An Honest Guide To Cellulite
An Honest Guide To Cellulite

An Honest Guide To Cellulite

Around 90% of women will develop cellulite at some point in their lives – but even though it’s common, it can still dent your confidence. While it’s hard to get rid of it altogether, there are ways to improve its appearance and stop it from getting worse. To that end – we asked the experts to share their insights…
By Rebecca Hull

It’s Incredibly Common

“First, it’s important to know how common it is for women to get cellulite. On average, 90% of us get it or will, and this can be explained based on the architecture of our skin’s connective texture. For women, this is arranged very closely to the skin’s surface, and in rectangular compartments, so the surface appearance of the skin does become modified over time.” – Flavia Morellato, lymphatic drainage expert

“Everything from genetics to the thickness of your skin can determine how much cellulite you have, and how visible it is. There are so many variables. As we age, the skin naturally loses some of its elasticity and this can make cellulite appear more prominent.” – Dr Natalie Geary, The Light Touch Clinic & founder of Dr Go Figure

Cellulite Carries Lots Of Myths

“One common myth is that cellulite is primarily caused by being overweight. While excess body weight can contribute to its appearance, it’s far from the primary cause. Cellulite affects individuals of any weight and even the leanest – and most athletic – individuals may have cellulite. Men are the only ones who are exempt. It’s true that cellulite predominantly affects women, which is due to the differences in the distribution of fat and muscle. Men can develop cellulite, but it’s less common, as the structure of men’s connective tissue is much smaller.” 

“Another myth is that you can prevent cellulite altogether. Of course, you can make certain lifestyle choices to help reduce its appearance, but most of us will experience it at some point – regardless of what we do. Staying hydrated can help as it will maintain skin elasticity, so make it a habit to drink at least a few glasses of water a day.” – Dr Grace Hula, aesthetic doctor & founder of G&M Healthcare

There Are Many Causes

“Cellulite has a bumpy or dimple-like appearance, which typically crops up on areas like the thighs and buttocks. As it sits under our connective tissues – which are very close to the upper layer of our skin – it can be quite visible. It’s not commonly known why it happens – there can be various reasons – but recent studies have found that it can appear when fibrous bands connecting your skin to underlying muscles irregularly tighten. This tightening pulls down on your skin and the layer of fat underneath is forced upwards. Diet is also a huge contributor to cellulite. Maintaining a balanced diet that isn’t high in sugar or fat will help keep your body fit and healthy, and therefore reduce the appearance of cellulite. Generally speaking, genetics and ageing are the biggest causes of cellulite mainly because fat builds up and collagen depletes as we get older.” – Natalie

“Smoking is another key cause of cellulite. Those that smoke regularly will find their blood circulation is the first thing affected. It can negatively impact the body’s lymphatic drainage, which contributes to the deterioration of collagen and elastin, causing cellulite to appear worse. Likewise, you need a good detoxifying system. So basic things like drinking plenty of water and consuming a fibrous diet will help get rid of toxins and prevent them from interfering with your cells – something that’s known to degenerate your skin tissue and cause uneven tone.” – Flavia

Hormonal Changes Can Also Be A Trigger

“Hormonal changes can worsen the appearance of cellulite. Hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can impact the structure and distribution of fat, connective tissue, and blood flow, making cellulite more noticeable. Hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can contribute to the development or exacerbation of cellulite. However, hormonal changes are not the sole cause of cellulite, and other factors also play a role.” – Grace

Your Outfit Plays A Part

“While cellulite is caused by a combination of factors, any increased pressure from tight clothes on the blood and lymphatic vessels can indirectly impact the structural connective tissue with more toxins. It can also increase water retention, worsening the appearance of your cellulite. If you’ve ever seen indentations on your skin after removing tight jeans, you’ll have seen how restrictive certain clothing can be. Bear this in mind if you’re someone who sits for long periods of time and you’re looking to minimise the appearance of your cellulite.” – Flavia

Self-Massage & Dry Brushing Can Help

“Contrary to popular belief, self-massage can really help because it stimulates circulation. When combined with lymphatic drainage, it can help control the inflammatory process and eliminate metabolic waste and water retention – both of which cause cellulite. While it’s not the only way to get rid of bumpy skin, it’s a great way to support the detoxification process. A good dry body brush is worth picking up. Regular use will control inflammation and prevent further cellulite from forming.” – Flavia

“Self-massage can really disperse any inflammation and get the muscles working. However, you would probably require a deep tissue massage designed for cellulite breakdown to really see a difference. We can’t really provide the same force as a professional and you’d have to do it regularly to see a noticeable effect – but if you’re inclined to really invest time and effort, you will see results.” – Natalie

