What’s the one thing most women have, that none of them want?
Cellulite, which gives fatty areas (such as the thighs, stomach and buttocks) of the body a lumpy and bumpy appearance, is a condition that usually begins after females enter puberty.
Cellulite forms when the body accumulates and deposits free-floating fat cells right under the skin (subcutaneous fat). As the fat cells grow larger, they cause fibrous connective tissues (which connects skin to muscles) in the dermis of the skin to get weaker. This leads to a breakdown of the structure of the skin, which results in fat cells bulging against the epidermis, giving it a dimpled appearance.
Medical terms for cellulite include status protrusus cutis, adiposis edematosa, gynoid lipodystrophy and dermopanniculosis deformans, while its distinctive look inspired slang terms for the condition that include, cottage cheese, hail damage, orange peel and the mattress phenomenon.
Skin care professionals state that at some point in time between eighty five and ninety percent of all women may experience cellulite, regardless of size or shape.
While it is impossible to get rid of cellulite completely, there are ways to minimize its appearance. However, the treatment must begin as quickly as possible for good results, as cellulite tends to get progressively worse with time and the aging process.
While not completely understood, there are several factors that lead to the development of cellulite, which include the following:
Estrogen, thyroid, insulin, prolactin and noradrenaline hormones all contribute to the development of cellulite.
Consuming the wrong types of foods (salty, fatty and carbohydrate heavy) and not getting adequate dietary fiber tends to encourage and increase cellulite formation.
Heredity plays a part in how people produce cellulite, and, if they are predisposed to having it at all. Genetic factors such as the way the body distributes fat, ethnicity, metabolism, circulation and gender all influence an individual’s chances of developing cellulite.
Wearing clothes that are too tight can contribute to cellulite development as they cut off circulation to fatty areas of the body.
- Lifestyle Habits
One of the more preventable causes of cellulite is having bad lifestyle habits such as smoking, living a sedentary life and being excessively stationary.
Cellulite is easy to spot because of its signature appearance, which leaves the skin looking pocked and uneven in the fat storage areas of the body. However, the medical community also uses three distinctive grades to classify cellulite throughout its progression through various extremes:
Grade 1: No visible difference in skin structure, however, close examination reveals changes happening on a microscopic level below the skin.
Grade 2: Microscopic and visible changes begin, with skin also having less elasticity, tone and a lower temperature.
Grade 3: There is dramatic and visible change in the skin, which now features an orange peel texture along with the symptoms associated with grade two cellulite.
While cellulite affects both males and females, women suffer with the condition most often because of factors related to fat storage and the structure of connective tissues in the body.
Home Remedies to Reduce Cellulite
Use the following simple home remedies to effectively treat and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing is an effective treatment for cellulite because it stimulates the lymphatic system to remove toxins from the body (through the kidneys and digestive system) while increasing circulation to the affected areas. Another benefit of dry brushing is thoroughly exfoliated skin with a smooth texture.
Starting with dry skin and a stiff long-handled natural bristle body brush (vegetable-based), begin dry brushing from the feet, moving up the body and over each of the affected areas. Brush gently in the direction of the heart using long smooth strokes (do not brush in a circular or back and forth motion).
Use the following dry skin brushing tips to help get rid of cellulite:
- Do the treatment in the shower right before bathing.
- Do not brush hard enough to damage or irritate the skin.
- Dry brush for at least five minutes at a time.
- Shower after dry brushing to rinse away exfoliated skin and toxins.
- Moisturize with extra virgin coconut oil after dry skin brushing.
For best results, repeat this treatment once or twice daily for several months.
The bones, cartilage, organs and fibrous tissues of animals contain the proline and amino acids that gelatin is made of. These compounds supply what the body needs to build muscle, tighten skin, boost collagen production and make healthy and strong connective tissues, which improves the appearance of cellulite.
In fact, many believe that there is a direct correlation between the decline in the amount of gelatin in the diet and the increase of cellulite in women.
- Coffee Scrub
Coffee scrubs help to improve cellulite because it increases the flow of lymph (removes toxins) and blood circulation throughout the body. The scrub also helps to exfoliate and tighten the skin which improves the look of cellulite as well.
- Combine two tablespoons of coconut oil (melted), three tablespoons of sugar and a quarter cup of coffee grounds to make a thick paste.
- Using firm pressure, massage the paste into the affected areas for several minutes.
- Rinse the coffee away with warm water.
Store the remaining scrub in a jar for subsequent treatments.
- Combine a small amount of extra virgin olive oil with half a cup of coffee grounds. Use a microwave to heat the mixture for twenty seconds.
- Cover the affected areas of the body with the coffee and oil mixture, before wrapping it in plastic wrap.
- Leave the plastic wrap in place for at least thirty minutes before removing it and rinsing the coffee away with warm water.
