Cellulite Signs and Symptoms

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Jul 30, 2013 | Last Updated: Sep 25, 2018

Cellulite Signs and Symptoms

Statistically, most women will encounter cellulite at some point in their lives. Roughly 90 percent of cellulite cases involve post-pubescent women or girls. Although it can occasionally affect men, this medical condition occurs almost entirely in females. It typically happens in a localized part of the body. These include areas like the legs, back, neck, upper arms, breasts and bottom. Although different people may experience the symptoms in a variety of ways, there are a few commons signs that individuals can look for.

When the body is affected by cellulite, it can take on a cottage cheese or orange peel like texture. In the initial states and in mild cases, dimpling is most not noticeable. The only way to make it appear in these cases is when the skin is pinched or pressed. Other common symptoms include thicker than normal skin and broken blood vessels. When the skin is touched, it will feel cooler than it should be.

As cellulite progresses to severe stages, it may make the skin excessively more sensitive. Individuals may find that their skin bruises more easily than normal or the bruises are excessive. The skin may have increased sensitivity. If redness, swelling or itching appear, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. This should be reported to a qualified medical practitioner to make sure that there are not underlying health problems as well.

Who is Affected?

Cellulite can develop in people of any weight. It typically happens in adult women and can occur in men who have hormone imbalances. If someone feels like they may have cellulite, they can perform diagnostic testing to make sure that cellulite is the issue. In most cases, this is not actually necessary. Cellulite can also be diagnosed by someone rolling or pinching the skin.

Once cellulite occurs, it may lead to self-esteem issues and problems with the person’s self-image. Fortunately, it is not considered a health condition. Among women, the occurrence of cellulite is extremely normal.

There are effectively four different kinds of cellulite. With Grade 1 cellulite, no cellulite is visible even when the skin is pinched. Grade 2 cellulite does not show any visible signs when the person is lying down or standing. This type of cellulite will only show when the skin if pinched and may have an orange peel texture. With Grade 3, the cellulite will now be visible when the person is standing. When they are lying down, it will most likely disappear. Grade 4 cellulite is visible when the person is standing or lying down.

Orange Peel Texture

The first symptom to look for might be faint dimples on the skin. These may appear in normal circumstances or just while the person is standing. For early cases of cellulite, the dimples may only appear if someone compresses the skin or pinches the affected area. In some cases, the person may develop skin that has an orange peel like texture. This is caused by adipose cellulite. Known for its firmer texture, the cellulite causes a bumpy texture like an orange peel over the loose skin. Fibrotic cellulite can also make the same texture, but it will be harder and more compact.

Grade 2 Symptoms

With Grade 2 cellulite, the person may see dimples on their skin when they are standing or lying down. These dimples may appear on any part of the body. Most people will notice that they appear more often on their thighs, upper arms, stomach or bottom. On occasion, dimples may make the skin look like it is made out of cottage cheese.

Loose and Dull Skin

As the cellulite progresses, the appearance of the skin may change. The dimpled skin areas may start to become looser. To the eye, they will appear dull and ugly. Once the skin is touched, the skin may feel hard and tight. Individuals may also notice that the skin does feel as warm as normal. It most likely will feel cold to the touch.

Pain and Tenderness

Some people may feel pain when they touch the cellulite. It may not be severe pain and may just be a dull ache. Most likely, individuals that experience pain will suffer more when they are sitting or lying down in certain ways. This type of condition normally occurs when the fat cells start to squeeze together. This causes added pressure under the skin and can push on the fibrous connective cords that link the muscles to the skin.

Painful cellulite typically happens when it reaches stage 3. At this stage, individuals will often have raised bumps and nodules. Although most cases of cellulite are not dangerous, painful cellulite can indicate that someone has too much fat on their body. Weighing more than necessary can cause other health conditions like high blood pressure, sleep apnea and heart conditions. Losing weight can help to alleviate these problems, but it may not help remove the signs of cellulite.

Bruising Problems

During stage one, the circulation and lymphatic system may be affected by cellulite. Most likely, the skin appearance will not be changed greatly. Other problems are possible, however. At this stage, the cellulite can make wounds take longer to heal. It can also make the affected area more prone to bruising. These problems are often due to poor circulation. By Stage 2, the bruising may occur more often. It may cause discoloration of the skin and shallow veins. Although the cellulite is still not completely visible, bruises may occur and take longer to heal.

For most people, the first sign of cellulite will be texture changes in the skin and dimpling. As the condition progresses, it cause pain, tenderness and bruising. Individuals who are overweight are more likely to develop cellulite because cellulite tends to occur in fattier tissue. Since obesity can cause health risks, individuals should always consult with their doctor if they are worried at all. Cellulite can still happen to the skin of thinner people even though it occurs less frequently. Individuals who are concerned about the appearance can try seeking treatment or using a cellulite cream.

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