Cellulite causes and 4 great ways to improve your skin

“Cellulite is a multifactorial condition that is present in 80% to 90% of postpubertal women and is one of the most intolerable esthetic imperfections”

Agreed! Urgh!

What causes cellulite? Can you do anything about it? If you have cellulite, answers to these questions are all important. Finding out why you have cellulite is part of the process of figuring out how you can get rid of it.

I am waging war on cellulite. There is no single strategy. I need to win a series of simultaneous battles. I am arming myself with increased collagen consumption, a healthier diet, more exercise, a rocking butt facial routine, and what follows is why.

Not only do I get cellulite, but I also have the added joy of stretch marks. At around 16 years old, I underwent a sudden growth spurt and developed a roadmap of dark red lines all over my thighs and butt. These faded over time to silver atrophic lines that give unique accentuation to my thigh dimples.

The problem is, cellulite seems to be a head-scratcher in the scientific community. There are plenty of articles providing theories on why cellulite forms, but a lack of solid evidence.

We are fighting blind in our attempts to smooth out our butt dimples, but sometimes, working on theory can be just as good.

Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

Cellulite causes

Cellulite tends to appear on the lower body as dimpled skin(often described as orange peel or cottage cheese). Some people only get it around their butt, but cellulite on the legs and the abdomen is also common. It affects women more than men, and this could be because of their higher levels of estrogen.

So with no single cause in mind, we need to turn to some theories and discover trials that show promise.

Connective tissue

The following diagram shows the connective strands that connect the skin to the facia. You can see that as fat accumulates below the skin, a mattress effect occurs. As we age, connective tissues can lose elasticity contributing to deeper dimples.

Formation of Cellulite


There is the option of severing these connective tissues to create a smooth appearance to the skin in a cellulite treatment called subcision. The procedure is a highly invasive procedure that causes swelling bruising to the area.

This procedure is not for me. I am not a big fan of surgery and prefer to reserve my time on the table for emergencies only.

There are other cellulite treatments, such as laser, radio-frequency, and dermal filler methods. These are less invasive but cost both time and money. If you have the time and the money, this study gives you some visual representations of the results of different treatments.

A study in 2015 examined the use of specific bioactive collagen peptides to improve the appearance of cellulite with promising results. Note that although one of the authors was an employee of the product manufacturer, it is interesting that the study discusses type I and IV collagen found in different protein-based foods and collagen supplements.

There is evidence that the ingestion of hydrolyzed collagen improves skin density and elasticity. Advice to improve my skin is always welcome, especially as the wrinkles are starting to show. I like the holistic approach of improving my skin from the outside and the inside, and it should complement my butt facial nicely.

When combined with exercise, it appears that specific amino acids found in collagen support the synthesis of collagen in ligaments and tendons too, that is also super helpful information given my exercise targets.

Unhealthy diet

There is some evidence that foods high in fat, salt, and preservatives contribute to cellulite.

When my diet is unhealthy, I notice that my cellulite looks worse. It is especially noticeable after I eat processed foods, takeaways, and high-sugar foods – junk food.

There is also a tendency to gain weight when eating less healthy foods. Unhealthy food may contribute to additional body fat, which contributes to cellulite. Clean eating is a term that describes avoidance of these types of food. Consuming food that contains plenty of vitamins and minerals and balancing your macronutrients leads you to chose fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Eating healthy foods such as these helps regulate body fat and nourish the body.

Blood flow

According to the same study, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to cellulite. It would seem that sitting down for most of the day can weaken blood vessels decreasing blood flow to the adipose tissue (fat). It makes sense that a reduced blood flow would affect the fat tissues as we know that circulation delivers oxygen around the body, and our body needs oxygen.

Exercise is key. Exercise improves blood flow and circulation and burns calories, reducing stored body fat – a two-pronged attack on cellulite. Even if you are not going to join a gym first thing tomorrow morning, becoming more active and moving from a seated position regularly throughout your day will help.

Hmmm, I think I also read that collagen is involved in repairing the blood vessels walls…

Skin structure

According to this study, retinol can help improve the appearance of cellulite.

As I mentioned previously, my old stretch marks do nothing for my cellulite. I recently decided to make this one of my attacks on cellulite and started applying my facial skincare routine to my butt. My thinking here is that any improvement on my cellulite skin will help. I have been doing this for one week, and I can honestly report, I’ve noticed a slight improvement (My boyfriend agreed, although this may be a built-in survival response to a butt-related question).

I use a retinol serum and a vitamin C with hyaluronic acid skin cream moisturizer as part of my daily skincare routine. Then I use a Glycolic acid peel or salicylic acid masque once per week and apply this routine to my butt as well as my face.

I must mention that I also hold qualifications in skincare and beauty, so I feel confident with skin peels and skincare components. My products are for home use and available for anyone to buy. If you are unconfident, seek out some support from your friendly local salon.

I also want to mention that you should use retinol with caution. Be sure to read the instructions. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or enjoy sunbathing or sunbeds, you should not use retinol. Build up the strength of retinol gradually. It can cause skin reactions, so it is not suitable for everyone and always do a skin test.

In closing

My plan of attack on cellulite is all theory-based, and I am feeling excited about trying it out. It can’t hurt to get a little more exercise, eat a little healthier and take care of my skin a little more. Putting a little more effort into consuming more collagen can’t be a bad thing either. I hope it will serve me well in old age, with fewer wrinkles and mobile joints and hopefully, I will have a smooth butt too.