Cellulite is an accumulation of old fat cell clusters that solidifies and hardens as the surrounding tissue loses its elasticity.
Cellulite affects around 90 % of women and 10 % of men during their lifetime. On the surface, cellulite appears as lumpy or dimpled skin. However, the process of developing cellulite is more than skin deep.
The puckering of skin happens when the layer of fat beneath the skin pushes against connective tissue and bulges, causing the characteristic orange-peel or cottage cheese appearance. For women, the risk of developing cellulite increases with age and peaks near menopause. Hormonal changes, specifically a decline in estrogen levels, may contribute to changes in circulation and a reduction in the production of collagen.
Other risk factors include high levels of insulin and catecholamines, both integral in the breakdown and storage of fat molecules.
Besides being cosmetically unappealing, cellulite really is unhealthy. Toxins and petrochemicals tend to accumulate in fatty tissue, contributing to hormonal imbalance, neurological problems and a higher risk of disease.
Women have a higher risk of developing cellulite as there is a significant difference in the way their connective tissue and fat cells are arranged compared to men. Fat cells in women tend to be arranged vertically under the skin.