Around 85% of women are affected by cellulite (regardless of dress size), so it's good to know if you have it, you're not alone. We should also point out that there's nothing wrong with having it. After speaking to many different experts, from doctors to estheticians, we know that we have no control over whether or not we have cellulite; it's hereditary.
Cellulite is pretty much a rite of passage, and if you're okay with it, that's great. I have cellulite, and it definitely doesn't keep me up at night. But that's not to say I don't want to be know what I could do to improve it. Body brushing is old news—it works, and it's affordable.
The thing is you can't really get rid of cellulite; all you can do is minimise its appearance. So why is it so hard to remove? "You have your epidermis, dermis, and the hyperdermis," Anjali Mahto, MD, tells us. "What ends up happening when cellulite forms is that the fat settles between the connective tissue of the dermis, which results in the dimpling skin."
As there's also connective tissue in the way—it's not simply a case of breaking down the fat; sometimes you have to break down the connective tissue to really see a difference. No surprise, then, that many women find cellulite a stubborn concern to tackle.
We spoke to various experts who deal with cellulite regularly, and they were game to share all the tricks they know for reducing its appearance. From the cost-free lifestyle changes to the more permanent surgical options, we've got the 101 on minimizing the look of cellulite.
#1: Home treatments
There are plenty of things people can do at home, says Victoria Smith, director of Absolute Aesthetics, which offers a lot of different cellulite treatments. Her list includes everything from hydration to ensuring you keep the legs toned and watching your weight.
"Ultimately cellulite tends to be hereditary," Smith tells us. "It doesn't just affect people who are overweight. Exercising and keeping the area toned reduces it, but you can only improve the appearance."
She also recommended that high-intensity workouts were a great way to burn up the fat: "It's not the length of time but rather a good quality workout that will help the area," she says.
Mahto also suggested HIIT as a great way to improve the appearance of cellulite. "[It] has got a lot of plus points, including anti-ageing benefits too. Really, what you're trying to do with exercise, when it comes to cellulite, is trying to build muscle."
#2: Topical treatments
The next step is the topical approach. For this, we spoke to consultant plastic surgeon Afshin Mosahebi, MD, who is registered with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, to tell us what the deal is with all those cellulite creams. "While cellulite creams can make the affected skin look tighter and swollen, ultimately it isn't a long-term solution, as it can't penetrate the skin," Mosahebi explains.
Nataliya Robinson, a leading skin therapist in London, offered up a natural approach to tackling cellulite. She suggested that you massage honey onto the legs to improve the blood circulation and promote lymphatic flow. "Honey is a natural ingredient that will decongest the skin and reduce the appearance of the cellulite without overloading the body with toxins and chemicals that are found in ordinary skincare," she told us.
Helpfully, she even gave us a recipe to make at home that will aid with softening the appearance of cellulite:
Step 1: Mix one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of baking soda together, either in a small bowl or just in your hands (this can be done just before you take a shower, or at the same time) and work it into the problematic areas. The baking soda will naturally exfoliate whilst the honey will moisture the skin on the body. With this ready mixed solution, add a little water to dilute the consistency. Massage intensively, focusing especially on your legs, thighs, stomach and arms for about two to three minutes, until the problem areas become smooth or/and flushed.
Step 2: Apply honey on your legs where cellulite is visible, and start slapping your legs for about four to seven minutes. It will improve the blood flow to soften the appearance of the cellulite. Just be careful to not overdo it, as it can cause broken capillaries if you apply too much pressure.
#3: Clinical Treatments
Finally, there are the more invasive options. Again, we spoke with Mosahebi, who gave valuable advice for anyone considering the more extreme end of cellulite reduction: "The treatment of cellulite is difficult because not only is it under the skin, but if you imagine a network like a honeycomb, that's what the fat looks like. Because of those structures, it's hard to break it down."
While Mosahebi reiterated that nothing can make it go away completely, there are plenty of clinical treatments that can improve its appearance. So what can be done? "If it's superficial, there are a few things that work for mild cellulite, such as laser treatment that creates little holes in the skin, microneedling and plasma therapy," he says.
But what should you do if you've tried that all already? Should you ever consider surgery or liposuction? "If the dimpling is obvious, then a form of liposuction can help," Mosahebi advises. "But like anything cellulite-related, it's always about improvement, not eradication, whatever you do."
If this is something you want to investigate, Mosahebi says to go to your doctor first, who will refer you to a plastic surgeon, who should be BAAPS registered, as they are more considered to be more ethical. Finally, he said to "be wary of having a free consultation, as they will try to sell you something. If you go through BAAPs, that won't happen; they will just advise."
Opening Images: Mango, Rex