4 facts you may not know about cellulite

Oh, cellulite. The bane of any (honest) woman’s existence. The cottage-cheesy texture that lurks below the skin of our thighs, taunting us. And there’s so much fake news floating around the internet about how to fix it. Well, we’re here to set the record straight about cellulite, so listen up.

1. Coconut Oil Will Not Fix It

Forget everything you know about creams and oils that profess to get rid of cellulite, because none of them actually work. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no one treatment that is effective for cellulite, and even the treatments that do work only do so to an extent, and then only temporarily. What fun!

If you’re on a budget, scrubs and lotions containing caffeine can have a moderate effect, but only for a short time. It only works because “caffeine can dehydrate the water content of your fat cells, so they’re less swollen, and cellulite looks less obvious,” according to Howard Sobel, M.D., a New York City dermatologist and founder of DDF Skincare. Results will be subtle at best, though, so don’t run out to buy a new coffee scrub.

The most effective treatment so far is a lot more expensive and labor intensive, and it involves lasers. According to the Mayo Clinic, a combination of tissue massage, radiofrequency technology and infrared light could help treat cellulite. Other systems include tissue massage and diode laser energy, but it takes a number of treatments to see results and they last only up to six months. Worth it? Well, that’s up to you.


2. Cellulite Is Not Fat

You cannot exercise your way out of cellulite. We are so sorry. While losing weight may help repair the appearance of dimpled skin, fat and cellulite are two very different things. What we see as cellulite on the surface is actually fat being divided into tiny pockets in the skin, plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman, M.D. tells Women’s Health.

“Though liposuction can shape the body, it won’t remove cellulite, and it might worsen the appearance of cellulite,” the Mayo Clinic warns. “Laser-assisted liposuction—a newer, less invasive form of this treatment that destroys fat cells while tightening the skin—might be more effective for cellulite.” Even so, more study is needed to prove its efficacy.


3. Cellulite Is Not Caused By Toxins

You can stand in front of a Himalayan salt lamp all you want, but your thighs are not magically going to un-dimple. Ditto juice cleanses—stop wasting your money. There’s not much known about what causes cellulite (it is genetic, so that’s a fun fact), but an inactive lifestyle, weight gain and pregnancy can all make your cellulite more noticeable.

The connective tissue that typically holds fat in place (but fails to do so with cellulite, causing those pockets) can be damaged by hormones, lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat and poor circulation, New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, M.D. tells Health.com. But cellulite is in no way caused by any “toxins” you might have floating around your body.

salt lamp photo
Flickr | iSavoch

4. Cellulite Is Ageless

Though it is more common in older people, specifically older women (just another thing to look forward to!), cellulite is not ageist. “There is no age exception,” Jennifer Lucas, M.D., dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, tells The Huffington Post.

But yes, it’s much more visible when you are of a certain age. “Loss of integrity and thickness of the skin, increased cumulative sun damage, skin laxity, and increased body fat all play a role,” Lisa Donofrio, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, told The Huffington Post. “Plus, there is evidence that the fibrous bands get thicker and stiffer with age.”