Why men don't get cellulite?

Who said that men don’t get cellulite?

Of course they do - everybody can get cellulite if both two following conditions are met:

  • Their body is loaded with enough estrogen
  • They ingest more calories than they spend - especially calories from fat and sugar

The aptly named "pre-cellulite" fat pocket infrastructure exists in all human beings’ thighs and hips. All it takes is:   

  • Estrogen to stimulate the proliferation (multiplication) of adipocytes (fat cells) in those areas (the fat tissue on the butt and thighs of all human beings - male or female - is very sensitive to oestrogen)
  • Excess calories (typically hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, sugar, alcohol and high glycaemic index starches) to fill up those multiplied fat cells with fat
  • A sedentary lifestyle makes things worse, by encouraging the skin to become loose and the blood and lymph vessels to become weaker, which in turns leads to water retention and consequent inflammation.

Water retention, excess superficial fat, inflammation and skin laxity are the hallmarks of cellulite.


Both conditions have to be met

Both of the above conditions (more estrogen, calorie imbalance) have to be met for humans to develop cellulite. In the absence of high levels of estrogen, humans who overeat can only get "fat", especially on the stomach/waist area and maybe develop loose skin (as in the image above), but they do not develop cellulite.

Similarly, in the absence of excess calorie consumption or sedentary living, humans with high oestrogen levels can only get looser skin but they will not develop cellulite, or they will develop very little cellulite.

Naturally, with both high levels of oestrogen and calorie surplus/inactivity most humans will develop a lot of cellulite.


Men with high oestrogen levels

As I mentioned above, oestrogen is a precondition for a human to develop cellulite. Men normally have low estrogen levels, so if they overeat and/or live a sedentary lifestyle they typically become overweight and develop loose skin. However, some men have high estrogen levels, so those men if they overeat and/or do not move enough will develop cellulite.

Men with high estrogen levels are typically either:

  • Older men
  • Overweight/obese men
  • Transexuals


Older men and cellulite

In older men, testosterone is more readily transformed into estrogen (via a process called aromatisation) than in younger men. This, combined with excess calorie consumption and a sedentary lifestyle will lead to the development of cellulite.


Obese/overweight men and cellulite

Fat cells are not inactive fat storage depots - they do secrete several hormones, one of which is estrogen. The  more adipose cells a man's (or woman's) body has, they more estrogen is produced by those fat cells. As we saw above, this can lead to cellulite development, if combined with a calorie surplus and/or inactivity.


Transexuals and cellulite

Men who undergo sex change (transgender / transexuals) take high levels of oestrogen medication in order to transform their bodies into a more female form. These high levels of estrogen can easily lead to cellulite creation, much faster than in obese and/or older men, due to the very high estrogen levels.

So most transgender individuals do develop cellulite, after several years of estrogen intake, in exactly the same way as women do.


Environmental chemicals and cellulite

Some man-made chemicals, known as xenoestrogens, act as estrogen-like substances in the body and disrupt endocrine balance. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are known examples of xenoestrogens. Some foods and drinks also contain high amounts of estrogen-like substances, called phytoestrogens. Soya and beer are well-known examples of phytoestrogen-containing foods. All these estrogen-like substances can have a feminising effect on the body, and can possibly lead to cellulite creation, with phytoestrogens being more benign and xenoestrogens being more "nasty".


Estrogen, cellulite and gynecomastia (a.k.a. man boobs or "moobs")

The same things that lead to the creation of cellulite in men can also lead to the development of what is known as gynaecomastia, also known as "man breasts", "man boobs" or "moobs" (as in the image above). Again, the culprit here is a combination of excess estrogen and excess calorie surplus. Estrogen stimulates the development of breast tissue, in both men and women, in the same way it stimulates the development of cellulite in both men and women.


Feminisation and cellulite

All in all, feminisation (due to old age, obesity, environmental chemicals or estrogen hormone therapy) combined with excess calorie consumption and inactivity will inevitably lead to the development of cellulite. Women, being more feminine, are more prone to this esthetic condition, but men can also develop cellulite.

The solution to this problem remains the same, for both men and women: eat healthy, non-processed - and if possible organic - food, do loads of exercise, have regular anti-cellulite treatments and apply a good quality anti-cellulite cream.