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Strategies that Fight Cellulite

Getting Rid of Cellulite: What Really Works?

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Although working out and eating right help you feel good and improve your health, there's no doubt that most of us also do so to improve our appearance. And with shorts and swimsuit season quickly approaching, cellulite might be on the minds of many, particularly women—80%-90% or more of whom report having at least a little cellulite.

With so many products on the market promising to drastically reduce the appearance of cellulite or remove it altogether, it's tempting to pick up a bottle and just hope that it takes away that uneven and dimpled surface of the skin. But, wait! Before investing your hard-earned cash in some overnight solution that sounds too good to be true, do a little homework first—and find out what really works when it comes to preventing and reducing the appearance of cellulite.

What Is Cellulite?
Cellulite is formed by fibrous connective cords that connect your skin to your underlying muscle. In between these cords are your fat cells, and as your fat cells accumulate, they push up against your skin, while at the same time, the connective cords pull down. This pulling and pushing under your skin creates an uneven surface or dimpling that has the texture of cottage cheese or an orange peel. Because cellulite is more concentrated in areas that have a higher fat content, most women have some degree of cellulite on their thighs, hips and rear, but it can also be found on the breasts, lower abdomen and upper arms.

Why Some Have More Cellulite Than Others
Many factors play a role in cellulite, including your sex. Although men can and do have cellulite, it's more common in women due to their genetic make-up and higher levels of body fat (compared with men). Age, weight and lifestyle also play a role. As you age and your skin becomes looser, you may notice more cellulite on your body—even if your weight or body fat percentage remains unchanged. Weight gain can also make cellulite more noticeable, as can being inactive, enduring high levels of stress and, according to the Mayo Clinic, using hormonal contraceptives.

However—and here's the kicker—lean individuals can still have cellulite. Much of cellulite is actually genetic, so if it tends to run in your family, you may be more likely to have it regardless.

Natural Ways to Treat Cellulite
So you have some cellulite. Is there anything you can do about it? The following healthy lifestyle habits have been shown to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  • Lose weight. Although you may not be able to get rid of cellulite completely, when you lose body fat by exercising and eating a healthy diet, you can greatly improve the appearance of dimpled skin because you'll have less fat pushing up against your skin.

  • Resistance train. There is no such thing as spot training (losing fat in a specific body area by exercising it), but by strengthening and building your muscles—particularly in areas where you carry cellulite—you can give your skin a more even texture and tone.

  • Do cardio. Aerobic exercise is a fantastic way to burn calories and burn fat, thereby reducing the size of fat cells under the skin. Plus, aerobic exercise can also help you lose weight!

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains can give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to properly burn fat and keep your skin and tissues healthy. In fact, healthy proteins from nuts, beans and fish, and antioxidant-rich green tea, berries and garlic can help build up collagen—a connective tissue that helps plump up the skin and makes the signature peaks and valleys of cellulite less extreme. A healthy diet full of vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids can also improve skin texture.

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is an easy way to improve the texture of your skin. It seems counterintuitive, but by drinking more fluid, your body actually releases excess fluid that you may have been holding onto (including in your cellulite-prone areas). Not to mention that water is just darn good for you!

The Skinny on Cellulite Reduction Products and Treatments
With so many cellulite treatments promising dramatic results, do any live up to their claims? Some cellulite treatments have been shown to diminish the appearance of cellulite, but there really is no product that can permanently remove cellulite. For many of these treatments, the effects will only last as long as you are using the product (if they last at all). Here's the skinny on the most popular treatment options.
  • Massage. While not proven as an effective long-term treatment, vigorous massage or rubbing the skin with a stiff brush may increase blood flow, remove toxins and reduce excess fluid. Lipomassage actually uses a hand-held machine to knead the skin between rollers. The results usually don't last for more than a day or two.

  • Cellulite creams. There is no shortage of creams in a variety of price ranges that claim to be the cure for cellulite. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, no studies show that these creams work—with one exception. A twice-daily application of 0.3% retinol cream has been shown to diminish the appearance of cellulite after six months of use. Beware though, in some cases, the ingredients in these creams can actually cause allergic reactions or rashes.

  • Self tanner. While self tanners do not actually reduce the amount of cellulite in your body, these products can make cellulite less noticeable by evening out or darkening your skin tone. New to self-tanners? Here are some tips!

  • Lasers and radiofrequency systems. Some treatments involve using radiofrequency and infrared light to break up cellulite. These usually take quite an investment and multiple treatments to see results. However, people do see results that can last up to six months after completing these treatments.

  • Liposuction. This is the most invasive and complicated cellulite treatment, as it involves a surgeon inserting a narrow tube under your skin to suction out fat cells. Although liposuction can shape the body and remove fat, it doesn't always remove cellulite, and it may actually make cellulite appear worse. Laser-assisted liposuction is a newer, less invasive form that destroys fat cells while tightening the skin, and may be a more effective treatment for cellulite. Again, though, there are serious risks of complications with this more invasive procedure.

  • Mesotherapy. Another more serious treatment, mesotherapy is a procedure that injects a solution of aminophylline, hormones, enzymes, herbal extracts, vitamins and minerals under the skin. While there's no research on its effectiveness, this treatment can cause several unwanted effects including infection, rashes, and bumpy or uneven skin contours (which pretty much seems like the opposite of what you want)!

The best way to really fight cellulite? Stop fighting it altogether and learn to love your body as it is! Cellulite isn't a health problem—only an aesthetic issue. Celebrate your body for everything it does for you—and remember, almost everyone has cellulite somewhere.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Nicole Nichols, certified personal trainer.

