A lot of nonsense is talked about cellulite.
According to Georgios Tzenichristos, founder of Lipotherapeia, London’s only clinic dedicated to treating cellulite, its causes are 33% genetic and 66% lifestyle – which means it can be improved – but it affects almost all women at some point in their lives.
However, being inevitable doesn’t mean we should give up trying to improve it any more than we should give up defuzzing our legs, defrizzing our hair or fighting wrinkles. But let’s be realistic.
- Dismiss the myths. First, drinking water won’t ‘flush” cellulite or any other form of fat (if it did, we’d never need to diet); and nor will bodybrushing, massage, special machines, creams, detoxing or even liposuction. Each may reduce cellulite slightly, and combining them may improve it even more, but they’re not ‘cures’.
- Understand it. Cellulite isn’t just fat (otherwise our tummies would have the same dimply, lumpy look), but its puckered orange-peel effect is due to how fat is stored in certain areas. Under the skin, the deeper tissues have a honeycomb-like structure made of collagen and elastin fibres, with fat stored in the honeycomb ‘pockets’. When these fill up, the structural fibres begin to stretch, bulge and lose their shape, producing cellulite’s uneven appearance. Because men have tougher collagen – and less cellulite – it’s clear that hormones play a role. Consequently, hormone imbalances, the Pill, pregnancy, HRT and menopause also contribute to the problem.
- Adjust your lifestyle. The factors that contribute to cellulite include inactivity, smoking and a diet high in sugar, salt, carbs, fat, fried and processed food and alcohol. Weightloss and even liposuction can reduce overall fat, but won’t necessarily improve that dimply effect.
- Exercise regularly. This is key, especially since female athletes have little or no cellulite. Since few of us will realistically exercise to that degree, vibrational powerplate-style technology may increase the benefits of the workout you do. Worth trying: Bslimmer Colours Vibration Massage Plate, £169 (medicarn.com).
- Try massage. It assists by improving circulation and providing a smoother, less mottled look to the skin but, if it’s all you rely on, even Manual Lymphatic Drainage, which largely benefits water retention, means you’ll only look sleeker for a few days.
- Use exfoliating treatments. From bodybrushing to scrubs, they all make skin look fresher, brighter and smoother, and also help anti-cellulite ingredients to penetrate better. Sadly, though, they don’t affect fat storage. If they did, we’d all be a size zero.
- Invest in a professional treatment. One of the newest is the Meso-CRF Body | Turmeric therapy, which features Deep Tissue Radio Frequency (for maximum skin-tightening), plus the anti-cellulite properties of turmeric, green tea, resveratrol, hyaluronic acid and cocoa flavanols. The result should be smoother, firmer skin and a minor bum-lift, too. Treatments at LipoTherapeia in central London (0207 118 2014: lipotherapeia.com) cost £200 per session, although a course (usually at discounted rates) is recommended.
- Apply an anti-cellulite product. It will provide anti-puffiness, firming, smoothing benefits using stimulating and/or reparative ingredients such as algae, butcher’s broom, carnitine, caffeine, green tea, ivy and raspberry ketones. Visible improvements show within three to four weeks if you’re diligent about using them daily, but don’t expect miracles. Worth trying: Shiseido Advanced Body Creator Aromatic Sculpting Gel Anti-Cellulite, £51; Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control, £38; or Nivea Q10 Plus Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum, £11.79.
Whichever therapy route you choose, it’s always the combination of lifestyle adjustments and/or treatments that work best. Together they should yield maximum smoothing, tightening results that will be visible by the time you get to the beach.
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