Cellulite (Orange Peel) – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Cellulite (Orangenhaut)

Cellulite or orange peel is a rather unpopular term for most people. According to statistics, every third woman over the age of 20 suffers from unsightly “dents” on the buttocks and thighs. But what causes cellulite? And how can this be avoided or treated?

What is cellulite (orange peel skin)?

Cellulite, often also called cellulite or orange peel skin, is a phenomenon that women in particular have to struggle with as they age.

Somewhat less frequently, but still relatively frequently, cellulite affects younger women. Men very rarely suffer from slackening of the connective tissue in the problem areas typical of cellulite.

These cellulite problem areas mostly consist of the buttocks and thighs. Cellulite does not affect other parts of the body as often.


The probably most common cause of cellulite is fundamentally very easy to name with the skin and tissue texture of women. Because in women, this is already much more loosely woven at a younger age than it is comparatively the case in men. Over the years, this structure and strength can “deteriorate” even further. Women continue to have a higher body fat percentage than men.

In addition, the upper layers of skin in women are often much finer and thinner than layers of skin in men. So fat cells can get through these cells to the tissue surface much more easily over time. The consequences are unsightly and dent-like deformations of the skin’s surface.

The strong resemblance of these deformations to the surface of an orange also earned cellulite its nickname orange peel.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Cellulite or orange peel skin is a very widespread phenomenon that affects almost all women and proportionately far fewer men. It has no disease value, but is one of the optical peculiarities. Therefore, their symptoms and complaints are also located more in the psychological area – whenever the affected person begins to suffer from the unsightly appearance of the deformed skin areas. This can lead to depression .

The classic symptoms of orange peel are unsightly indentations in the skin. They are typically found where the skin already stores more fat. Female problem areas are mainly found on the thighs, but also on the buttocks and abdomen. In advanced levels, cellulite can also be found on the upper arms, neck and décolleté.

Cellulite is usually perceived more visually when the person is in motion, i.e. when the skin over the muscles is also moving. Now the indentations and deformations are particularly visible. If you are unsure, the pinch test can help with the diagnosis: With two fingers, about five centimeters of tissue are gripped and slightly lifted. Under this pressure, the dents are usually very visible. If you let go of the skin, it returns to its original shape. Cellulite is painless.


Cellulite usually occurs very slowly as the body’s fat deposits gradually push through the loose tissue network to the surface and thus directly under the upper layers of the skin.

Women who are slightly or severely overweight are also more frequently affected . Because: There are significantly more fat cells here that can “wander” with cellulite. However, women with an ideal weight or a slim waist are not entirely safe either.

Cellulite can appear quite unexpectedly, can be inherited in families or even not occur at all. Here it always depends entirely on the tissue composition of those affected. Not infrequently, cellulite also occurs as a result of a diet that is too fast and radical , whereby the tissue and the skin cannot adapt so quickly.


Cellulite usually does not lead to medical complications without treatment. The only exception is if it is not “real” cellulite, but orange skin (Peau d’orange). This can occur in various diseases such as Hunter’s disease , myxedema and inflammatory breast cancer. These underlying diseases can in turn lead to various physical complications.

However, many women perceive cellulite as a cosmetic problem. Severe psychological complications can also develop, especially in connection with low self-esteem . Some sufferers feel the desire to hide their body because of cellulite. They may only wear certain clothes and avoid going to swimming pools.

However, various medical complications are also possible when treating cellulite. Fasting cures and baths can lead to circulatory problems, while ointments and creams can lead to skin reactions in some cases. In the case of invasive procedures intended to treat cellulite, infections are also possible.

For this reason, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of any anti-cellulite treatment. This applies above all to interventions that can have far-reaching consequences. An example of this are hormonal treatments that only target cellulite. In some cases, psychological treatment makes more sense. This usually has the goal that those affected accept their own body even with small blemishes.

When should you go to the doctor?

Although there is no health risk from cellulite, the effects on the psyche should not be underestimated. Especially younger women suffer z. T. significantly under the effects of their orange peel skin and feel very restricted on hot days because they have difficulty showing skin.

The family doctor can easily make the diagnosis and suggest suitable therapies. For more radical methods such as cryolysis or laser, ultrasound and cold therapy, the family doctor usually does not have the necessary machines. Anyone who suffers particularly badly from cellulite should visit a dermatologist and get advice on the most efficient treatment options. Unfortunately, the costs for the therapy have to be paid by yourself, since the health insurance companies consider such interventions as cosmetic if they are not necessary for health reasons.

