Most women have cellulite, and that fact has spawned an industry of products and treatments that claim to get rid of it or change its appearance. Most of them don’t do anything, but some can actually make a difference.
It’s hard not to notice it when you step out of the shower or put on a swimsuit: the characteristic dimpling of cellulite. However, you might take some consolation in knowing that cellulite adorns the buttocks, hips, and thighs of most women.
Fat deposits that push up against the web of fibrous connective tissues beneath the skin. This web stays taut, allowing fat to bulge through.
While some men have it, it’s much more common in women because the area where women tend to store body fat around the hips. This is the area where cellulite appears the most. Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t show up only on curvy bodies. Thin people can have it, too. They can get it through carrying extra pounds makes it more noticeable. Other contributing factors include:
- A family history of cellulite
- The thickness of your skin
- And hormonal changes
- As skin becomes less elastic with age, it becomes more obvious.
There are numerous products and therapies on the market for cellulite, but only a few have actually been found to help. If you’re bothered by your cellulite, consider the following treatments:
Special machines gather areas of skin with cellulite and massage them. A technique called Endermologie, which squeezes and suctions this skin, has been approved by the FDA to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Ten to 12 treatments are usually required before you notice a change, and you’ll need regular follow-up therapy to maintain the look. Treatment is expensive.
Laser therapy and radiofrequency systems
The FDA has approved two of these systems to treat cellulite. One combines suction or massage with infrared light and radiofrequency energy. The other combines massage with laser energy. Both require multiple treatments but can reduce the appearance of cellulite for up to six months. Because so many sessions are involved, this therapy is expensive.
Aim for a healthy weight and get regular exercise
While this approach won’t eliminate cellulite, keeping your body as firm and fit as possible can improve the appearance of dimpled skin. Start by making sure you eat a diet low in saturated fat, trans fats, and sugar but rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat sources of protein and dairy products. Then try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
Smoking damages connective tissue, and this affects the appearance of the skin.
Just as important as what works is what doesn’t. Cellulite creams, dietary supplements, and special salon wraps may be advertised as cures for cellulite, but there’s no scientific evidence to back this up. Drinking lots of water won’t help either unless you’re dehydrated, to begin with.
Some people try to get rid of cellulite with liposuction, a procedure in which a surgeon inserts a narrow tube under the skin and suctions out fat cells. While this can recontour the body, liposuction doesn’t remove it and can actually make it look worse.
Most women can’t avoid getting it, but you can minimize its appearance by maintaining the right weight for you and working out regularly — and doing both of those things will also be a boon to your health.