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What is cellulite?

The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of the skin that some people have on their hips, thighs, and buttocks. This appearance is much more common in women than in men because of differences in the way fat, muscle, and connective tissue are distributed in men and women's skin. The lumpiness of cellulite is caused by fat deposits that push and distort the connective tissues beneath skin, leading to the characteristic changes in appearance of the skin.

Cellulite is not related to the condition known as cellulitis, which is a spreading bacterial infection or inflammation of the skin and tissues beneath the skin.

Cellulite Pictures Slideshow: Causes, Myths and Treatments

What causes cellulite?

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The dimpled appearance of cellulite can be considered to be a normal variant -- one way that many perfectly normal human beings look. Heredity, skin thickness, gender, the amount and distribution of body fat, and age can all influence the extent to which cellulite is present or visible. While cellulite is more common in women than men, men can also be affected. Cellulite occurs in people of all races living all around the globe. Although female hormones may play a role in contributing to this pattern of fat distribution, cellulite is not treatable by hormone therapy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/25/2015

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Cellulite - Possible Causes Question: At what point in your life did you start developing cellulite? What do you think caused it?
Cellulite - Treatments and Therapy Question: What types of treatment or therapy have you received for cellulite?
Cellulite - Prevention Question: What lifestyle changes have you made or therapies have you tried to prevent cellulite? Do you exercise to prevent it?
Learn about ways to get rid of cellulite.

How do I get rid of the cellulite on my thighs?

Medical Author: Richard Weil, MEd, CDE
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

As for getting rid of cellulite, weight loss and exercise can have some effect since the muscle and skin tighten up, but the results vary from person to person. Your results depend on how hard and consistently you train, your age, the amount of collagen and elastin in your skin, and most importantly, genetics. I recommend aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week for 30-40 minutes, resistance exercise 2-3 times per week, and I suggest working the muscles extra hard where cellulite tends to accumulate, even though it isn't possible to "spot reduce." Exercises like side leg raises, low cable pulley work (hips and glutes), squats, lunges, and stair climbing or bench stepping all work the troublesome areas. And even if this prescription doesn't get rid of all your cellulite, it will help some, and it sure will make you strong and fit.