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Why Are Men Less Affected by Cellulite?

Why Are Men Less Affected by Cellulite?

Cellulite is the result of the accumulation of fat cells under certain areas of the skin. This phenomenon is mainly found in women and rarely affects men. Learn why fewer men are affected by cellulite.

Published February 29, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 7 min read

What Is Cellulite?

Cellulite is characterized by a swelling of the fat cells in the subcutaneous tissue, providing the skin with bumps and a “hunched” appearance. The main causes of cellulite are an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, hormonal changes and poor blood circulation.

The accumulation of fat in the subcutaneous tissue disturbs the structure of the adipose tissue and causes the adipocytes, the cells responsible for storing fat, to swell. This leads to the formation of dimples, which can result in an orange peel-like appearance (adipose cellulite). Cellulite can also be watery and results from water retention in the skin tissue caused by a disruption in venous and lymphatic circulation. Adipocytes slow down the removal of water and toxins, which accumulate under the skin and cause swelling.

Cellulite mainly affects women and usually appears on the thighs, abdomen, arms and buttocks. In men, it tends to appear on the abdomen, hips, neck and arms. It is usually hidden by the thickness of the skin or hairiness. Therefore, it is often thought that men are not affected by cellulite, although it exists, but is simply not visible. However, it is true that women are more frequently affected. It is estimated that about 90% of women develop cellulite at some point in their lives, compared to only 2% of men. Below, we'll take a closer look at the reasons behind this difference.

Why Are Men Less Affected by Cellulite Than Women?

The morphological differences between men and women listed below are the reason for the different prevalence of cellulite.

  • The structure of fat cells: Adipocytes have different structures in women and men. Being smaller in the latter, they tend to expand less. Moreover, the partitions that separate them are oblique and not vertical. Therefore, their hypertrophy is less visible even when fat is accumulated on the surface of the skin. In addition, because male adipocytes are more agglutinated, the space between each cell is smaller, which reduces the risk of water retention.

  • The amount of fat cells: Adipose tissue, which consists of adipocytes, is less present in men and more localized in the abdominal area. On average, fat constitutes about 25% of body mass in women and 15% in men. Thus, the ability of the female body to store lipids is higher. This is because during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it must provide more energy to meet the needs of the woman and her child. Incidentally, it is estimated that the amount of fat cells found in men is about half the amount of fat cells found in women.

  • The thickness of the skin: since men's skin is about 20% thicker than women's, irregularities in the deeper skin tissue are better concealed.

  • Female hormones: estrogen and progesterone stimulate adipogenesis, i.e. the formation of adipocytes. Thus, they promote cellular storage of fat, but also the phenomenon of water retention. Capillary permeability is determined in part by the balance between estrogen and progesterone levels. When there is too much estrogen compared to too much progesterone, the porosity of the capillaries tends to increase.

Care Products To Fight Cellulite in Men

First of all, it is important to know that it is almost impossible to eliminate cellulite, and the use of draining skin care products can only diminish its appearance. These can be used by both men and women. They often contain caffeine and are combined with a Palper-Rouler massage, a firming massage.

For this purpose, we have formulated an invigorating body scrub based on green coffee macerate (INCI name: Coffea Arabica Seed Extract) and Java lemongrass essential oil (INCI name: Cymbopogon Winterianus Herb Oil). Applied once or twice a week, it tightens the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.

You can also rely on our firming body cream to enhance the effect and tighten the skin. The lipolytic action of the caffeine contained in these products facilitates the breakdown of fat that accumulates in the tissues, while inhibiting fat production (lipogenesis). Because caffeine is a small molecule, it enters deep into the dermis to reach subcutaneous fat cells, even when the dermis is relatively thick, as is the case in men.

Sources :

  • VERGNANINI A. & al. Cellulite: a review. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2002).

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

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


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