Cellulite vs Cellulitis: What’s the Difference?

/ Cellulite| BY PHYZIQUE

Because of their similar nomenclature, many people assume that cellulite is the same as cellulitis. However, these are two unique skin conditions with their own unique effects and characteristics. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on the different skin conditions if you experience problems. So, what’s the difference between cellulite and cellulitis, and how do you know which one you are suffering from?


Also known as orange peel syndrome, cellulite is a skin condition in which fat tissue under the skin herniates up and into the skin. The end result is characteristic skin dimpling and nodularity. Statistics show that 85% to 98% of all women will develop cellulite at some point during their life. Men can also develop this condition, though rates are lower.

There are numerous risk factors associated with cellulite, only one of which is gender. People who suffer from chronic stress, for instance, are more likely to develop cellulite than their counterparts because stress promotes the release of cataecholamines. Body weight is also believed to play a role in the formation of cellulite. People who are obese or overweight have a higher risk


Cellulitis, on the other hand, is a bacterial infection of the skin. Statistics show that roughly 21 million people in the United States develop it each year. Cellulitis occurs when the infection-causing bacteria enters the inner layers of skin. If allowed to thrive, the bacteria will reproduce and spread, thereby creating the symptoms of cellulitis, including skin redness, irritation and itching at the point of infection. Your body’s immune system may protect against cellulitis. If it’s weakened or compromised, however, it may lack the strength needed to defend against the cellulitis bacteria.

You can lower your risk of developing cellulitis by keeping your skin clean and treating all wounds, no matter how small. Even a minor cut provides a point of entry through which bacteria can enter your skin and cause cellulitis. By applying an antibiotic ointment and covering it with a bandage, however, this is less likely to occur. Most importantly, though, keep your skin clean by washing it with soap and water on a daily basis. The cleaner your skin, the lower your risk of developing cellulitis or other skin infections.

Unlike cellulite, cellulitis is a medically concerning skin condition. While most people experience a full recovery, some develop abscesses. These abscesses are particularly concerning because they contain significant amounts of the bacteria. Furthermore, the bacteria within an abscess can spread to other parts of the body.