By Amy Zimmer
By now, it is common knowledge that you do not have to be overweight to have cellulite. According to the scientific community at least 90 percent of women have cellulite, though some dermatologists would argue that it is closer to 100 percent. In a world that craves perfection down to the smallest detail, cellulite seems to be one issue that challenges women of all ages and sizes.
While the causes of cellulite are not well understood, there are a number of proven factors:
- Excess fatty tissue
- Natural aging of the skin
- Hormonal factors
Unfortunately, there is not a magic eraser, but there are treatments to reduce cellulite and smooth what is often referred to as “orange-peel skin.” From manual treatments dating back to the 1930’s to modern-day space suits taking over Europe, there are treatments for all budgets and severity. Professional treatments generally require more than one session, so it is a good idea to find what works for you and make it a part of your yearly beauty regimen. Regardless of which treatment you choose,consistency and a healthy lifestyle will keep the dimples in the distance.
Let’s start by reviewing a few medical treatments for cellulite.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
One way to combat cellulite is a lymphatic drainage massage (MLD), a gentle way to encourage the movement of lymph fluids throughout the body. The method was first performed by French massage therapists and naturopaths Emil and Estrid Vodder in 1936 after four years of studying the lymph vessel system. The light, rhythmic hand movements they developed stimulate lymph flow and fluid movement, which help to remove waste and toxins from body tissue. It has been used over the years to treat patients suffering from lymphedema, fibromyalgia and other conditions.
Remember I mentioned space suits? Well, that’s pressotherapy. Pressotherapy involves being bundled into a computer-controlled compression system that envelopes your torso and limbs (hence, the “space suit”). The treatment involves alternating air compression and decompression to promote lymphatic drainage. This is one of my favorite treatments after long flights. Once inside the suit, I can simply relax and enjoy the compression. It helps to release toxins and water buildup, and I feel revived, thinner and less achy. Plus, the appearance of my skin is smoother.
Endermologie uses a lipomassage machine that applies pressure, suction, heat and sometimes laser light to tighten the skin and improve its tone. Entirely nonsurgical, endermologie is performed on hundreds of thousands of patients each day and boasts visible results without any worry about side effects. Not only does it result in cellulite reduction, it also reduces fat and increases firmness. Surgical procedures are also available if you believe you are a candidate for a more aggressive treatment. If going to a clinic or doctor’s office isn’t for you, here are a few tips you can try from home
By eating a healthy diet, you can reduce cellulite. For starters, you’ll want to avoid excess sugar and sodium, because sugar expands your fat cells, and sodium causes fluid retention. These two effects will only make your cellulite appear worse. Doctors recommend consuming less than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day and avoiding sodium-rich foods (more than 200mg). Find a safe and natural alternative to sugar such as stevia, xylitol, erythritol or date sugar. Your body will reward you for making the switch.
If you’re looking for a quick fix for your cellulite, many women use self-tanner or get a spray tan. While they don’t actually treat the condition, these strategies can temporarily camouflage your skin and make it appear smoother.
Shapewear can be another temporary solution for your cellulite. It compresses the body and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dimples. Some companies even claim that their specialty weaves can prevent and treat cellulite. Believe me—thin bicycle shorts are perfect under just about any garment and create a much smoother appearance.
Hydrotherapy at Home
After you have taken your normal shower, change the setting to cold. Then, starting at your feet, let the cold water flow all over—moving from the feet upwards to the torso. Bathing in cold water is said to help improve detoxification and blood circulation. This can be a little more challenging in the winter months, but practice makes perfect.
Body Wraps & Preparation H
Whether homemade or professional, body wraps can help to improve the appearance of cellulite. A combination of minerals and herbs not only absorbs toxins and reduces swelling, but it stimulates fat cells as well. As odd as it sounds, a common household treatment is Preparation H. Said to be used by Miss USA contestants to firm up their thighs, the medicated ointment temporarily constricts muscles and tightens skin—but the effect lasts no more than 24 hours. No matter how you choose to combat your cellulite, remember that you’re not alone!