Cellulite Will Never Totally Go Away, But There Are Some Ways To Lessen It

Oh, good old cellulite. Most of us know her all too well, and, for many, the dimpled appearance this condition causes is something they'd like to get rid of. Alas, it's not that easy. Once cellulite appears, it's there to stay. The good news is that you're not alone — 80% to 90% of women have cellulite. Of course, having cellulite is nothing to be ashamed of, and we're big advocates for loving every inch of your body exactly as it is.

Cellulite tends to form in areas of the body with an increase in fatty tissue. A few things can trigger its formation, including fluctuating estrogen levels and undrained lymphatic fluid. Thinning skin and chronic inflammation are also common culprits. Cellulite primarily starts to form when accumulated fat cells start to exert pressure on the skin. This causes a downward movement of the fibrous connective cords responsible for connecting skin and muscle. As the cords begin their descent, the fat cells push through them, causing that infamous dimpled look. You don't even need to be overweight for cellulite to form — incredibly athletic people have cellulite, and even those who are naturally lean often deal with this condition. Needless to say, cellulite doesn't discriminate. The good news? There are ways to tighten your skin that are not only easy but also show your body some extra love and attention.

Chug some water for smoother skin

As it turns out, dehydration can mess with more than just your performance in the gym; it can also make cellulite extra visible. Yup, if you needed an incentive to get up right now and down a glass of water, this is it.

Your body's cells can't function properly without water — your entire body needs water to keep you alive. If you neglect your hydration, you might notice that your existing cellulite looks slightly (or a lot) more obvious than usual. Why? Because the fat that causes the cellulite to appear in the first place holds onto water. When you become dehydrated, the cellulite can appear worse because those fat cells are dehydrated. Dehydration can cause a decrease in collagen, which ultimately contributes to the appearance of cellulite.

Want to nip those dimples in the bud? Make sure you drink around 2.7 liters of water daily. While it won't make cellulite disappear, you can bet that it'll ensure those dimples stay as inconspicuous as possible.

Your trusty foam roller might come in handy

Do you have a foam roller gathering dust in the corner of your room? If so, it's time to dust that bad boy off. Why? Because it has the potential to help your body drain excess lymphatic fluid and can help reduce built-up fluid in the areas of the body where cellulite is most likely to make its appearance, as board-certified dermatologist Sonia Batra told Shape. "Foam rolling may cause some swelling, which can give the illusion of a smoother appearance on the skin, but it does not actually change the fibrous bands that cause the pockets of fat to bulge," plastic surgeon Constance M. Chen also shared.

The good news is that foam rolling has the potential to keep your fascia healthy and strong, which, theoretically, means that it should be able to make cellulite less visible, Batra said. According to licensed acupuncturist Tiffany Cruikshank, incorporating 20-minute foam-rolling sessions into your daily routine could do the trick if you keep it up.

Not all experts agree that foam rolling will be beneficial, however. Plastic surgeon Douglas Steinbrech believes foam rolling would simply lead to more loose skin. "I don't think that this would be helpful at all and actually may be making the situation worse," he told the magazine. So, to foam roll or not to foam roll? You decide.

Dry brushing could temporarily make cellulite less visible

Most experts agree that dry brushing can't make cellulite disappear, so why are we mentioning it here? Because the skin benefits that accompany dry brushing can actually make your cellulite a little less obvious and give you glowing skin that can provide you with a little confidence boost.

Dry brushing, which can be a beauty routine game-changer, consists of using a natural bristle brush on dry skin. You move the brush in circular motions, almost like a gentle massage. As an added bonus, the bristles also exfoliate your skin. The result? A glowing complexion. Dry brushing can increase blood circulation in targeted areas and can plump the skin, which can make cellulite appear slightly less obvious, albeit only for a short while. So, if you're headed out the door with your friends to a pool party, dry brushing could help your skin to appear smoother while you're out and about, but the next day, the cellulite will be back, and, quite frankly, that's okay.