Exercise Will Improve Your Cellulite

“I’m often asked whether exercise improves the look of cellulite at all – and I can tell you it does. It’s proven that exercising reduces fat percentage, increases muscle mass and works to improve the appearance of cellulite. It’s all about boosting circulation and maintaining healthy blood flow.” – Natalie

“While cardiovascular exercise help – think running, walking and cycling – you also want to be strength training once or twice a week. Squats, lunges and weightlifting are all key for building muscle, which will improve the tone and firmness of underlying tissue, in turn reducing the visibility of cellulite. A combination of cardio and strength training is often recommended if you want to see a noticeable difference.” – Dr Radmila Lukian, dermatologist at the Lucia Clinic 

Certain Treatments Will Make A Difference

“Effective cellulite treatments require a professional understanding of physiology, as well as practical assessment. Like anything, it will require a proper treatment plan if you’re serious about undergoing more invasive procedures. The options available include two types of pulsed ultrasound, and a sound wave device which can be used at a pulse mode of 5% to target fat cells and break them down. It’s worth noting that, although most treatments are successful, everyone’s genetics vary, so while cellulite can be controlled, it might still be visible. Another great treatment is Morpheus radiofrequency, which uses microneedling to stimulate collagen and elastin production to re-texturise the skin. Body brushing and deep tissue massages are both great add-ons.” – Flavia

“Laser treatments are becoming an increasingly popular way to treat cellulite. Since there’s been no confirmed treatment that completely erases it, patients are looking for solutions that can be topped up every six to 12 months. The Emerald Laser is ideal – it’s the only non-invasive device to be granted FDA approval for ‘improvement in the appearance of cellulite’ but it can also reduce fat tissue, perk up tired and sagging collagen levels, and tighten and firm loose skin. Connective tissue regeneration like this takes time, so be patient if you do pursue this as an option. You’ll start to see a difference after three to six treatments and only occasional visits throughout the year will be required thereafter.” – Natalie

The Right Skincare Is Worth A Try

“There are so many skincare products on the market that claim to ‘beat cellulite’, and some are better than others. The key is to look out for the ingredients which are proven to stimulate the skin and increase circulation. These include:

Caffeine: It’s thought to increase circulation and promote lipolysis of fat cells. While drinking too much coffee is bad for cellulite development (it can dehydrate you), used topically, it can be very beneficial.

Retinol: A derivative of vitamin A, retinol does a lot of great things for your skin. Around for the last 40 years or so, clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of retinol cream on wrinkles and ageing skin. As a cellulite treatment, a 0.3% concentration applied twice a day for six months has been shown to improve the appearance of cellulite. It works by increasing blood flow and thickening the skin’s dermis.

Vitamin C: Studies suggest this important vitamin is crucial to collagen synthesis and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Fisetin & Frambione: These two ingredients, derived from strawberries and raspberries, have been shown to aid in lipolysis (fat burning). They also have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.

Centella Asiatica: This has been shown to increase blood flow and allow for better absorption of nutrients. It works hard to improve circulation and mend connective tissue under the skin’s surface for a firmer appearance.” – Natalie

Nutritional Notes To Take Away:

 Jessica Shand, naturopathic nutrition practitioner, @EatNourishAndGlow says… 


Work On The Inside Out

“If you don’t have a good diet, your body can’t function optimally, and it becomes sluggish due to a lack of nutrients. This also causes a build-up of toxins between the cells. The exchange of nutrients and elimination of waste products in the body depends heavily on the efficiency of the body’s blood flow and lymph circulation. So, when it is overloaded (because of a poor diet) it doesn’t support the body’s detoxification process. This results in the high-toxin fluid between the cells filtering into the lymphatic system, which then filters it at the lymph nodes. The lymph can then become overloaded with the toxins, which manifests as cellulite. Put simply, the healthier your internal system is, the more efficient your body is at clearing toxins, eliminating waste and burning fat – all of which prevents the appearance of cellulite.”


Take A Whole Body Approach

“Some women with persistent cellulite often suffer with constipation, which is a strong sign of internal congestion and poor elimination of toxins. If you’re not eliminating everything properly, it’s inevitable you will see some cellulite – it’s why a whole-body approach is essential. You won’t just see it disappear with the use of creams and exercise alone. These two factors may help make a small improvement, but ultimately neither are a permanent solution.”


Eat Nourishing Foods

“The most effective way to tackle cellulite for good is to reduce your toxin load by cleaning up your diet. This means proactively limiting processed, highly saturated fat foods, additives and refined sugars. Instead, focus on eating an abundance of fresh, colourful, high-fibre plants loaded with vitamins. Prioritise organic fruit and vegetables as much as you can for maximum nutrients. Eating nutrient-dense whole foods will help your body do its job and properly eliminate waste. Taking a diet-first approach will help the appearance of your cellulite, and you’ll also feel more energised with better gut health, which means a higher functioning internal system, too.”

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