Orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin, mattress thighs, hail damage – call it what you will, cellulite is public enemy number one when bikini season comes around. A staggering 85-90% of women will get it at some point in their lives. But what is it, what causes it and, more importantly, how on earth can you get rid of it?

Everyone, whether they're skinny or curvy, young or old, has fat cells under their skin. Cellulite is the term used to describe the lumpy appearance of these fat cells which occurs mainly in problem areas such as your bum and thighs and, to a lesser, extent on the inner knees, hips, lower abdomen and under the arms.

Cellulite is caused when fat cells swell and the surrounding fibrous tissue changes in texture, becoming slightly thickened and contracted. It is this subsequent pulling effect that causes the unsightly skin dimpling that sends fashion editors running for the airbrush and makes the average girl think twice before slipping on a swimming cossie.

Cellulite can be caused by all sorts of things including lifestyle and hormonal factors (which explains why blokes are lucky enough not to be troubled by it). Evidence suggests that it's genetic so chances are if your mum's got it, you're next.

So what can you do about it?

Well unless you've got your own personal team of techies ready to airbrush all your holiday snaps or you are prepared to book yourself in for an expensive liposuction session (although liposuction doesn't always have the desired effect), your best bet are the dozens of anti-cellulite treatments all competing for attention on the supermarket shelves.

Many of these creams contain caffeine as a main ingredient which aims to act like a double espresso for your fat cells, perking them up, getting them active and burning them off quicker. But with scientific evidence suggesting that only around 1% of what we rub on our bodies actually gets absorbed by the skin it's debatable just how effective these treatments really are.

Bad news all round then for the vast majority of us that have to face the fact that, like it or lump it, the cellulite is probably here to stay.

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