Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Cellulite - How Dangerous Is It?

An orange with dimpled skin washed up on a beach
Yet another 'cellulite on the beach' photo
(photo by Helmuts Guigo)


Noun. Mid-20th century.
[French, from CELLULE small cell.]

Fatty tissue regarded as causing a dimpled or lumpy texture of (especially a woman's) skin.

I found myself getting a little bit cross while researching cellulite on the internet, first at the battle that's raging (raaarwh!) between bona fide medical resources that invariably say that cellulite is natural, harmless and rather inevitable, and a plethora of alternative health and beauty sites vaunting the latest quackeries that will "banish" cellulite forever. And if that wasn't enough, I had to endure a whole rake of photos that were clearly taken by weirdos on the beach who had nothing better to do with their lives than take undignified clandestine photos of stranger's bums before releasing them to the interweb with derogatory remarks about their bodies. To restore just a little bit of balance, I have collected a few cellulitic facts for your perusal:

  • Cellulite is normal fat beneath the skin. It appears bumpy because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin to pucker.
  • Cellulite appears in people across the weight range, so it does not mean you're overweight.
  • Cellulite is not a medical condition, and is not harmful.
  • It is more common in women than men (estimates vary, but somewhere between 80-90% of women have some form of cellulite).
  • Its ultimate causes are not understood.
  • Certain factors can make cellulite more pronounced, including: bad diet, fad dieting, slow metabolism, lack of exercise, hormonal changes, dehydration, total body fat and the colour of your skin.
  • Popular treatments include: cellulite creams, liposuction, mesotherapy, massage and spa treatments and laser therapies. However, there is little evidence that any of them work well or for long.
  • The best way of tackling cellulite is regular exercise, a healthy diet and weight loss (if being overweight is a contributing factor).
  • The word cellulite comes from cellule, meaning 'a small cell', and according to Merriam-Webster its first known use in print was in 1968 by Vogue magazine.
  • Oh, and in answer to this page's leading question: no, cellulite is not dangerous. At all. So relax.

Like these oranges, aren't we all beautiful on the inside? Aww. Kind of works, doesn't it? C'mon!
(photo by Victoria White)
Do feel free to leave your smoothest, most unblemished comments in the box below.


  1. What do you mean it's incurable? 2 essential principals Edward (you'll want to write these down) :

    1) Like cures like.

    2) The more you dilute something, the more potent it becomes.

    Cellulite causes dimplage, and oranges are dimpled, so get yourself a drop of orange juice. Take that drop and put it into 99 drops of pure water in a glass. It is critically important that you shake and tap the glass (succussion). Most idiots forget this and just end up with water at the end. Put a drop from the glass into another glass with 99 drops of pure water. Succuss again. Repeat this 28 times.

    You now have an ultra-dilute solution of orange juice (30C). Put a drop of this on a sugar pill.

    If you're worried about this causing more cellulite, you'll need to calm down. Mathematically, if you take 6 billion people, and give them 2 billion of these pills every second for the next 4 billion years, one of those people might end up with a molecular trace of the orange juice. This pill isn't toxic - it's just a very very very strong medicine. The physical orange juice is gone but it's spirit is still there.

    Take 2 pills after a long walk and a salad every day for a month. The cellulite will slowly disappear in front of your amazed eyes. (The proof is that my aunt cured her mother this way.)

    Then make sure to report this excitedly to your entire family and phonebook, because otherwise they'll all keep wasting their time and money on evil doctors and drugs full of chemicals.

    (If you've cured them of cellulite, imagine what else you could save them from.)

    1. That's the thing with drugs - they're always full of chemicals.

      Drives me mental, it does.

  2. I wanted to write a comprehensive comment, but I'm too busy diluting a drop of orange juice. Thank you Clueless!

    1. I've been too busy wondering how I can dilute Netflix, sloth and a high-fat diet.

  3. No worries Evi.

    If the diluted orange/sloth doesn't work guys, then your cranial-sacral fluid rhythms are most probably hideously syncopated, or (and this might shock you) have regressed down to a slow foxtrot.

    The remedy involves a metronome carved entirely from organic rhino horn which, by a fortuitous coincidence, I happen to sell.

    1. C - I haven't written a comprehensive comments policy for Lexicolatry yet, but when I do it will probably proscribe hawking endangered animals' body parts.

      Probably. I haven't made up my mind yet.

      But if you're really sure about this cellulite thing ...

    2. Could I be excluded from that policy on the grounds of diminished promiscuity?

  4. "...estimates vary, but somewhere between 80-90% of women have some form of cellulite..."

    Finally, I'm one of the majority! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! :)

    1. You must be an incredibly unusual person indeed, Jingles, if having cellulite is the only thing that puts you into any kind of majority.

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