Why Do You Only Get Cellulite In Certain Places?

Photographed by Kate McCurdy.
Your cellulite is normal and natural. Yet we've been taught to fear it, be disgusted it, and feel ashamed about it. That leaves plenty of the facts about cellulite shrouded in dimply mystery. What even is cellulite? Where does it come from? And why does it only show up in certain places on your body?

Well, we know that cellulite forms when fat cells collect between your skin and muscle tissue. Experts believe that the fibers connecting your skin to your muscles (with fat cells sandwiched in the middle) pull the fat cells down as they continue to push up on your skin, which causes an uneven distribution of pressure. So you're left with the bumpy fat known as cellulite.

This might sound strange, but it's helpful to think of cellulite as more of a process (the pulling and pushing) than just the end result (those dimples on your butt). And there are a few things that help that process along. Number one is definitely fat, and having more fat on your body makes cellulite more likely. But everyone has some fat, so no one is totally immune to cellulite.

We also know that estrogen can encourage your body to produce more fat, which may help explain why cellulite is more common (nearly ubiquitous, in fact) among women than men. And your genetics matter here, too, as your vulnerability to cellulite seems to be at least partly inherited. It's also extremely common for women to begin developing cellulite after puberty, and it becomes even more common as we age and our skin loses some of its elasticity.

So, finally, why do you only get cellulite in some places? Well, women (who are already predisposed to cellulite due to hormones and genetics) tend to accumulate the most fat on our legs and butt. So that's where cellulite will usually appear for most of us. If you're someone who tends to have more fat on your stomach or somewhere else, that's probably where you'll see more cellulite. Maybe not the most groundbreaking explanation, but that's simply how it works.

Let's just reiterate that cellulite is a totally natural part of growing up and getting older. It's not dangerous or a sign of some scary, undiagnosed illness. So you don't need to hide or treat it. Spoiler: Most of those creams that claim to reduce cellulite simply don't deliver, and other "treatments" are far more expensive than they are effective. If you haven't done so yet, now is the time to make peace with your butt dimples — because they're not going anywhere.

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