Many a celeb has complained about cellulite (we’re lookin’ at you, Kim K), giving this totally normal part of skin an unnecessarily bad rap.
Cellulite is actually nothing to worry about and is super common. But what actually is cellulite? And is there anything you can do about it?
What is cellulite anyway?
Cellulite is dimpled or lumpy skin that usually appears on your thighs, stomach, or butt. It’s actually fat that is pushed through connective tissue under the skin into little pockets, which gives it that “orange peel” or “cottage cheese” texture.
Cellulite typically isn’t preventable, and it’s NOTHING to be ashamed of. It’s a normal part of practically everyone’s body (especially for women), and it can happen no matter how much you weigh.
That uneven, bumpy appearance we call cellulite is simply fat in your skin that has been pushed through connective tissue. It can appear on different parts of your body, but you’re most likely to find it on your:
The way cellulite looks also isn’t one-size-fits-all. The appearance varies depending on the grade of severity:
- Grade 1 (mild). This looks like an orange peel’s texture and includes one to four superficial depressions. There’s not much draping or sagging on the skin.
- Grade 2 (moderate). The skin appears moderately draped like cottage cheese. There are five to nine medium-depth depressions.
- Grade 3 (severe). Skin in this stage has 10 or more depressions. You might notice sagging too.
We actually don’t know the exact cause of cellulite, but it’s thought to be a combination of a few factors.
First off, cellulite is more common in women than in men. It’s estimated that 80 to 90 percent of women have cellulite.
This may be because women naturally tend to carry more fat in areas like the thighs and butt, where cellulite likes to pop up. And hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause may increase cellulite.
Other factors that might increase your chances of developing cellulite are:
- genetics and family history
- weight gain or loss
- sedentary lifestyle
- decreased blood flow
There are, like, 498,505,349 products that swear they can banish cellulite from your bod forever. But most of those gels, creams, and machines don’t actually do that. If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of cellulite, here’s what might help.
Cellulite creams and topicals
If a cellulite cream sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Very few cellulite products actually deliver on their promises. Still, some are a lot better than others. Look out for these ingredients:
- Caffeine. It’s often put in cellulite creams because it bolsters blood flow. Caffeine can also work as a diuretic, helping to flush fluids out of your body.
- Retinol. Creams that include 0.3 percent retinol may reduce the appearance of cellulite because they thicken the outer layer of skin. (FYI: You’ll likely need to use retinol for 3 months or longer to see results.)
The best massages to get for cellulite *might* be endermologie, lymphatic drainage massage, and connective tissue manipulation. In a small 2010 study with 60 participants, all three of these techniques decreased fat and reduced the circumference of participants’ thighs.
But there hasn’t been enough research to say for sure whether any of these techniques can offer long-term results for cellulite.
While we’re having this massage moment, let’s talk cupping.
Cupping promotes fluid, toxin, and chemical byproduct drainage that might improve the appearance of cellulite. In a 2015 study, women noticed a decrease in cellulite grade after 5 weeks of cupping.
Whether they apply it topically or take it as a supplement, people love collagen.
But a 2019 review concluded that we need more studies on just how collagen supplements can help your skin.
So while it won’t hurt to take a collagen supplement, there’s just not enough data to say that collagen supplements will help reduce your cellulite.
Drink more water
Slay your daily H2O flow. Staying hydrated promotes circulation and lymphatic health. This can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. So drink up!
Shedding a few pounds can reduce cellulite and its appearance. But losing weight alone doesn’t always work. Plus, losing weight might not be a healthy option for you.
PSA: It’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional before starting a new weight loss plan. They can give you great tips on how to keep it healthy.
Coconut oil isn’t a cellulite cure-all, but it can hydrate and smooth your skin, which might reduce the appearance of cellulite.
One study back in 2004 suggested that virgin coconut oil was as effective as mineral oil when used as a moisturizer. A 2010 study in rats also found that coconut oil may have healing properties when applied to skin.
This Ayurvedic treatment involves sweeping a dry brush across your skin. Though it can exfoliate and stimulate circulation, there’s little to no scientific evidence to support claims that it can curb cellulite. A vigorous session might get your blood flowing and plump your skin, but the effects are temporary.
Lots of peeps sing the praises of coffee scrub, claiming it’s an effective cellulite remedy. While there’s no scientific evidence that it can get rid of cellulite, it might help make it less noticeable.
Firming up certain areas of your body with resistance training and burning fat via cardio may help decrease the appearance of cellulite.
Here are some great moves for your next sweat sesh.
Do 12–15 reps at a time. You can increase the weights or reps as you get stronger. Try to do 2 or 3 sessions per week.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, pointing toes forward.
- Lower as if you were sitting in a chair, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.
- Squeeze your glute muscles as you rise to the starting position.
- Perform a regular squat.
- Jump up as you return to the starting position.
- Land softly on your feet.
- Stand upright in front of a bench or sturdy exercise box.
- Step up onto the box with one foot, then the other.
- Step one foot back down, then the other.
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Kick one leg back behind you.
- Lower your knee back down to the floor.
- Complete all reps with one leg before switching to the other leg.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Take a wide step out to one side.
- Bend your knees and push your hips back. Keep feet on the floor as you lunge.
- Push off with the same leg to return to the starting position.
- Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.
While a lot of cellulite options aren’t worth the hype, some medical-grade treatments really do work.
Dermatologists offer a variety of techniques that can be helpful to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests:
- acoustic wave therapy
- endermologie (deep massage with a vacuum device)
- laser treatments
- vacuum-assisted precise tissue release
- carboxytherapy (carbon dioxide gas under the skin)
- subcision or Cellfina (needles that break up connective tissue bands)
Cellulite is totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, cellulite can be beautiful… because it’s part of you ❤️ !
But if you want to reduce the amount of cellulite you have, or at least minimize its appearance, there are plenty of ways to make it less noticeable.