Is There a Cure for Cellullite?

The Victoria’s Secret bathing suit catalogue is out, and I know many of you are thinking, “Ugh. How am I gonna lose this cellulite before summer?” Before you take out your credit card, read this. Post by Jeffrey Benabio, MD


Cellulite is the lumpy, dimpled appearance on women’s hips, buttocks, and thighs. It can rarely occur in men (usually with hormonal problems). It is not caused by being overweight — even underweight women have cellulite.

Cellulite results when fat pushes through connective tissue (the deep, thick, fibrous layer of the skin) creating a bumpy appearance on the skin’s surface. It’s not the fat that’s the cause, it’s the loose connective tissue in women that allows the fat to surface.

It is primarily caused by estrogen and by hereditary factors, which is why cellulite occurs exclusively in women (even overweight men do not get cellulite), does not appear before puberty (even if the child is overweight), and occurs even in thin, healthy women.

The number of treatments for cellulite is mind boggling. A quick search pulls up:

  • Scrubbers and sponges
  • Countless creams, lotions, and gels
  • Endless dietary supplements and herbal remedies
  • Massagers and rollers
  • Compression or elasticized pants
  • Exercise books, programs, equipment
  • Electric muscle stimulators and vibrating machines
  • Lasers
  • Liposuction

Treatments can cost hundreds to even thousands of dollars. But do they work?

Think about this: If cellulite was easy to eliminate, then why would even the richest celebrities still have it? Look at this photo of the Victoria’s Secret Supermodel Karolina Kurkova! How can this svelte supermodel possibly have cellulite?

Because, there is no cure for cellulite.

Why do many treatments appear to work?

Because cellulite is fat that is dimpled close to the surface of the skin, any treatment that pushes that fat deeper into the skin (including massage, rollers, wraps, lasers with suction, etc.) will temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite.

What about the much hyped pills for cellullite?

There are no published studies to show that any pill or supplement, including grape seed, primrose oil, fish oil, bioflavonoids, soya lecithin, dried sweet clover extract, and dried ginkgo biloba will have any significant impact on cellulite.

No cream or gel, no matter how potent, can penetrate to the deep layers of the skin to have any effect at all.

So what can you do to combat cellulite?

  • Lose weight. I am not contradicting what I said above. Being overweight makes cellulite worse, so losing weight will improve its appearance.
  • Exercise. Both cardio and strength training help keep your leg muscles pumped and minimize fluid (edema). This can improve the appearance of cellulite.
  • Stop smoking. There is evidence that smoking might contribute to cellulite.
  • Have your partner give you a good massage. It’s cheaper and more satisfying than going to a spa.
  • Save your money. There are better things to spend it on than futilely trying to cure cellulite.

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How to Save Money on Facial Moisturizers: Stop Washing Your Face

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10 thoughts on “Is There a Cure for Cellullite?”

  1. Wow, those celebrity cellulite photos were painful… it’s one thing to have unflattering photos taken, but it’s another to spend one’s life taking photos of cellulite. Why are we so obsessed with this stuff? Geeze, remember the days when dimples were cute? 😉

  2. Dr Val-
    Dimples are still cute. Hopefully women reading this will realize that and save themselves lots of time and money! 🙂

  3. What about Endermologie? I’ve always wondered why it was so expensive, as it looks like you could simulate it with a rolling pin.

    I wanted to suggest to anyone reading this for advice that a good (fake) tan also minimizes cellulite. If you’re translucent white, going a few shades darker makes it less noticeable.

  4. K-
    I think Endermologie versus a rolling pin would be a great study. 🙂

    And nice tip on the tanner, thanks.

  5. Molly McClanahan says:

    I lost ALL of my (not huge amount of) cellulite when I was a struggling college student in the 1970s. Without much money, I had to buy only nutrient-dense foods and also rode my bike A LOT (to work in the summer). I have since then (still the same weight today) believed that a diet low in sugar had something to do with the complete disappearance of cellulite. Could this be so, or was it the exercise alone?

    Could you write about (maybe a number of articles ongoing and sporadic): We hear so much in ads about creams and now even face-scrubbing machines that “stimulate collagen production” these days. “Stimulates collagen production” seems to be the new buzz-word. However, in the 1980s a Boston dermatologist told me that the oollagen molecule is too large to be absorbed into the skin. What is supported by science here? Anything?

    Love this blog!

  6. Hi, I found your blog through Food Blogga actually 🙂 I think it’s insane how all these cosmetic companies keep coming up with new anti-cellulite products when at the end of the day it’s just a bunch of marketing…and all the money they are making along with it! I do admit however to have tried a lot of creams (even though my Dr told me anything topical does not work) and dietary supplements but I’m realizing (personally) that what works best is going to the gym regularly (I do cardio only about 4 hours/week) and being tanned (even though it’s not exactly “healthy”) but cellulite is less visible on tanned skin 🙂

  7. I really liked your blog post, I certainly think its essential to keep one self upto date.

  8. Would Vitamin C help? Because I know it helps form collagen, so my thinking is that if the skin was better formed because of more collagen production then it would be stronger and less fat would be able to protude into the skin.

    Lecithin granules are meant to help aswell.

  9. Eliminating cellulite isn’t easy, but you can do it. Presently there are a lot of products that you can buy which can help you to take care of it.

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