Find out ways you can prevent or treat cellulite

By Jill Murphy, MD, plastic surgeon at UPMC Altoona Plastic Surgery

If you have cellulite, you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of women (and some men) have cellulite on their bodies.

For medical or personal reasons, you may want to reduce the amount of cellulite you have. Advertisements about treatments for cellulite abound, so how do you know what actually works?

Find out more. Visit the website for the UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center. 

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What Is Cellulite?

Cellulite appears as a result of fat cells that push through tissue underneath your skin, causing the outer layer of skin to take on a dimpled appearance. Cellulite forms primarily around the thighs, arms, buttocks, and stomach area.

Dr. Jill Murphy

Dr. Jill Murphy

Some people are more likely to experience cellulite due to genetics, and cellulite is more common in women than men.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Prevent Wrinkles

Treatments for Cellulite

People of all shapes and sizes develop cellulite. The layer of fat beneath your skin that causes cellulite is normal and can become visible for many reasons.

While getting rid of cellulite completely is impossible, there are effective ways to reduce the appearance of it. Treatments a dermatologist may recommend e include:

  • Subcision
    A type of cosmetic procedure, this effective cellulite treatment requires a dermatologist to insert a thin needle under your skin. The needle breaks apart the connective tissue that holds onto the fat deposits, making cellulite less visible.
  • Laser Treatment
    Some dermatologists will use laser therapy, a treatment similar to subcision, to treat cellulite. The dermatologist places a small laser under your skin. The laser’s energy separates the connective tissue where the fat cells push through to smooth out your skin.
  • Creams
    A dermatologist often will prescribe a cream with another form of treatment. Retinol cream, which can thicken skin to make cellulite less visible, has proven to be an effective topical treatment.
  • Body Contouring
    A doctor can perform surgery to change the lower part of your body, including your upper thighs, stomach area, and buttocks. Body contouring can lessen the visibility of cellulite, but it is primarily done following a dramatic weight loss.

Following a regular exercise plan to encourage weight loss also may help reduce cellulite.


About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.