Why is cellulite painful?

Why does my cellulite hurt?


It is in the nature of cellulite

Cellulite is defined as an aesthetic skin condition that comprises:

  • excessive fat accumulation in the lower layer of the skin (hypodermis)
  • water retention
  • free radical damage
  • inflammation
  • skin looseness
  • fibrosis / connective tissue deformity
  • collagen glycation


inflammation: the cause of cellulite pain

In most cases cellulite skin is either more sensitive than normal or even painful. Pain in cellulite is caused by inflammation, which in turn is caused - or made worse - by the following aspects of it:

  • Adipose (fat) tissue inflammation: fat tissue itself is now well known to be a pro-inflammatory tissue, i.e. fat cells secrete inflammatory hormones
  • Water retention: poor circulation / water retention is always accompanied by increased inflammation, as waste products and "toxins" do not get removed from tissues, thereby causing localised irritation / inflammation and therefore pain
  • Oxidative damage and glycation tend to lead to inflammation and therefore pain
  • Fibrosis: the connective tissue fibres that attach to the cellulite globules, are overstretched and deformed, eventually becoming inflamed and painful


Cellulite: not that benign, after all...

All in all, cellulite is not just the benign and just visually annoying aesthetic condition we think it is. Although cellulite does not kill, it does indicate that inflammation and damage is occurring under the skin, which ideally should be stopped, both for aesthetic and health reasons. If left unchecked, it will lead to more water retention, more underlying skin tissue damage, more inflammation, more pain and more skin looseness, in addition to the unsightly bumps.