Ah, summer. A time for relaxing by the pool, sipping chilled drinks, and constantly trying to position my hands and clothes to hide all that cellulite.
At least, that’s what I used to think summer was. Considering that my friends of all sizes and shapes were just as worried about their body dimples as I was, it always seemed like something I had to live with. Since 90% of women and 10% of men have cellulite, chances are that you can relate.
I come bearing great news, though: it isn’t hopeless! Toss aside all the rumors and old wives’ tales because here’s the real truth about cellulite and how to fight it.
What Causes Cellulite?
Time for a quick anatomy lesson.
Under your skin, there are connective tissue bands that secure your skin to your muscle and other body tissue. That’s why you can’t slide your skin around the way you can bunch up a glove.
Think of those connective bands as being in a grid pattern. Instead of covering every bit of skin, they attach to specific points at every inch or two.
Between the skin and the muscle that your connective bands are holding together, you accumulate fat. That fat pushes up on your skin while the connective tissue pulls it down, and this creates the rolling lumps we know as cellulite.
With this in mind, there are three factors that contribute to cellulite and how severe it is. The first is your connective tissue bands. In some people, they go with the flow, but in others, they’re more rigid. Rigid connective tissue = cellulite.
The second factor is the fat under your skin. You can accumulate fat under your skin no matter what size you are, and the more of it there is, the more cellulite you’ll have.
The third factor is your skin’s firmness. This is why cellulite tends to get worse as we age. The firmer your skin is, the less is will ripple when the underlying fat pushes up on it.
How Can You Reduce Cellulite?
There’s a reason I went through all those details, I promise! After I understood what cellulite really is and what causes it, it paved the way for me to learn how to nip cellulite in the bud.
It’s true that there are plastic surgery procedures out there that can reduce your cellulite. The most effective ones impact all three of those factors I mentioned above: rigid connective tissue, fat under the skin, and skin firmness. These procedures are expensive, though, and they’re new enough that our knowledge about their long-term success is limited.
Thankfully, the right skin care products can also give you smoother skin you’ll be proud to show off at the pool. These are the steps I followed to put a dent in my dents.
Exfoliating is a great step toward reducing cellulite, but if you’re like me, you only exfoliate your face and forget about doing the same for your body.
When you use a body scrub like my favorite body contour scrub from Borghese, it enhances your circulation in the area, which makes cellulite more subtle. At the same time, it stimulates your skin to build more collagen: the miracle protein that makes your skin firm. Those two factors together pack a serious punch against cellulite.
Tighten it Up
On top of exfoliating your skin, it’s never too early to start using products that firm your skin. As soothing as standard body lotion can be, it doesn’t do much for restoring your firmness and standing up to cellulite.
For real results, I recommend GlyMed Plus’s Anti-Cellulite Cream. It’s specifically created to reduce your cellulite by stimulating collagen, lifting your skin, and giving your skin the hydration it needs to stand firm in the most literal way.
For anyone with light skin, it becomes obvious in a hurry that the tanner your skin is, the less visible your cellulite tends to be. Don’t fall for it – it’s a trap!
When you get a tan from the sun, it means your skin is sustaining sun damage. Sun exposure breaks down the collagen in your skin at an extreme rate. In other words, that tan may camouflage your cellulite in the moment, but it will make it far worse tomorrow by making your skin thinner and less firm.
Opt for a sunless tanner instead. It’s the best of all worlds: it disguises your cellulite without causing further damage and increasing your risk for skin cancer. Plus, it takes far less time to get and maintain the color you want.
A word of caution from someone who’s learned the hard way: go for a high-quality product instead of the cheap ones you find in the drug store. That is, unless “streaky Cheeto” is the look you’re going for.
Taking Back the Poolside This Summer
Cellulite is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to the best of us. If you’d prefer to leave it behind, though, all the more power to you!
The steps above have allowed me to take back the power from my cellulite, and I can’t remember the last time my legs have been this smooth. While nothing is likely to completely eliminate your cellulite (including those pricey cosmetic surgeries and procedures), the right skin care products and a consistent routine are all you need to whip off that poolside cover-up with confidence this year.