Cellulite is a term that is used to describe fat deposits under the skin that outwardly give the skin a dimpled, or orange-peel like appearance. Cellulite is most often seen in woman because the fat is arranged in large chambers separated by columns of collagen fibers. In overweight people excess fat is stuffed in these compartments causing them to bulge out. On the surface of the skin the bulging provides the dimply appearance of cellulite, especially in areas such as the hips, buttocks or thighs. Cellulite is predetermined by genetics so even thin women can develop the appearance. Factors such as hormones, pregnancy, and aging may all attribute to the weakening of the collagen fibers to give the cellulite appearance.
Review Date 10/8/2018
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.