We’re just going to start off by saying that although cellulite may not be the most pleasant thing to have to deal with, it is in fact, totally normal, with an estimated 80 to 90 per cent of women over the age of 25 having cellulite to some degree.
Further to this, cellulite doesn’t discriminate, affecting women of all ages and body types (yes, even those who are super lean)—and whilst there is no quick fix or miracle cure, the good news is that there are a few things you can do on a daily basis to help keep those dreaded dimples away.
Here, we explain what they are, with the help of trusted naturopath and founder of Edible Beauty, Anna Mitsios.
“The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of the skin that typically occurs on the hips, thighs, and buttocks, caused by fat deposits that push and distort the connective tissues beneath skin,” Anna tells Sporteluxe.
Anna explains that although the exact cause of cellulite is not known, things such as poor circulation and hormone imbalances along with genetic factors and diet (excessive refined sugar and salt) can all contribute to the development of cellulite.
“A few times a week, before you have a shower, brush over your entire body with a natural bristled brush to improve circulation, remove dry skin and support the lymph system. We dump tons of toxins out of our skin so it’s important to keep the pathway clear. Start at the hands and feet, gradually working your way inwards and upward to the heart area, using gentle circular motions, spending a bit longer going over problem areas.”
“Similar to dry brushing, using a scrub or exfoliant on cellulite areas is a great way to improve circulation and has been known to reduce the orange peel effect when done regularly. The advantage of using a scrub in the shower allows for a deeper cleanse of dead skin cells which are easier to remove when they are softened by warm water.”
“Coffee helps to increase circulation to the skin which works to open the channels of blood vessels, allowing oxygenated blood to flow freely and shifting stagnant lymph flow,” explains Anna. “This reduces the interaction of fat cells with the underlying skin connective tissue, tackling the dimpling action.”
“The stimulating effects of caffeine may also assist in tightening the skin, reducing excess water and reducing the appearance of cellulite.”
“In addition to these benefits, coffee is rich in antioxidants. When topically applied, the plant-based chemicals known as phenols, help to fight free radical damage and firm and tighten the appearance of the skin.”
Edible Beauty’s Velvet Coffee Body Butter contains a number of skin-loving ingredients including pink grapefruit, horsetail and gotu kola which all work together to combat the appearance of cellulite by helping to shrink fatty deposits, strengthen connective tissue, accelerate the regeneration of skin cells, optimise firmness and improve overall skin elasticity.
Okay, so you may not do this every day, but saunas are fantastic for improving lymphatic drainage, which reduces swelling and naturally improves the appearance of cellulite, as explained by Anna. “’Sweating’ it out naturally assists in shifting toxins and preventing them from depositing into the skin and fat cells.”
Unfortunately for us, cellulite is more common in women because of the way our fat, muscle and connective tissues are distributed (connective tissue fibres in women run vertically opposed to diagonally in men). This structural form enhances the appearance of cellulite, however with the right type of exercise, you can help reduce this by making the surface look tighter, firmer and smoother – especially in problem areas like the butt and thighs.
“Weight training is also one of the most effective ways to build muscle and burn fat, both which help minimise the appearance of cellulite,” says Anna. “This kind of workout also has the advantage of allowing you to select exercises to specifically target problems areas with muscle group specific movements, such as doing squats while holding a weight for the bottom and thighs. If you are not into weight training using a rebounder (trampoline) can also effectively improve blood and lymph flow.” In addition to this, foam rolling as also been shown to help reduce the appearance of cellulite, which you can read about here.
“Any food or herb that will balance hormones will also have a positive effect on cellulite due to the evidence linking hormone imbalance to cellulite. Having a diet rich in fibre helps to bind and remove undesired hormones.”
Anna recommends having 2-3 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed meal daily. “In addition to fibre I recommend loading up on broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. They contain high amounts of phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, including indole-3-carbinol, which helps break down harmful and excessive hormones.”
Boosting your vitamin A and C intake can also help in reducing cellulite due to its role in collagen production, its ability to strengthen connective tissue and capillaries and repair skin tissue. “If you think of the skin as a belt holding fat underneath, the stronger the belt the stronger the better the support. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin A help to repair and strengthen the skin,” says Anna.
“Citrus fruits specifically help contain antioxidants known as methoxylated bioflavonoids, which improve the blood circulation and correct cell imbalances that may lead to cellulite. Foods rich in pro-vitamin A which converts to vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach.
As a naturopath, Anna has a few go-to herbs she recommends for assisting cellulite in the way of reducing fluid retention. “These include dandelion leaves which can be consumed as a tea or in salads, along with parsley and celery.“
“Having a green juice of cucumber, celery, parsley and ginger is a great way to shift fluid and boost circulation. If you have access to a naturopath a herbal tincture including herbs such as horsetail extract, gotu kola and ginkgo biloba will also help.”
Whilst reducing salt in your diet is beneficial for overall health, when it comes to addressing cellulite, keeping the skin and tissue below hydrated externally is particularly important in maintaining the integrity of the dermis and underlying fibres.
“When the body is properly hydrated, the skin tissue is stronger and more pliable, causing less injury and trauma. Salt robs the body of precious hydration so cutting out salt and caffeine is a great way to ensure your body maintains adequate levels of hydration.”
“Making sure your skin, beauty and home products are not laden with toxic chemicals may help you to reduce and prevent cellulite in the long term by cutting down on toxins circulating in your body. It is believed that a toxic accumulation in your cells can make it harder to lose fat as well as worsening the dimpled appearance.”
“Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it and is our largest organ, which is why it’s so important to only use truly natural skin and hair care products.’ Read ingredients to check what’s really in there, taking care to avoid common nasties like alcohols, artificial fragrances and parabens.”