Raise your hand if you feel personally victimised by cellulite elimination creams. Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you something that might be hard to hear. There’s no way to completely get rid of your cellulite, and if you can’t afford the latest in laser and ultrasonic technology, it can feel impossible to make a difference.

While it’s important to love thyself and the skin you’re already in, it’s okay to want to reduce the appearance of your cellulite too. You are only human after all and 80-90% of women acquire cellulite at some point, so you are far from alone.

Diet, genes, and lifestyle choices are known factors in causing cellulite, but it has also been suggested that hormonal imbalance can play a critical role in its severity. Cellulite is essentially a fat deposit that is peeking through your fascia (the thin connective tissue that holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre, and muscle in its place), which gives a dimpled texture to the skin. 

The science behind what exactly causes it is kind of iffy but the main contributing factors generally point towards genes, hormones, and lifestyle. Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the production of cellulite. It is theorised that a decrease in estrogen can affect blood flow to the fascia; and as less oxygen is delivered to the area, collagen production slows and fat deposits become more visible. 

This could be why so many women experience cellulite versus about 10% of men. Men are less likely to have it because their fascia is more interconnected and subsequently more efficient at holding the fat in place.

Although I can’t promise the following methods will completely eradicate all of your dimples, I have some skincare rituals that, with consistent practice, can help make skin feel firmer and improve the appearance of it. 

A double shot for me, please!

I’m starting with my most delicious tip because I love the smell of coffee and this one will have you fragrant like a freshly roasted cuppa. Incorporating a coffee scrub into your weekly routine is a great way to stimulate blood flow and reduce water retention, and can even help dilate blood vessels in the body. This can aid in lymphatic drainage and help buff away dead skin cells to promote brighter and smoother skin. It is also rich in antioxidants like phenol which help in protecting tissues in the body.

I personally enjoy making my own coffee scrub (for the recipe I currently use, see below) but if DIY beauty isn’t your thing, SALT BY HENDRIX Body Buff – Coffee + Marula Oil is delicious. If you’re looking for something slightly cheaper, the Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub is an oldie but a goodie.

DIY Coffee Scrub:

– 2 cups of ground coffee (I usually grab the cheapest pack, no need to splash out here)

– 2 tbsp honey

– 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I recommend you don’t use coconut oil to save clogging the  drain – I learned that one the hard way)

– 1 x lemon (juiced)

– Add your favourite body wash until you get the consistency you like. I use the DermaVeen Daily Nourish Soap-Free Wash which always leaves my skin super soft and hydrated.

This is going to sound counter-intuitive given the instructions I’ve just given you – I won’t hold it against you if you skip this step altogether – but caffeine consumption is actually supposed to be terrible for cellulite. When we drink coffee, the body becomes dehydrated, which in turn prompts your body to store water in your fat cells, making the appearance of your cellulite worse. Now I’m not saying you should never drink coffee again, but maybe try reducing your intake and see if you notice a difference.

Suck it up!

Cupping is another way I like to increase blood flow to the surface of my skin. I try to do this around 2-3 times a week on my thighs and booty to get regular stimulation to “problem” areas. From my understanding and experience, you need to be consistent. It’s not a permanent fix so if this method works for you, you will likely have to find a way to incorporate it into your routine on a regular basis. Because of this, I don’t force myself to do this process for long periods of time; it’s not realistic if you’re busy, so find what works for you and remember that maintenance is key.

A lot of content online recommends you do this for 15-20 minutes, but to be honest I usually do about 10 mins 2-3 times a week. I get a fair bit of water retention in my thighs so I find this is super helpful with lymphatic drainage in that area and aiding my circulation in general. I enjoy using Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturising Body Oil when cupping, which if you use in combination with a coffee scrub will have you smelling like dessert in the best possible way. Use a combination of gliding the cup and allowing it to remain stationary to target areas. I use something very similar to this one here – I’d definitely recommend trying something simple like this first before splashing out on a set.

I would not recommend this if you have issues with broken capillaries or varicose veins as you are putting additional pressure on the surface of the skin. If you’re pregnant, have a medical condition, or unsure whether this is safe for you, always consult your doctor first. You may also experience some bruising when you first start so make sure you are not using too much pressure with your suction. The idea is to stimulate blood flow, not hurt yourself.

Go with the flow

In addition to cupping, I’ve just added fascia massage into the mix. You may be noticing a theme here with blood circulation. Recently, I ended up down an internet rabbit hole. During my dig, I found that a number of women who had been to consultations for cellulite busting procedures had been sent away and told to try using a fascia massager first.

There are many different variations out there (you may have heard of the Ashley Black Fascia Blaster if you have been keeping up with the Kardashians) so jump onto Amazon and see what tickles your fancy.

Ideally you are just looking for something with multiple pressure points to ‘break up’ the fascia. I have one very similar to the Trigger Point Massager pictured but you may prefer a wooden fascia roller – or something else entirely!

Again, this bruises, but it should go away after a couple of weeks. If you are continuously bruising you may be applying too much pressure. Don’t forget to use a body oil or lubricant while using your tool of choice. 

Brushing your… body?

I know I said the coffee scrub was my favourite method but there is something about the instant gratification of brushing yourself that I love. Most of the advice online says to ‘dry brush’ but I actually do this in the shower: this saves time and is a great way to make you feel squeaky clean, quickly. 

This is also a fab way to exfoliate but do remember to be careful when brushing over any tender skin. Obviously do not do this if you have any cuts, injuries, or topical conditions on the surface of the skin.

You’ll want to use a natural bristle brush to ensure it is gentle enough; these are usually made with sisal or boar bristles. They’re also super easy to find in most chemists. I routinely use the GOOP G.TOX Ultimate Dry Brush but there are plenty of options available for a fraction of the price, like the Natural Beauty Bamboo Bath Brush.

Make sure you moisturise well after scrubbing down. Since you are buffing away dead skin cells, it’s important to lock in hydration with your favourite body moisturiser.

Weigh things up

This is easily the best tip for improving the appearance of cellulite, which is probably why it requires the most effort: regular exercise is essential.

I’m not telling you to go and lose a bunch of weight but maintaining an active lifestyle and balanced diet is highly likely to make a big improvement in the overall tone and tautness of your skin. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that cardio alone and simply lowering your body fat percentage aren’t going to help. In fact, it might make it look worse. 

For me, my cellulite looked far more prominent when I had a more slender physique. As an avid runner, I was mostly focusing on cardio and didn’t incorporate much weight lifting into my workout regimen. Building muscle with resistance training is key though as it can change the composition of your body fat. This is going to create a smoother looking surface and make cellulite less visible. 

Remember, cellulite is just fat.

As always, balance is of the utmost importance. Don’t try to do all of these things each day or you’ll likely be very exhausted and probably rather bruised! Build gradually and see what methods work for you, and which ones you enjoy. Self care is supposed to be fun, so if all you want to do is add a coffee scrub into your weekly routine, you do you.

Article by Grace Parsons, Photograph by @realbarbarapalvin.

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