Cellulite is nothing more than fat under the skin, much like the fat underneath your belly. The condition though pushes on connective tissue giving it a dimpled and unsightly appearance. It is most common among women and appears in the pelvic area, specifically in the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. It is a common misconception though that cellulite is caused by one’s diet, exercise or lifestyle.
Often it is caused by a combination of factors including hormones, genes, and participation in fad dieting. Although diet and exercise can help to reduce it, this disease is not mainly caused by a lack of exercise or an unbalanced diet. The condition is rarely seen in males and is most common among post-adolescent women. Scientists have studied that it may be most linked to female hormones, most especially estrogen – a hormone that helps in the deposition of fats in certain parts of the body. Other factors that predispose someone to this disorder include race and genetics, although scientists are still not certain how these work.
A high-stress lifestyle is also thought to bring about this disorder. Our body produces certain hormones, called catecholamines when we are under stress to help us cope. These hormones have been linked to cellulite formation.
Thankfully there are already many modalities in the field that have led a revolution in treating these unsightly fat deposits.
- Home-Based Remedies/Personal Care/Natural Options:
Admittedly, these treatments can be quite expensive. This brings us to the home remedy department – treatments that you can simply try at home that may bring about favorable results.
1. Dry Brushing:
There is some evidence that this method is helpful for creating a firmer look. Dry brushing helps to stimulate blood flow and lymph flow to flush out toxins, helps to tighten the skin, and helps to renew cells. Although this may sound like a catch-all, dry brushing is quite similar to massaging, only with an implement. The brush used is a natural stiff brush and the strokes are typically done towards the heart to promote blood flow. Start from your feet, going up to your legs then to your buttocks and stomach, and lastly to your arms. Do this when you are in the shower just before getting wet.
One theory for this disease formation is the loss of collagen in our diet. Collagen is found in bones, fibrous tissues, and organ meats of animals, much of which we no longer consume. Collagen is important in building and maintaining our connective tissue. Gelatin is a natural source of collagen. It supports skin, hair, and nail growth, is good for the joints, helps tighten loose skin, aids in digestion, and is rumored to help improve this disease. As a point of contention, collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin and so must be ingested. Collagen lotions are thus useless. Gelatin is mostly found in seaweed products and Jell-O.
3. Coffee Scrub:
Coffee contains caffeine and as previously mentioned may help with that unsightly appearance. The caffeine helps to improve blood flow and this mixture will help to exfoliate your skin too. Mix some coffee grounds with some coconut oil to form a paste and massage onto the area with firm pressure. Use two to three times a week and you should see some results within a couple of weeks.
4. Exercising with Kettlebells:
One fantastic workout is the use of kettlebells. If you have not heard of them, those are the heavy metal balls with a handle on top. They are especially good for the thigh, buttocks, hips, and stomach areas. Ask your trainer for an exercise routine involving the kettlebells. Exercise helps to burn fat and builds muscle helping to reduce those excesses. It also helps to tighten the skin and gives you a firmer, younger look.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Another theory states that the ingestion of the wrong kinds of fats leads to an imbalance of the good fats needed to create smooth and supple skin. There is some evidence that this theory holds true and thus it would be prudent to consume Omega-3 fatty acids and other Omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids or the good kind of fatty acids. Not only do these fatty acids promote skin health, it also promotes good heart health by ridding your body of the bad fats. It also promotes mental health and reduces inflammation. Omega-3s are often found in kiwis and in cold water oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
6. Detox Baths:
Yet another theory claims that the buildup of toxins in your skin and fatty tissue may lead to fat buildup. Although no solid scientific evidence has yet to surface, detox baths are a relaxing way to relieve stress – one way of reducing the factor of stress in the equation. Use Epsom salts and other bath salts to create a soothing and relaxing bath.
7. Use Natural Moisturizers:
Just as detox baths aim to remove toxins in your skin, moisturizers that you use should also be natural. Putting back harmful chemicals into your skin with all the lotions and gunk might just do more harm than good. Use natural moisturizers such as coconut oil. If you insist on getting the brand name, make sure to ask if the ingredients are all natural and better check if there is the nasty ingredient called parabens.
8. Balance Hormones:
Many sources agree that hormones play the largest part in cellulite formation. Balancing your hormones thus is imperative to get that gorgeous beach-body look. Ask your doctor what you can do to help balance them out. Perhaps he can recommend some hormonal pills. Even if they do not remove the fat directly, balancing hormones out does have many good side effects!
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a similar component of omega-3 fatty acids. Lycopene prevents the breakdown of collagen, an important component for connective tissue. You can rub tomato juice or paste to the affected area to allow the lycopene to be absorbed through your skin.
