Cellulite and skin ageing: is there any interaction?

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008 Jul;22(7):827-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2007.02570.x. Epub 2008 Feb 27.


Objective: This study aimed to identify the characteristics of cellulite in women of different age and to appreciate whether cellulite could interfere with skin ageing or not.

Methods: 94 Healthy females, divided into three age groups (21-30yrs; 31-40yrs; 51-60yrs) and two grade groups of cellulite (grade 2; grade 0 or control group), were investigated using non invasive techniques. The "orange peel appearance" was quantified by measuring the shadowed surfaces under low angle light. The biomechanichal properties were measured (extensibility-retractability-elasticity). The thicknesses of the skin structures were also evaluated using ultrasound. Echogenicity of the dermis was recorded and dermis density determined in two bands (superficial and low dermis).

Results: In grade 2, the shadowed surfaces are significantly different according to age; i.e. smaller and more numerous after age of 30; the total skin thickness including hypodermis is increased of about 30% irrespective to age, compared to control group. The biomechanical properties of the skin are significantly modified as age increases without any grade effect. In grade 2, retractability and elasticity parameters are altered from age 30 whilst only from age 50 in the control group. Echogenicities of the superficial and deep dermis also decrease from age 30 and become significantly lower than the ones of grade 0.

Conclusion: Population with cellulite presents earlier skin ageing characteristics than the control population. Two sub-populations may exist: the under 30 age with large dimpled surfaces, normal biomechanical and density properties; and the over 30 age with smaller and numerous dimpled surfaces and already altered dermis properties. This premature skin ageing should be prevented accordingly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology
  • Dermis / diagnostic imaging
  • Dermis / pathology
  • Dermis / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Epidermis / diagnostic imaging
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / pathology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Skin Aging / pathology*
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Subcutaneous Fat / pathology*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / physiopathology*
  • Ultrasonography