What Is Cellulite?
Under your skin, there’s a network of connective-tissue strands, called septae, that hold the fat in place. If the septae aren’t strong and tightly woven together (which may be determined by genetics), the fat can bulge out between them, creating ripples on the skin’s surface—known as cellulite. Women are more likely than men to have cellulite, since they have fewer and less tightly arranged septae. Women also have thinner skin, as well as hormones that can affect the size of fat cells and the strength of the septae. To truly eliminate the problem, says dermatologist Molly Wanner, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, “you would have to get rid of the fat and, essentially, change the interior structure of the skin.”
The Weight-Loss Factor
Because half the cellulite equation is fat, it would seem that losing weight through diet and exercise would help. And it might – but that depends on your skin’s elasticity. “If your skin bounces back after weight loss, you may notice a reduction in cellulite,” says Wanner. However, she adds, if your skin isn’t quite so resilient (hormones and aging could be partly to blame), “it can sag, which can make bumps look worse.”