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. 

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Go to for privacy and terms.
array(11) { ["id"]=> string(7) "sms-cta" ["type"]=> string(4) "form" ["title"]=> string(36) "Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!" ["category"]=> string(0) "" ["subcategory"]=> string(0) "" ["keyword"]=> string(6) "HBEATS" ["utm_source"]=> string(0) "" ["utm_medium"]=> string(0) "" ["utm_campaign"]=> string(0) "" ["utm_content"]=> string(0) "" ["utm_term"]=> string(0) "" }

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

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to