Cellulite is the herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue that manifests topographically as skin dimpling and nodularity, often on the pelvic region (specifically the buttocks), lower limbs, and abdomen. Cellulite occurs in most postpubescent females. A review gives a prevalence of 85 to 98% of women, indicating that it is physiologic rather than pathologic. It can result from a complex combination of factors ranging from hormones to heredity.
If you’re like most human women, that back’s got some cellulite. By some estimates, up to 90 percent of all women have cellulite.
The causes of cellulite include changes in metabolism, physiology, diet and exercise habits, obesity, sex-specific dimorphic skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, hormonal factors, genetic factors, the microcirculatory system, the extracellular matrix, and subtle inflammatory alterations.
Cellulite treatments come into play because those dimples don't discriminate based on size or weight (you can actually thank your genes). It's hormones, like estrogen, that play a role in the development of cellulite, which may be why cellulite often worsens during pregnancy. This is also why it's uncommon to see it in men (except men in an androgen-deficient state).
Cellulite is a multifactorial condition and can be resistant to the array of treatments currently available. Aside from 'topical' products (creams, ointments, etc) and injectables (eg collagenous), treatments for cellulite include non-invasive therapy such as mechanical suction or mechanical massage. Energy-based devices include radio frequency with deep penetration of the skin, ultrasound, laser and pulsed-light devices. Combinations of mechanical treatments and energy-based procedures are widely used. More invasive 'subcision' techniques utilize a needle-sized micro-scalpel to cut through the causative fibrous bands of connective tissue. Subcision procedures (manual, vacuum-assisted, or laser-assisted) are performed in specialist clinics with patients given local unaesthetic.