7 Key Differences Between Stretch Marks and Cellulite

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Though many people tend to look at them as if they were one and the same thing, there’s quite a bit of difference between cellulite and stretch marks.

But the trouble is, you can’t properly treat a condition if you think it’s something else.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key differences between the two, so that you have a better idea of what’s going on with your body.

Cellulite Vs. Stretch Marks – What You Need to Know

Difference #1: The Appearance

The first thing you need to remember is that stretch marks and cellulite will look differently.

Stretch marks will appear as streaks in your skin as if someone scratched the layer underneath your skin.

On the other hand, cellulite appears as these indented dimples in your skin.

Cellulite will never look like an elongated streak, so it’s quite easy to tell which is which by looking at them.

Difference #2: The Science

Although these two so-called imperfections are though to be quite similar, they happen because of two very different reasons.

You see, the reason you get stretch marks is that your skin is stretched out rapidly (often because of pregnancy, a growth spurt, or bodybuilding).

Cellulite, on the other hand, appears when too much fat accumulates underneath your skin. This fat pushes your skin out, as it were, but the connective tissue that binds your skin to your muscles, tries to pull it back. And it’s this opposition that gives your skin that dimply texture.

How Does Cellulite Form?

Difference #3: The Reason

As we mentioned, stretch marks appear after your body goes through either rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss. As we said, this often happens when a person begins to work out heavily, gets pregnant, goes through a teenage growth spurt, or goes on an intensive diet.

Now, if you haven’t experienced any of these things, then it’s quite unlikely that what you’re looking at is stretch marks.

Cellulite is usually a genetic predisposition and appears in people with a sedentary lifestyle, people who don’t work out, or as the result of taking birth control pills.

If you’ve gained weight recently, then it’s possible that you experience cellulite.

However, you would have to have a very radical diet to put on weight so rapidly that it stretches your skin past its’ breaking point.

Difference #4: The Skin Under and Around

The skin under and around the cellulite will often ‘hang’ off your body and look saggy.

Once again, this is the result of a poor diet and not enough exercise.

While it’s possible for stretch-marked skin to look saggy too, especially on areas such as the belly, it doesn’t necessarily have to. You can have stretch marks on areas such as your buttocks or hips, without the skin being saggy.

So, this is another good indicator of what you’re dealing with.

Difference #5: The Color

One of the details that many people look at to distinguish between these two affections is the color of the imperfection.

Stretch marks start out as red or purple streaks (in any case, dark-colored) and fade away gradually into these white-silvery streaks.

Whereas cellulite is basically colorless. You won’t ever get purple cellulite.

Difference #6: The Location

Woman with cellulitis on buttocks

Although stretch marks and cellulite share pretty much the same areas of the body (e.g., abdomen, thighs, buttocks, etc.), there is one key difference in their location.

For example, let’s look at the legs. Stretch marks tend to form either up the thigh, around the pelvic area, or around the knee joints.

You don’t get stretch marks right in the middle of your thigh. But you do get cellulite there.

The same goes for arms, you can have cellulite anywhere, whereas stretch marks will appear closer to your joints (e.g., elbow or shoulder).

Difference #7: The Remedy

Lastly, a good way to tell the difference is to try and cure them.

One great way to get rid of cellulite is to begin exercising regularly. That will firm up your skin and help shed the fat that’s causing the cellulite.

And while exercise can improve the appearance of stretch marks, it can’t get rid of them permanently.

FAQs

Is Cellulite Worse Than Stretch Marks?

This depends on your point of view. While stretch marks are harder to get rid of, more people tend to think of cellulite as worse, because it makes your skin look droopy and unhealthy.

Medically speaking, they are both purely cosmetic issues, as neither cellulite nor stretch marks are a health concern.

Cellulite and Stretch Mark Removal – How Do I Get Rid of Them?

As mentioned, cellulite can be resolved by taking regular exercise.

There are various topical creams out there that claim to get rid of cellulite, but these are generally not effective.

You see, no skin product can get rid of fat that has accumulated underneath the skin, so what you want to do is burn that naturally, through working out.

Stretch marks, on the other hand, are a bit trickier. While there are several creams that can help moisturize and boost the healing process, there is no one miracle cure for stretch marks.

But creams and other cosmetic procedures, such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, can significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Does Cellulite Cream Work for Stretch Marks?

Yes, cellulite cream can be helpful for treating stretch marks. That’s because most stretch mark creams contain firming and nurturing ingredients, such as Q10, Shea Butter, and Collagen, all crucial for rebuilding the skin’s elasticity post-stretch marks.

Do you suffer from stretch marks or cellulite? Have you found any effective method of combating either?