Cellulite develops when fat deposits located underneath the surface of the skin push against neighboring connective tissues. This causes the skin in the affected area to appear lumpy or dimpled. Cellulite can give the skin a texture similar to that of an orange peel. Mild cellulite is generally visible only when the affected area is pinched or compressed. However, severe cellulite creates peaks and valleys on the skin's surface. Patients with lighter skin tones often experience worse cellulite than those with darker skin tones. Many doctors consider cellulite normal.
Cellulite treatment is only necessary for cosmetic reasons. Topical treatments, such as retinol cream, can improve cellulite's appearance. Doctors may use liposuction for cellulite. Other options are cellulite laser treatments and cryolipolysis. However, patients benefit from understanding the risk factors for cellulite first. Cellulite prevention is quite effective for many of these factors.
While children rarely have cellulite, it is prevalent in adults. The changes to the skin's appearance associated with this issue typically begin in adolescence and continue as the patient goes through puberty. For many patients, the amount of cellulite they experience tends to increase with age. As individuals age, their skin produces less collagen, losing firmness, thickness, and elasticity. This loss can result in sagging skin, and it may worsen the dimples, peaks, and valleys on the skin's surface.
Aging can also increase a patient's body fat percentage and their risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Patients with these and other underlying medical conditions may find it harder to maintain a healthy weight and keep a regular exercise schedule. These factors could further increase the amount of cellulite an individual has. Patients who experience excessive skin sagging or a concerning degree of collagen loss may need laser or radiofrequency treatments to minimize cellulite appearance.