What is the Difference Between Cellulite and Cellulitis?

what is the difference between cellulite and cellulitis

The terms Cellulite and Cellulitis are almost identical. However, they represent very different skin conditions.

Cellulite is a multifactorial skin condition involving fat tissue, which affects up to 80% of women and should not be confused with general obesity. Cellulite is characterized by the presence of abnormal fat tissue limited to lower body areas such as pelvis, thighs, and abdomen.

Whereas cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin.


What is Cellulitis?

cellulitis and cellulite - different skin conditions

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin condition. It occurs as a result of an injury to the skin, which allows bacteria to reach the deep layers below. It can affect the skin anywhere on the body.

Staph and Strep are the most common bacteria responsible for cellulitis. This infection is more prevalent in individuals with chronic skin conditions.

The most common symptoms of cellulitis are swelling, redness, warm skin to the touch, and pain in the affected area.


What is The Treatment for Cellulitis?

The usual treatment for cellulitis is a course of antibiotics.

This condition is benign, but it can quickly worsen. Therefore, proper diagnosis and treatment by a medical professional should not be postponed.

Once the bacterial infection is confirmed, the usual treatment is a 7-10 day course of antibiotics. Completing this treatment is crucial. Otherwise, there is a risk of recurrence of the infection.

In the absence of appropriate treatment, severe complications may also develop.


What is Cellulite?

cellulite - difference between cellulite and cellulitis
Cellulite refers to a non-infectious skin condition that is responsible for a more or less tolerable esthetic imperfection; it is more frequently seen in post-pubertal lean women.

It usually occurs on the buttocks and thighs. Cellulite manifests clinically as a change in the skin topography known as ‘orange-peel’ skin.

There are several grades of cellulite; it can be mild, moderate or severe.

The exact cause of cellulite is unknown. However, hormones, inflammation, and genetics seem to play an important role in its development.


What is The Treatment for Cellulite?

There are many options for the treatment of cellulite. However, none of them offer a definite cure; moreover, they need to be carefully planned with the help of professionals.

The treatment for cellulite depends on the grade of the condition.

Topical agents, combined to a vigorous massage, were the earliest attempts to treat cellulitis. However, as with all topical treatments, the main challenge is for the active ingredient to reach the fat tissue in sufficient concentration to have an effect.

Other non-invasive or minimally invasive options include the use of energy-based devices such as lasers and ultrasound (acoustic wave therapy) to destroy or remodel the subcutaneous fat tissue.

A surgical procedure called manual subcision is performed in certain cases. More recently, injectable dermal fillers have been used.

However, none of these options have been proven to give lasting effects.

How about lifestyle changes? A sedentary lifestyle, stress, weight gain, and contraceptives are considered as aggravating factors for cellulite.

Although this condition is present in lean females and very few obese males, still cellulite becomes more clinically apparent with weight gain. Therefore, a healthy diet and exercise should be encouraged as an initial step.

Credit image: GetStencil.com & 123rf.com

Last article update: 10/7/2019

Medically reviewed by Dr. Thouria Bensaoula on Oct 04, 2019.