10. Water Therapy:
Water is important for overall health. It plays a big role in hydration, in keeping your skin soft and supple, and in improving digestion. Being fully hydrated keeps your skin glowing and supple. In addition, you can consume water-rich foods such as cucumbers, melons, or watermelons. Not only will it help your skin, but also it will help you lose some weight and control fat storage.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar may not help to reduce the ailment but it helps to tighten up your skin and improve the appearance. Apple cider vinegar is an astringent and helps to tighten tissues. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water and gently massage the mixture to the area. Alternatively, you can create a wrap; apply a bit of the solution onto a towel and wrap it around the area affected. Wrap with a plastic wrap and leave it on for an hour. Rinse thereafter.
12. Ginkgo Biloba:
Ginkgo biloba has been used throughout the centuries spanning several civilizations to a variety of ailments. The plant improves circulation very well and drinking its tea can bring about several health benefits. It helps to improve the blood flow to the affected area effectively flushing out toxins that remain.
13. Green Tea:
Green tea has several compounds that have made it the wonder drug of the 21st century. First, it has several antioxidants that help to increase metabolism and burn fat. Second, it has catechins which reduce insulin resistance. Third, it also has caffeine, which as mentioned before, helps in blood flow. All this combined create a potent concoction of health benefits designed to burn fat, lose weight, and improve overall body image.
14. Reduce Salt and Sugar:
As mentioned previously, one’s diet does not have a major and direct impact on this disease formation. But, regulating one’s diet helps in its reduction. As much as possible, try to reduce salt and sugar in your diet as these help to retain unnecessary fat water in your body that give the unsightly look. If you must, deal with cravings in bite-sized portions and not in binges; a mini-snickers bar should help.
This wonder seed is a great addition to your diet. Not only is it a good source of fiber, it also helps to regulate hormonal levels and increase collagen production. It is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can sprinkle the seeds on your cereal, blend them along with your smoothies or snack on them.
Kelp has fucoxanthin, a compound that helps to burn fat thereby reducing the appearance of this disease. Kelp is inexpensive and though not many people know about it, it is rich in many nutrients. Mix it in your soups or sprinkle it over your meals. Recent research from the University of Newcastle found that a component in kelp called alginate is more effective than most over-the-counter slimming pills helping to reduce the intake of fats.
17. Gotu Kola:
This newly discovered caffeine-free herb has been studied and shown to be effective in reducing the problem. Also known as centella or pennywort, the plant is a staple in Chinese medicine. It improves the elasticity of the skin making it thicker also. It helps to minimize the bumps and dimples associated with the condition. If you can find it in a specialty drug store, you might as well give it a shot, who knows it might just be the cure everyone is looking for. You can drink it as a tea, serve it as a salad, or pureed with cooked rice and coconut milk.
18. Stop Smoking:
Smoking is a dangerous source of chemicals. It is said that upon inhalation, you are bringing more than 600 hundred different chemicals into your body, chemicals found in the exhaust of cars, chemicals toxic to your body, and the most well-known chemical nicotine. These substances help in the breakdown of collagen – as you can see in smokers where they prematurely have wrinkles. It is understood that you’d have to stop smoking to get that beach body you’ve always wanted.
19. Self-Tanning Lotions:
Darker skin helps to hide imperfections. Although just a temporary fix, when you want to go to the beach, you may want to get a self-tanning lotion to help the area appear darker and less noticeable to the public. Don’t forget to apply on the rest of your body or only the affected area will look dark making it all the more noticeable instead.
We cannot stress enough on exercise. It helps to improve blood circulation, burns fat, improves muscle tone, makes skin look great, and a host of other benefits. Look for a routine that involves squats and other exercises that target the affected area. It will definitely help to tone the region. Do not hesitate to ask your trainer for a specific program to tone down the disease. Surely, the gym should have a program.
After hitting the gym and pumping some iron, hop into the sauna. This helps to detoxify your body of toxins through sweating. It opens up your pores releasing all the unnecessary chemicals from your body. Thirty minutes max should do the trick. It’s also a great way to relax and have a quick chit-chat with your gym buddies.
22. Don’t Overdo the Heat:
Don’t overdo hot showers or sauna though. Excessive heat sags the skin and damages it in the long run further worsening the appearance. You can compensate though by applying vitamin E lotions, which help to moisturize your skin.
23. Cold Shower:
A nice cold shower early in the morning helps to promote circulation and improve lymph flow. Blood flow moves away from the extremities and is pooled back into the center of your body where the kidneys and the liver can concentrate on cleaning them of toxins. Alternate with a hot and cold shower to further improve this method.
24. Avoid Refined Foods:
Refined foods are full of preservatives and possibly harmful toxins. Moreover, these foods have essentially been stripped of their nutritional value and replaced with flavor-enhancing substances that may be harmful to us. Canned goods, prepared foods, and microwavable foods are just a few examples. As much as possible try to avoid them and go organic. Eat fresh foods, cook at home, and save money as a result!
