Known as cottage cheese or orange peel skin, cellulite affects millions of women. These unsightly lumps beneath the skin are completely benign, but are also unattractive and typically unwanted. While there is no way you can completely get rid of it, there are some tricks you can use to learn how to reduce cellulite’s appearance wherever it pops up.
What Is Cellulite?
In addition to being unsightly, and something that everyone wishes would go away, cellulite actually has its roots well below the skin it is dimpling. Cellulite is caused by large pockets of fat beneath the skin. When the fat pockets push upwards on your connective tissue, it exerts pressure that causes the fat to balloon outwards around the tissue. This causes the dimpling and rippling of the skin that characterizes the condition.
More than 80% of women in their 20s will develop cellulite to some degree, and while cellulite can have many causes, the number one reason why this condition affects many women is genetics. While men’s collagen and connective tissue threads through the body’s fat cells in a criss-cross pattern, women’s run straight up and down, dividing the fat cells into little rooms. When the fat expands inside these rooms, there’s less space for it to go, forcing the connective tissue to bulge. Men have fewer fat cells in each small connective tissue room, so any bulges from enlarged fat cells aren’t as easily noticed.
Causes of Cellulite
One of the first things many people look for when they try to figure out how to reduce cellulite is the cause. Unfortunately, it can have several causes, and most of them are due to genetics. In other words, you may just be prone to the condition, particularly if it hit the other female members of your family equally as hard. Taking a course in cellulite reduction can help you pinpoint some of the reasons why you may be prone to this condition.
In addition to genetics, cellulite can be caused by:
- Hormones including estrogen, insulin, and thyroid hormones, all of which may aid in the production of fatty tissue
- A diet high in carbohydrates, fat, and salt has been known to cause the dimpling, and people that get too little fiber in their diets are prone to developing more cellulite as well
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, or standing or sitting in one place for too long each day
- Tight or restrictive clothing around the legs, buttocks, and hips could also lead to cellulite
Can Cellulite be Removed?
Unfortunately, science has yet to find a way to permanently remove cellulite. There are several methods, however, that can reduce the appearance of the dimpled texture it leaves behind. Some methods are more effective than others, and many may be a waste of time and money, especially for those who may be trying to figure out how to reduce cellulite and keep it away forever.
How to Reduce Cellulite
While you can’t get rid of it entirely, you can reduce the appearance of cellulite in many areas. How effective you’ll be depends largely upon genetics, the spread or amount of cellulite you have, and how diligent you are with keeping up with the program.
There are several different methods that people have tried for cellulite reduction over the years.
Therapeutic methods of cellulite reduction involve manually manipulating the skin and area beneath it. These methods may include things like:
- Dry brushing
- Deep tissue massage
- Heat therapy
- Magnetic therapy
- Electrical stimulation
The idea behind most of these methods is to try to both tighten up the skin, as well as massage and manipulate the fat cells so they no longer protrude beyond their connective tissue homes. Many of these methods are usually only effective temporarily, meaning that they may look as though they are reducing the appearance of cellulite, but once the treatment has been stopped, it usually comes right back again. Some people may notice that when using things like foam rollers for muscle recovery, they notice a small drop in cellulite appearance at the same time. Many of these therapeutic methods have the same result, and while they may make you feel better physically, they have little effect on the fat cells themselves.
Drugs and Topical Creams
In addition to therapeutic methods of cellulite reduction, many people turn to herbs, drugs, and topical creams. These methods usually have the same aim as the therapeutic version; to help tighten the skin and possibly reduce the appearance of the cellulite. No method has been found to be effective in clinical trials, despite the number of different creams and topical solutions available today. Some of the different drugs and herbs that have been popularized over the years as people wonder how to reduce cellulite are:
- Gingko biloba
- Indian chestnut
- Amino acids
Compression and Body Suits
Another popular method for trying to get rid of cellulite is to wear a compression garment. The idea behind compression garments is to stimulate the lymphatic system and compress the skin and fatty tissue. This method may result in a temporary reduction in the appearance of the cellulite, however, because tight clothing has been found to cause cellulite in the first place, this method may backfire on you when used long term. The general rule of thumb when it comes to cellulite reduction is to wear looser clothing on a regular basis, rather than tighter or compression-style clothes.
Liposuction and Fat Freezing
Both liposuction and fat freezing can help to rid your body of unwanted fat, and because cellulite is technically swollen fat pockets, both of these methods should help, right? Unfortunately, while both methods can be a good way for you to lose some pockets of stubborn fat that are resistant to diet and exercise, neither one has much effect on cellulite. In fact, in the case of liposuction it can even make the appearance of cellulite worse. This is because while some fat cells are removed, others are left behind. The bulging fat pockets now become more obvious when surrounded by empty space, exacerbating the problem. If you are looking at one of these methods to reduce your fat, they’re still very effective, but be prepared for the fact that you may notice an increase in cellulite after they are done, rather than the other way around.
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise will not get rid of your cellulite completely, but they are the most effective method known for reducing its appearance. This is because when you lose weight evenly over your body, you’ll be shrinking your fat cells, which in turn will reduce the appearance of cellulite. In addition, toning the muscles in the areas of the body that are affected by cellulite will help to further reduce its appearance. When combining diet and exercise with several other lifestyle changes that can help prevent new cellulite from forming, you have the best chance at reducing its appearance. The most effective methods combine a healthy diet along with both cardio and strength training to keep your metabolism running strong and preventing new fat deposits from forming and making the cellulite appearance worse.
Tips and Tricks for Best Results
Your best results are going to come from following a regiment of lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise. These methods are not going to remove your cellulite for good, but done regularly they will help to minimize its appearance.
- Focus your diet on healthy foods that includes lots of protein, good fats, and fiber. Limit your processed carbs, sugar, and salt.
- Move around often, particularly if you have a job that keeps you on your feet or seated in one place for long stretches of time. Try to take daily walks during your break, or get plenty of cardio exercise each morning.
- Start an exercise or healthy living course to help encourage you to keep good habits and learn to boost your metabolism.
- Establish a weight lifting routine to tone your muscles and increase your metabolism to help you burn fat.
- Wear loose underwear or thongs, rather than tight or restrictive clothing. Limit your use of things like Spanx to occasional wear, rather than daily to keep from making the problem worse.
- Don’t smoke, as cellulite has been shown to be more prevalent amongst smokers.
A healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle are by far the most effective methods at reducing and eliminating any cellulite on your body. Remember as you do battle with this common problem that you are far from alone; most of the women you meet during your lifetime are going to be afflicted with the same condition to one degree or another. In fact, some cases of cellulite, it can only be detected through medical examination.
If you’ve been wondering how to reduce cellulite on your body, get started on a new, healthy lifestyle today. Enroll in a fitness class like Pilates that can help tone your muscles and reduce its appearance, eat a healthy diet, and know that despite your best efforts, cellulite is simply a naturally occurring phenomenon without a cure.