Eighty-five percent of women over the age of 21 have cellulite. Some women feel empowered by their cellulite, while others seek to hide it. This depends on how comfortable you are with your body. The most important thing is to understand that cellulite is normal

For those looking to get rid of the bumps, unfortunately, cellulite can’t be eliminated. But you can minimize its appearance, boosting your confidence and self-esteem. 

To understand why it can’t be erased, it’s important to know what cellulite is and what causes it.

Cellulite involves fibrous connective cords, also known as collagen bands or septae, that tether skin to the underlying muscle, while fat lies between. The fat cells accumulate, pushing against the skin as the cords pull down, creating an uneven surface on areas such as the thighs, hips, buttocks, lower and upper arms, breasts and abdomen.  

The uneven skin generally occurs more frequently in women than men. The fat cells and tissue are arranged vertically in women, enabling the fat to be pushed between the vertical bars. In men, the fibers take on a criss-cross structure, which acts as a strong net, holding back the matter. 

Although not much is known about the causes of cellulite, several factors have been linked to its development. These include:

  • Hormones & Age: Hormones including estrogen and prolactin are likely part of cellulite development, and as these decrease with age, cellulite forms. The loss of skin elasticity also contributes to an increase in dimpling.  
  • Genetics: Genetic factors linked to cellulite development include metabolism speed, fat distribution, ethnicity, and circulatory levels. 
  • Diet & Lifestyle: Weight gain can lead to the development of cellulite, however, those who are lean and fit can still experience orange peel-type skin. Eating too much carbohydrates, fat, and salt, in addition to having an inactive lifestyle, can enhance the appearance of cellulite. 

 

To combat these factors, here are five ways to reduce cellulite in both the short and long term:

 

Cellfina

Cellfina has proven to improve the appearance of cellulite for up to five years. The clearance of the procedure came after the completion of a multi-center, non-randomized clinical study. Fifty-five patients (females, ages 18 through 55) underwent a single treatment of the Cellfina System and were monitored over the course of five years—with 100 percent of the subjects exhibiting noticeable improvements. 

Cellfina is a brand of tissue-stabilized guided subcision, which utilizes a needle-sized device to break up the connective bands associated with causing cellulite. After the area is treated with numbing fluid, the Cellfina device is applied to a cellulite dimple. Using suction, the dimple is pulled into the device, then released at a selected depth to achieve the appearance of even skin. The Cellfina website likens the procedure to breaking a rubber band: “Similar to a rubber band under tension, once released, the treated skin bounces back to smooth itself out.”

One 45-minute treatment can achieve visible results in just three days. Patients are able to return to their daily routines and movement after 24 hours. 

 

Cellulaze

Similarly to Cellfina, Cellulaze is a minimally-invasive procedure designed to break down the structure of cellulite beneath your skin—except it uses lasers rather than blades.

The small laser is used to help increase skin thickness, release the bands that create dimples, stimulate collagen production, and flatten out fat. Often patients require a minimum of two treatments per area. Results have been shown to last from one to two years. 

 

Sculptra

An FDA-approved injectable, Sculptra is a collagen stimulator containing poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). Although Sculptra is widely used to decrease smile and marionette lines on the face and improve facial volume, it’s also been found to address cellulite on the thighs and buttocks. 

The procedure involves injections into each dimple, followed by a massage to distribute the product evenly. Sculptra then stimulates collagen production, smoothing skin and filling in dimples over the course of about six weeks. 

After the procedure, patients can return to normal activities. 

 

Use a Caffeine or Retinol Product

If you’re looking for a topical treatment, try products containing caffeine or retinol. 

Caffeine dehydrates cells, reducing the appearance of dimples. This can be found in various scrubs and creams  and should be used daily to see results. A study published in the Annals of Dermatology, an online dermatology publication, found a slimming cream containing 3.5 percent water-soluble caffeine and xanthenes to be an effective treatment for cellulite. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, applying 0.3 percent retinol cream thickens skin and improves cellulite appearance. It can take up to six months to see results when using the product once or twice per day.

When administering these products, use a massaging motion, which can improve lymphatic drainage and stretch skin tissue, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Although switching over to a healthy diet won’t change the number of dimples currently on your skin, it can slow the production of future cellulite. Eat a balanced, healthy diet and limit your intake of processed, high-sugar foods. In addition, increase your consumption of fiber. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, a detox diet can improve the look of skin. To partake, curtail your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, refined food, carbs and saturated fat. Refrain from smoking and taking sleeping or diet pills. 

Dehydration can also enhance the appearance of cellulite. Ensure you’re drinking the recommended (eight 8 oz. glasses) amount of water, as the fluid can flush the body and remove cellulite-causing toxins. 

 

Exercise Regularly

Similar to implementing a healthy diet, adding toning exercises into your daily life can limit future development of skin dimples. Getting regular physical activity also helps circulation and lymphatic drainage. Health and wellness online publication Healthline created a 20-minute routine to combat cellulite in the long term. Other activities to try include yoga, pilates, stair climbing, and walking. 


Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery performs both Cellfina and Sculptra to smooth uneven skin and boost confidence. A doctor of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Buglino cares about the patient as a whole, so he’ll map out a plan to eliminate current cellulite dimples and reduce your chances of getting new ones by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen.