What is cellulite?

Cellulite is a complex phenomenon resulting from a combination of different factors, the main one being hormone variations in women.
This problem mainly affects women, whether or not they are overweight, and can be found on specific areas of the body: the back of the thighs, the buttocks, the stomach and the upper arms.
Within the hypodermis, adipose cells known as adipocytes are packed into small compartments. If the number and volume of these adipocytes increase, these small compartments swell. They then take on a dome shape that affects the dermis and epidermis. The surface of the skin becomes bumpy, which is where the frequently used expressions "orange peel" and "the mattress phenomenon" come from (the skin takes on a dimpled appearance).

Cellulite is aggravated by poor blood and lymphatic circulation.

Considered a normal physiological phenomenon, cellulite has no health consequences but can cause discomfort, localised pain and embarrassment.

There are three different types of cellulite, which are sometimes combined: 


Aqueous cellulite (or infiltration)

Soft and dispersed, it is only slightly visible. It is primarily due to poor circulation. The cellulite itself is not painful, but may be accompanied by the uncomfortable sensation of heavy legs and swelling (water retention).

Adipose cellulite

This soft, painless, localised cellulite is generally associated with poor diet and a lack of physical activity.

Fibrous cellulite

Hard and painful to the touch, it has a pronounced bumpy appearance ("orange peel") and purplish colour. This type of cellulite is well-established and deep inside the tissues.

Fatty cellulite is different from infectious cellulite, which is caused by bacteria penetrating the skin.

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The main factors involved in cellulite:


Female hormones

which play a key role in the fat-storing process.

Genetic factors

Women whose mothers have widespread cellulite are more at risk of developing it themselves.


A diet too high in salt, sugar and saturated fat and low in dietary fibre can cause cellulite to appear.

Poor blood circulation

Poor venous return, lymphatic deficiency, microcirculation problems and water retention are often associated with the presence of cellulite.

Lack of physical exercise

The leg muscles act like pumps, promoting venous return. Using these muscles leads to good blow flow. Conversely, insufficient physical activity can lead to a slowing down of the blood flow and blood circulation problems.


It reduces tissue oxygenation levels and leads to premature ageing of the skin.


Depending on your body type, it can lead to water retention and fat storage.

Taking oral contraception or certain medications

(hormone treatments, antihistamines, corticosteroids).

Cellulite is not automatically linked to body weight. It can be present in both slim women and women who are overweight. However, being overweight makes the cellulite more noticeable.

How to treat cellulite

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