Cellulite, what is it?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
The lumps and ripples that are sometimes observed on the thighs, hips, or buttocks are commonly referred to as 'cellulite'. Despite popular belief, cellulite is not a unique substance, but merely ordinary body fat that's trapped between connective tissue and the skin. As the fat cells push upward against the skin, they're caught in a web of connective tissue. The effect is something like a sofa that's indented with upholstery buttons: some areas protrude, while others are held back, creating an uneven surface. Men tend to have thicker skin and are therefore less prone to exhibit cellulite. When fat storage occurs in the hips and thighs rather than around the waist, as is often the case with women, cellulite is more likely to appear. So far, no technique has been proven to permanently correct cellulite. Liposuction rarely improves cellulite appearance because it removes deeper layers of fat, not the superficial fat responsible for cellulite. Removing fat too close to the surface is dangerous, as it can destroy blood vessels and cause the skin to die. A suction-assisted massage technique known as Endermologie ® (en-der-MAWL-oh-gee) may temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, but its long-term results are uncertain.

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