What causes the lumps and bumps of cellulite? We’re still not sure. Some theories point to hormonal influences and excess estrogen. Other possible culprits include sluggish circulation, tight clothing, accumulated toxins, lack of exercise, or a high-salt diet that promotes fluid retention. And loss of collagen, the supportive fiber in skin, is a definite factor: when skin loses strength and elasticity, it’s unable to contain fat cells in a smooth, compact pattern, resulting in lumps and bumps.
Whatever the cause, there is a solution. Ditch your dimples with these simple, natural treatments:
Strengthen skin from within. The process of cellulite formation triggers enzymes that cause a breakdown in collagen. Bioflavonoids, found in citrus fruit, leafy greens, tomatoes, melons and papaya, can block the effects of these enzymes. Many of these foods also contain vitamin C that can promote healthy collagen formation. In one study, people who drank chokeberry juice—high in bioflavonoids—showed a 55 percent reduction in cellulite. Or look for bioflavonoid supplements that contain silica, a connective-tissue booster, for more focused results.
Take a break from coffee. As little as two cups of coffee in the morning can raise levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that affects insulin and encourages the body to store fat. Plus, it can dehydrate skin and worsen the appearance of cellulite. Replace your morning coffee with herbal tea; look for a blend that includes dandelion, which is high in potassium and can combat excess sodium and fluid retention. Fenugreek is another great cellulite-busting choice for reducing fluid retention and flushing out toxins.
Go dairy-free. Studies suggest that estrogen is one of the main culprits in cellulite formation, and added hormones in milk, cheese, and other dairy products can worsen the effects. In one study, adults who consumed two 8-ounce servings of milk a day showed increased levels of estrogen and a suppression of their body’s own hormonal regulation. Try swapping your cow’s milk for almond, hemp, or coconut milk.
Massage yourself. Vacuums, rollers, and other aggressive treatments for cellulite don’t work, and can make the problem worse by further damaging already delicate skin structure. A better solution: gently massage problem areas nightly with essential oils that can enhance circulation and stimulate lymph flow. Some to try: lemongrass, rosemary, grapefruit, cypress, birch, and fennel. Add 10 drops to ¼ cup of almond or jojoba oil, and massage in a circular motion for 5 minutes.
Relax. Cortisol and other hormones secreted in response to stress can encourage fat deposition and an increased likelihood of cellulite. If you’re a constant stress-case, try relaxing herbs: valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, and hops are safe and gentle selections. For anxiety and sleeplessness, try kava; several studies found that it’s helpful in treating insomnia and nervous disorders.
DIY scrubs. Make your own gentle but effective scrub using finely ground coffee; topically, caffeine eliminates water in connective tissue for a smoother, leaner look. Combine 1 cup finely ground coffee with ½ cup virgin coconut oil and 3 tablespoons sea salt. Rub into problem areas; leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse. For a more intensive (and yummy-smelling) treatment, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder; it contains theobromine, an alkaloid that’s thought to promote fat burning.
Smooth skin. Some creams and lotions can stabilize and stimulate collagen deposition and lessen the appearance of cellulite. Retinoic acid increases the turnover of epidermal cells and thickens skin layers to mask the lumpy appearance of fat cells. Other topical skin-smoothers include DMAE, bladderwrack, evening primrose oil, and grape seed extract.
Jiggle. Some types specifically target cellulite. Acceleration Training, also called Whole Body Vibration Training or Power Plate workouts, is done on a vibrating platform (most gyms have them). The vibration is thought to stimulate lymph and blood flow, and reduce cellulite. Several studies show that Power Plate workouts are better than aerobic exercise at reducing both visceral fat and cellulite. People who exercised on Power Plates for eight to 13 minutes, two to three times a week, showed a 26 percent reduction of cellulite on their buttocks and thighs.
Start circulating. If you suffer from sluggish circulation, try ginkgo biloba; it contains compounds called terpene lactones, which help increase blood flow. Other circulation-boosting herbs: garlic, cayenne, ginger, hawthorne, motherwort, and gotu kola.
ALTA HEALTH PRODUCTS Silica with Bioflavonoids boasts only 100% vegetal silica (a highly bioavailable form) plus bioflavonoids from the horsetail plant.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINALS Organic Roasted Dandelion Root tea is a mildly bitter, caffeine-free roasted root tea that encourages natural detoxification and helps the body break down fats during digestion.
NATURE’S PLUS Bioflavonoids 1,000 mg provide citrus bioflavonoids that work synergistically with vitamin C, boosting its antioxidant properties.
GIOVANNI Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub sloughs, polishes, and helps melt away fat with crushed cocoa beans.
WELEDA Birch Cellulite Oil is made with organic birch leaves, rosemary, and other oils to promote radiant, firmer-looking skin with regular use.
SOURCE NATURALS Skin Eternal Cream, including DMAE and grape seed extract, may help stimulate collagen and thicken skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
NATURE’S ANSWER Kava-6 is extracted using a process that ensures the constituents remain in the same beneficial ratios as are naturally found in the plant.