For best results, use either treatment twice weekly until cellulite improves.
- Detox Baths
The body is exposed to a large amount of toxins on a daily basis, which include things such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pollution, processed foods and refined sugar. It handles this toxic load by storing it in fat cells (including cellulite) and away from the vital tissues and organs of the body.
Flushing toxins out of the body with detoxifying baths improves the appearance of cellulite by reducing pockets of toxin laden fluids. However, be sure to use cool water for the detox bath in order to increase the toning and tightening benefits.
- Balance Hormones
Hormones imbalances are key factors behind the development of cellulite. Work with a medical practitioner to balance hormone levels properly in order to see big improvements in the look of cellulite.
- Cayenne Pepper
The circulation and metabolism boosting properties (it naturally produces heat in the body) of cayenne pepper make it an effective remedy for treating cellulite and reducing its appearance. Cayenne pepper eliminates denatured connective tissues and skin cells while rebuilding strong ones and eliminating toxins from the body.
- Combine one glass of water with the juice of one lemon, a teaspoon of grated ginger and two teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
- Stir the mixture well before drinking it all.
For best results, drink this mixture one or two times daily for one to two months.
- Juniper Oil
The bloat-removing properties of juniper oil helps to detoxify the body, remove excess fluids and firm and soften skin, which improves cellulite.
- Combine a quarter cup of olive oil with ten to fifteen drops of juniper oil.
- Use the mixture to massage the affected areas for at least ten minutes.
For best results repeat the treatment twice daily for at least a month.
Seaweed helps to improve the appearance of cellulite by boosting blood circulation, removing toxins from fat cells and improving skin texture with its exfoliating properties.
- Combine a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, a quarter cup of sea salt, three tablespoons of powdered sea weed and a few drops of essential oil.
- Massage the mixture into the affected areas for at least ten minutes before rinsing it away with warm water.
- Apply moisturizer to the treated skin.
- Store any leftover seaweed mixture in a jar for subsequent treatments.
For best results, repeat this treatment once daily for several weeks.
- Fill a bath tub with warm water before adding four sheets of seaweed.
- Soak in the water for approximately twenty minutes before drying off.
For best results, repeat this treatment twice every week.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
The potassium, magnesium and calcium content of apple cider vinegar makes it effective for flushing toxins from the liver (stress hormones and excess estrogen) and excess fluids out of the body, which reduces cellulite formation. Many people also believe that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss, which is beneficial for improving the look of cellulite.
- Combine apple cider vinegar with water (at a 1:2 ratio) and add a small amount of honey.
- Use the mixture to massage the affected skin thoroughly before leaving it on for approximately half an hour.
- Rinse the solution from the skin using warm water
Repeat twice daily until cellulite improves.
- Combine apple cider vinegar with water (at a 1:1 ratio) and apply it to the affected skin before wrapping with plastic wrap.
- Place a warm towel over the plastic wrapped skin and leave it in place for one hour.
- Remove the towel and plastic wrap and rinse skin with warm water.
Repeat daily until cellulite goes away completely.
- Combine a teaspoon of honey with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and take the mixture twice a day on a consistent basis.
Note: Apple cider vinegar can also be added to juices or used as a salad dressing.
- Green Clay
The lymph and blood circulation boosting properties of green clay helps to improve the look of cellulite by absorbing toxins from the skin, exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and also adding strength to connective tissues.
- Combine a quarter cup of lime juice (freshly squeezed), three tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of honey (organic), half a cup of seaweed and half a cup of green clay to make a smooth paste.
- Use circular motions to massage the paste into the affected skin before covering it with plastic wrap.
- After half an hour, remove the plastic wrap and rinse skin thoroughly with warm water.
For best results, repeat this treatment weekly until the look of cellulite improves.
- Tangerine Oil
The detoxifying and blood circulation boosting properties of tangerine (essential) oil make it effective for reducing the fat cells that form cellulite.
- Combine a tablespoon of olive oil with five drops of tangerine oil and massage it into the cellulite affected skin for between ten and fifteen minutes. Stay out of the sun for a minimum of 60 minutes after use.
- Drink a glass of water with two to three drops of tangerine oil added to increase the metabolism and improve cellulite.
For best results, using these treatments twice a day for several weeks.
- Drink Water
Proper hydration is essential for flushing excess toxins and fluids from the body as well as improving skin tone and texture, which help to improve cellulite.
- Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily (one glass being the first drink of the morning).
- Try adding honey and lemon to water to make it tastier.
- Eat lots of low-calorie high water content food such as leafy greens, watermelon and cucumbers.
- Keep a refillable bottle of water handy throughout the day.
- Cellulite Cream
While studies do not prove their effectiveness, there are many creams available for treating cellulite that contain active ingredients such as herbal extracts, minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
Warning: The ingredients in some cellulite creams may cause skin problems such as rashes.
- Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba helps to reduce the formation of cellulite in the body because of its antioxidant content as well as the fact that it boosts circulation, which improves skin tone while removing excess fat and toxins.
- Green Tea
Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, which is an active compound in green tea (as well as ginger and dandelion teas) along with specific enzymes, help to absorb fats, increase the metabolism and flush excess toxins out of the body. Drink up to three cups of green tea daily to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Warning: Coffee drinking is not recommended because it dehydrates the tissues of the body which leads to water retention and the worsening of cellulite.
- Spray Tan Products
Using a spray tanning product, that is one or two shades darker than the natural skin tone, all over the legs (or other affected areas) can help to disguise the appearance of cellulite by evening out its color.
- Sleep More
Along with the usual health benefits (better immunity and high energy levels), sleeping for between seven and eight hours each night helps to reverse and prevent cellulite.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in saffron help to reduce cellulite and create smoother skin. It does this by keeping fat cells from getting bigger while reducing the appetite and boosting circulation and muscle tone. Add a few ounces of saffron liquid or spice to sauces and salad dressings to incorporate it into the diet.
While it won’t get rid of cellulite on its own, when combined with proper diet and exercise, vigorous anti-cellulite massages can help to reduce the appearance of dimpled skin by improving the circulation of blood to the affected areas while reducing toxins and water retention.
Although the results do not last long, many individuals notice small improvements in the appearance of cellulite after Lipomassage (also called Endermologie), which massages the affected areas using a hand-held device.
Use these massage techniques to increase circulation and help reduce cellulite:
Always begin an anti-cellulite massage by covering the affected skin with moisturizer to help hands glide effortlessly. Massage in the direction of the heart, beginning at the lowest point of the body.
Massage the body by alternating the following techniques using medium pressure:
- Use the palms, knuckles and fingers to massage with long sweeping strokes.
- Massage the skin with long sweeping strokes in a circular motion.
- Grasp the skin between the thumb and fingers and knead it in a circular motion as if it were dough.
- Pull the skin away from the body gently by pinching it between the thumb and fingers.
- Pull the skin in all direction by pinching it gently between the thumb and fingers.
- Complete the massage with relaxing effleurage (broad contact strokes).
If unable to receive a traditional massage, a foam roller designed for deep tissue massage can also be used to great effect.
Some experts theorize that cellulite is the result of a buildup of fat cells in the superficial fascia (connective tissues) layer of the dermis. The theories also suggest that several factors such as injury, lack of exercise and scar tissue can cause these tissues to become thick and coarse, promoting the rough and bumpy look associated with cellulite affected skin.
Because of this, a technique known as myofascial massage (or myofascial release) was developed. The massage technique helps to smooth out the connective tissues while also relieving problems related to fascia imbalances such as joint and muscle issues.
Diet plays an important role in preventing and treating cellulite. Along with consuming a diet rich in healthy and low fat foods (lean proteins, healthy fats, fresh produce), it is important to avoid unhealthy cellulite-increasing foods. Here are several nutritional tips that help to combat the formation of cellulite:
- Include lots of vegetables and fruits in the diet to hydrate the body while also preventing the fat gain associated with developing cellulite.
- Drink a breakfast smoothie made with a cup of spinach, a cup of milk, a handful of strawberries and half a banana for a full serving of fruit and vegetables.
- Snack on raw veggies such as carrots, broccoli and salad greens to supply the body with the hydration and antioxidant nutrients it needs to reduce cellulite formation.
The following are specific nutrient dense foods that help to get rid of cellulite.
- Olive Oil: While many women avoid it, dietary fat is one of the most important nutrients to consume. Eating olive oil on a regular basis supplies the body with the healthy fats it needs to regulate thyroid function, boost the metabolism and revive skin-building cells to improve the appearance of cellulite. Drizzle olive oil over salads and raw veggies before eating them daily to help reduce cellulite.
- Dark Chocolate: Antioxidants help to reduce the buildup of fat cells under the skin and boost skin elasticity, and natural cocoa is full of them. Along with these benefits, the caffeine content in dark chocolate reduces the water retention that exaggerates the appearance of existing cellulite. One square of dark chocolate each day helps to cut down on orange peel skin.
- Hummus: Hummus, which is primarily made of chickpeas, is a low glycemic food that helps in the reduction of cellulite. The fact that hummus does not cause insulin spikes or increases in blood glucose levels (which leads to higher body fat levels) makes it a good addition to an anti-cellulite diet.
- Healthy Fats: Apart from olive oil, the body needs beneficial fats from sources such as nuts, avocados, omega-3 fatty acids and fish in order to keep skin healthy and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Overeating unhealthy fats contributes to cellulite because of an imbalance in the ratio of good fats to bad fats in the body.
