I was cellulite-free until after the birth of my first son. I got to enjoy ripple-free legs until I was 33, then the battle ensued to try to rejuvenate my legs with what seemed like some periods of success, but more often I was met with more periods of disheartened acceptance. I wish I had the answer, but sadly, I can only echo my belief in most everything I’ve read that states it’s nearly impossible to get rid of cellulite.
The above photo is me, taken under overhead light, the most unflattering light ever! I felt I couldn’t write this post without including a photo of myself. Gulp! My weight fluctuated dramatically during my pregnancies so I’m sure my skin’s elasticity was totally tested and effected!
I’ve done a lot of research on cellulite (why “lite”??) over the years and the long and short of it is that doctors don’t really know why it strikes some women and not others. I remember seeing an incredibly fit, toned woman in her 40’s cycling past me one day on her racing bike. I caught a glimpse of her in my side mirror while stuck in traffic and I remember thinking how enviably fit she was, but as she passed me I was struck by the amount of cellulite she had on the backs of her legs. How was this possible? Was it just the overhead noon sunlight highlighting it or did she really have that much??
I’ve heard different theories about how you get cellulite from a poor functioning liver that’s not processing fat correctly, to hormonal changes as you age, to your skin’s losing elasticity over time. I guess the question is, what can you do to get rid of it, if anything?
I’ve tried Endermologie, lymphatic drainage massages, a couple of treatments in Italy whose translations I can’t find in English, and various creams; I couldn’t tell you with any certainty or enthusiasm that one is more effective than the other or that they have longterm effects. I guess I could say though that my cellulite hasn’t gotten worse as I’ve gotten older so maybe there is something to at least a few of these treatments, but most likely this is just due to trying to stay in shape and eat healthy.
For years I’ve been using StriVectin TL, in the hopes that I’ll wake up one day with the legs of a 30 year old! While that sadly will never be the case, I don’t want to stop using it, as pathetic as that sounds. I also believe that protecting your legs with sunscreen when in the strong summer sun or on a sunny holiday is a must, since protecting your skin also means preserving its elasticity and this is key when you’re trying to minimise the effects of ageing! You should wear sunscreen everywhere, obviously, and a daily moisturiser with SPF on your face.
Maybe the best way to tackle the issue of cellulite is to use its unsightly appearance in your life as a springboard to trying to lead a healthier lifestyle?? There may be something to eliminating processed foods and sugars from your diet, drinking plenty of water to eliminate toxins on a daily basis, giving up smoking, exercising, losing weight if necessary, and surely these aren’t bad goals to try to achieve! And just know that you’re not the only woman in the world who stresses about cellulite and prefers trousers to shorts and wearing kaftans on the beach!
From ABC News about the efficacy of cellulite creams:
Do Anti-Cellulite Creams Really Work?
Open just about any women’s magazine and you’ll find ads for anti-cellulite creams that promise to reduce the spongy, dimply, cottage cheese-looking skin that causes distress to so many women.
The products tout caffeine, retinol and the antioxidant DMAE as the special ingredients that help reduce the appearance of cellulite, which first surfaces on the hips, thighs and buttocks of millions of women during adolescence. Though excess weight and a lack of exercise can contribute to the problem, even thin women grapple with it.
According to a study by Neutrogena, 70 percent of women have cellulite. More women have it than men, because women have thinner skin, so it shows more clearly.
Wrestling With Cellulite
Over the years, Vivian Carlson has done everything to stay in shape: she runs, goes to the gym and eats healthily, but has had no luck in getting rid of her cellulite. At one point, she even took a dust buster to her inner thigh, hoping to suck the dimply skin away.
“I heard about the treatments they give at the spas — this wasn’t so different,” Carlson said. “It’s all suction and massage. Why spend the money on the spa treatments? I thought I was on to something.”
But all she got for her efforts was some red skin. So Carlson avoids wearing dresses or skirts and wears a skirted bathing suit to the beach.
She’s not alone, and that is why the interest in anti-cellulite creams is so strong.
Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, says the new products claim to help with the appearance of cellulite, and do not say that they can banish it completely
“No cream will get rid of cellulite,” Wells said. “And they don’t really say that they do. What they say is ‘help the appearance of cellulite.'”
Caffeine is in almost every cellulite-reducing product that shows any benefit, because it helps blood flow to the skin and works like a diuretic, Wells said, adding that it flushes you out.
“In removing moisture from the skin, it firms it, albeit temporarily,” Wells said.
Retinol is supposed to work by being able to penetrate the skin, exfoliate it, and increase collagen production, which makes skin thicker and hides the dimpling fat. But the question is how much is needed in the products to achieve the effects, because too much can dry out the skin and cause it to redden and peel, Wells said.
Other creams boast the ingredient dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE, an antioxidant derived from fish that when combined with amino acids supposedly stimulates the muscles to contract and become firmer.
No Scientific Proof
But doctors told ABCNEWS.com there is no scientific proof that cellulite creams are effective in getting rid of cellulite or reducing its appearance.
Women who believe that they can eliminate cellulite through creams, or even weight loss, are likely to be disappointed, said Dr. Garry S. Brody, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California.
“So-called cellulite is the natural anatomic contour characteristic of many women’s thighs and buttocks,” Brody said. “It is unrelated to weight gain or loss. There is absolutely no surgical or medical solution to women’s dislike of this appearance except for the psychological self-deception of wanting to believe the ads.”
Cellulite Is the Norm