How to get rid of cellulite: 15 expert tips from dermatologists and nutritionists

How to get rid of cellulite: 15 expert tips from dermatologists and nutritionists

How to get rid of cellulite: 15 expert tips from dermatologists and nutritionists

How to get rid of cellulite: 15 expert tips from dermatologists and nutritionists
Credit: Canva

It’s something that affects over 90% of women (and 10% of men) and whilst you can’t get rid of cellulite completely you can take steps to help with its appearance.

Ahhh cellulite. Much like stretch marks, hard to get rid of spots and many of our other common body hang-ups, it exists and can cause many of us some very unnecessary emotional stress. Yet whilst this isn’t exactly news to everyone – it’s important to remember that the condition is actually a totally normal and natural thing. Based on the body’s individual distribution of fat cells and connective tissue.

“Cellulite is the lumpy appearance of skin most commonly found on the thighs, stomach and bottom area,” Dr Ross Perry tells us, Medical Director at Cosmedics skin clinics. “Fat pushes between the connective tissue beneath the skin, making the surface of the skin pucker and look lumpy.  Most women have cellulite of some description or indeed will get it at some point in their lives and having it does not mean you are unhealthy. Cellulite is just natural imperfections in the way the fat is contoured in certain areas.”

In this new age of body acceptance, we’re all for loving the skin we’re in and feeling no pressure to change ourselves. Especially when science deems that you can never actually get rid of cellulite for good. This being said, healthier food choices, cardio and some simple skin practices can be followed to help with the appearance of it should you feel the need to try them.

How to get rid of cellulite?

1. Body brush

Using a body brush – or ‘dry brushing’ as it’s known – is a top tip to get rid of cellulite. According to celebrity facialist and skincare expert Lisa Harris, it’s a type of Ayurvedic medicine that’s been around for centuries. And it works in the same way as a lymphatic massage, promoting the release of unwanted toxins.

“It increases circulation and exfoliates the skin, stimulates the lymphatic system and aids the body’s natural way of getting rid of toxins,” she tells us. “Plus it’s also believed to help break down fatty deposits under the skin that can result in cellulite.”

For best results she recommends dry brushing a few times a week. But even once a week will show a difference to skin.

a close up of body brushes. Drybrushing can help get rid of cellulite.

Credit: Getty

“It’s best to do dry brushing with a natural brush with stiff bristles,” she adds. “A long handle makes it easier to manoeuvre too and the best time to do it is before a shower or bath, when the skin is dry – hence the name.”

Whilst advice varies, Lisa recommends the common practice of brushing upwards towards the heart:

“Start at the hands and feet and brush towards the chest or torso,” she explains. “But brush in a clockwise direction on the stomach area.”

It’s important not to do too many strokes in one area as it can make skin sore. Also, NEVER brush on skin that is infected, cut or grazed as this will not only hurt but “can spread the infection” too.

When you’ve finished brushing, follow up with a shower or bath. Then after drying up, apply a body oil to nourish your skin and you’ll be feeling like you’ve had a proper pamper at the same time. You can pick up a natural bristle body brush for £7.98 at Amazon, so place an order and get brushing.

2. Lymphatic draining massage

If you don’t fancy a dry brush – there’s good news. You can still simulate lymphatic draining through massage.

“Lymphatic drainage for cellulite is a massage technique that works on the lymphatic vessels to remove swelling, oedemas and cellulite,” says the Cellulite Institute. They claim it not only enhances circulation but additionally “improves the appearance and tone of the skin as well as its temperature, and also causes relaxation of the muscle fibres.”

Some scientific research has in fact shown this type of massage can work in our favour when it comes to getting rid of cellulite.

Participants in one 2011 Brazilian study received 10 sessions of “manual and machanical lymph drainage”, each lasting an hour and a half for two weeks. After the trial, all patients said they “liked the results”. Plus examiners agreed that in before and after photos “the cellulite improved for 13 of the 14 patients”.

Dr Anton Alexandroff, a Doctify-reviewed dermatologist agrees this technique can help with those thigh dumples:

“Lymphatic draining massage is non invasive, effective but time consuming,” he tells us.

Indeed, finding the time to massage for an hour and a half five times a week may be hard to commit to. But there certainly seems no harm in trying a five minute at-home massage a few times weekly.

When performing at home, always massage from the bottom up and aim for loose and rythmic movements. According to the Cellulite Institute it’s also good to apply a “slight pressure on the skin”, before moving up and then releasing.

At-home lymphatic massage:

  • Start at the top of your leg.
  • Place one hand on the inside of your leg and one hand on the back of your leg.
  • Gently stretch and release the skin from the inside of your leg towards the side of your leg and up towards your hip.
  • Repeat movement 5 times on the targeted area.
  • Shift your hands lower on your leg and repeat.
  • Keep shifting down and repeating this step until you reach your knee as shown in the pictures.

3. Retinoid skin products

Dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff says that retinoid products are usually recommended when trying to get rid of cellulite.

“Topical treatments include retinoids which can help collagen production and dermal thickness,” he tells us. “They also promote lipolysis – fat conversion. And topicals work better in a combination with massage.”

Harvard Health also credits Retinoids with stimulating the production of new blood vessels in the skin. Which in turns improves circulation and skin colour.

Dr Anton recommends retinoid products by Clarins, Shiseido and Glytone. And this Clarins Extra-Firming Body Cream contains retinols and boasts good reviews.

Moisturise before bed. Or even better, after a quick lymphatic draining massage to see visible results.

4. Collagen peptides

Collagen is your skin’s best friend. So it makes sense to boost your collagen count to help with the outward appearance of cellulite.

As we age, our body produces less collagen, which one Michigan Medical School study found leads to us developing wrinkles and dry skin.

