Cellulite, that oh-so-familiar orange peel texture found on the thighs and butt, affects about 80 percent of women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Though most of us can’t avoid it, there are ways to make it less noticeable. For solutions, we turned to Kathleen Gilmore, M.D., a dermatologist in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
The basic facts
The skin is connected to underlying muscle by bands of fibrous tissue. Cellulite appears when fat cells push up against the skin as the fibrous bands pull down (picture skin bulging through fishnet stockings). Our bodies’ lymphatic system also plays a role; normally it drains fluid from the tissues, but the trapped fat cells and fibrous tissue can block drainage, causing the area to swell, exacerbating the condition.
What to look for
> Family history If your mom has it, you probably will too.
> Age As you get older, muscles and fibrous tissue weaken and lose their ability to contain the fat cells.
> Body mass index (BMI) A higher BMI may mean you have excess fat, making your cellulite more apparent.
> Hormones Estrogen causes fat storage in the hips, thighs, so long, cellulite! What causes dimpling— plus, pro tips on diminishing its appearance. and butt in preparation for childbearing. It also makes fat cells stick together, contributing to the “cottage cheese” effect.
> Eat a balanced diet This will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the chance that cellulite will form.
> Exercise regularly Regular cardio and strength training will make your body and your skin look more taut.
> Slather on a cellulite cream Opt for those with caffeine, which tightens skin temporarily, making it look firmer. We like Clarins Body Shaping Supplement ($75; clarins.com). For best results, massage in your cream; the pressure can help lessen swelling and improve lymphatic drainage. > Go golden Apply self-tanner to camouflage the look of unsightly lumps. Try St. Tropez Everyday Airbrush ($36; sttropeztan.com).
For persistent cellulite, there are in-offi ce options, says Kathleen Gilmore, M.D. She recommends FDA approved VelaShape, which uses infrared heat, radio frequency energy, and deep massage to shrink fat cells and stimulate circulation. Visit americanlaser.com for more information. >The bottom line “The most effective way to control cellulite is to eat right and hit the gym,” she says. “Everything else just enhances the effect.”