Cellulite, a condition where the skin has a dimpled appearance (typically on the stomach, buttocks, and thighs), is a result of the fat cells pressing up against the vertical connective tissue (or fibrous bands) beneath your epidermis. This creates a bulging of the cells, causing the bands to pulled and pushed against the bands, resulting in the dimpling the skin.
So, what triggers cellulite? While dimples can be genetic (if your mom has them, chances are you might too), it can also be brought on by eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising regularly. Two things to note regarding dimpling: 1) you’re not alone: According to Dendy Engelman, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, 93 percent of women have cellulite, and 2) there are ways to minimize its appearance, if you so desire.
If you’re leaning toward the latter, here’s how you can lessen the look of cellulite:
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet plays an important role in keeping the signs of cellulite at bay, and moderation is key, Engelman says. Eating food that’s high in salt, for example, will cause your fat cells to swell, making your cellulite more pronounced. She suggests watching your sodium intake while eating plenty of fiber and whole grain foods (such as bran and oat cereals), since they help to remove waste and toxins from the intestinal tract, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Drink Plenty of Water
“You want to stay adequately hydrated because in a dehydrated state, cellulite can appear worse,” Engelman adds. “Dehydration can the skin to become thinner and weaken, and when the skin is thin, it tends to show cellulite more.”
Since cellulite is fat, excess weight can contribute to it. So, if minimizing the appearance of cellulite is your goal, it’s important to engage in physical exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, etc., several times a week.
Massage Your Body Dimples
These body massagers incorporate multiple nubs on them that allow you to massage the fat pockets (aka cellulite), stimulating circulation and breaking up fluids beneath your skin, encouraging a smoother appearance over time. “Daily body brushing and massaging can also jumpstart lymphatic drainage, which helps to eliminate toxins that can accumulate in the fat layer, which can result in inflammation and ultimately worsen the look of your cellulite,” says Engelman.
Try Compression Tights
Whether or not you’re wearing a swimsuit, form-fitting clothes — especially Spandex — can highlight the appearance of cellulite in a real way.
So, if you usually notice dimpling whilst wearing workout tights, opt for compression leggings, which help smooth the lumpy appearance. Compression tights also help keep your circulation moving back up to your heart, keeping fluid from pooling and exacerbating the look of your cellulite.
Try an In-Office Treatment
Sure, an in-office treatment is going to cost you more than a topical cream, but you’ll actually see results that last if you have a derm use a device on your trouble spot.
The cellulite-blasting technology board certified Manhattan-based dermatologist, Arash Akhavan, M.D. recommends? Cellfina, a minimally invasive, FDA-approved treatment that microscopically severs the connective bands that weave throughout the fat in the thighs and buttocks. These bands cause dimpling by pulling down on the inner layers of the skin, creating the puckering you see on the surface. “Once the site of the dimple is numbed using a tiny needle, another microscopic device goes in and cuts or shatters the connective cord, so the fibrous bands can’t find each other again,” Dr. Akhavan explains.
“The good thing about this procedure is you’ll only need to do it once,” Dr. Akhavan says, “it’s considered semi-permanent because the results show in as little as three days and are still visible in three years.” However, it’s a pricey procedure. Dr. Akhavan suggests talking to your dermatologist or going to a plastic surgeon for a consultation, since the treatment will run you $3500 for 10 or less dimples in total, $4500 for 11 to 20 dimples, and $5500 for over 20 treatment sites.
As far as the downtime that comes with this treatment: Dr. Akhavan says the area will be swollen and slightly bruised, but that you can resume physical activity as soon as you feel comfortable (so after a couple of days). “People don’t usually take time off work for it,”
If you can’t tone it, tan it, Engelman says. Since there’s no cure for cellulite — you can only work to minimize its appearance with exercise and products, which take time to show results — the quickest fix to camouflage the look of dimpled skin is self-tanner.