According to most reports, more than 90 percent of women over the age of 20 have cellulite. That's right—skinny or fat, tough or flabby, health nut or overindulger. But why? The American Academy of Dermatology explains it this way:
"Cellulite is a hormonally-based condition unique to women... caused by a herniation or rupture of fat through the fibrous tissue and the subsequent pulling back of this tissue that creates dimpled areas."
So, fat cells cause connective fibers to stiffen, so the fat pushes up around it, creating a dimple, which, even if that fat goes away, remains. A new FDA-approved treatment called Cellulaze acts to treat these stiff fibers, allowing the skin to pop up into place. But if you are wary of even minimally invasive surgery, you can try these topical treatments, which, even though they're not permanent, can give you some peace of mind about cellulite.
Hold It Tight by SHINTO Clinical, $65; shintoclinical.com
With modeling and fashion designing under her belt, power woman Kimora Lee Simmons knows a thing or two about looking good. Her new anti-cellulite firming cream is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite, while making skin smoother and firmer. I am only half-way through the eight week suggested period, and I can already see a bit of a difference (after eight weeks, independent tests showed 100 percent of subjects saw improvement). And you know I wouldn't use it if it were pumped full of harmful chemicals; Hold It Tight is free of parabens, sulfates, GMOs, phthalates and more. In fact, its ingredients are simple: Caffeine, coenzyme-A, silk extract, wakame kelp, reishi mushroom, vitamin E/A/C and elderberry. (Sorry for the sound-off, but I'm a sucker for a short list of ingredients.)
There's a reason most cellulite treatments contain caffeine; it's believed to breakdown a certain fat-storing enzyme. And though clinical studies supporting this are few, the consensus is that caffeine helps at least reduce the appearance of cellulite on the surface; an idea by which I stand. You've heard me sling it before—coffee-based body scrub—and the effects I saw after using it for only a week. But going through a $12 tub every two weeks got pricey, so I started saving my coffee grounds for a homemade version. Take your used grounds, dry them on a paper towel, then add to a bowl with cinnamon (for circulation) and your favorite oil (I use olive or coconut). The rest is even easier: Scrub on in the shower and rinse off. Tell me if you don't LOVE it!
Though working out has little to do with cellulite, there are some physical suggestions to stopping the stipple. Bikram Yoga instructors say Eagle Pose is key, while massage therapists at Healing Mountain Massage say improving circulation is the way to go. Holistic enthusiasts say detox from the inside out is the number one cure. Then you have the spa body wraps meant to tighten and detox (which I've never tried), and the suction/smoothing machines, which are actually in the AAD's good graces. In my experience, a combination of both physical and topical treatments are the best way to bust (or at least feel secure about) the appearance of cellulite.
The bottom line? Minimally invasive surgery is the only way proven to fix actual cellulite, but some topical and physical treatments can help reduce its appearance on the surface. But you also should keep in mind that, because it happens to virtually everyone, the best cure is to EMBRACE it!