Below we explain the causes of cellulite as well as the different ways in which you can get rid of it or at least reduce its appearance
An estimated 90% of women, and 10% of men, have cellulite. It’s much more common than you might think, and it doesn’t just affect people who are overweight – far from it.
The cellulite treatment and cream market has been growing steadily in recent years and is set to soar in the next five years, which just goes to show that we’ve been waging war on the dreaded orange peel for years!
But what is cellulite, and why is it so hard to get rid of? To help get to the bottom of this, we’ve spoken to experts to reveal what causes cellulite and the science of cellulite removal.
You can also see our tried-and-tested recommended cellulite treatments here.
Unfortunately, we are not about to reveal any magic remedies or cellulite cures because there aren’t any. There isn’t a quick fix to get rid of cellulite but there are products that can reduce or minimise its appearance.
There is also a number of common myths that our experts are on hand to debunk. But first, let’s explain what cellulite is and what causes it.
Underneath the skin lies a layer of fibrous connective tissue that is responsible for holding the skin to the muscle beneath it.
In women particularly, this connective tissue runs perpendicular to the skin and tethers the skin to the underlying tissue causing fat cells to push up on the skin while the bands pull the skin downward.
Over time, this connective tissue becomes less supple and elastic. This can create an increased pull on the skin whilst increasing fat stores push outward. This results in the dimples and ‘orange peel skin’ many of us recognise as cellulite.
Some women are more predisposed to cellulite than others, according to a number of studies, and cellulite is more commonly found on the buttocks and thighs as a result of fat cells pushing up against the skin over the fibrous connective tissue bands.
According to Shabir Daya, MRPharmS, co-founder at Victoria Health, “this may be related to the female hormone, oestrogen, which plays a key role in the breakdown of collagen, the substance that gives skin its elasticity and structure.
“Current thinking is that it is the destruction of collagen, which would normally keep fat tissue contained in well-organised structures, which results in the release of fats and toxins giving cellulite its characteristic appearance.”
FURTHER READING: The science of wrinkles and collagen
Suggesting men don’t get cellulite is fallacious – “both men and women have a layer of fat under the skin and although women develop cellulite more often than men, it can affect both sexes and tends to get worse as we age and lose collagen/muscle mass,” Lucy Dawe, Senior Consultant at Pulse Light Clinic told mamabella.
Additionally, in most men, this connective tissue is arranged in a cross-hatched or diagonal manner and their skin is thicker, making cellulite less noticeable.
People of all body types and weights can get cellulite – it is not the reserve of overweight people or people carrying excess fat.
While fat deposits do exacerbate the condition, fat itself is not the primary cause.
“Cellulite is subcutaneous fat (fat that is under the layers of skin). If someone is leaner, there is less fat, but they can still have cellulite,” added Lucy.
The amount of cellulite you have, and how noticeable it is, can be down to genes, body fat percentage, age, and even the thickness of your skin.
The bottom line is that there is no cellulite treatment that will rid you completely of your dimply skin. There’s no simple solution or miracle product, but there are ways you can look to minimise its appearance and boost your body confidence.
Diet, exercise, and increased water intake can help boost collagen and get rid of cellulite – or at least a significant amount of it. There are also numerous surgical and clinical procedures that can help.
However, below we’ve focused on the non-invasive options and recommended products that have proven results in getting rid of cellulite, or at least a lot of it.
The Vellashape cellulite treatment uses Vela technology, which uses a combination of infrared light and radio-frequency energy with a vacuum . This technology causes deep heating of the fat cells, their surrounding connective tissue and the underlying dermal collagen fibres.
This type of efficient heating and vacuum stimulates the growth of new collagen and elastin which results in the reduction of skin laxity, body volume and an overall improvement in skin structure and texture.
Gradual improvement of the treated area can be seen following the first treatment – with the skin surface of the treated area feeling smoother and firmer. You can read more about this cellulite treatment here.
Dry brushing, whilst not the most favourable exercise in our beauty regime, can have numerous benefits.
It is known to increase circulation, stimulate your lymph helping your body metabolise toxins more efficiently, and ultimately decrease cellulite.
Additionally, it clears pores, removes dry and dead skin, discourages fluid retention and softens and tones the skin.
We highly recommend the Cactus Long Handle brush from The Body Shop (£10) as well as the Elemis Detox Skin Brush (£21). They both use cactus bristles that kickstart the circulation and sweep away dead skin cells.
The Body Shop cactus brush can only be used with the long handle attached, but the extra you pay for the Elemis brush allows you to remove the brush head and get better access to your inner legs, as an example.
To get the best results of this quite painful and uncomfortable cellulite treatment, brush upwards towards the heart, from the soles of your feet, avoiding sensitive areas. This should be done every day before you shower.
This is a genuinely natural product that visibly improves the smoothness of the skin after just one month of regular use, massaging into the skin with a circular motion.
Formulated to tone and firm skin, and tackle areas of cellulite, this natural body oil is made from organic silver birch, to encourage elimination processes, flush out toxins and restore skin radiance.
Combined with organic rosemary extract to stimulate circulation and metabolic processes, toning ruscus extract, and skin-smoothing oils of revitalising apricot, vitamin-rich wheat-germ and replenishing jojoba and a refreshing citrus fragrance.
That’s right, you can get rid of cellulite just by wearing clothes! The Assome! Smart Leggings are one of many on the market designed to effortlessly fight dimples.
Made with anti-cellulite fibres and Assome! Microcapsules, which lock in the anti-cellulite and anti-ageing plant extracts including kelp, gotu kola and ginkgo which make up the leggings fabric.
The leggings provide all-day cellulite reduction, improved skin hydration and moisture, revamped blood circulation and boosted collagen production.
The leggings are beyond comfortable, the fabric is soft, and they are high-waisted thus giving great shape. Additionally, there is an instant reduction in the visibility of cellulite through the fabric even before they start working their magic.
They’re not cheap though, coming in at £74.90!
Alicia is a PR consultant and freelance journalist with more than a decade specialising in all things tech. In her free time, when not juggling three children, she writes beauty articles and can be found wining and dining writing food and drink reviews