Potent sources of healthy fats include fermented cod liver oil, grass-fed meats, walnuts, wild rice, edamame and dairy products enriched with Omega-3, which eaten regularly, help to reduce cellulite throughout the body.
- Dark Berries: The high anti-oxidant levels in dark berries such as blueberries and blackberries increase collagen levels in the skin and improve its texture, while also reducing fat deposits under the skin.
- Salmon: As one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, salmon helps to reduce the buildup of fat cells beneath the skin and the toxins in the blood. Eating roasted or baked salmon four or five times a week boosts circulation while aiding in repairing and strengthening the tissues of the skin.
- Sunflower Seeds: The zinc, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin B6 (a natural cellulite reducer) content of sunflower seeds helps to revitalize connective tissues and boost the metabolism of proteins in the body. Sunflower seeds also have a diuretic effect, which reduces the dimpled appearance of cellulite.
- Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: The lycopene content of tomatoes is beneficial for cellulite because it supports collagen production by preventing its breakdown. Eat fresh tomatoes or include tomato paste (packaged in non BPA containers) in the diet to improve the look of cellulite.
Here are some fat and water-weight promoting foods to avoid as much as possible to reduce and prevent cellulite production:
- Alcohol (water weight gain is a common side effect of drinking alcohol mixed with sugary chasers).
- Foods prepared with deep frying such as onion rings, chicken and potatoes.
- Sugary foods such as soda, candy and pastry.
- Salty foods such as canned soups, dressings and potato chips.
Exercise to Eliminate Cellulite
While exercise is important for overall health and fitness, experts now believe that the type of exercise women do is an important factor for attempting to get rid of cellulite.
Cellulite’s formation and appearance is directly related to the amount and tone of the muscle in the body. A solid and stable base of muscle is what gives overlaying fat a smooth tone and shape.
As women age, they tend to lose muscle mass and at the same time, see a dramatic increase in cellulite levels. This is because the muscles that keep subcutaneous fat smooth and taut get thin and weak. They lose their firmness, which causes the bumpiness associated with cellulite.
This is why, on its own, hours of cardio does very little to improve cellulite’s appearance. On the other hand, an exercise regimen that combines cardio (to lose extra body fat) and strength training (to firm and tone muscles) is the most effective exercise strategy for dealing with cellulite.
Use the following workout tips to control and prevent the appearance of cellulite:
- Strengthen and tone the buttocks, thighs, arms and other cellulite prone areas of the body by performing targeted exercises with free weights.
- Build more muscle by lifting heavy weights at low repetitions with the help of a personal trainer or gym to see gradual improvements in the amount of weight lifted.
- Combine weight training with heart pumping moves for high intensity exercise that quickly reduces the appearance of cellulite.
- Train with kettlebells to build muscles in cellulite prone areas of the body (legs, buttocks, thighs, etc.), burn excess fat deposits and improve circulation.
- Sprint at quarter mile intervals (with twenty second breaks in between) for at least four repetitions. Increase the number of sprint intervals as fitness levels get better.
- Use a treadmill to sprint for approximately three minutes at a time (increasing interval length as fitness improves) to see a reduction in cellulite.
- Use a regular or stationary bicycle (on high resistance) to do uphill sprint intervals for several minutes at a time to build muscle tone and reduce the look of dimpled skin.
- Burn the fat that leads to cellulite development by doing classes, running, hiking and other types of intense cardio.
Although it may take a while, improvements in cellulite as a result of working out and reducing body fat levels become noticeable within a few months.
Medical Treatment Options for Cellulite
There are several medical grade options available for treating cellulite, which include:
- Injectable Treatments (Mesotherapy)
In order to break down and reduce the level of fat deposits under the skin, a doctor can inject a solution (a mixture of minerals, vitamins, herbal extracts, aminophylline and hormones), which results in skin looking smoother and more even toned.
Warning: Potential negative side effects of this treatment include a worsened skin texture, infection and rashes on the skin.
- Body Shaping Treatments
Create a tight and toned appearance with body shaping treatments such radio frequency energy, lasers and massage rollers. These treatments help to reduce fat deposits under the skin, while simultaneously increasing the levels of collagen.
While not proven by solid medical or scientific studies, the following treatments are often used as therapy for cellulite riddled skin:
- Pneumatic Massages
- Lymphatic Massage
- Heat Therapy
- Radial Wave Therapy
- Electrical Stimulation
- Radio Frequency Therapy
- Magnetic Therapy
In addition to the mechanical and physical cellulite treatments above, many individuals have also turned to the following pharmaceutical products in hopes of getting rid of cellulite and its symptoms for good.
- Indian Chestnut
- Methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine)
- Amino Acids
- Adrenaline and Beta-agonists
While many people have taken these treatments by injection and in oral supplements, none of them have been shown to work.
Warning: Avoid undergoing liposuction in order to treat cellulite, as it can actually cause it to look worse due to uneven fat removal.