Skip to Content

What age do you get cellulite?

Cellulite is a very common, harmless skin condition that causes the appearance of dimpled, bumpy skin, usually on the thighs, buttocks, and hips. Many people wonder when cellulite starts to develop and become visible. Here is an overview of the typical age range when people first notice cellulite.

Cellulite Usually Starts In Your 20s

For most women, the first signs of cellulite tend to appear during the teenage years or in their 20s. Some key facts about when cellulite emerges:

  • Puberty – Hormonal changes during puberty can lead to cellulite formation around ages 12-14.
  • 18-20 years old – Many women notice cellulite for the first time when they reach their late teens or early 20s.
  • 25 years old – By age 25, over 90% of women have some amount of cellulite.

So while it’s possible for cellulite to show up in the teenage years, it becomes very common throughout the 20s. Some women do develop it earlier or later, but the 20s are the typical age range for initial appearance.

Cellulite Worsens With Age

After those initial signs in the 20s, cellulite then tends to worsen with age. Some key points:

  • 30s-40s – Cellulite typically spreads to more areas of the body and becomes more visible during these decades.
  • After pregnancy – Pregnancy can often lead to new areas of cellulite or more severe cellulite due to hormonal changes and weight gain.
  • Menopause – Loss of estrogen during menopause can cause cellulite to worsen.
  • 50s and up – Cellulite continues to progress as the skin loses elasticity with age.

So while cellulite starts for most women in their 20s, the dimpling and uneven appearance tends to get more noticeable over time. With age, cellulite will appear in more spots, cover larger areas, and have an increasingly visible texture.

Cellulite Factors Beyond Age

While age is the main determinant of when cellulite begins, there are other influencing factors to be aware of:

  • Genetics – Your genes can predispose you to early or severe cellulite.
  • Ethnicity – Cellulite is more common in Caucasian and Hispanic women than African American women.
  • Weight – Being overweight often makes cellulite worse.
  • Lifestyle – Inactivity, poor diet, dehydration, and smoking can increase cellulite.

So lifestyle choices, body weight, genetics, and ethnicity can all play a role in how early cellulite starts and how extensive it becomes. But even with ideal health and genes, most women will still develop cellulite at some point.

Early Prevention May Help

While cellulite is almost inevitable with age, there are some preventive measures teens and women in their 20s can try:

  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise – Build muscle tone through strength training.
  • Massage – Increase blood flow with massage to the cellulite-prone areas.
  • Lose weight – Shed excess fat to keep cellulite from worsening.
  • Reduce stress – Stress hormones can worsen cellulite.

Results vary, but healthy lifestyle habits may help delay or reduce the severity of cellulite to some degree. However, it’s impossible to prevent entirely.

Treatment Options

Once cellulite develops, there are both medical and cosmetic treatment options to improve its appearance. These include:

  • Laser treatment – Laser energy aimed at the skin can help break up fibrous bands.
  • Radiofrequency – Heats the tissue and boosts collagen to smooth the skin.
  • Acoustic wave therapy – Uses sound waves to break up cellulite.
  • Massage – Can improve circulation and drainage.
  • Topicals – Creams with caffeine or retinol may slightly improve texture.
  • Weight loss – Reducing body fat percentage can reduce the severity.

Procedures like laser or acoustic wave therapy lead to gradual improvement over a series of treatment sessions. Results are typically modest but can make the cellulite less noticeable.


In summary, most women start to notice cellulite in their late teens or 20s as hormones shift and skin changes. It then tends to worsen and spread to more areas with each passing decade. While cellulite is influenced by many factors, age is the most direct predictor of when it will emerge and how visible it will become. A healthy lifestyle can only slightly reduce the likelihood of developing cellulite but cannot prevent it entirely. However, modern cosmetic procedures can improve the appearance of cellulite at any age once it develops.