What Causes Cellulite (And How to Get Rid Of It)

Cellulite is the dimply skin with orange peel-like texture that so many of us have come to detest. It’s not easy to get rid of, but our very own Dr. Peters in Germantown has recently made great strides treating women with cellulite – more on that later.

Who Gets Cellulite?

Cellulite seems to almost exclusively affect women – or at least no one has ever heard a man complain about it! If you have it mildly, you might only see it if you squeeze your skin. In more severe cases, you can easily see the uneven surface of the skin. A whopping 80-90% of women are thought to be affected by it.

It is much more common in women because our fat and connective tissue just happen to be allocated in a way that can make the skin look lumpy under the “right” conditions. The best way to understand what causes cellulite is to imagine the skin like a quilt. The fat underneath the skin acts like padding, and the fibrous tissue connecting our muscles with the skin is like the stitching. In some people, the resulting “quilt” is even and smooth, and in others it is lumpy.

Cellulite typically appears on our thighs and buttocks, but you can also have it on your belly, upper arms, and even breasts.

Why Do We Get Cellulite?

While it’s not true that skinny women can’t have cellulite, the underlying fat pushing up against the skin can certainly exacerbate it. The more fat there is, the more it can contribute to the unevenness.

But other factors also play a role:

  • Thinner skin makes cellulite more visible. 
  • Aging can make cellulite more prevalent, because our skin loses more and more elasticity the older we get. To use another analogy, it’s a bit like that bathing suit from two seasons ago that has lost its stretchy threading and sags badly instead of hugging our bottom tightly.
  • The hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth can also bring forth cellulite in women who previously haven’t had it. This is thought to be connected to the increase in estrogen. In fact, chronic use of oral contraceptives is also linked to cellulite.
  • And lastly, there is the matter of genetics: As so often, you can blame your genes if you have a tendency to develop cellulite, or praise your genes if you’ve been spared.

Ways to Reduce Cellulite

There are almost as many home remedies for cellulite as there have been bad days in 2020, and most of these are not effective. 

While a true cure remains elusive, you do have options that can help reduce your cellulite. They all basically have to do with reducing fat. As we’ve said before, being skinny does not guarantee that you won’t have cellulite. But having less fat pushing up against the connective tissue reduces the appearance of existing cellulite.

Here are Some DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Do exercise regularly – cardio to reduce body fat, and squats, lunges, and weights to develop muscle tone
  • Don’t yo-yo diet; the more your skin stretches, the more it loses its elasticity, so maintaining a healthy weight is key
  • Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and cutting down on coffee and other dehydrating substances
  • Get plenty of good quality sleep, as this is also linked to maintaining a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke. Smokers seem to have larger than normal concentrations of cellulite, as has been linked by researchers. 
  • Don’t think that tanning solves the problem. Darker skin might make your skin look more uneven, but you run the risk of damaging and thinning your skin in the long run.

A One-Time Procedure to Treat Cellulite

To truly make a dent – no pun intended! – in reducing the appearance of cellulite on your skin, consider a one-time non-surgical skin tightening treatment, a radio frequency powered form of liposuction that achieves great skin tightening results. Dr. Mark Peters, the board-certified plastic surgeon at the NuBody Concepts Memphis practice, has found innovative ways to utilize the BodyTite technology to target cellulite in women. For these efforts, he recently won First Place in the InMode Expert Clinician Awards Program. 

BodyTite attacks fat cells, and specifically those connective tissue strands that hold down the skin and can cause dimpling. Visit our Before and After Gallery for Cellulite to view NuBody Concepts patients who received this treatment.

NuBody Concepts Nashville cellulite reduction before and after

Bodytite is minimally-invasive. There are also non-invasive alternatives such as Exilis and ThermiTight, but in general you can expect better outcomes with the more invasive option.

To learn more, contact us to set up a personal consultation.


US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health: Cellulite – a Review.

Each patient is unique. What your treatment will look like is determined by you and the plastic surgeon who you will meet with in a personal consultation.