25. Glow Foods:
Remember back in the days when fruits and vegetables were called glow foods? Apparently, there is some truth to the name. Fruits and vegetables help to flush out toxins from our body and bring in important nutrients that help to give you that youthful glow. Fruits bring in important vitamins and fiber to help expel toxins out of the body. Vegetables too contain fiber and important vitamins and minerals to help our body working properly.
26. Herbal Teas:
Several herbal teas are known to detoxify your body of toxins and effectively reducing cellulite in the process. Try dandelion tea to help detoxify your liver. Rooibos teas, on the other hand, are known for antioxidant properties. White grape seed is another potent antioxidant and is purported to have a direct effect on the problem.
- Medical Treatments:
27. Laser Treatment:
Laser treatment is often indicated for those with mild to moderate ailment. The procedure involves firing laser pulses at the target area to do three things: (1) to destroy tough fibrous connective tissue that create the dimpled look, (2) to melt areas of fat tissue bulging beneath the skin that give the look of “cottage cheese”, and (3) to stimulate the skin to tighten through the generation of collagen. Local anesthesia is applied prior to the procedure and the patient typically can return to her daily activities after a couple of days. Heavy exercise though may require more time to rest. Immediate results will be noticed after the procedure but the final sculpting results are often seen after a couple of months. After the procedure, the patient may experience some bruising and some pain. A dressing and some Tylenol is usually in order. But hey, no pain no gain right? The procedure is quite costly but dermatologists tout it to be a permanent fix.
28. Non-invasive Radiofrequency Ablation:
Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation involves the use of high frequency alternating current to create heat which melts down the fat underneath the skin. The greatest advantage of RF technology is that it is very targeted. You can point out an area to ablate and it will perform its magic only in that part. Moreover, this technology has two delivery modes: unipolar and bipolar. One delivery creates deep heating causing the fat tissue to loosen its grip from the connective tissue. The other delivery mode helps to improve blood circulation to drain fatty deposits and toxins. The two delivery modes help to reduce the unsightly appearance. Some mild redness is often noticed after the procedure but next to no pain is experienced.
A portmanteau of “cryogenic” and “lipolysis”, this procedure involves the use of sub-zero temperatures to destroy fat cells underneath the skin. The procedure attempts to apply a near sub-zero temperature to the area but above freezing point to trigger cell death of fat cells. A local inflammatory response is then triggered, called panniculitis or inflammation of the fatty tissue. Overtime, this layer of fat underneath the skin thins out. During the procedure, a vacuum is also applied to the area to bring about blood circulation – this is done as the body’s natural response to the cold to constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow.
A common misconception is that liposuction is one of the treatment modalities for this fatty disorder. Liposuction does not help with this ailment rather it worsens it. Liposuction is intended to remove deep fat, such as those found under our abdomen. It was not designed to remove fat that is just beneath the skin. Should you insist on liposuction, fat well below the skin will be removed but because there is now space where the suctioned fat used to be, there will also be an increase in the dimpling appearance. I added liposuction not as a treatment modality but as a precaution against it. Some newer innovations to liposuction may have come about such as laser liposuction but still, no solid evidence has yet to rise as to its efficacy.
31. Cellulite Creams:
Another purported cure is cellulite creams. No solid evidence has been laid on the table for these products and they contain numerous compounds that, who knows, may help with the unsightly fatty areas. One common ingredient is caffeine, which helps blood circulation and works like a diuretic. Ever heard of the phrase “flush out the toxins”, technically this is what caffeine is supposed to do. Another common ingredient is retinol. This compound supposedly penetrates the skin, exfoliates it and helps to produce collagen to make the skin thicker effectively hiding the dimpling and cottage cheese look. DMAE or dimethylaminoethanol is another compound that purportedly stimulates the muscles giving you a firmer look. Not much scientific evidence has been published on these chemicals but reviews – whether they may be true or not – has shown some positive results coupled with exercise and dieting.
Cellulite sufferers often complain that they no longer look beautiful and are ashamed to show off their body in the beach. Doesn’t fret, the condition have many treatment modalities. There may not be one Superdrug to take care of it but the substances mentioned here not only help this disease, but also help a myriad of conditions. Medically, dermatologists may be able to do the most effect on the problem by attacking it head-on. At home though, you have many choices to choose from. From drinks and rubs, you will enjoy trying out several of the wonderful concoctions found here. They are good for your skin, for cellulite, and for your body as a whole.
Lastly, never hesitate to ask for help. There are many patients who have had success stories and doctors who are more than willing to help you out. If money is an issue, there are many alternatives that you can try at home to perhaps, get the same effect.