Real talk – getting rid of cellulite is no easy task. It’s a skin condition that impacts nearly 90-percent of women at some point in their lives. It can show up in all types of body types, from those struggling with obesity to those fighting anorexia. Adding to the list of those dealing with this common skin condition, more men than ever are also concerned with the appearance of cellulite.
While cellulite is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, the presence of cellulite is something that makes many feel insecure. If it’s on your list of wellness priorities this year, there are some techniques you can adopt to reduce or improve the appearance of cellulite and prevent it from forming in the first place.
#1 Prepare for a Lengthy Battle
Basically, cellulite is the accumulation of “tissue sludge” – the infiltration of toxic waste into subcutaneous connective tissues – that as the body’s metabolism slows down, is encapsulated by fat cells. The buildup of these fat deposits pull at the connective tissue giving the skin that lumpy, dimpled texture we identify as cellulite. It is most commonly noticed in areas that tend to hold fat, like the upper thighs, buttocks, arms, and stomach.
Visible cellulite has built up over many years. That means it’s going to take a significant time commitment to start to reverse that trend. So, before you begin to go to battle with your cellulite, it’s important to keep this in mind to not become discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Most effective treatment plans will range from six months to a year or more. For best results, your cellulite body treatments should be worked into your weekly and monthly wellness plans, and become a part of your regular holistic living routine.
Good news – with time and consistency, you will start to see progress.
#2 Elimination of Fluid Retention
Sometimes what you may think of as cellulite is actually fluid retention. Ninety percent of fluid retention sits just below the surface of the skin and can lead to uneven textures that can resemble the dimpling and ripples that are common indicators of cellulite.
Many people may experience both fluid retention and cellulite. For those with both of these conditions, you will want to first address the fluid retention before you can improve the look of cellulite.
You can tell the difference between cellulite and fluid by the presence or absence of dimples. There are several ways to tell if you are dealing with cellulite or fluid:
- If you have what appears to be a dimple on the skin, lift the skin up gently above the dimple. If the dimple disappears, you are dealing with fluid. If the dimple is still visible, it is cellulite.
- You can do the “flick” test on the affected area. Gently flick the skin several times. If you see ripples, similar to dropping a pebble in pool of water, you are dealing with fluid.
- Lie on your back and raise your legs perpendicular to your body. If all the dimpling disappears, you are dealing with fluid.
- Feel the tissue by gently pressing on the skin. If the skin feels hard and dense, it is cellulite. If the skin feels soft, boggy or mushy, it is fluid.
For an in-depth understanding about fluid retention, click here to read our previous blog post. It breaks down the factors that can cause fluid retention and methods you can use to diminish the visible signs.
Combatting Fluid Retention
One of the best things you can do to combat fluid retention is to avoid taking hot baths and showers. As physics teaches us, heat expands and cold contracts. Hot water causes the tissue in the body to expand, creating the space to be filled up with fluids. When that fluid gets stuck, we get fluid retention, the feeling of bloating or even swelling.
An easy solution is to bathe with a water temperature of 93-97°F. This will cause a mild constriction of the tissue which forces the fluid out of the tissue and into the lymphatic system that is designed to flush excess fluid and toxins out of the body.
#3 Monthly Spa Services
Cellulite is often referred to as “cottage cheese.” If not a bit icky, it is actually a pretty good metaphor. To eliminate the look of cellulite, you will need to eliminate the uneven, lumpy texture and encourage the free flow of intercellular fluid in the body.
The most effective treatments introduce some sort of heating element that will the melt the fat deposits and smooth out the skin's appearance.. Think about melting cottage cheese from a lumpy texture into a viscous form. But it doesn’t end there, if that fluid isn’t physically pushed out of the tissue it will reharden and be visible once again as “cellulite.”
As we mentioned cellulite can be difficult to treat, especially by yourself. For those who are really serious about getting rid of the look of cellulite, getting help from professionals is a must.
This is why massage is such an essential part of treating the appearance of cellulite. It is a manual method of encouraging the free flow of intercellular fluid by stimulating the body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems, which are essential to eliminating excess fluid, toxins, and discouraging the build-up of "tissue sludge" that leads to dimpling.
Only by pairing a heating element, with a cellulite massage is it possible to improve the look of the skin without invasive, expensive treatments. Massage therapists are expertly trained in these techniques, and understand how they can impact body mechanics. Yeah, you can use product and practice massage techniques at home but it’s much more effective when administered by a professional.
