What causes cellulite?

Fat cells are grouped together into large conglomerates (called adipocytes) separated by fibrous strands, made of elastin and collagen, which are anchored between the fascia superficialis and the skin holding the fat cells in place.

When the fat cells push against the skin these fibrous strands pull against the skin resulting in a dimpled or lumpy appearance.

Cellulite occurs more often in women than in men, as the fibrous strands in women are arranged in parallel rows, like pillars. This pattern lends itself to the compartmentalization of fat, which makes dimpling of the skin easily visible. Men’s collagen is arranged in an X-pattern which reduces the ability for compartments to form and create dimpling.

cellulite diagram

There are two main causes of cellulite:

  1. Poor lifestyle choices that lead to larger fat cells with increased water retention around them due to poor lymphatic drainage. As a result the adipocytes swell in size bulging up causing a more pronounced dimpled skin surface.
  2. As you age, the body naturally produces less collagen and elastin, and as woman age less oestrogen - these factors reduce the elasticity of the fibrous strands which means the dimpling becomes even more visible as the fibres become less stretchy.

As a result a healthy diet and exercise will always help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but becomes less effective as you age. However, the ONDA treatments can reduce the number of swollen fat cells and improve the lymphatic drainage while increasing the elasticity of those fibrous strands.