What Is Cellulite?
Cellulite is a cosmetic, localized skin disease that causes pimples on the skin surface. The bumpy “orange peel” texture is a combination of expanding fat cells that accumulate under the skin and fibrous bands (septa) that run perpendicular to the skin surface. Enlarged fat cells cause small bulges, while the narrow septa cause wrinkles. In medicine, cellulite can be referred to as edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy, gynoid lipodystrophy or adiposis edematosa.
Cellulite is not a disease, but a skin disorder that is very common in women. The dimple-skin syndrome generally affects certain areas of the abdomen, hips, legs and buttocks. Many women complain of cellulite on the back of the thighs.
Although almost all women get cellulite anywhere, women are often embarrassed by the cottage cheese-like texture of the skin and try to get rid of cellulite or reduce its appearance. Why do we feel embarrassed when almost everyone has it? High-profile cellulite researchers said in a study that photoshopped media images deceive the public about how common this condition actually is, which makes us feel bad about it.
Most women know how cellulite looks from the outside. The condition is often compared to the peel of an orange, since cellulite has the same bumpy or knob-like appearance. The dimples may be small and scattered, or you may notice a larger depression on the buttocks or back of the thighs.
What does cellulite look like from the inside? You can think of cellulite as a collection of small, fat-filled balloons that get caught between tissue layers that are connected by large rubber bands.
Under the uppermost layers of skin (epidermis and dermis), fat cells store excess energy. Small connective tissue bands run vertically between these fat cells, connecting the upper layers of skin to deeper tissue in your body. The bands form chambers or mini pockets, in which normal sized fat cells have plenty of room to stay.
However, as the fat cells expand, the chambers become denser and begin to bulge, creating a small bulge on the skin. However, the bands remain bound to deeper tissue and this creates a “valley” surface appearance. The combination of bulges and valleys on top of the skin creates dimples, which we call cellulite.
In some clinical situations, the appearance of your cellulite may be graded. There are three types of cellulite.
Grade 1 Cellulite: You have smooth skin as you lie down and get up.
Cellulite Grade 2: You have a smooth skin while you lie down.
Cellulite Grade 3: While standing and lying down, dimples appear