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How to Effectively Get Rid of Cellulite

Medically reviewed by 
How to Effectively Get Rid of Cellulite

Cellulite is a common skin condition caused by changes in fat deposition and connective tissue structure below the skin. Adopting a multifaceted treatment approach has been shown to provide the best results. 

This article will outline the underlying causes of cellulite, how lifestyle modifications can help, and what potential therapies are available to adopt a holistic approach to treating it.


What is Cellulite?

Cellulite is a form of lipodystrophy (abnormal fat distribution). It is seen as the dimpled and uneven skin texture, with the appearance of an orange peel, often present on the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. 

With no serious medical significance, cellulite is a common cosmetic concern, especially among women, but it can lead to self-consciousness about its appearance and cause psychological changes in body image. 

The higher prevalence of cellulite in women is attributed to several factors, including differences in skin structure, distribution and percentage of fat, differences in connective tissue, and hormonal variations as compared to men.

Risk Factors for Cellulite

Cellulite formation is complex and multifactorial. While these are not the only contributing factors to cellulite, these are the most significant underlying contributors and accelerators of it:

  • Hormonal changes, especially estrogen, have a significant role. 
  • Genetic predisposition plays a role, as many genes influence fat distribution and the characteristics of connective tissue. 
  • Weight gain increases cellulite with increased adipose tissue deposition. This can include weight gain in pregnancy, as cellulite allows for the storage of more subcutaneous fat to be held as an energy reserve in both pregnancy and lactation.
  • Lack of exercise often causes decreased muscle tone, and a diet high in processed foods and saturated fats may contribute to weight gain and worsening cellulite appearance. 
  • Smoking compromises blood flow and collagen production, further worsening skin elasticity.
  • Elevated insulin levels, a common consequence of weight gain and obesity, can directly cause lipodystrophy

How to Manage Cellulite

Managing cellulite can be possible with the following action plan:

Step 1: Focus on Lifestyle Modifications to Help Prevent Future Cellulite:

How to do this:

Lifestyle modifications, including proper diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation, and minimizing alcohol consumption, can all improve the appearance of cellulite and reduce its development.

Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet:

A healthy, calorie-controlled diet of unsaturated healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates, with minimal refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and processed foods, is the cornerstone for weight maintenance

Focus on anti-inflammatory foods, which can help prevent or control insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders. 

Exercise Regularly:

Regular exercise, including both cardiovascular exercise and strength training, is important for preventing and reducing the appearance of cellulite. Exercise tones muscle, improving the appearance of subcutaneous tissue. 

Cardiovascular exercise is important in burning fat, which decreases the amount of cellulite and improves its appearance. Exercise also helps control metabolic dysfunction and reduce inflammation.

Quit Smoking:

Smoking compromises blood flow and collagen production, worsening skin elasticity. 

Skin with lower elasticity shows cellulite more vividly. While smoking creates a proinflammatory state, increasing the release of reactive oxygen species and worsening inflammation already present, smoking cessation mitigates these harmful effects. 

Decrease Alcohol Consumption:

Alcohol promotes fat storage, leading to an overall increase in adipose tissue, which, in turn, increases the risk of developing cellulite. As the size of fat cells increases, they can create more distortion in skin and connective tissue, worsening the appearance of cellulite. 

Minimizing alcohol intake is a key step in reducing the appearance of cellulite and preventing its development.

Step 2: Try Topical Treatments and Creams

What to look for in a cellulite cream:

Topical treatments and creams are popular options for cellulite treatment, with several active ingredients supposed to improve skin texture and appearance. Individual responses to topical creams for cellulite vary depending on skin permeability, skin thickness, subcutaneous tissue characteristics, genetic factors, severity of cellulite, consistency of use, and others. 

  • Caffeine-based creams are commonly used for their ability to increase circulation and decrease fluid retention, resulting in a smoother appearance. Xanthenes are thought to promote lipolysis (fat breakdown), so xanthenes and caffeine are commonly combined in creams for cellulite treatment.
  • Retinol is another common ingredient added to many skin creams to improve skin integrity and appearance. Retinol promotes collagen production and skin regeneration, reducing the effects of aging and potentially improving the appearance of cellulite. 
  • Antioxidants (like green tea extract) are proposed to reduce collagen degradation. 
  • Peptides are known to increase the firmness of skin and improve elasticity. 