Many tout dry brushing as an excellent way to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, and, while there isn't any scientific evidence to support these claims, you can definitely give it a whirl and see how it works for you. Plus, you'll be left with soft, exfoliated skin. Dry brushing is also a great tool for treating keratosis pilaris and keeping ingrown hairs at bay, so you'll reap some sweet benefits either way.

Regular cupping sessions might smooth skin

Cupping has become all the rage in recent years, and it turns out that this ancient treatment might be able to improve the appearance of cellulite.

While there isn't a ton of scientific evidence to support cupping, a 2015 pilot study found that dry cupping might actually have a positive impact on the appearance of cellulite. For the study, 40 women underwent dry cupping on their thighs. Once the results were compared to the appearance of their cellulite before this treatment, a notable improvement could be seen. The study concludes that, given these positive results, dry cupping might be utilized as a cellulite treatment. The theory behind why it works is that it helps drain interstitial fluid, helping it get absorbed into the fat cells that form cellulite and reducing its appearance as a result. Dry cupping also allows interstitial fluid to drain into the lymphatic capillaries and the bloodstream.

However, the reduced appearance of cellulite after cupping is likely only temporary, and you'll have to go for this treatment regularly to keep seeing results.

Opt for over-the-counter anti-cellulite creams with particular ingredients

If more expensive cellulite treatments such as cupping are not accessible to you, you can always try cellulite removal cream. There are tons on the market, so it's important to know what to look for when you buy one. These creams can be expensive, and choosing a brand with quality active ingredients can save you a lot of money and frustration. Again, keep in mind that even the best anti-cellulite cream won't make your cellulite disappear, but it can reduce its appearance.

A 2018 study investigated some of the most common (and possibly most effective) ingredients in anti-cellulite creams and found that methylxanthines (of which caffeine is the most popular), aminophylline, vitamin C and E, and the vitamin A derivative known as retinol are some of the best cellulite-busters. Natural ingredients including yuzu, ginkgo, pineapple, centella, and quinoa can also work some magic.

While these creams are a temporary solution, they could be worth a try, especially if you continue to apply them regularly. "You have to maintain regular levels of the active ingredients in your skin," dermatologist Macrene Alexaides told Healthline. "To see real results with most cellulite products, they should be applied at least twice a day for [three] months," she added, which means patience is key with this treatment.

Treat yourself to a faux tan

In case you didn't know, cellulite is less visible on darker skin, so if you have very fair skin and are looking to reduce the appearance of cellulite, a fake tan is just what the doctor ordered.

A faux tan is the best way to go for making cellulite less obvious — lying in the sun for an hour is definitely not recommended (#sunburn) because those UV rays will age your skin, ensuring that future you will have cellulite that's even more noticeable. No, thank you!

Getting a professional sunless tan is often the best way to go (you'll avoid streaking and blotching). It typically takes 15 minutes and usually lasts for about a week, which is perfect if you're looking for a temporary solution to cellulite while going on vacation. What's more is that tanning experts can give the areas you're most self-conscious about some extra TLC, ensuring your skin looks as flawless as possible. What's not to love?

A coffee scrub can work wonders

You may or may not have heard that coffee scrubs can temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite, and we're here to tell you that there just may be some scientific support for it.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping, dermatologist Mona Gohara confirmed what we all hoped to be true: "Caffeine stimulates dilation while the scrubbing motion increases circulation, plumping up the skin and making cellulite look less obvious," she said. "Plus, coffee grounds contain antioxidants, so they can increase collagen production." Consultant dermatologist Justine Hextal is a little more skeptical, however. Speaking to Women's Health, Hextal explained that, theoretically, caffeine should be able to improve cellulite because it induces lipolysis (a medical term for fat burn). "There have been studies that show some improvement of topical applications applied twice a day for six weeks, but there is no evidence of clinically significant improvement," she explained,

Gohara, for one, remains optimistic about caffeine's benefits for reducing the appearance of cellulite, saying it's possible to see an improvement for up to a week after using a coffee scrub. That sure sounds promising and probably warrants giving this remedy a try. If all else fails, you'll at least have given your skin some TLC. It's a win-win situation.

