Pregnancy weight gain makes you more likely to develop cellulite – so what can you do to shift it?
Can you shift that cellulite?
Some skincare experts would have us believe it doesn’t really exist but we know better… especially when we catch sight of those telltale orange peel thighs in the mirror!
Still in denial over those puckered thighs? Gently squeeze a layer of skin and fat between your palms. Is it dimpled, or rippled in appearance? If so you need to face up to the facts: you have the dreaded cellulite. And you’re not alone: up to 90% of women are thought to have it in some degree and you can comfort yourself with the thought that even stick-figure superstars aren’t immune.
Cellulite happens when fat cells expand and harden, due to a build up of toxins, fluid and fat. It usually develops on the thighs, hips and buttocks and although men get it too it’s more visible in women because of differences in the way fat, muscle and collagen fibres are distributed in our skin. The bad news is that it’s extremely unlikely that all those expensive creams and tonics that claim to get rid of it actually will. The silver lining in that particular little cloud is that tackling it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. Try these simple cellulite shifters…
1. Rub it in
Deep tissue massage may help improve the appearance of cellulite by helping to drain excess fluid and smoothing out fat. Endermologie is a special type of massage machine that uses two rollers to massage, stretch and stimulate the skin, eliminating toxins and reducing fluid retention. There is evidence that it can help reduce cellulite and it has approval as a cellulite treatment from the US Food and Drug Agency. It’s pricey though – expect to pay from around £40-£50 per half-hour session, and to need around five or six sessions before you see a visible difference. A DIY massage is a cheaper option: use almond or wheatgerm oil, or try aromatherapy essential oils. The three oils reckoned to work best for cellulite are juniper and rosemary, which have a diuretic effect and help to stimulate drainage and prevent fluid retention, and lavender, which has a toning, revitalising effect. Essential oils are powerful and should be diluted in a carrier oil, such as grapeseed. For best results, consult a registered aromatherapist.
2. Bend it, shape itYou should be doing it for your general health anyway! Walking and cycling are the best forms of exercise for cellulite as both target the areas where cellulite tends to develop. Strength training will also make a difference, as it tends to shift deeper layers of fat; and the stretching and toning exercises common to pilates and yoga are also a great lower body workout.
3. Brush it offDry-brushing is an ancient therapeutic practice and helps remove dead skin cells, giving your thighs a smoother appearance. It also performs the essential function of stimulating circulation and getting accumulated fluid to drain. Start at your feet and gently brush up towards your thighs and buttocks in long, sweeping motions, for five to 10 minutes. Shower off afterwards and rub in plenty of moisturiser into your skin. (Avoid brushing if you have dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, or varicose veins.)
4. Eat to beat itWhile there’s no such thing as a cellulite diet, there’s no doubt that eating well can help prevent fat buildup to start with. It’s an old cliché, but avoid fatty foods, highly-refined foods and preservative-packed junk food, and eat a diet rich in antioxidants (fruit and veg) and essential fatty acids that ‘feed’ your skin and boost circulation (found in oily fish, olive oil, nuts and flaxseeds). Try to avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks such as cola and coffee – it dehydrates you, stimulating your body to hold onto water and thereby giving you a raging case of fluid retention. Drink plenty of water instead – it helps your body’s natural waste system to operate effectively to flush out toxins.
5. Meditate in this directionIt’s thought that stress may contribute to cellulite because its main physical effect, tension, can cause the connective tissues in your skin to seize up. This can lead to blockages and poor fluid drainage. Studies show that people who meditate regularly experience less stress so try this quick meditation exercise: sit with your eyes closed and your arms resting on your thighs. Inhale through your nose and then exhale and imagine yourself breathing out tension all the way down your body. Do this for five minutes and relax for couple more after you finish.
Find out more
- The Aromatherapy Council offers useful info on aromatherapy and its uses and has a list of local registered practitioners.
- Cellulite Solutions: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Super Smooth Skin by Cherry Maslen and Linda Bird. Packed with tips to help you get rid of your orange peel thighs once and for all.
- The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor's Programme for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples and Stretch Marks by Howard Murad. A simple six-week programme of internal and external skincare that will reduce cellulite through good nutrition, lifestyle changes and topical treatments.