Cellulite is a condition in which the skin looks lumpy and dimpled. It affects more women than men because women have thinner skin that can show cellulite more clearly. (Roughly 85% of women over 21 have cellulite, compared to less than a quarter of men.)
To try and get rid of cellulite, customers turn to anti-cellulite creams (and sometimes more expensive and painful solutions like surgery or liposuction).
Anti-cellulite creams are designed to smooth the appearance of your skin by tightening up the tissue beneath it. These creams come in different types: those containing retinol, caffeine, aloe vera, or other ingredients like seaweed extract or green tea extract; those containing topical herbs such as horse chestnut.
But do cellulite creams really work?
In this post, we cover:
- What is Cellulite? Can You Prevent It?
- Methods for Getting Rid of Cellulite
What is Cellulite? (And How Do You Get It?)
Cellulite is a dimpling of our skin that usually appears on our thighs, stomachs, and butts. Unfortunately, people who have it are often very self-conscious of their cellulite, so they’ll wear clothes that cover it up or search for ways to get rid of it.
Cellulite occurs when fat cells push against connective tissue underneath the skin, leading to an appearance of lumpy bulges.
There are many factors that contribute to cellulite, including genetics, hormones, age, and weight gain.
So, Can You Prevent Cellulite?
While genetics play a strong role, maintaining a healthy body weight can help reduce your chances of getting cellulite. Losing just 10% of your bodyweight could make a significant difference in the appearance of cellulite.
(To help you stay at that desired weight, try following an exercise plan and getting enough sleep to avoid stress hormones interfering with your metabolism. Diet also plays a role in preventing cellulite by providing vitamins for cell turnover, omega-3 fatty acids which are good for cell function and protein.)
But if you already have cellulite and are looking for ways to get rid of it, keep reading.
How to Get Rid of Cellulite
When it comes to getting rid of cellulite, there are two common ways most people consider.
- Using anti-cellulite creams
- Surgery and other methods
The Big Question: Do Anti-Cellulite Creams Work?
To clarify, anti-cellulite creams do not make your cellulite go away. Instead, these creams help you manage the appearance of your cellulite for when you’re going to the beach, the pool, or having a night out and want to wear a dress or outfit that otherwise you’d be uncomfortable in.
Most creams have one (or more) of these common anti-cellulite ingredients: retinol creams, caffeine creams, aloe vera creams, seaweed extract, or green tea extract. Retinol is derived from vitamin A; caffeine comes from coffee beans; seaweed or green tea extracts are both known for their antioxidants.
The antioxidants in these creams are thought to be the best way to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
For example, caffeine removes moisture from the skin, making it tighter and more firm, which can make cellulite less prominent temporarily.
So when you’re looking for the best anti-cellulite creams (we cover some options below), keep in mind what you want is the cream that does the best at temporarily reducing the visibility of your cellulite, in a way that is effective, affordable, and without any unpleasant side effects. (Some cellulite creams reportedly lead to dry skin, rashes, and inflammation. Always read the online reviews before buying and when you buy, test a small area of your body first. If any side effects occur, immediately stop using and call your doctor.)
The key takeaway here is: be cautious of any cream that promises to magically and permanently remove cellulite from your body.
Different Types of Anti-Cellulite Creams
The most affordable cellulite cream available is the topicals. This is what many people try first because it’s the least invasive way to combat cellulite. Topical creams contain retinol, vitamins A and E, caffeine, or collagen to make skin look smoother.
For a topical cream to work properly, you must be consistent with using it twice daily for at least four weeks before seeing results. But as we talked about above, the cream doesn’t “cure” cellulite. When you stop using the cream, it’s likely your cellulite will re-appear.
One of the most popular anti-cellulite creams on the market is Mason Natural Collagen Beauty Cream. This is a straightforward cream because it’s just pure and highly effective collagen.
Massaging collagen over your skin helps tighten it. Plus, it has moisturizing and lotion, which means you don’t have to worry about drying out your skin.
You can also use a product such as M3 Natural Anti Cellulite Massage Oil (infused with Collagen Stem cell). This oil uses collagen (to help tighten up your skin) combined with eucalyptus, grapefruit, and lemon oil. These ingredients help support collagen, while also keeping your skin moisturized.
Note: Many other factors contribute to cellulite, including genetics, hormones, age, and weight gain, but it seems that not all cellulite creams work for everyone, so it is important to check reviews and ask around. Your dermatologist can likely give you a recommendation for the best cellulite cream for your needs.
Surgery and Other Methods for Getting Rid of Cellulite
The more expensive option is surgery, which takes away fat cells that contribute to cellulite. There are several ways of doing this, including laser treatment and liposuction.
There is a laser treatment program – Cellulaze™ – that uses a tiny fiber that gets inserted into your skin. When beneath your skin, a laser is emitted, and his laser breaks up the bands beneath your skin that are causing cellulite—Cellulaze™ costs about $5,700 per treatment.
An article written by Organic Beauty Report, a blog dedicated to natural and organic beauty tips, discussed how some people use liposuction for cellulite. However, they caution customers to try other on-the-market solutions (we cover another option next) before trying surgery. There have been recorded complications post-liposuction from the medical, such as pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), to cosmetic issues like skin irregularities (baggy skin that appears uneven).
There are also other products on the market that are not creams, such as leggings for cellulite and anti-cellulite shorts. There have been some positive tests around the efficacy of these leggings. They work as compression leggings and help reduce the appearance of cellulite. However, make sure you have the time it takes to make this product work, as some studies show you need to wear the leggings (underneath your normal clothes is fine) for as long as 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
So, do anti-cellulite creams really work? Yes and no. They can work at giving your skin a more youthful look by using powerful – and healthy – ingredients that reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Plus, if creams aren’t convenient for you (if you’re constantly traveling or moving from place to place), you can swap them out for cellulite leggings that use compression technology to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Finally, there is surgery. Surgery is invasive, expensive (prices range from $3,500 to $6,500), and can be painful, so any decision to have surgery done should be taken seriously.