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When it comes to skin care concerns, there is one that nearly all women face at some point or another, whether they admit it or not. We’re talking about cellulite. As common as it is annoying, cellulite can also be very stubborn to get rid of. But you probably know that already—what you may not know, however, is that research shows that there are some ways you can help make cellulite less noticeable, including tweaks to your own skin care routine, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Curious about what cellulite is, as well as whether or not you can get rid of it once it appears? Keep reading for everything you need to know.
Before we address the topic of cellulite, let’s clear some things up. Simply speaking, as unpleasant as it may sound, cellulite is a term for lumpy, dimpled flesh, according to the Mayo Clinic. It looks like bumpy skin, and some people describe it as having a cottage cheese texture. It most commonly occurs on the thighs, hips, and abdomen, and yes, most women—even women who are super physically fit—can have cellulite, according to the AAD. The AAD states that an estimated 80 percent of women—regardless of their body weight—have cellulite. In other words, you are not alone!
While it’s not a serious medical condition, little is known about what actually causes cellulite, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cellulite involves the fat cells underneath our skin. When they accumulate, they push up against the skin while the connective tissue simultaneously pulls it down, per the Mayo Clinic. This causes the uneven surface appearance or dimpling.
So, why is cellulite more common in women than in men? According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because women’s fat cells are distributed differently—more so in the thighs, hips, and bum than our male counterparts. Cellulite is also more noticeable with aging since our skin loses its elasticity as we get older, as well as in those who have experienced weight gain, which can make it appear more noticeable. Another contributing factor to the development of cellulite is a sedentary lifestyle. However, like we said, the skinniest, fittest of women can still experience cellulite. Why, you ask? Another factor is genetics—cellulite can also run in families.
Cellulite is both common and very stubborn, but new research and treatments are proving promising, according to the AAD. Treatments like acoustic wave therapy and laser treatments have been shown via research studies to help with the appearance of cellulite temporarily. One of the more invasive measures is liposuction, a procedure in which fat cells are literally sucked out from underneath the skin, per the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, one of the least (?) invasive ways to address the appearance of bumpy, rough skin is weight loss through exercise and healthy eating.
But we have even better news—researchers have also found that some creams and lotions may help to visibly smooth the appearance of bumpy, rough skin, according to the AAD. The two skin care ingredients that show promise are caffeine and retinol. Per the AAD, products containing caffeine work to dehydrate skin cells, which can help improve the appearance of unsightly rough or bumpy skin. Retinol, on the other hand, can help thicken the skin, which also may help the appearance of rough or bumpy skin over time with continued use. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you're using to find out how long you will need to use the product for.
Some people also claim that certain supplements may help address the appearance of bumpy or rough skin, but according to the AAD, there’s not enough evidence of this being true. Either way, before you add a supplement into your diet, it’s wise to always consult your doctor.
While the aforementioned options may help temporarily smooth the appearance of skin, it is unfortunately not possible to make cellulite go away completely, according to the Cleveland Clinic. No amount of moisturizer, laser treatment, or even liposuction can remove cellulite completely and indefinitely. The best we can all do, according to all of these sources, is to maintain a healthy amount of body fat—which means maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Also, when pesky cellulite has got you down, we find that applying a bit of self-tanner can help.
Next: Can You Get Rid of Acne Scars?