“Cellulite breaks collagen bands in your skin’s connective tissue and collagen works to strengthen the skin’s elasticity and repair damaged tissue,” explains Dr Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics. “Taking Collagen Shots like those from ProtoCol, help to boost your dermal metabolism, strengthen and repair damaged tissue while improving your skin’s elasticity.”

Dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff agrees: “Cellulite improved with collagen peptides intake after 6 months. But it works better in normal weight women and less so in overweight women.”

Rejuvenated are another brand that offer collagen shots. They recommend taking their shots daily for 12 weeks to see the full benefits. “These findings fit with results from clinical studies regarding our product,” they explain.

5. Cellulite creams

Cellulite creams are widely available online and stores. But do they deliver results?

It’s important to remember that creams will only really help the appearance slightly as part of a diet and exercise regime. They can help superficially in the looks department, but they’re not miracle workers. So save your pennies and don’t fork out expensive creams that promise to melt the fat away.

a collage showing the best creams to get rid of cellulite

Credit: Canva

Our top three chosen creams to get rid of cellulite have been chosen based on online reviews and have received praise for their smoothing abilities. We’ve then taken into consideration budget to help you choose the cream that suits you.

For better results, why not apply the cream after you’ve drybrushed and showered. To help lock in the moisture.

6. Drink plenty of water

Keeping cellulite at bay is one of the many benefits of drinking water.

“Dehydration may make cellulite worse,” explains wellness and nutrition expert Penny Weston. “This is because water flushes the toxins out of your body. However, if your body is lacking in water these toxins will be left to gather in certain places.”

To keep skin looking fresh and youthful you want to follow the Eatwell Guide’s government recommendation of 6 to 8 cups or glasses a day.

This equates to around 1.5 litres a day which is plenty. As you don’t want to drink too much water either – as this could lead to swelling underneath the cellulite.

If you find plain water boring, flavour it naturally with slices of citrus fruit or berries. Or consider getting more H20 from your meals.

“One great way of staying hydrated is to eat more foods with a higher water content, such as fruits, vegetables and soups,” says nutrition expert Linsey Doyle. “Not only are these foods great for keeping us hydrated but they’re also packed with vital vitamins and nutrients that will repair cells and keep the skin looking fresher and more radiant.

7. Focus on HIIT workouts

Exercise is important when it comes to tackling cellulite. The premise is that the harder you work and the higher you get your heart rate, the more you’ll burn fat. Which in turn will help with the exterior appearance of said fat cells.

David Wiener, Training Specialist at fitness and coaching app Freeletics tells us that you want to “combine resistance or strength training with a HIIT workout” to see results.

“This is because strength training not only improves the tone of muscle tissue, but it also helps maintain and slowly increase the
amount of lean muscle tissue in your body over time, which can help to create a smoother look,” he explains.

“This combined with regular HIIT will help your body burn maximum calories in a short space of time. As well as keep your metabolism elevated for hours after exercise which is beneficial in the fight against cellulite.”

Runner feet running on road closeup on shoe.

Credit: Getty

Running is the most obvious choice for interval exercise. As are circuits, swimming and cycling. Or any form of exercise which alternates intense periods of work, with short periods of rest.

Need help with where to start? Download the Freeletics fitness app and gain access to hundreds of tailored HIIT workouts.

8. Eat foods that provide lecithin

It’s a substance that you might not be familiar with. But Lecithin is something nutritionists swear by when it comes to beating cellulite.

It’s best explained as a substance that’s made up of fatty acids which is naturally found in body tissue. And the reason it helps get rid of cellulite is that it repairs tissue cells in the skin. Particularly preventing fat deposits rising to the surface.

“Eating foods that are high in Lecithin is also an excellent way to help manage cellulite,” says nutrition expert Linsey Doyle. “Cauliflower, spinach and peanuts are all great sources of this powerful substance.”

Lecithin rich foods:

  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli

You can also take Lecithin tablets if that’s more your style. Dr James Farthing, author of Beat Cellulite Forever suggests taking “1200mg per day as a supplement, or buy it in health food stores and sprinkle it on cereal.”

9. Eat oily fish

As Linsey catchily puts it: “If it swims it slims!”. Oily fish helps in the fight against cellulite by smoothing skin, improving circulation and encouraging the burning of fat cells.

“Mackerel, salmon, tuna, trout… all of these foods are excellent sources of Omega 3,” she tells us. “These help enrich the skin – but are also super high in protein too. But cod-liver oil capsules are great options for those who don’t eat fish.”

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower cholesterol. This has a knock on effect on cellulite, because by lowering your cholesterol you’ll be boosting your circulation, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. This in turn prevents fat cells from swelling and appearing aesthetically worse.

Oily fish has also proven to boost your metabolism and encourage it to burn fats. With one 2010 study finding that 6 weeks of fish oil supplements “increased lean mass and decreased fat mass”.

An easy way to remember your oily fish is the acronym SMASH. This is made up of salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. All these fish varieties boasting contains around 30% oil in their skin – hence the name.

10. Take the stairs

It can be as simple as switching the lift for stairs when combating cellulite. The activity will raise your heart rate whilst targeting your lower body muscles.

“Stair climbing is particularly effective because it is a form of cardiovascular exercise with the added benefit of targeting your lower body,” says training specialist David Weiner. “Therefore working all the main muscle groups in the area where cellulite tends to accumulate.”

This short but simple will exercise will put pressure on underlying fat stores and replace lost muscle tissue to give the area a toned appearance. Indeed, British actress Liz Hurley swears by always taking the stairs to keep off the pounds and to get rid of cellulite as it stimulates circulation and keeps your skin dimple-free. So if it’s good enough for her…

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