connective tissues, and the surface layer of the skin. It is more visible in women due to their increased predisposition to store body fat beneath the skin, and because men have thicker skin with more robust connective tissues.

Men tend to store body fat beneath their muscles, rather than just beneath the skin, so that even overweight men generally don’t have the characteristic dimpled appearance of cellulite.

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What causes cellulite?

Cellulite is caused by many different factors, which is one of the reasons it is so prevalent and difficult to get rid of.

Hormonal causes

In women, the hormone estrogen is most associated with the appearance of cellulite, due to its role in the way women accumulate and store body fat. However, the reduction of natural estrogen production during menopause can also cause increased cellulite, because the skin becomes thinner and less elastic. In men, cellulite is associated with low levels of the male hormone androgen.

Cellulite is also associated with natural levels of other hormones, including insulin and adrenaline.

Genetic causes

Statistically, more Caucasian women than Asian women have cellulite, so there is probably a genetic contributing component. There isn’t a specific gene for cellulite, but genes contribute to how the body produces, stores, and distributes body fat; the speed of the metabolism; the functioning of the lymph system; and the circulatory system. Variations in all of these factors are contributing factors for cellulite. So, you can’t inherit it, but you can inherit various predispositions toward or away from cellulite.

Lymphatic system causes

The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system, except that instead of being directly pumped by the heart and carrying blood throughout the body, it carries a clear fluid called “lymph” and has no dedicated pump. The lymphatic system is essential for a healthy immune system, but it also plays a crucial role in the transportation and absorption of fats, as well as the transportation and processing of interstitial fluids.

While there isn’t a wealth of research on the topic, many experts believe that poor lymphatic circulation contributes to cellulite, by inefficiently transporting fats and fluids within the body, allowing them to build up in unattractive ways.

Lifestyle causes

Certain behaviors and lifestyle factors contribute to the appearance of cellulite:

  • Stress: stress creates the hormone cortisol, which has a broad range of impacts on the body. Among other things, it triggers the accumulation and storage of body fat, which can increase visible cellulite
  • Body mass index: People with a higher percentage of body fat tend to have increased appearance of cellulite, simply because it is caused by the size and location of fat cells
  • Dehydration: Dehydration has many effects on the body, but it is key in supporting smooth, supple skin, and the cellular processes that protect and renew skin. Inadequate water intake also makes skin thinner, and reveals more of the unevenness of cellulite
  • Sedentary lifestyles: Sitting at a computer all day does more than hurt your lower back. Physical movement promotes the production of collagen, which keeps skin smooth and supple, and sitting at a desk inhibits lower-body circulation of oxygen-rich blood and fluids in the lymphatic system. Over time, long periods of sitting cause a number of unsightly problems with the buttocks and legs, including cellulite, loose and sagging skin, varicose and spider veins, and fluid retention
  • Diet: An unhealthy diet causes many negative health effects. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and B-complex vitamins reduce the appearance of cellulite. Monounsaturated fats like those in avocados and olive oil help keep skin healthy and prevent accumulation of body fat, while stimulating foods like chilies, saffron, and cinnamon enhance metabolism and discourage the growth of fat cells

Social causes, or the ‘Mystery of Modern Cellulite’

The term “cellulite” was first used in the 1920s, and spread to fashion magazines in the 1960s and 1970s.

Our understanding of the causes of cellulite, and the fact that most women have it to some degree, would seem to indicate that it is a historical fact, and only recently has it become an aesthetic problem. Some theorize that in modern times, since the introduction in the 1960s of the miniskirt and the bikini, cellulite has become more visible than it was in the clothing of the past, and therefore more of an issue.

However, if you look at vintage photographs of women, very few of them have cellulite, and it can’t all be attributed to modern airbrushing and photography tricks. Vintage erotica, burlesque, flappers, and beach photographs exist going back to the early 20th century, and even women with more body fat at that time had smooth legs and buttocks. Peter Paul Rubens painted full-figured nude women with smooth skin back in the 1500s.

On the other hand, media representation tends to represent a filtered version of reality. If you were to look at a modern clothing catalog, fashion magazine, or music video, you might conclude the same thing: that women of the modern era don’t have cellulite either, although we know that is factually untrue.

So, is cellulite a modern condition caused by contemporary lifestyles? Or is it something that women have always had, but that doesn’t appear in historic images or photographs of women? Has selective representation simply omitted cellulite from our visual record, or is it truly increasing in prevalence? The answer is unclear.

Grades of cellulite

There are four grades of the severity of cellulite, which help to determine the appropriate treatment.

Grade 0: no cellulite present

Grade I: Smooth skin when standing and lying down. Pinching the skin reveals the classic surface dimpling.

Grade II: Visible cellulite when standing, but not when lying down

Grade III: Deep dimpling visible when standing or lying down

What can you do about cellulite?

