cellulite myths header Sofia Krausharr

The 5 Cellulite Myths You Should Get Out of Your Head Today

We’d like to start off by making one thing crystal clear: If you’re dealing with cellulite, you are not the only one. Cellulite is a very common condition affecting nearly all women. “Cellulite doesn’t discriminate. It affects women of all shapes, sizes, ages and races,” says Carolyn Jacob, M.D., founder and director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. “On average, most women in the U.S. underestimate the prevalence of cellulite. Approximately 90 percent of women have cellulite. And the other 10 percent think they do.”

Yet despite its prevalence, there is still plenty of false information circulating about the causes of cellulite, who gets it and how to get rid of it—which, BTW, you shouldn’t feel the need to do anyways. Just like stretch marks and fine lines, cellulite is a totally normal skin condition. In fact, back in the 17th century cellulite was celebrated as part of the female form and depicted paintings. (Take that main-stream media.)

Not convinced? Read on as we debunk some common myths about cellulite and explore some of the latest treatments to help you understand and embrace your dimples.

cellulite myths  3  

First, what is cellulite?

Cellulite begins under the surface of the skin where fibrous bands called septae are found perpendicular to the skin, forming a “pincushion-like” effect, Dr. Jacob explains. Basically, the fibrous strands tether your skin to the underlying muscle, holding the fat in place. As fat cells accumulate and push up against the skin, the connective tissue pulls down, creating that dimpled appearance, usually on the buttocks, thighs, lower abdomen and even arms.

Myth #1: Only overweight people have cellulite.

Several factors can cause cellulite, but BMI alone isn’t one of them. Hormones, genetics, skin structure and texture, gender and lifestyle can all play a part in how cellulite pops up on your body. Even pro athletes have it!

And while almost every woman has cellulite, it can appear more pronounced on some. That’s because “estrogen plays a big part,” says Dr. Jacob, adding that it leads to thinner skin in general (compared to a man’s), so it’s easier for cellulite to show up. Plus, as women age, our bodies produce less estrogen, which can result in poorer circulation and decreased collagen production, along with the breakdown of older connective tissue.

Speaking of men, why don’t they get cellulite?

Dr. Jacob confirms that women are more likely to develop cellulite than men. But why? “Men have thicker skin, and their collagen bands are oriented in a criss-cross fashion, essentially eliminating the ability of the fat lobules [a group of fat cells] to bulge through. If a man is given estrogen hormones (as in some cancer treatments), they develop cellulite if there is enough fat.”

cellulite myths header  

Myth #2: Cardio cures cellulite.

Yes, cardio workouts like running and jump roping can help keep fat cells at bay, which in turn may reduce the appearance of dimply skin “but it will not get rid of it,” Dr. Jacob says. To help smooth out your skin through exercise, you need to pair aerobic activity with strength training (with weights or your own bodyweight) for a one-two punch. This will firm and tone your muscles for a tighter, taut look, making cellulite appear less noticeable. Remember, though, it won’t eliminate the puckery divots completely, but you will have some strong, badass thighs to show off as a result.

Myth #3: Losing weight will make cellulite go away.

As Dr. Jacob explains, it’s the fat cells bulging under the skin between those fibrous bands that can contribute to the appearance of bumpy skin. So, in theory, less fat cells would mean less cellulite. “Although sometimes the loosening of skin that happens with weight loss can actually make the appearance of the skin worse, if there is a great amount of laxity,” she says. This is why some form of strength training is recommended when trying to reduce the appearance of cellulite, because it helps your skin regain some elasticity.

Plus, Dr. Jacob suggests eating a healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies and lean proteins since it’s “best for collagen formation.” Collagen, which is found in the skin’s connective tissues, is what helps keep your skin taut and springy, so it can bounce back more easily.

Myth #4: Liposuction is the answer.

This fat-sucking procedure can actually worsen the appearance of your cellulite because it can make your body’s fat distribution more uneven, resulting in more drips and ripples. Plus, it comes with a hefty price tag.

cellulite myths  1  

Myth #5: Firming creams can reduce cellulite.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion on the market to make cellulite disappear—despite what any label may say. Although, while there isn’t an over-the-counter topical treatment that can permanently get rid of cellulite, clinical trials have shown that products containing prescription-strength retinol may improve the appearance of skin. That’s because it thickens the skin, which may help decrease the look of dimply skin over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, any effects from retinol won't be noticeable for six months or longer.

Are there any effective treatments for cellulite?

Even if you fully accept your body just as it is, you still might want to iron out some of those lumps and bumps. In order to treat cellulite and get the most bang for your buck, you need to target the fibrous bands beneath the skin to experience the most effective results. Of course, be sure to consult a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon about your best options. And remember to ask about side effects, complications, recovery time, expected results (and how many procedures will be needed to get those results) and cost. To learn more about treatments, and get the facts visit reallycellulite.com.

Learn More