Cardio and strength training are your friends

First things first: You cannot spot-reduce fat, and, therefore, it's also impossible to spot-reduce cellulite with exercise. The good news is that you can train specific areas of the body to build muscle, and according to personal trainer Ariane Hundt, building muscle in the affected areas can smooth the skin to some degree, making cellulite less visible. Do we have your attention? Good.

Speaking to Upwave (via CNN), Hundt explained that cardio and strength training are your best bets for targeting cellulite. According to Hundt, interval training is known for being effective at burning body fat, so, for your next cardio session, try a fun HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class at the gym or opt for a video on YouTube. If you hate HIIT, you can always opt for aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises, when done often enough, can also kickstart the body's fat-burning process and result in healthy weight loss, which, in turn, can help reduce cellulite. Anything from swimming to running, walking, jumping rope, and even cycling counts as aerobic exercise.

Hundt also recommends incorporating strength training into your routine. Cellulite often appears on the thighs and buttocks, and strengthening exercises that target these areas could help smooth the skin once muscle starts to develop. She recommends doing at least two strength training sessions a week. Exercises she recommends include good old squats, lunges, and step-ups.

Getting enough sleep might help reduce your cellulite's appearance

We know that quality sleep is essential to our well-being, but did you know that getting enough Zs might also help reduce the appearance of cellulite? Yup, making those dimples less visible can be as easy as going to bed a little earlier.

A 2010 study found that sleeping longer can result in more efficient fat loss. The study, which consisted of 10 participants following a healthy diet, compared the effects of 5.5 hours of sleep against 8.5 hours, and the findings are quite interesting. As it turned out, both groups lost weight, but the group that slept for 8.5 hours every night was found to have lost more fat than the group that slept only 5.5 hours. The latter lost more lean mass than fat, which, as we know, is not ideal and won't have the same effect on cellulite's appearance as that of actual fat loss.

All in all? If your goal is to reduce cellulite through healthy fat loss, getting enough sleep is crucial. They say you can't out-train a bad diet, but you also can't exercise regularly and eat well while neglecting your sleep. We'll say that's a pretty good excuse to start your bedtime routine a little earlier tonight.

Your diet may help reduce cellulite's appearance

It's no secret that healthy weight loss has the potential to reduce the appearance of cellulite, but, as it turns out, eating certain foods can also help the process along. Speaking to Women's Health, nutritionist Sonal Shah explained that, just as highly processed foods and lots of added sugar can worsen the appearance of cellulite, some foods can help prevent and reduce its appearance.

First up — you guessed it — are greens, such as broccoli, spinach, and kale. Because they are chock-full of vitamin C, these greens can give your body's collagen production a boost (bye, bye obvious cellulite!). Kale and spinach also contain magnesium, which keeps the metabolism up and running and helps the skin retain its youthful glow. Other cellulite-friendly foods include grapefruits, oranges, and lemons, thanks to their high levels of vitamin C. Lemons do double duty because of their ability to clear out toxins (some of which are often responsible for cellulite formation). Grapefruit, on the other hand, contains an antioxidant called lycopene, which promotes blood circulation — which is crucial for the prevention and improvement of cellulite.

Aside from providing your body with vitamins and antioxidants, you should also opt for foods rich in omega-3. This healthy fat maintains cell membranes, preventing cellulite from forming (or worsening, for that matter). It also combats inflammation. If you're vegan, add some flaxseeds to your cart — they're also chock-full of omega-3.