Due to the complex, interwoven contributing causes, there are many ways to treat cellulite. Unfortunately, there are also many claims for cures and treatments that don’t work at all; there are many false claims and ineffective products in the marketplace.

Most effective cellulite treatments take time, but if you want to skip ahead and find out how to get rid of cellulite fast, check out this video: [LINK]

Here are some of the most common ways people treat cellulite.

Topical creams and ointments

Put simply, no topical treatment actually reduces cellulite. Some topical creams and ointments do help to plump up skin cells and reduce the visual appearance of cellulite. The act of massaging lotion into the skin is itself beneficial; massage promotes circulation in the blood and lymph systems, which can help smooth skin.

In topical treatments, look for the same ingredients you would look for in an anti-aging, skin firming face cream: caffeine, retinol, antioxidants, and collagen. Check for reviews from reputable sources, and be aware that most of them take 4-12 weeks for full effect.


Diet can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, not only by reducing the amount of body fat and the size of fat cells, but also because a diet rich in nutrients helps promote healthy skin and circulation. When dieting for weight loss, make sure that you stay healthy and don’t try to lose too much weight too fast. Aiming for 5 pounds a month is a healthy, sustainable weight loss goal, and generally involves limiting calories to about 1,500/day of healthy, nutritionally rich foods.

Foods to seek out and include are:

  • Healthy fats: Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, avocado, seeds and nuts, medium-chain-triglycerides found in coconut oil, and omega-3 fats found in fish all diminish the appearance of cellulite. Healthy fats actually help to speed weight loss, promote healthy hair and skin, provide sustained energy, and make food taste better and more satisfying. While fats are high in calories, healthy fats are an important part of a complete diet
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that combat free radicals and help promote healthy cells. Antioxidants are generally found in high levels in deeply colored fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red cabbage, red leaf lettuce, pomegranate, sweet potatoes, and even dark chocolate. Antioxidants also stimulate the production of collagen and help the body break down excess fats, so they belong in an anti-cellulite diet
  • B-complex vitamins: B-complex vitamins show up on food labels as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and are also frequently denoted with vitamin B1, B6, etc. Found in high quantities in fish, eggs, and soy, B-complex vitamins are beneficial to the skin and connective tissues, promoting smooth and even skin. They also aid metabolism and cell renewal
  • Capsaicin: Spicing up your food adds no calories and has a variety of health benefits. Capsaicin, found in chili peppers, red peppers, and paprika, accelerates cellular repair, fortifies connective tissue, promotes circulation, and helps burn fat. It also boosts metabolism and creates a feeling of fullness, both of which help any weight loss efforts
  • Hydration: Being healthy, losing weight, and reducing the appearance of cellulite all involve more-than-adequate hydration. Water is required for all the body’s systems to work properly, so the body first uses water to support circulation, digestion and waste removal, and healthy organs. Only when these vital functions are protected will the body then begin to use water to promote skin cell renewal, and create a visible difference in the appearance of skin that is fine, uneven, or sagging. You cannot rely on a sensation of thirst to trigger enough water consumption to fight cellulite: it’s important to make a conscious habit of consuming water all day every day, in order for it to show visibly as smoother, tighter skin

Spa treatments

Many spas and aesthetic boutiques offer treatments for cellulite. Some common (and uncommon) spa treatments for cellulite include:

  • Massage: Massage promotes circulation and is healthy for the skin. Lymphatic massages specialize in draining the lymph system, which may reduce the appearance of cellulite
  • Cupping: Cupping is a technique derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine, in which cups are used to create a vacuums that pull the skin away from the muscle, reversing the inward-pushing pressure of massages and the continual impact of sitting. Over time, cupping can improve the appearance of cellulite.
  • Whole body cryotherapy: Cryo-saunas are popping up in gyms and spas all over the country, and 2-3 minutes exposure to extreme cold promotes circulation, reduces inflammation, boosts metabolism, and helps promote skin renewal. Many women claim that cryotherapy has helped with their cellulite
  • Radio frequency and ultrasound devices: Many of these devices combine the benefits of vacuum pressure and targeted sound waves intended to break up and fat cells. These treatments are generally aimed at body fat, not cellulite specifically, and many people report a reduction in visible fat in the treated area, but not necessarily a reduction in cellulite. These treatments are expensive, and the results are not long-term; treatment must be continued for best effect
  • Lasers: A variety of lasers on the marketplace target collagen and connective tissues in the skin, stimulating and smoothing the deeper layers of the skin. Some laser treatments are combined with massage and radio frequency to more comprehensively address cellulite. These treatments are expensive, and need to be repeated multiple times for results, which vary widely. Typically, laser treatments last longer than ultrasound treatments, and have a better result specifically on cellulite, but most women report an improvement or reduction in cellulite, rather than completely smooth skin

Medical treatments

With all medical treatments, do a lot of research before you make up your mind. Many of these procedures have risks and side effects. Check the credentials of a cosmetic doctor and read reviews of them and the clinic or facility. If you have existing health conditions or concerns, speak with your personal physician before consulting with a cosmetic surgeon.

