Ah, the dreaded cellulite, a curse of pretty much every woman on the planet. The ever so attractive dimply skin demon affects almost all of us, yup even the super thin gals. Despite being told to embrace ourselves, cellulite and all, most of us are keen to get rid of it at any cost!
But what is it!?
Cellulite is a sneaky beast and puzzles even the experts. The general consensus is that cellulite is caused by fat cells expanding and clumping together (often due to poor circulation). They then break out of the collagen barrier and tissue holding them under the skin’s surface and rise to the upper layer, creating bulges in the skin. There’s not one single cause of cellulite which makes it difficult to target exactly how to fix it. Causes include genetics, a poor diet, hormones, a sedentary lifestyle and smoking but in reality, it’s a curse that affects around 90% of women, so regardless of your lifestyle choices, it’s very common.
Can I get rid of it!?
The sad truth about cellulite is that there is no real way to eliminate it entirely as it’s a structural issue within the body but there are many ways to lessen the appearance (thank god!). The moral here is, that if an expensive treatment or topical cream claims to completely get rid of cellulite, it’s likely not a trustworthy option (but we all really knew that deep down already didn’t we?).
Alas, there is good news! There are a few key ingredients that do work on minimising cellulite’s visibility.
The main one – caffeine. Coffee scrubs are one of the best ways to aid lymphatic drainage and smooth the appearance of skin through exfoliation. Creams or scrubs with caffeine have even been shown to tighten the skin, so well worth a try. Incorporate a coffee scrub a few times a week and look for moisturising creams or even fake tans that list caffeine as a main ingredient.
Another factor in the appearance of cellulite is the skin’s levels of collagen – a protein that makes skin appear plump and youthful while giving it strength and structure. As we age, our collagen levels don’t only plummet on our face, they also cause the skin on our body to become weaker and less taut, which makes fat trapped under the surface aka cellulite, way more visible. Adding collagen back into the skin is a great way to reverse this. Look for treatments with ingredients to build collagen back in the skin – Retin A, retinol and vitamin C are a great place to start.
The latest and greatest in salon cellulite treatments can be found in the hot and the very, very cold. Infrared saunas which involve being exposed to heat created by infrared light (a more pleasant, less sweaty version of regular saunas) can help lessen the appearance of cellulite thanks to promoting blood circulation and sweating out toxins.
Cryotherapy sits firmly on the other end of the temperature scale. You’ll be placed in a specialized cooing chamber where cold air (created through nitrogen mist) drops the temperature to around -140 degrees. This causes your skin to contract and blood is rapidly drawn away from the skin. After three minutes (where you’re very carefully observed plus you’re wearing frostbite protection for fingers and toes) your body is returned to room temperature and your blood returns to the skin, renewing skin cells and flushing toxins.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also drastically improve the appearance of cellulite, particularly incorporating exercise that builds muscle (sigh – of course the answer is exercise). Why? Weight training is to cellulite what botox is for your face. Ultimately increasing your muscle mass will smooth out the appearance of dimply skin. Your muscles tightening in areas like your bum, legs, tummy and arms will lessen the appearance of fat trapped under the surface. By building muscle you’ll also lessen your fat percentage which is the most effective defence against the dreaded dimples.
If you’re not about that #fitspo life, something a little less exercise-based might be the solution for you. Give lymphatic massage a go or if you’re keen to save a few pennies, try dry skin brushing. To incorporate lymphatic drainage into your routine brush upwards against the skin in the direction of your heart and lymph nodes (the back of the knee and the groin). You’ll add another element of exfoliation plus boost circulation and elasticity, keeping the skin looking plump and importantly eliminating toxins.
The moral of the story is sadly cellulite is more often than not, here to stay, but by incorporating a mix of topical caffeine treatments, dry skin brushing, a healthy diet and weights-based exercise, you may stand a chance at keeping the beast at bay.
Post by Cassidy Loane.