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Why do men not get cellulite?

Cellulite is a very common cosmetic skin condition that causes the appearance of dimpled, “orange peel” skin, usually on the thighs and buttocks. It affects an estimated 80-90% of women at some point in their lives. However, it is much less common in men.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite occurs when fat deposits push up against the connective tissue under the skin. This causes the surface of the skin to dimple or pucker, leading to an appearance similar to cottage cheese or orange peel. The medical term for cellulite is “gynoid lipodystrophy”. It is not a serious medical condition and is simply a cosmetic concern for most people.

What Causes Cellulite?

The exact causes of cellulite are not fully understood, but some key factors that contribute to it include:

  • Hormones – Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline and thyroid hormones affect the structure and composition of connective tissue in the body. Hormonal changes can lead to cellulite.
  • Genetics – Cellulite tends to run in families, so genetics likely plays a role.
  • Diet – A diet high in fat, carbohydrates or salt can worsen the appearance of cellulite.
  • Lifestyle factors – Inactive lifestyle, poor circulation, lack of exercise and dehydration can increase risk.

Why is Cellulite more Common in Women?

There are a few key reasons why women are much more prone to cellulite than men:

1. Differences in Fat Storage

Women tend to store more fat just underneath the skin than men do. Men tend to store it deeper, around the organs and belly. The subcutaneous fat bulges up against connective tissues under the skin, causing the dimples and nodular appearance of cellulite.

2. Differences in Connective Tissue

Men have thicker bands of connective tissue called septae that divide the underlying fat compartments. Women have thinner septae, which are more easily pushed up by underlying fat, resulting in cellulite.

3. Hormonal Differences

Women have higher levels of estrogen, which promotes water retention and fat storage. Estrogen also affects collagen production and blood circulation, which can worsen cellulite.

4. Pregnancy

Pregnancy leads to major fluctuations in hormone levels, increased fat deposition and water retention. This is why many women first develop cellulite during pregnancy.

Do Men Get Cellulite At All?

While less common, some men do develop cellulite, particularly on their thighs, buttocks and stomach. Some contributing factors include:

  • Low testosterone levels
  • Genetics – family history
  • Obesity and significant weight gain
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Medical conditions like hormone imbalance or edema

One study found about 10% of men have some degree of cellulite. However, it tends to be less noticeable than in women due to differences in fat storage and connective tissue structure.

Gender Differences in Cellulite

Here is a summary of some of the key gender differences when it comes to cellulite:

Factor Females Males
Overall prevalence 80-90% 10% or less
Fat storage patterns More subcutaneous fat under skin More visceral fat around organs
Connective tissue structure Thinner, less elastic bands Thicker, more elastic bands
Hormone levels Higher estrogen Higher testosterone
Impact of pregnancy Major cause of first onset Not applicable

Treatment Options for Cellulite

While cellulite can be difficult to treat completely, there are various options to potentially reduce the appearance of cellulite, including:

Energy-Based Procedures

  • Laser treatment – Laser energy is used to break up fibrous bands under the skin. Multiple sessions are required.
  • Radiofrequency – Uses radiofrequency waves to heat tissue and stimulate collagen for smoother skin.
  • Ultrasound – Focused ultrasound breaks up tough bands and allows fat to redistribute for smoother skin.

Non-Invasive Procedures

  • Massage – Can help move fluid out of fat compartments and smooth cellulite.
  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release – Uses a handheld device with rolling motorized heads to massage cellulite prone areas.
  • Acoustic wave therapy – Pulses are directed at areas of cellulite to stimulate metabolism and improve elasticity.

Topical Creams

  • Retinoids – Creams with retinoids like retinol to thicken skin and reduce cellulite appearance.
  • Caffeine creams – May help improve circulation and fat breakdown.
  • Aminophylline cream – Said to break down fat deposits, but limited evidence for cellulite.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Follow a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
  • Quit smoking, which damages connective tissue.
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on strength training to build muscle tone.
  • Dry brushing to improve circulation and drainage.
  • Reduce stress levels through yoga, meditation, etc.


In summary, cellulite is much more common in women than men due to several physiological differences between genders. These include fat storage patterns, connective tissue structure, hormone levels and the effects of pregnancy. While men do sometimes develop cellulite, it is far less prevalent. A variety of treatment options exist to potentially minimize the appearance of cellulite in both women and men who are affected by it.