The Real Answer to How to Reduce Cellulite

There are so many women who have it, so it's no wonder everyone wants to know how to reduce cellulite. Here's what you need to know.

The Real Answer to How to Reduce Cellulite

Truth: Most women will develop cellulite at some point in their lives. This dimpling of the skin usually somewhat resembles cottage cheese, and it's most often found on the thighs and buttocks. But why does it occur, and what's the answer to how to reduce cellulite? First, check out everything you ever wanted to know about cellulite, then read below for insights and solutions from Mauro Romita, M.D., plastic surgeon and founder and executive director of Ajune, The Beauty Synergy in Manhattan.

What Is Cellulite?

Skin is connected to underlying muscle by vertical bands of fibrous tissue, says Romita, and cellulite appears when fat cells bulge up against the top layers of skin while the fibrous bands pull down. It's kind of like buttons on a mattress-when there's this push-and-pull motion, it creates the cottage cheese appearance that cellulite is famous for.

But that's not the only thing happening underneath the skin's surface. Our bodies' lymph system also plays a role, explains Romita. Normally, it drains fluid from tissues to rid the body of waste, but trapped fat cells and fibrous tissue can block drainage. This makes the fat swell, adding to the dimpling effect.

What Makes Me More Likely to Get Cellulite?

Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of post-pubetal women deal with cellulite, so it's highly unlikely that you're the only one in your friend circle who's trying to figure out how to reduce the appearance of cellulite. But if you haven't spotted any yet, then you may be wondering whether you're more prone to getting it down the road. Romita says that a few factors influence the development of cellulite-and the severity of its appearance:

Genetics. If your mom has it, chances are you will too.

Aging muscle. As you age, muscle mass can weaken and fibrous tissue loses strength, which makes it more likely that cellulite will appear.

Fat. The amount you have between skin and muscle helps determine how much cellulite you'll see, which is why a healthy diet and consistent exercise are two of the best ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite. (Did You Know These Are the 3 Sneakiest Foods That Cause Cellulite?)

Hormones. Estrogen aids the storage of fait in the hips, thighs, and buttocks as part of your body's preparation for childbearing. But estrogen also makes fat cells sticky-when they bunch together, it can contribute to the dimpled effect.

What Is the Best Way to Reduce Cellulite?

There isn't any definitive science that proves there's a cure for cellulite, meaning once you have cellulite, you're stuck with it. However, there is some tentative research that shows certain tactics can help reduce the look of it. Romita suggests these tricks.

Eat a healthy diet. Staying at a healthy weight reduces the chances of cellulite forming, and certain foods have been touted as home remedies for cellulite. Work them into your meals and they may help reduce the appearance of cellulite. (These Foods May Help Fight Cellulite, Too.)

Exercise regularly. There aren't specific exercises to reduce cellulite on thighs, but research shows that both strength training and cardio may help minimize the appearance of cellulite. How? Cardio can help blast fat, while weight training (which also helps blast fat) firms up muscles to give skin a tighter, smoother appearance. (Try this workout to sculpt strong lets and an incredible butt.)

Try endermologie. This form of deep-tissue massage dispenses the lumps of fat into a smoother layer, and it's the only current method approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration for temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite. Scientists haven't found it to have long-lasting results, but hey, at least you're getting a massage out of it, right?

Skip the liposuction. Sorry, but this quick fix is not how to reduce cellulite in a week, nor is it how to reduce cellulite on thighs and legs. So just say no and stick to healthy lifestyle habits instead.

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