While topical creams may offer temporary improvements in cellulite appearance, consistent, long-term use is imperative to continued results over time. Most creams should be massaged into the affected areas using circular motions to promote better absorption.

Step 3: Consider Professional Treatments

Which professional treatments are most commonly recommended?


Innovative professional treatments are now increasingly utilized to improve cellulite. Laser and radiofrequency treatments are advanced technologies that use laser or radiofrequency waves for thermic effects that stimulate collagen production and enhance the integrity of tissues. 

Cellulaze involves using a laser below the skin to separate fibrous bands and melt adipose tissue cells, creating a smoother skin texture. 

Velashape penetrates subcutaneous and connective tissues with heat, melting and lessening the appearance of cellulite.


Cryolipolysis is offered under the well-known name of CoolSculpting. Instead of heat, CoolSculpting uses freezing of fat cells to reduce cellulite appearance. Specific areas are targeted and then cooled to induce apoptosis (death) of the fat cells, which are then recycled and detoxified as waste. 

CoolSculpting has been shown to deliver improvements in cellulite appearance with minimal recovery.


Subcision uses a needle to break up fibrous bands that cause the dimpling of cellulite. Releasing the fibrous bands helps smooth the skin's surface, creating a more even and firm texture and reducing the appearance of cellulite. 

Acoustic Wave Therapy

Acoustic wave therapy uses high-energy acoustic waves to stimulate the production of collagen and increase circulation, as well as improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Using Integrative and Complementary Approaches to Enhance Treatments

Lifestyle, topical treatments, and professional interventions in combination are the treatments of choice. However, certain integrative and complementary approaches may enhance efforts to reduce cellulite. Here are the top 2 additions to a holistic approach:

1. Dry Brushing

Dry brushing utilizes a brush to gently massage the skin in circular motions, typically advised before showering. 

This helps to exfoliate dead skin cells, stimulate circulation, and promote lymphatic drainage. 

By improving blood flow and lymphatic function, regular dry brushing may decrease fluid retention and help eliminate toxins, thus improving the appearance of cellulite. 

2. Massage Therapy

Massage therapies aimed at reducing cellulite include deep tissue massage, lymphatic drainage massage, or myofascial release. These massage techniques improve circulation, break down adipose tissue, and release fibrotic connective tissues, lessening the appearance of cellulite. 

Massages may also help stimulate collagen production and enhance skin elasticity, further improving the appearance of cellulite.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It is important to have realistic expectations regarding cellulite treatment. Completely curing cellulite is likely unrealistic for many patients, given its multifactorial etiology. 

Medical treatments and lifestyle modifications can improve the appearance of cellulite, yet treatment success is variable between individuals, and results may be temporary. 

Managing treatment expectations helps avoid disappointment and facilitates a healthy body image. 

Focusing on gaining gradual improvements in skin texture and overall health rather than striving for perfection helps promote overall well-being.

Prevention Tips

Preventing cellulite or reducing it involves adopting a proactive approach to lifestyle habits and skincare routines. Maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and adequate hydration, is imperative. 

  • Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins helps support skin health and elasticity. 
  • Regular exercise, including a combination of both strength training and cardiovascular exercise, helps with body composition and weight management
  • Adequate hydration with plenty of water supports skin integrity and detoxification, making it more vibrant, elastic, and perfused. 
  • Skin care routines that prioritize moisturizing help promote even skin tone, firmness, elasticity, and improved barrier function. 


Key Takeaways

While there is no complete cure for cellulite, utilizing a multifaceted treatment approach will yield the best results and promote a healthy body composition. 

  • Following a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins can help maintain healthy skin with elasticity. Adequate hydration is crucial to healthy skin.
  • Regular exercise, consisting of both strength training and cardiovascular activities, can increase muscle tone and circulation, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite. 
  • Topical creams can help reduce cellulite appearance, and innovative professional therapies offer promise in some patients. 
  • Techniques like dry brushing and massage may improve lymphatic drainage and break down fat deposits. 
  • Always consult with your healthcare professional or a dermatologic specialist to determine if cellulite treatments are right for you. 
  • Remember, treatment success varies between individuals, and continued results require sustained treatments. 
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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