What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a skin condition that affects up to 98% of women. It involves multiple systems in the body—making it hard to treat—but on a basic level: It is caused by fibrous bands that connect muscles to skin. When fat deposits push against the skin, it causes a rippling or bulging effect since those fibrous bands are pulling the skin down in the dimpled areas. It primarily appears in the thighs, buttocks, or stomach. Even though the condition has to do with fat cells, it is not only present in those who are overweight; you are also genetically predisposed to it.
Can you reduce it naturally?
Because it’s genetically linked and because of the tricky structure explained above, completely eliminating or preventing it is nearly impossible.
Caffeine creams or scrubs
Caffeine, however, is thought to dehydrate cells, making the appearance less bumpy. In this small study, researchers found that applying water-soluble caffeine twice daily has the ability to penetrate the dermis, reducing the appearance of cellulite within six weeks. Caffeine is thought to help by improving blood flow to the area and tightening skin, although the exact mechanism is not understood.
Another topical ingredient that’s been studied on the area is retinoids, an active derived from vitamin A best known in skin care for targeting aging and acne. However, in this study, volunteers who used the 0.3% topical cream showed improvement—increased blood flow and improved skin density were also both reported.
Lymphatic massage techniques seem to be incredibly effective at reducing the appearance, as shown in two studies involving manual and mechanical lymph massage. Since lymphatic stimulation increases circulation throughout the body, that likely has an effect on the skin condition. It required patients to undergo at least three treatments a week, with one study’s treatment lasting for four hours per daily session.
Bioactive collagen peptide
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, women who had moderate cellulite took a daily dose of 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides (of porcine derivation, so not suitable for vegetarians), which led to a statistically significant reduction in the appearance of waves and dimples. Within the study, it took about six months to see full results.
Toning muscles and weight loss
This is a tricky one: We know that any size of person can have cellulite, and that even though this has to do with fat cells, it’s not directly related to a person’s weight. However, research does suggest that improved muscle definition and weight loss in the area can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. But that same research also shows that in some cases weight loss increased the appearance of cellulite, as the skin was looser, especially in women with a lower initial body-mass index.
Purely anecdotal, but many women claim that having tanned skin helps blur the appearance of cellulite.
An acupuncture treatment for cellulite will aim to improve blood circulation, reduce stress, and drain and detoxify the body by improving the metabolic functions of the cells in the body. Acupuncture will attempt to target the cellulite at its source, by nourishing connective skin tissues inside and out