Expert-Recommended Techniques to Help Improve Cellulite
Why is it that dimples on your cheeks are adorable, but dimples on your thighs aren’t? Yep, we’re talking about cellulite. When fat presses against and bulges through the web-like layer of connective tissue below the skin it creates an uneven surface resulting in dimples, bumps and heavy sighs in dressing rooms everywhere. Cellulite most often lands on the thighs, hips, butt, abdomen and knees. While most women have it, cellulite is far more rare in men (lucky boys).
Despite the fact that tons of different products claim that they can banish cellulite, researchers maintain that there is no cure for cellulite. While there are no ways to fully erase those obnoxious dimples, there are things experts say you can do that may help reduce the appearance of cellulite—we’ve outlined six of the most effective, inexpensive strategies below.
“Unfortunately, there is no way to remove cellulite, but you can minimize the appearance by toning the muscles under and surrounding the area,” explains certified personal trainer Jennifer Menzer.
She recommends a blood-pumping routine of cardio plus strength training to tone up troubled areas.
“Cellulite is just a fat, so toning muscles in the surrounding areas can help its appearance,” adds registered dietitian Daniela Knight. “Losing weight can help, as well.” We want to stress, though, that even the skinniest amongst us can still suffer from cellulite—it can be an equal opportunity fat problem.
Depending on your body shape, your cellulite may appear more in certain areas.
While exercise is a critical step in tightening up at losing weight, so too is your diet. “Make sure to follow a healthy, high fiber, lower calorie diet,” advises Knight. Menzer adds that to do this, you need “a combination of whole healthy foods such as fruit, veggies, lean meats and whole grains—think oats, quinoa and faro.”
Watch your salt intake too. Too much sodium causes your body to retain excess fluids, which can make your cellulite more noticeable. Make sure you’re drinking enough water each day, which will help flush toxins from your body, reduce water retention, and make you feel less bloated.
And remember, as Knight advises, “Fad diets tend to not be effective.” But you’re smart ladies, we’re sure you already knew that.
Side note: Healthy eating will not only help get you in your best shape and boost your energy levels, but it can also leave your skin glowing.
Lotions & Creams
Don’t get sucked into the hype from product manufacturers: There isn’t a miracle cream, lotion or gel out just yet, so don’t waste your hard earned money on an expensive product that will more than likely leave you unsatisfied.
Two product areas that have gained popularity for reducing the appearance—notice we’re saying reduce appearance, not getting rid of completely—are retinol creams and caffeine lotions.
The Mayo Clinic recommends a twice-daily application of products with 0.3 percent retinol (a form of vitamin A) cream to affected areas to reduce the appearance of cellulite, but only after a strict six-month regimen. Retinol stimulates collagen production, which may make the skin thicker and better able to hide cellulite dimples.
Just how caffeine leaves you thirsty for a glass of water, it can also dehydrate cellulite-affected areas of your skin. By flushing out moisture under the skin, it can slightly tighten the skin, potentially leaving it looking less lumpy and bumpy—but only temporarily, and you may not even notice a difference. If you want to give it a try, though, look for lotions that contain at least five percent caffeine. There are even several drug-store alternatives that hit the mark at the moment.
Massages stimulate blood flow, which releases toxins and excess fluid—this can plump up your skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. So massage is often recommended as an alternative natural treatment to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite.
But massage can be difficult to do properly yourself, and dropping into a massage parlor each time you want to wear shorts isn’t exactly affordable. So instead try dry brushing, which will give you the same massage effect for less money and with the added benefit smoothing your skin as it sloughs off the top layer of dead, dry cells.
To dry brush, you simply need a natural bristle (not synthetic) body brush that you keep dry at all times. Before showering, sweep the dry brush over your dry skin starting at your feet and working your way up your legs and rear, working in the direction toward your heart. (The point here is you’re moving the fluid in the direction of circulation, to the heart.)
Don’t go back and forth over the same area of skin and don’t press too hard as this can damage your skin.
Once your legs are complete, perform the same technique on your arms: start at your hands and brush up your arms, toward your heart. For your stomach, simply brush in a counterclockwise motion.
When you’re done just hop in the shower and wash off all those loose dead skin cells.
An often-overlooked fact is that stress may actually increase your risk for cellulite—who knew? This may be due to the fact that stress can cause an increase in certain hormones associated with the development of cellulite.
If you needed one more reason to stop being a stress-junkie, perhaps this is it.
Being tan won’t reduce dimpling, but it certainly can reduce the appearance of it. Get bronzed with sunless tanner instead of tanning your hide with cancer causing, skin damaging UV rays.
To disguise cellulite, apply one layer of self-tanner to your problem areas and then follow up a few hours later with your regular full body layer of tanner. The first layer should be a lotion self-tanner, but you can use a spray for the full body if you like. Strategically double layering your color in problem areas helps to conceal lumps and bumps in a contouring-like manner.