How To Get Rid Of Cellulite

If you’ve began noticing those little puckered dimples on your body, the good news is that you’re not alone. Nearly 90% of women and a very small percentage of men have unsightly cellulite. The best thing you can do to get rid of cellulite is learn what causes it and what you can do to prevent it.

What Is Cellulite?

While most people consider cellulite a medical problem, it isn’t. That dimpled skin that makes an appearance on thighs, hips and buttocks is due to fat deposits that pushes up against connective tissue, which is why it has that dimpled appearance. This pushing is why the thighs, hips and butt are the most common places for cellulite to form.

These areas are more receptive to fat storage, and therefore excess fat storage. This, unfortunately, is also why far more women suffer the blight of cellulite than men. Men and women tend to store and distribute body fat differently, and when that excess fatty tissue gets stored just under the surface of the skin…you get cellulite.


It is a common misconception that being “fat” is the main cause of cellulite simply because uneven excess fat is how it forms. But look in any tabloid magazine that publishes unedited photos and you’ll see some of the thinnest starlets also suffer from cellulite. But if you are overweight, losing weight can help you get rid of cellulite.

The fat deposits in the photo above, show how they squeeze, causing the dimpled cellulite.

The fat deposits in the photo above, show how they squeeze, causing the dimpled cellulite.

One cause of cellulite is genetics. If other females in your family—mom, aunts, grandmother or sisters—chances are good you too will have cellulite. It is avoidable, but there are other factors you can control that contribute to the amount of cellulite you have and cellulite visibility.

There are many lifestyle choices that contribute to the appearance of cellulite such as a poor diet, unhealthy fad diets and a sedentary lifestyle. A slow metabolism along with a high amount of body fat can also put you at risk for cellulite. While these are not guarantees that you will find cellulite on your body, they increase your risk of cellulite.

Changes in hormones, whether due to contraception, hormone therapy or menopause, can also increase your chances of cellulite. There are many cellulite causes, but a healthy diet along with regular physical activity will decrease your chances of seeing those dimples when you put on your bathing suit.

Natural Cellulite Treatment

Getting rid of cellulite doesn’t require tons of chemicals and creams you can’t pronounce. In fact some of the most sought cellulite treatments are all natural, relying on herbs, plants and flowers. There are a variety of all natural topical treatments for cellulite that contain ingredients such as gingko biloba, evening primrose and sweet clover. You can find these in cream or oil form, and all they require is application two to three times each day.

There are quite a few herbs, flowers and oils said to treat cellulite. While there is no evidence to back up many of these claims they are far less harmful and invasive than other cellulite treatment plans. Flax and hemp oil are said to fight the build-up of fat deposits, while jojoba, cypress oil, cedar and grapefruit oils hydrate and smooth the skin to help with the appearance of cellulite.


A lack of physical activity can contribute to the appearance of cellulite on the hips, butt and thighs of many women. So it makes sense that more physical activity and regular exercise can help get rid of cellulite. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise will help melt away excess fat in those problem areas. Additionally, regular exercise will give your skin and tighter and smooth appearance thus reducing even the appearance of cellulite.

A combination of cardiovascular and strength training can help you lose fat, improve circulation and build muscle. You can do this in the form of traditional exercise or pick up more active hobbies such as swimming, tennis or running.


While a healthy diet is an effective way to get rid of cellulite or prevent the appearance of cellulite, there are no cellulite diets that can successfully treat cellulite. The type of diet that will help you get rid of, or reduce, cellulite is a low fat and low salt diet. Too much salt can lead to dehydration which makes the cellulite you do have, more visible. A high fat intake simply increases your chances for storing more body fat than you burn, and too much fat in one place spells cellulite.

Although some will tell you that a no or low carb diet will help get rid of cellulite, the truth is that your cellulite diet should include complex carbohydrates that are not packed with sugar, like whole wheat grains.

One truth that many fad cellulite diets get right, is increased fruit and vegetable intake. Fresh fruits and vegetables have a high water and fiber content. Increasing your water intake will help reduce fluid retention, which will reduce the appearance of cellulite. Fiber is a great fat burning mechanism, which will simply help you get rid of fat and cellulite.

Dry-Body Brushing

The dry body brushing method of treating cellulite works like an industrial strength body scrub. You take a hard-bristled brush and scrub the areas affected by cellulite vigorously. This is said to promote nutrients while eradicating toxins that cause cellulite from the skin. The problem with body brushing is two-fold.

First, cellulite is not caused by toxins. Cellulite is fat plain and simple. Second even healthy people who get plenty of nutrients regularly are susceptible to cellulite. So while a dry body brushing might make your thighs and butt smooth and healthy, it will not help you get rid of cellulite.

Dry body brushing, shown above, may make your skin glow, but that’s all it’ll do.