Liposuction: Liposuction targets and surgically removes fat cells. It is aimed at reducing fat deposits under the skin, which may have an incidental effect on cellulite, but it is not a cellulite specific treatment. In fact, lumpy and uneven fat distribution is often a result of liposuction. Laser-assisted liposuction may be more effective at treating cellulite, but has a smaller treatment area than traditional liposuction.

Treatments to avoid

  • Mesotherapy: Mesotherapy is a blanket term for injections under the skin, and is not FDA approved for cellulite. While it is advertised as a cellulite treatment, and some people may have gotten results from it, the vagueness of the term, uncertainty about what exactly is being injected, lack of professional standards and guidelines, and risk of side effects mean that this procedure should be avoided
  • A subcision is a minor surgical procedure in which a blade is inserted under the skin and a doctor physically cuts the subcutaneous connective tissues that lead to the surface dimpling of cellulite. This procedure is painful and hasn’t been proven very effective for treating cellulite
  • Various injections. Carboxy therapy injects carbon dioxide gas under the skin, and other treatments include injecting fillers (as on the face) to “fill in” dimpling areas, or injecting other substances that claim to target and eradicate fat cells. The wide variety of these treatments and lack of FDA approval for most of them mean that they should probably be avoided for now


As we can have seen, cellulite is a natural function of the way a woman’s body stores subcutaneous fat. There are a number of natural, lifestyle-based methods to improve the smoothness of skin, and reduce the appearance of cellulite. While there are many commercial treatments for it, many of them are expensive and the effects are inconsistent and often temporary at best. However, for those who want to learn how to get rid of cellulite fast, watch the Truth About Cellulite video for a great solution.

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Cellulite: How to Reduce Its Appearance


On your cheeks, dimples are perfectly fine—cute even. On your thighs? Not so much—especially with short-shorts season right around the corner. But cellulite is more than just a bummer; it can also be a major blow to your self-esteem. Women who have cellulite think they’re less attractive than women without cellulite, according to a new Harris Poll commissioned by Cynosure Inc, a cosmetic, aesthetic, and medical laser company.

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Harris Interactive surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. women above the age of 18. Out of the women who admitted to having cellulite (40 percent, for the record), 90 percent were bothered by the condition. Of the women who reported feeling insecure due to their cellulite, 76 percent also said that it makes them feel unattractive.

So what is cellulite exactly? Basically, the layer of fat beneath your skin gets squished and squeezed by bands of collagen, fibrous connective tissues that are arranged in a manner that makes bits of fat pop out and up, resulting in the dimpled appearance, says Alicia D. Zalka, MD, a Yale-affiliated dermatologist and founder of Surface-Deep.com. Being overweight isn’t the culprit behind spongy-looking thighs, though having more body fat might make it appear worse, she says. Genetics, inflammation, and hormonal fluctuations due to having your period or aging can all make cellulite worse, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Cellulaze, a procedure offered by the company that commissioned the study, is the only FDA-approved cure for cellulite. Cellulaze involves inserting a tiny laser under the skin to break down the actual structure of cellulite, says Barry DiBernardo, MD, director of New Jersey Plastic Surgery in Montclair, NJ, and one of the lead clinical investigators affiliated with Cynosure. The procedure can be pricy—anywhere from $300 to $8,000, depending on how large the treatment area is—but you only need to do it once to see results. About three months post-treatment, you should have noticeably smoother skin, and about six months post-treatment, you shouldn’t see any cellulite at all, says DiBernardo.

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If you can’t shell out $300 (or more) right now, there are some strategies that’ll temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Try these stay-smooth tactics:

Apply topical exfoliants and creams Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin can make dimpling look worse, says Zeichner. The easy fix: Exfoliate to buff your skin so it looks as smooth as possible. Certain creams are also designed to minimize the appearance of cellulite. Look for ones that contain caffeine since it can shrink fat cells by dehydrating them. You may also want to consider using a topical retinoid: It’ll boost collagen growth and repair damaged collagen, plumping up your skin to minimize the quilted appearance, says Zalka.

Be OCD about sunscreen UV rays can damage collagen, which ultimately makes cellulite more apparent, says Zeichner. Wear SPF daily to protect your skin (click here to find the best sunscreen for you). Creams containing antioxidants can also help since they can reduce UV-induced collagen damage, resulting in healthier-looking, stronger skin, says Zalka.

Eat well—and exercise regularly Loading up on veggies and hitting the treadmill won’t actually get rid of cellulite, but dimples are much less noticeable on toned legs, says Zeichner. Plus, maintaining your weight through exercise and a healthy diet will help keep skin in top, taut shape. (Try these two yoga poses to help smooth spongy thighs.) Zalka also recommends indulging in a massage: Stimulating blood flow will temporarily smooth out rumpled skin.

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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