Facts and Myths About Cellulite

3 min readApr 18, 2024
Facts and Myths About Cellulite

Got cellulite? Don’t be inferior. You have plenty of company: Cosmetic conditions affect nearly 90% of women at some point in their lives, even women who are slim and fit. Cellulite is the name for a collection of fat that pushes against the connective tissue beneath your skin. It frequently appears on your thighs, stomach and buttocks. Cellulite makes the surface of the skin appear lumpy and puckered, or appear dimpled.
Even though cellulite is common, there is a lot of misinformation about what cellulite is, what causes it, and how to get rid of it. So before pointing the finger, or spending a lot of money on over-the-counter products, read the real story behind cellulite.

Cellulite only occurs to out-of-shape people (Myth)
Being overweight does make cellulite appear more visible; the more fat there is under the skin, the more likely it is to put pressure on the connective tissue and protrude from its weak points. But cellulite also affects women of all shapes and sizes. Many skinny women work out and eat well, they do everything right, but they still have cellulite.

Skin firming creams can cure cellulite (Myth)
Despite what you may read on the label, no topical cream — prescription or over-the-counter — has been proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite permanently. Research has found that products containing retinoids (labeled as over-the-counter retinol) can provide some temporary effects by creating a thicker covering of skin that can help disguise bumps. There is limited evidence that creams or scrubs containing stimulant ingredients, such as caffeine, ginger, and green or black tea, can also help increase circulation and destroy fat cell deposits, but this is less proven. If these topical creams work — they likely have little or no effect. They are more likely to help with slimming and body contouring, which is not the same as cellulite.

What you wear can reduce cellulite (Myth)
It’s true, wearing compression leggings while working out can reduce the sway of your thighs when you move — but this is only a temporary effect, and you likely won’t notice any changes once you take off your clothes after exercising. For any clothing that claims to have long-lasting results, it is just a marketing gimmick and it is not true. In fact, for some tight garments, the opposite may be true: The elastic bands on underwear, for example, can actually cause cellulite to appear if they cut off circulation and restrict blood flow.

Certain foods may help combat cellulite (Fact)
Your diet alone cannot determine whether you will develop cellulite or not, but consuming a balanced plant-based diet can reduce inflammation throughout the body and help you maintain an ideal, healthy weight. Staying hydrated, either by drinking water or by consuming lots of foods with a high water content, will also keep your connective tissue strong and supple, and can even help you lose weight. Try to eat more tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and peppers, which are more than 90% water.

Dermal fillers can flatten dimpled skin (Fact)
Injectable dermal fillers such as Radiesse & Restylane, which are used primarily to tighten sagging cheekbones and smooth facial wrinkles, have also proven beneficial — at least temporarily — for areas of skin affected by cellulite. It’s like putting icing on a cake that is lumpy to make it look better. Especially if someone is very thin and has some very deep divots, fillers can plump them up and even out them really well. However, these procedures cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per foot, and the results tend to last only a few months.

Exercise can reduce the appearance of cellulite (Fact)
Regular exercise practice can’t cure cellulite — but in many cases, exercise can help prevent or reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite occurs when the connective fibers beneath your skin become weak or lose their elasticity, but stretching and strengthening the area (in addition to burning off excess fat overall) can help. Tightening and strengthening these muscles will in turn firm the skin, giving the illusion that cellulite is less visible. A yoga routine that targets the buttocks and thighs can help, as can strength training moves that build muscle and improve circulation.

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