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Différents types de cellulite.

The different types of cellulite.

Cellulite affects many people, regardless of their skin type. Also known as orange peel skin or superficial lipodystrophy, it is recognized by the swelling of cells in the hypodermis. There are different types of cellulite that we will learn to differentiate.

Published January 31, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 7 min read

Adipose cellulite or orange peel skin.

This refers to a common form of cellulite. Adipose cellulite is characterized by the presence of soft and non-painful dimples to the touch. These give the skin a grainy and bumpy appearance. Adipose cellulite results from an excess storage of subcutaneous fats that accumulate in the adipocytes of the hypodermis, the cells of the adipose tissue.

Let's recall that the skin is composed of three main layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. The epidermis, the superficial part, plays a protective role and is covered by the hydrolipidic film. The dermis is thick and elastic. It notably contains the sebaceous glands that produce sebum. Finally, the hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin. Predominantly made up of adipose cells, it serves as an energy reserve and plays a role in thermal insulation. The adipose cells are held together by collagen fibers.

When fats accumulate in the adipocytes, we observe a hyperplasia of these cells, in other words, a multiplication. This is generally followed by their hypertrophy, that is to say, their swelling. This causes a structural change at the level of the dermis, which has repercussions at the level of the epidermis and induces the emergence of adipose cellulite.

Adipose cellulite is often found in the stomach, hips, thighs, arms, and buttocks. Its causes are varied: overweight, lack of physical exercise, unbalanced diet, heredity... Most often, it is due to an imbalance between the fat consumed and expended. Consuming too much fatty food and/or a lack of physical activity leads to an excess of fat in the body. This surplus is then stored in the adipocytes, which promotes the appearance of adipose cellulite. Heredity also plays a role. Recent studies have shown that certain genes are decisive in a person's ability to store fat or eliminate it easily. It appears that the ATXN1 and UBE2E2 genes are particularly involved in adipogenesis, that is, the formation of adipocytes.

There are several methods that can be implemented to prevent the onset of adipose cellulite or to reduce its appearance. The best option is to adopt a balanced diet and to engage in regular physical activity. This helps to balance the intake/burn ratio of fat and limit the development of cellulite. Regularly massaging the body also helps to stimulate fat circulation and has a draining effect. You can supplement this with our caffeine body cream or our green coffee body scrub, both enriched with toning and firming active ingredients. It is also possible to turn to aesthetic medicine to reduce adipose cellulite: radiofrequency, mesotherapy, or liposuction are among the most popular techniques.

Water-based cellulite or water retention.

Unlike adipose cellulite, aqueous cellulite is caused by water retention in the skin tissues of the hypodermis, which leads to swelling and edema. This type of cellulite is often located in the lower limbs (thighs, calves, and ankles). Forming a bump on the skin, it is soft but not painful to the touch.

It is primarily caused by a dysfunction in the venous and lymphatic circulations. The adipocytes slow down the elimination of water and toxins, which stagnate in the connective tissue and give the skin a dimpled appearance, which then begins to deform. People affected by cellulite with water retention often complain of heavy legs.

Wearing clothing or shoes that are too tight can exacerbate poor circulation, as can excessive salt intake. Indeed, when tissues are highly concentrated with salt, they attract and retain water, which limits its evacuation. Genetics can also be responsible for the development of aqueous cellulite: the strength of veins and lymphatic vessels, closely linked to the efficiency of circulation, is partly dependent on our genetic heritage.

Finally, an imbalance between the levels ofestrogen and progesterone, female hormones, can be responsible for an increase in the permeability of blood capillaries. This results in an abnormal flow towards adipose tissues, which promotes water accumulation in the hypodermis.

There are several solutions to prevent the onset of water cellulite or to mitigate its appearance. Having a moderate salt intake and drinking sufficient water is particularly recommended. Similarly, water sports are ideal for combating water cellulite: water has a massaging effect on the body and these sports are practiced in cold water, which improves blood circulation. Performing kneading-rolling movements using draining and toning topical treatments can also prevent its appearance. Finally, mesotherapy, laser, or shock wave treatments are medical techniques aimed at eliminating cellulite.

Fibrous cellulite, painful.

Fibrous cellulite, on the other hand, is embedded, hard, and painful to the touch. It sometimes takes on a purplish hue. The appearance of fibrous cellulite follows the hardening of collagen fibers, which surround the fat cells. This phenomenon is due to the glycation of these fibers, that is, the deposit of sugars on their surface. This alters their structure, which can lead to a loss of their function.

Collagen fibers typically serve the purpose of providing tissues with mechanical resistance to stretching and pulling. When these fibers harden, the skin is pulled downward, which compresses the fat cells between the partitions of the hypodermis, forming skin depressions that lead to the creation of cellulite.

Fibrous cellulite can be caused by several factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, a diet too high in sugar, or heredity. The hardening of collagen fibers can also be caused by certain inflammatory mediators, manifesting with age or during the accumulation of toxins in the tissues.

The marks associated with this type of cellulite are the most challenging to fade. It is therefore better to prevent its occurrence by maintaining a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. If fibrous cellulite has already set in, aesthetic medicine techniques such as liposuction or radiofrequency can help to reduce its appearance.


  • HERMAN A. & al. Caffeine's mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology (2013). 

  • SADICK N. Treatment for cellulite. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology (2018).

  • KAMINER M. & al. Insights into the pathophysiology of cellulite: a review. Dermatologic Surgery (2020).


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