Sources
Mayo Clinic. "Cellulite," Accessed April 2011. www.MayoClinic.com

The World's Healthiest Foods. "Can you tell me which foods promote collagen?," Accessed April 2011. www.WHFoods.com

eHow Style. "How to Reduce Cellulite," Accessed April 2011. www.eHow.com

WebMD. "Cellulite Causes and Treatments," Accessed April 2011. www.WebMD.com

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Member Comments

  • LEVIHAMILTON
    I've used several anti-cellulite creams in the past. I've been using dermalmd cellulite serum for 2 months now. My skin is smoother and a bit more firm. I believe the cellulite on my thighs, butt and stomach has been visibly reduce. This product doesn't eliminate cellulite but I'm happy with the reduction in its appearance.
  • CATHRINEMINO1
    I have a very small amount of cellulite on the back of my thighs that developed during my last pregnancy. I decided to try this product to see if it would go away. I haven't noticed a difference in skin texture/cellulite
    , but am still pleased with this lotion. It is moisturizing, has a pleasant smell, and great tingly sensation that makes me feel like I'm doing something.
  • Sorry I have to go with nature vs nuture on this one. If you are genetically predisposed to cellulite, it does not matter what your diet consists of. People who eat only healthy food, and are at a healthy weight can have cellulite. I also know people who eat tons of crap, and are skinny as a rail with no cellulite. Sometimes you win the genetic lottery, and sometimes you don't. You have to play with the cards you were dealt to the best of your ability.
  • This article is disappointing. I am at least 50 lbs overweight. My entire family gains fat easily. We don't have cellulite because we don't eat junk food. Those dimples have nothing to do with calories consumed or weight lifting, foam rolling or "creams". It has to do with health and sugar. Eat vegetables and avoid the chemicals in the preservatives, food coloring and flavorings.
  • PATCLAIRE
    Hey girls! My name is Patricia and I'm 33 years old. Like most of you I suffered the annoying cellulite problem and I can say that it's really hard to have it because you feel really unconfortable with your body...

    That's why I put in my head that I had to finish with this issue to feel confortable with my body again. After trying some creams, products and treatments (that doesn't gave me any effect)... finally, searching trought internet, found a method that worked! It was amazing. After 4 weeks doing it I had some good results and I was very happy with it!

    As an ex-cellulite sufferer I want to share with all of you the method that changed my life because I know how hard it's to be affected with this problem. That's the site I found: http://truthabout
    cellulite.co.nf

    Now that I'm a "cellulite free" girl I can say that It's really easy if you know how to attack the problem! If this could help only to one of you (I hope that more) I will be happy to having shared my history :)

    Kisses!
  • EMILYPAIGE45
    Recently I bought Dermalmd Cellulite Cream for my daughter who always complains about having cellulite. So far she seems very happy with it, says its making her skin feel tighter and more toned and she feels more comfortable in leggings. She says it soaks in quite quickly which means you can dress sooner without worrying about it leaving marks on your clothes. it has a pleasant smell and is a thickish cream, thick wnough that it doesnt run off your hands, but thin enough tp spread well so you don't end up using half in one go. overall, very happy with Dermalmd Cellulite Cream and may just steal it off my daughter for me!
  • I find it comical that people are using this article & comments to sell more "magic" cellulite creams! Marketers are persistent! Haha!

    The message in this article is to learn to love your body, dimples & all. That's the only guaranteed cure to the woes, and remember...you're probably the only one that even notices you have it. If I do notice it on someone, it makes me feel better. It proves that we're all human, have all shapes / sizes, and are beautiful for it!
  • JUDYHARPER12
    I used to suffer from cellulite on my legs for about 10 years so I can relate to people who experience it. No creams, products or ointments ever really did anything for me but I was actually able to completely get rid of my cellulite naturally after my cousin told me how. I only had to do 2 things:

    1. Drink atleast 1.5 litres of water everyday. Hydration is one of the main aspects (way more so than diet ever was)

    2. Follow every step in the free video & in the guide seen at http://solvehealt
    hproblem.com/
    cellulite to get to the root of the problem.

    Try those two steps and hopefully you will get as much luck with getting rid of your cellulite as i did. Another thing worth trying is apple cider vinegar which works short term but it tastes disgusting and you really need to prevent it from returning.
  • FOXGLOVE999
    Much to my daughters dismay, I have very little cellulite, even though I was very overweight.
  • Cellulite on my thighs really stresses me out! I never, never wear anything above my knee as I can't stand the way my legs look. There's so much pressure on looking 'perfect' here (Italy), I am ashamed of showing my legs off really. This article gives me some food for thought anyway!
  • HBARRATT
    Thanks for this article and for stressing that cellulite is mostly genetic and not a health problem. It amazes me how many people still think that cellulite is just a sign of being overweight or unhealthy, or lazy and that somehow if you have it it's "your own fault" (it's often those lucky people that don't suffer from it and want to give themselves a pat on the back that say this!).
    Obviously anything that encourages us to work out and eat well is good news, but thank you for writing an honest article rather than promising the impossible! Hopefully people feel better about themselves after reading this.
  • ZOZABBO
    DRY SKIN BRUSHING! Some health food stores sell them; look for a big wooden brush with a long handle to get the hard to reach places and hard all natural bristles. Use it all over your body; rub in circle motions until your skin goes cherry red, but concentrate in problem areas (butt, thighs, abdominal) It will hurt a bit at first but if you do this BEFORE every shower it will help with cellulite, It takes about 5 minutes to do head to toe but I swear it will help with cellulite as well as you will glow and be so smooth. I am constantly being told i have the smoothest skin.
  • Well darn. I guess I'm stuck living with it! Thanks for the great article!
  • MIEZEKATZE
    Cellulite unfortunately runs in my family big time. It is the one thing about my body that I'm really embarrassed about. I won't wear shorts or skirts shorter than my knee. Thanks for the informative article. Guess I need to learn to deal with it!

About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

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