The orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin, and the mattress phenomenon are all terms used to describe cellulite, the lumpy deposits of dimpled fat that plague the thighs and buttocks of millions of women around the world. If you do have cellulite, take comfort in the fact that you are by no means alone - nearly all women develop cellulite at some stage in their lives.
The history of cellulite is shrouded in contradiction and confusion. The term was coined in 1973, but the condition was first acknowledged by European physicians around the beginning of the 19th Century. It is now believed to affect more than 80% of women in Europe and America. But despite being so common there is also a lot of misunderstanding surrounding its cause and treatment.
Cellulite is not a medical or scientific term but is commonly used term to describe the pitting, bulging and deformation of the skin usually affecting the thighs, buttocks, hips, breasts and abdomen of women. Over the years there has been a lot of debate about what actually constitutes cellulite and whether it differs from other fat cells in the body.
Chemical analysis has shown that cellulite is the same as ordinary fat cells and that it is not a unique substance. Fat cells are held together by a network of fibers that are nourished and cleansed by body fluids. Poor circulation can result in a slowing down of this cleansing process and an accumulation of waste materials that thicken and harden into immovable pockets of fat which cause this 'dimple' effect.
The symptoms of cellulite include feelings of tightness and heaviness in the legs. The skin can be tender when pinched, pressed or when massaged vigorously and it can also feel hard and cold compared to other areas of skin. However, it can also feel spongy and doughy. On the positive side cellulite is not an illness and it is unlikely to have any ill effects on your health, rather it is a sign that maybe something in your lifestyle is not as healthy as it could be.