Cellulite is a term for the formation of lumps and dimples in the skin.
Common names for cellulite are orange-peel skin, cottage-cheese skin, hail damage, and the mattress phenomenon.
Cellulite can affect both men and women, but it is more common in females, due to the different distributions of fat, muscle, and connective tissue.
Grades of cellulite
A cellulite severity scale, published in 2009, ranks the condition using three grades:
Grade 1, or mild: There is an “orange-peel” appearance, with between 1 and 4 superficial depressions, and a slightly “draped” or sagging appearance to the skin.
Grade 2, or moderate: There are between five and nine medium-depth depressions, a “cottage cheese” appearance, and the skin appears moderately draped.
Grade 3, or severe: There is a “mattress” appearance, with 10 or more deep depressions, and the skin is severely draped.
The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it.
In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically.
If the fat cells protrude into the layer of skin, this gives the appearance of cellulite.
In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which may explain why are less likely to have cellulite than women.
Some other factors appear to be linked to the chance of having cellulite.