Treatment & Therapy

A 100% successful treatment against cellulite does not yet exist. Only various interventions in plastic surgery are able to make the unsightly dents almost completely disappear in a short time – but with the right aftercare, not in the long term. However, under various circumstances, the appearance of cellulite can be kept within limits with a good mixture of a healthy diet, a balanced sports program and the right care of the skin and its strength can also be reduced after it has appeared.

Creams, pastes and the like still only bring limited relief and should be used more to support an appropriate lifestyle. However, if you only count on chemical remedies, which usually only promise unattainable miracles, you will probably be disappointed very quickly.

It is true that these beauty creams achieve a positive result. However, since most of these remedies only work on the surface of the skin and not on the cause of the problem – in the lower layers of skin and tissue – the visible result with cellulite is usually rather mediocre to poor.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for cellulites is classified as stable. Despite many efforts, there are usually no significant changes in the state of health. Tissue deformations usually remain constant over many years.

In the course of life, the natural aging process leads to a continuous decrease in tissue tension. If there is optimal health care and sufficient sport is practiced, the existing condition of the tissue can be maintained for a long time. A healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet are the best prerequisites for preventing the dent formation in the tissue from deteriorating anytime soon. The prognosis of cellulite changes in people who are very overweight and eat a fatty diet. The intensity of the dents increases automatically with an increase in its own weight.

Despite numerous medical efforts and methods offered, a complete cure of cellulite is not possible with the current scientific status. Various techniques are often used to alleviate the existing symptoms, which achieve individual success. However, the improvements in the fabric are not permanent. They usually last for a few weeks or months until the cellulite returns to its original state. With surgery, an improvement in appearance can last up to a year.


The best way to prevent cellulite is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and avoiding obesity are the best long-term remedies to prevent cellulite later on. Brush massages of the affected areas and regular alternating showers are also very helpful . However, women should ideally start a mature prevention program at a young age.

Because: When the first drastic signs of cellulite can be seen, it is usually too late for targeted prevention. HYPOXI® techniques are available to those affected as commercial treatment and preventive measures using the Hypoxi trainer. Similar to altitude training, this is based on athletic training with negative pressure.


If cellulite treatment was carried out on an outpatient basis, no special aftercare is usually required. It is important not to scratch the treated areas, otherwise the healing process could be disrupted. In addition, you should not bathe or shower immediately after cellulite treatment.

However, it is recommended to drink two to three liters of water per day and to apply a good moisturizer. If you drink as much liquid as possible, you can stimulate your metabolism, promote the healing process and achieve optimal treatment results. Special moisturizing creams support the regeneration of deeper skin layers.

In addition, cigarettes, alcohol, sauna visits and sunbathing should be avoided, especially shortly after the treatment, as alcohol and nicotine slow down the metabolism. If it is not possible to avoid sun exposure, one should apply a sunscreen with a very high SPF. If pain occurs in the first few days after the treatment, it can be relieved with painkillers.

However, anti-inflammatory or blood-thinning medications can increase the risk of bruising. Diet does not have to be changed after cellulite treatment. The practice of sporting activities should best be discussed with the doctor treating you.

You can do that yourself

Although cellulite is ultimately genetic, those affected can still do something to alleviate this skin change, which is now perceived as negative.

Affected people who are overweight should first normalize their weight. Especially on the stomach, cellulite then usually recedes on its own. On the other hand, dents on the thighs and on the buttocks are far more stubborn. Targeted exercises to strengthen muscles and reduce fat mass can also improve cellulite. Training can be particularly effective in fitness studios. Here the most effective exercises are explained to those affected and an individual training plan is drawn up. Those who prefer to do free sports should try endurance sports such as walking, cycling or swimming.

Eating a healthy, low-fat diet is also important . This should be vegetarian or vegan as far as possible and contain plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as high-fiber whole grain products. Refined sugar, animal fats and meat and sausage products are considered counterproductive. Many women also achieve visible success with drinking cures lasting several weeks. At least three liters of mineral water or unsweetened herbal tea should be consumed per day as part of such cures.

Massages with a dry brush are also considered helpful . The effect of such massages can supposedly be improved by using special creams and ointments. However, the effect of cosmetic anti-cellulite products is highly controversial.

Those affected who suffer severely psychologically from the orange peel skin should definitely seek therapeutic help in good time .

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.