Many spas offer cellulite-specific body treatments, such as Sanctuary Spa Houston’s G5 Cellulite Massage Therapy service. The G5 is a device that produces brisk vibrations and percussion movements that, when combined with the therapist guiding the device over fatty areas, can be effective at dislodging and softening fatty tissue, and stimulating the lymphatic system. The gyrating movement also creates a heating effect which makes the treatment that much more effective.
The results from G5 and massage are temporary (especially if you are not also implementing other changes to your diet and lifestyle), so it is recommended to schedule these as a series of treatments over several months.
If your favorite spa doesn’t offer a service like a G5, ask for a vigorous lymphatic massage. Spa services can be pricey but it’s well worth the investment into your mental, spiritual and physical health.
#4 Topical Products and At-Home Care
Boost the results you can get from the spa or create your own at-home cellulite protocol by using products specially formulated for cellulitic skin.
Unfortunately, no product alone will completely get rid of cellulite. As mentioned above, you can improve the appearance of the skin by combining products with massage and lymphatic drainage techniques.
Similar to the strategies we mentioned above, it is important to pair a heating element with a method of moving the trapped fluid away from the area of concern.
To do this most cellulite products are very active on the skin. That means there will be some sort of flushing, redness and a warming sensation on the skin. While using topical cellulite products you may experience discomfort, but it should not be painful.
Our Active Silhouette Lotion is a professional-grade product designed for use in spa cellulite treatments. This active seaweed cream contains botanical Niacin which promotes a sense of stimulated blood flow to the skin as well as Cocoa extract, and a powerful blend of active essential oils such as Cinnamon, Rosemary, Basil and Juniper to warm and decrease the look of puffy, uneven skin textures.
You will feel and see this product go to work. The skin will become warm to the touch and flushed with a rosey color. You will want to use this only on areas that show signs of cellulite (versus massaging over the full body).
Follow application with a handheld cellulite massager. These tools usually have wooden knobs that allow you to physically stimulate the skin and promote the healthy movement of fluids
The result will be a detoxed feel and smoother skin appearance. Think of this as a weekly treatment as opposed to your daily body care routine.
For daily maintenance we suggest misting the skin with Aromatic Algae Extract and massaging in Nourishing Body Cream. Both of these products contain high percentages of alginic acid, which works to hydrate and provide a smooth, strengthened look to the skin. (Tip: these products are also great at preventing the appearance of stretch marks!)
Skin that is properly hydrated and strengthened will make imperfections, like dimples appear less noticeable. It also protects the skin from being susceptible to developing the look of cellulite, stretch marks, fluid retention and other annoying skin conditions.
Algae also promotes a detoxed look and feel to the skin which can improve the visible presence of that "tissue sludge" we mentioned above.
#5 Weekly Dry Brushing
Another healthy skin routine to adopt is dry brushing. We go more in-depth about the benefits of dry brushing in our blog. To summarize, it helps to exfoliate the skin, promote healthy circulation and some say it can even help you bounce back after an illness.
For those concerned about cellulite, think of dry brushing as a mini massage that works to smooth out the surface of the skin and get healthy-blood flowing to areas of the body that need a boost.
You’ll be amazed at how invigorating it can be before your bath or shower. Depending on your skin's sensitivity, you can dry brush every day but shoot for once or twice a week to protect the skin and develop dry brushing into a healthy habit.
#6 Nutritional Support
Of course, we would love to avoid the formation of cellulite, to begin with, but when it’s something that a vast majority of us have, that may be easier said than done.
All the same tips for a healthy lifestyle – a balanced diet high in vegetables and unprocessed foods, avoiding sugar, and drinking lots of water – are true for avoiding cellulite or improving the look of rough-textured skin.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you are feeding your body the vitamins, proteins, and trace minerals it needs to function at its best. This will keep everything humming along and less likely to allow the metabolism to slow down which can exacerbate the conditions that make cellulite possible.
#7 Learn to Love the Skin You Are In
It’s a meme that has popped up quite a lot lately, “Every body is a beach body.” It’s true!
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. The best thing you can do for your self-esteem is to learn to embrace yourself NOW – not once you’ve lost 30 pounds or look like a runway model. The vast majority of people on this planet will never look like Gisele. Using that image as an end-all goal can be pretty demoralizing. Sure, if it helps to keep you healthy and active go for it, but recognize your positive traits and celebrate what makes you unique.
Natural beauty is more about loving and caring for the skin you are in rather than having to change yourself to fit an airbrushed representation of the perfect body. By taking the time each week for self-care rituals, like dry brushing, eating well and caring for the skin, you will be surprised how it starts to help you have a better appreciation for yourself.
So, thank your body for taking you through this life and remember to be kind to yourself as well as others!