Cellulite is a kind of fat tissue in the subcutaneous layer of the skin that contains constricting bands of connective tissue. This connective tissue, which varies in thickness and is laced with fat cells, is held in place by a network of fibers that protects our body, cushioning our muscles and organs; it is surrounded by a liquid that both nourishes it and provides it with an effective waste system. When all is working well in the system, waste products are removed and smooth curves result; when fats, fluids and toxins are trapped deep in the skin (below the epidural layer), however, the connective tissue thickens and hardens, giving a dimpling effect. As we mature, the layer of skin thins, resulting in the rippled appearance of cellulite.
Is there a difference between cellulite and fat? Though everyone has a smooth layer of fat, individual amounts depend on weight, lifestyle and genetics. This fat layer is an insulator for the body and cushions the organs, muscles and nerves. Cellulite, on the other hand, is lumpy and provides no padding whatsoever. It only occurs in certain areas of the body: the thighs, buttocks, abdomen and breasts. When men get cellulite, it tends to be on the neck and abdomen.
Cellulite is not necessarily a factor of body weight. You don’t have to be heavy to have cellulite. Though diet and lifestyle affect cellulite formation, a large part of cellulite is comprised of toxins and fat that builds up in the body, and can affect women of any size, weight and body structure.