Dry body brushing, shown above, may make your skin glow, but that’s all it’ll do.

Cellulite Creams

Perhaps the most common cellulite treatment is the myriad cellulite creams on the market. These creams claim to smooth the skin and dissolve the fat causing visible cellulite. While it is true that many of the creams, particularly the high end creams, do smooth the skin many of them also contain different lightening agents to lighten the cellulite.

Cellulite creams claim to get rid of cellulite, but the scientific evidence is scant.

Cellulite creams claim to get rid of cellulite, but the scientific evidence is scant.

The main ingredient in many cellulite creams is aminophylline which has been approved as an asthma treatment, but for cellulite this ingredient narrows blood vessels which forces water from the skin. This can be problematic for those suffering from circulatory problems like those associated with diabetes.


As cosmetic surgery became more popular among the masses, many turned to liposuction to treat cellulite. A liposuction procedure involved sliding a narrow tube into the skin via small incisions. The tube then sucks out fat cells, thereby removing fat, but not necessarily cellulite. In fact in some cases, liposuction can enhance the appearance of cellulite.

Laser assisted liposuction is slowly gaining acceptance as an effective treatment for cellulite. It is less invasive than traditional liposuction and seen as having greater efficacy because it tightens the skin and destroys fat cells, which has been shown to get rid of cellulite.


One cellulite treatment that has been the subject of much controversy is mesotherapy, which is a technique that requires you to inject a cocktail of drugs, herbs, vitamins and chemicals into the cellulite-affected areas of your body. While some physicians do offer mesotherapy to treat cellulite, a 2005 report found this method may be unsafe and ineffective.

The reason mesotherapy is controversial is because it uses FDA-approved drugs, but not for the purpose of treating cellulite. These drugs are used to treat a variety of medical conditions—of which cellulite is not—and have side effects and counter-indicators that may be harmful.

Mesotherapy, pictured above, contains plenty of chemicals not intended to treat cellulite.

Mesotherapy, pictured above, contains plenty of chemicals not intended to treat cellulite.

Massage And Spa Treatments

Since women make up the overwhelming majority of those suffering from the appearance of cellulite, many spas have created specialized methods to treat cellulite.

Massage machines have been introduced that rely on rolling cylinders that gather the cellulite-affected skin and massage them inside specially created chambers. One of these most popular cellulite massages is Endermologie, which uses an electrical device that squeezes, pulls and sections the cellulite. Endermologie treatments for cellulite require as many as a dozen, 45-minute sessions before the cellulite is gone.


Mechanical or manual massage, is often used to treat cellulite.

Mechanical or manual massage, is often used to treat cellulite.

A traditional hand massage has also been seen as an effective way to get rid of cellulite, but the truth is these are just temporary methods of getting rid of cellulite because they remove excess fluids in the body or they temporarily redistribute the fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

For years spas have relied on natural or herbal cellulite treatments in the form of seaweed wraps, mud baths or herbal soaks. These so-called cellulite treatment plans have not been verified scientifically but they have been known to tighten skin which can reduce cellulite visibility.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment devices claim to get rid of cellulite by melting the fat just below the top layer of skin while also breaking up the fibrous bands that make cellulite visible. They also claim to stimulate the production of collagen, which binds cells together inside the body.

Laser treatment for cellulite has recently been approved by the FDA. The two devices that have been green lighted combine massage or suction movements with the light or laser therapy, to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. The light or laser treatments, VelaSmooth and TriActive, both use a mixture of laser with massage or mechanized suction.

While these treatments do work in the short term, they require multiple visits before you see any results. Laser or light therapy for cellulite is more costly than massage or spa treatments for cellulite.

Cellulite Tights

If you’re looking for a simple method of reducing the appearance of cellulite on problem areas, then cellulite tights might be for you. These tights do not claim to get rid of cellulite, treat cellulite or do anything else other than cover up the appearance and give your thighs and butt and firmer look.

Cellulite tights work similar to a girdle, but some brands are temperature controlled to prevent overheating, and contain an anti-bacterial treatment so they stand up to everyday wear.

Spray Tan

Spray tans really serve one purpose in treating cellulite; reducing the appearance of cellulite. It is well known that cellulite isn’t quite as visible on those with darker skin tones, and a spray tan serves a cosmetic purpose for those with fair skin.

If you still want to wear short skirts and shorts, or go shirtless on the beach, a simple spray tan treatment will make your cellulite less noticeable. If you plan on swimming, choose a spray tan that is waterproof.

Written By Kayla Harris

Dr. Harris is a dermatologist certified by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pediatrics. She has also received a certification in the sub-specialty of Pediatric Dermatology. Dr. Harris received an undergraduate degree biology from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Harris earned her Medical Degree at the University Missouri. Dr. Harris completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital at the University of Colorado where she also completed her residency in dermatology just one year later.


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