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What Is the Difference between Cellulite and Fat?

By H. Lo
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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The difference between cellulite and fat is that cellulite is the term given to describe physical dimpling of skin, and fat is what cushions the body and, in general, acts as a store for energy. Cellulite and fat are linked because they essentially have a cause and effect relationship. This relationship between cellulite and fat is demonstrated by how cellulite forms. Basically, cellulite is the result of how fat deposits in the body. In essence, then, it can be said that fat causes cellulite, even though other factors, such as genes, contribute to the accumulation of cellulite as well.

There are two type of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat lies beneath the skin, between the skin and muscles, and visceral fat lies deeper in the body, beneath the muscles. Visceral fat is found in the abdominal cavity and fills in the spaces between organs. Both men and women have subcutaneous and visceral fat, but women tend to have more subcutaneous fat than men, which leads them to acquire more cellulite as well.

Although cellulite is a very common condition, the reason why women are usually more affected is that different sexes accumulate fat in different areas. The most common areas where cellulite appears are around the buttocks, hips and thighs, as well as the abdomen, breasts and upper arms. As women, in general, accumulate more fat in these areas than men, especially in the buttocks, hips and thighs, it is reasonable to expect that they exhibit more cellulite, too.

It is the way fat deposits in the body that causes the appearance of cellulite. Basically, the skin attaches to the muscle with fibrous cords. Fat lies between the skin and muscle, and as fat cells accumulate or enlarge, they push up at the skin. At the same time, the fibrous cords hold and pull the skin down. This pushing and pulling in different directions causes the dimpling of the skin that we call cellulite.

Although there is a relationship between cellulite and fat, there are other contributors to the accumulation of cellulite, such as aging, inactivity and stress. So while obesity or weight gain might affect the appearance of cellulite, even lean people exhibit the dimpling as well. The appearance of cellulite can range from mild to severe. Fat can cause a variety of health risks but cellulite is usually only viewed as unsightly and not as a serious medical condition.

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Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Sep 06, 2014

@raynbow- You may want to considering having liposuction if the appearance of your cellulite fat really bothers you. Just make sure you find a doctor with good credentials and experience doing the procedure so you will get good results.

It is also important to follow a healthful diet following liposuction. Eating foods that are low-fat and keeping your weight down will help keep more cellulite from developing after the procedure.

By Rundocuri — On Sep 06, 2014

@raynbow- Just as the article points out, cellulite fat doesn't necessarily have anything to do with gaining weight or being overweight. However, it does help to maintain a healthy body weight if you want to either prevent more cellulite from developing or to make it look less noticeable.

For example, if you are prone to cellulite development, you may have dimpling even if you are thin. As you gain weight, you will most likely see this dimpling become more pronounced.

By Raynbow — On Sep 05, 2014

Is there a good way to prevent cellulite fat from developing? I have tried creams to fix this problem, but I quickly found out that they do little beyond tightening the skin to make a difference in this type of fat.

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