Reducing Cellulite: The Dos and Don'ts
by Monique Farrugia
Cellulite is a natural and common reality, and despite what several women may think, almost everyone has it, and it's no big deal. Around 80- 90% of women actually have cellulite, so it's good to know that you're not alone. Whichever size you are (whether you're a size 2 or a size 20), and no matter how fit and toned you are, having perfectly smooth skin with zero bumps and lumps is highly unlikely. However, if your goal is to reduce cellulite as much as possible, there are certain activities that can help you achieve this. Before delving into the methods which you can try using to minimise those bumpy patches, we first need to understand what cellulite actually is.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a term used for the formulation of dimples and bumps in the skin. It's a condition where the skin has a dimpled and lumpy appearance, which is a result of the fat cells pressing against the connective tissue beneath the epidermis. This creates a bulging of cells, creating the bumps in the skin. It is typically present in the thighs, hips, glutes and even the stomach. However, the most common place where women experience it is on their thighs.
What triggers cellulite?
Cellulite can originate from a variety of factors, the most common being:
- An unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
How can you reduce cellulite?
How can you slowly get rid of cellulite? There is no magical formula, but certain activities can help decrease its level of visibility:
Exercise can help reduce the overall body fat, and since cellulite is essentially fat, exercising can help make cellulite less visible. Women in sedentary jobs (especially those who sit all day at a desk) are more prone to cellulite. Exercising regularly does make a difference. It's important to choose an exercise programme which combines a mix of cardio and strength training, as this will not only help you tone your muscles, but will also help you burn body fat. Also try focusing on the areas in your body which are prone to cellulite, such as glutes and legs.
These are some glute and leg fat burning and strengthening exercises which you can try out at the gym or at the comfort of your home:
Single Leg Deadlifts & Curtsy Lunges
Side Lunges & Squat Jumps
Kneeling Squats & Wall Sits
Adopt a Healthy Diet
A balanced and healthy diet is a great way to not only shed weight and stay healthy, but also to keep cellulite at bay. The fat cells at the back of your thighs aren't just annoying, but they actually squeeze your blood vessels, hampering the blood flow in your whole body. Also, your metabolism slows down and lymph drainage is impaired. Consequently, this makes your skin less tight and cellulite starts becoming more visible. Hence, what you can do is to endorse a healthy diet and eliminate fatty fast foods, alcohol and unnecessary sugars. These all contribute to cellulite, so it's best to avoid them!
Some pointers for eating your way to less cellulite:
- Less Salt: An excess amount of salt can cause dehydration and water retention, thereby decreasing skin firmness and making your cellulite even more visible. Therefore, make sure you control your sodium intake, and try eating plenty of fibre to flush out the toxins and waste in your intestinal tract.
- Less Alcohol: Alcoholic drinks will not cause cellulite per se, but alcohol promotes fluid retention and increases fat deposits in areas like your thighs, glutes, and abs. If your goal is to reduce cellulite considerably, reducing your alcohol intake is a must!
- More Vitamin C: Kale, kiwis, broccoli, lemons, strawberries, and oranges are all high in Vitamin C. This vitamin is a vital molecule for skin health due to its crucial role in collagen production. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and thus protects your skin cells from any damage.
- More Potassium: Foods like bananas, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, apricots and beets are all a great source of potassium. Potassium helps reduce water retention, which may be causing cellulite. It also supports the lymphatic system and ensures that the body is circulating fluid and removing toxins from the body efficiently.
Drink lots of Water
Staying hydrated is an absolute must, as cellulite can appear much worse when the body is dehydrated. This is because dehydration causes the skin to become thinner and weaker, making cellulite more visible due to the thinner skin. In addition to your daily intake of water, also try to drink one glass of water before breakfast, one before lunch, and one before dinner. Drinking extra water not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps increase blood volume, which is beneficial for circulation. It also improves liver, kidney and bowel functions and promotes healthier skin by removing wastes and toxins from your body.
Go for Regular Massages
Massages won't cure cellulite, but they may reduce its visibility. Massages can help plump up the skin by improving circulation. Body massagers, devices which you can buy and use at home, are also beneficial. This is because the nubs on these massagers allow you to massage your cellulite-prone areas and break up fluids beneath the skin, thereby promoting a smoother appearance. Frequent massaging may also jumpstart lymphatic drainage. This would help eliminate waste and toxins in the fat layer, which would otherwise intensify cellulite.
Try Coffee Exfoliation
I personally love coffee scrubs, as I love how my skin feels after such a scrub. Apart from producing soft baby skin, exfoliating with coffee can help with cellulite since the caffeine in the scrub will temporarily tighten the skin, making the cellulite less visible. Massaging a coffee scrub into your cellulite-prone areas will also stimulate lymphatic drainage. The best thing about this is that you can make your very own coffee scrub using two very simple ingredients- ground coffee and olive oil. Apart from having the coffee helping you make cellulite less visible, the added benefit of olive oil in the recipe will keep your skin moisturised and super smooth. Make sure you clean the shower after this scrub, as it may get a little messy!
Carry out Dry Brushing
As we all know, there is no method or procedure which can magically make cellulite disappear. However, massages, coffee exfoliation and even dry brushing, can help achieve softer, more even, smoother-looking skin. Never heard of the term 'dry brushing'? It basically involves moving a dry brush over your body in slow and circular motions. Dry brushing stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage, which, in turn, is supposed to eliminate toxins and help diminish cellulite. Dry brushing is also great for removing dead skin cells, allowing more oxygenation. Thus, the skin can breathe better and properly absorb the creams you put on it. Without properly exfoliating the skin, any products you put on will not penetrate the skin, but will rather just sit on it. This means that you'll just be wasting your body creams, as they would not be able to do their job.
Do try to dry brush once a week. I prefer dry brushing in the evening, as afterwards I apply body cream and allow it to soak into my body as I sleep. The next morning, I wake up with my skin looking and feeling completely hydrated. To dry brush, you can use a natural loofah, a natural bristle brush, exfoliating gloves, or even a rough small towel.
Apart from helping you cope with cellulite, these above-mentioned insights will also help you boost your overall well-being. So get started now and don't wait until the new year to start prioritising your health.
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