Study explains in detail why women have cellulite and men don’t

“It is a constant question I am asked at the clinic: “Do men have cellulite?'“ or “Why do men not get cellulite?”. And my answer has always been that women develop cellulite because they have weaker connective tissue and larger fat cells, due to the effect of female hormones.”

This is what cellulite expert Georgios Tzenichristos from the LipoTherapeia clinic has to say about women getting cellulite. “Men, on the other hand, have much stronger connective tissue and much less subcutaneous fat, so they normally do not develop cellulite”, Georgios adds.

Now a groundbreaking study published recently has shown that this is indeed the reason why women have cellulite and men don’t, explaining the exact mechanisms at play in women’s and men's skin.

The study on 20 men and 20 women aged 36-92 years’ old, has shown that women have 34% less collagen fibres and 57% larger fat lobules in the deep layer of their skin in relation to men. The combination of larger fat lobules pushing the skin upwards and less collagen anchors that offer little resistance to the upward pressure of fat, gives the appearance of cellulite.

“This study also shows that the ‘cellulite is trapped toxins’ theory is yet another internet myth. Men are actually less careful with their diet, alcohol and smoking. So if someone had to have lots of cellulite because of high consumption of toxins, that would have to be men, not women. And don’t tell me that that chocolate before one’s period is ‘toxins’, because it isn’t.”, Georgios explains.

This also shows why lymphatic massages, mechanical massages with a machine and body wraps, do not ‘work’ or only work very temporarily: because they just focus on a temporary reduction of water retention. But they do not address the fat accumulation / lack of collagen issue. These are the proverbial ‘elephants in the room’ when it comes to cellulite, according to this and previous studies.

The study also demonstrates why cellulite develops more with age. In the study, both older men and women have been found to have thinner dermis (middle skin layer). Combine this with the gradual accumulation of superficial fat into the fat lobules we mentioned above and you have an increasing occurrence of cellulite with age.

The scientists also found that the higher a woman’s body mass index (BMI), the bigger the superficial fat lobules are.

And there is even more: men have their superficial fat arranged in many smaller lobules with a lot more collagen anchors around them, which makes the upward protrusion of fat very difficult. Plus it makes skin tighter in men. Women, on the other hand, have larger fat lobules with less collagen anchors around them to keep them in place and a weaker dermis. The combination means more cellulite and diminished skin tightness.

Moreover, the researchers have found that mens’ collagen anchors are also 65% stronger, further keeping skin tight and controlling the growth of fat cells, by means of compression action. Make the collagen weaker and you have more uninhibited fat growth and therefore more cellulite. Keep collagen stronger and in a way you suffocate the growth of superficial fat cells and you have less cellulite.

Plus the fat tissue under the skin (under the cellulite layer) is 49% larger in women than men, further undermining skin tightness and increasing excessive plumpness.

The authors of the study succinctly summarise these findings as follows: “Our results demonstrated that these structural factors lead to a significantly reduced biomechanical stability in females compared to males."

The researchers add that ”Cellulite can be understood as imbalance between containment and extrusion forces at the subdermal junction... Therapeutic options targeting cellulite should aim to strengthen the subdermal interface”.

And how does one improve this “biomechanical stability” to get rid of the dreaded cellulite?

“Obviously you have to reduce the size of the fat lobules and increase skin collagen, which practically means more everyday movement, more exercise, less calorie intake and more collagen-boosting foods, such as vegetables, berries, herbs and lean protein. Avoiding hormonal contraception can also prevent further deterioration of connective tissue and enlargement of fat lobules.", Georgios suggests. 

Georgios has actually written an extensive list of 60+ tips on how to get rid of cellulite naturally - it can be found at lipotherapeia.com/how-to-get-rid-of-cellulite.

“Treatment-wise, the only treatment that boosts both collagen in the deep skin layers and releases fat from fat cells is high-power, deep-acting radio frequency, ideally combined with high power ultrasound, which is what we have been offering at the clinic for almost a decade now, and this study actually confirms our approach.” Georgios explains.

Source: Structural Gender-Dimorphism and the Biomechanics of the Gluteal Subcutaneous Tissue – Implications for the Pathophysiology of Cellulite

Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30730492