Supplement with bioactive collagen peptides

Collagen supplements are becoming increasingly popular, and even though more studies are required, a 2015 study found that bioactive collagen peptides show promise in reducing the appearance of cellulite.

The study, which included 105 participants, found that supplementing daily with bioactive collagen peptides has a noticeable effect on the appearance of cellulite, but it takes a while to achieve results. Only after three months of taking the supplements an improvement in the appearance of cellulite could be observed. Participants continued taking bioactive collagen peptide supplements for another three months, after which a significant difference could be seen. The supplement managed to improve some of the most common symptoms of cellulite, including waviness and dimpling.

This is great news, obviously, but it's also important to note that more studies need to be conducted to corroborate these findings. However, the study notes that there were no adverse side effects associated with taking bioactive collagen peptide supplements, so if you want to give it a try, speak to your doctor.

Give acoustic wave therapy a shot

Aside from all the at-home treatments available to reduce the appearance of cellulite, there are some professional therapies to consider. Enter acoustic wave therapy. This treatment is considered safe and non-invasive. However, keep in mind that you need to undergo this treatment long-term to continuously keep the appearance of cellulite at bay. Internal medicine physician Bill Johnson, who's also an expert in cosmetic procedures and stem cell therapies, told Innovations Medical that 4 to 6 treatments are initially needed to address cellulite. After that, you must have maintenance treatments biannually or annually.

Originally utilized to treat medical conditions such as Achilles tendonitis and kidney stones, acoustic wave therapy has been around for a while. It's often used for cosmetic concerns such as tightening of the skin and the reduction of cellulite. So, how exactly does it work to reduce those dimples? Well, it all comes down to ultrasonic waves. Doctors use these waves to target the fibrous strands or septae that cause the skin to dimple as fat pushes through. The ultrasonic waves relax these strands, leading to a more even appearance. At the same time, deeper layers of the skin are thickened, resulting in smoother skin. Additionally, lymphatic drainage and blood circulation improve, which are vital to decreasing the appearance of cellulite. The most fascinating result is, perhaps, that of the deterioration of fat cells, which explains why acoustic wave therapy works so well to address the appearance of cellulite.

Carboxytherapy also shows promising results

Another existing cellulite treatment is carboxytherapy, which consists of injecting carbon dioxide into areas where cellulite is most prevalent. Carboxytherapy might sound too good to be true, but a 2016 study found that this treatment is quite effective at tackling the appearance of cellulite.

The study, which consisted of 10 women, looked at the effects carboxytherapy had on participants' cellulite after seven weekly sessions. The results were incredibly promising. Participants saw a noticeable improvement in the appearance of their cellulite, with the study concluding that the severity of cellulite degraded from degree 3 to degree 2 after treatment. It concluded that carboxytherapy is an effective treatment, especially when targeting more stubborn cellulite that tends to form on the thighs and buttocks.

The only downside to carboxytherapy is that it requires multiple treatments to see results, usually seven to 10. It's not as wildly expensive as one might think, however. A single treatment can cost anywhere from $75 to $200, depending on location.

Consider surgical procedures

Aside from non-invasive treatments, such as acoustic wave therapy and carboxytherapy, are more invasive and permanent surgical procedures to consider. These surgeries can yield long-term results, which can make them worth your while if cellulite is something that has an adverse effect on your self-esteem.

Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release is one surgical procedure that can yield excellent long-term results. The procedure consists of physically cutting up the bands causing fat cells to bulge. As these bands disintegrate, the fat cells smoothen out, giving the skin a more even appearance. Does it sound painful? Yes. But the good news is that the results from this surgery can last three years or longer.

Another popular treatment for cellulite is subcision, better known as Cellfina. This FDA-approved surgical procedure is performed using a needle to dissolve cellulite-causing bands beneath the surface of the skin. Satisfaction rates are high, with results lasting two years or longer.

If cellulite really bothers you, these surgical procedures might be worth the money. We advise you to discuss the best surgical option for you with your doctor.