26 most ridiculous myths about cellulite
Cellulite removal: fact and fiction
“Body transformation in 1-4 monthly sessions” • Ground coffee scrubs • Dry brushing • "Caffeine causes cellulite" • Cellulite exercises • "Cellulite is just fat" • Liposuction removes cellulite • "Cellulite is fascia" • "Cellulite is just 'septa' arranged perpendicularly in women and diagonally in men" • "Love your fat, love your cellulite" • Cellulite surgery • "Cellulite is genetic" • "All you need is diet and exercise" • "Cellulite is just toxins and water retention, so all you need is lymphatic massage" • Deep tissue massage for cellulite? • "Melting that fat away" to "break down" cellulite • Compression stockings and slimming leggings • Good fats and cellulite • Men don't get cellulite • "Honey is a superfood, right? So it must be good for cellulite" • More embarrassingly ridiculous cellulite myths, which thankfully nobody believes any more
What not to do for cellulite
In addition to knowing what to do to get rid of cellulite, it pays to know what NOT to do. First off, don’t believe the “amazing results with 1-4 sessions” hype - you will be disappointed. And wasting time on silly coffee scrubs or pointless dry brushing will divert your focus and time from things that actually do help to tighten and smoothen up your legs. I know that you will find some of those points surprising, but hey, after all those years of brainwashing with inane internet advice on how to get rid of your cellulite by so called "experts" , you are right to feel confused and surprised.
© 2017-2019 Georgios Tzenichristos & LipoTherapeia Ltd
1> The ultimate cellulite lie: “get rid of your cellulite / lift your bum in 1-4 monthly sessions”
There is a lot of misinformation on cellulite, due to a mix of urban myth and marketing BS. And there are many things that you should not waste time doing, listed below.
But for goodness’ sake, the one thing you should definitely not do is believe those impossible types on Instagram that promise you a “body transformation” in one to four (usually very expensive, usually monthly) sessions. Even they know that such “transformations” are a lie, hence their shameless use of intentionally fake “before and after” photos, to justify the exorbitant cost of their ridiculous “miracle” treatments.
Sometimes the more pathetic the treatment / the more ignorant the practitioner / the more low-spec the machine is, the higher the cost / the more impressive the (fake) “before and after pictures” / the more outrageous the claims are.
Of course, 2019 is not the first year such claims have been made. I have specialised for nineteen years in cellulite and skin tightening, and I have seen these outrageous claims being made year after year after year, by anyone from famous Harley Street doctors to small-time beauty therapy newbies who think they have just discovered the wheel. “XYZ is the latest miracle treatment that will banish your cellulite forever in one/two/three/four sessions”: one must be really naive to believe that.
There is always a new miracle treatment to grace the pages of tabloid newspapers and the feeds of shallow Instagram accounts, with scores of C-list celebrities swearing by it. These miracles are usually forgotten a couple of years later, after everyone realises they are not miraculous after all, only to be replaced by the newest, latest, more ridiculous hype.
The gist of the story is simple: if there was such an easy solution, nobody with a couple of grand in their pocket and three-four hours to spare would have cellulite, and everyone would know about that amazing miracle.
If there was such an amazing miracle machine, I would have already bought it for the clinic a very long time ago: I personally know ALL manufacturers and machines in my industry inside-out, and believe me, such a machine/treatment/four-session-miracle does NOT exist (let alone one-session-miracle machines). And indeed we could charge £350-£800 per session at the clinic, instead of £160: the difference in actual profit margin is 350%-750%. Who doesn’t want to make up to seven times more money per hour and at the same time provide a “body transformation” to their clients? That is a dream come true for any clinic, doctor, salon or practitioner.
Or, even though we know these miracles do not exist, we could easily do it: buy the ridiculous low-spec-yet-super-hyped machine and cash in on the hype, like those clinics and practitioners do. But we just can’t bring ourselves to promise the existence of pink unicorns to the shallow and the gullible.
Instead, although we do use the strongest equipment and most highly concentrated actives available, we make more modest, realistic claims about good, long-term results in 6-12 weekly sessions (and up to 24 sessions for the more severe cases), based on science and on our nineteen year experience. This is the honest way.
This is the most important lesson to learn about cellulite and body skin tightening in 2019 (there is so much hype flying around this year, it’s unreal) and I hope I saved you from a lot of disappointment and money wasting. Now let’s have fun demolishing the other 25 cellulite urban myths.
2> Ground Coffee scrub for cellulite. WHat a mess…
Caffeine in coffee beans is tightly bound within the fibres of the beans and only released into your espresso under high temperature (90º Celsius) and high pressure (9000 millibars, i.e. nine times the atmospheric pressure, equivalent to the pressure found 240 ft deep into the sea). Caffeine does not just travel out of its own volition through the fibres of the ground beans onto the skin's surface, just because you rub the beans against your skin [we are not even discussing caffeine's problematic skin absorption here]. In fact, no caffeine is expressed out of the beans when you have a coffee scrub. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
Why then every single article about "how to get rid of cellulite" mentions coffee bean scrubs? The answer is simple: marketing hype on the part of the companies that sell the coffee scrubs, combined with ignorance on the part of the people who write this advice. Just ditch those ground coffee beans or simply use them for exfoliation on the face or body. Or, better still, make a nice cup of coffee with them and enjoy :)
3> Dry brushing for cellulite. Really?
Every year, come spring, women get misled by countless articles, on the web on in print, that suggest "dry brushing" as a method to help you "rid of" cellulite. In the past, due to our limited knowledge of the problem, cellulite was assumed to be just a circulation and lymphatic drainage impairment. That assumption lead to the myth that manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) can "get rid of" cellulite, or to the even more ludicrous claim that dry brushing (also known as body brushing) can also achieve the same thing.
However, this could not be further from the truth. Dry - or even wet - skin brushing is not even a valid lymphatic drainage method. This is because all that skin brushing can do is exfoliate the skin. And that's all. Not much else. If you follow the direction of the lymph flow when you dry brush your skin, you may be able to achieve a VERY WEAK lymphatic drainage effect, but that doesn't even come close enough to the strong, cellulite-specific lymphatic stimulation massage needed to significantly boost the body's natural lymphatic drainage and blood circulation.
The truth is that normal upward massage movements with your lovely hands and some nice oil (any oil) will do a far better job at boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage than skin brushing. And if you alternate those upward movements with some strong skin kneading with your fingers you will probably give your legs a ten times better massage (literally) than with a "body brush".
"You would need to bring your skin to the point of bleeding from all the brushing, if you were to provide the same results as strong hand massage. Things are simple: dry brushing is not an effective lymphatic massage method and exfoliation does nothing for cellulite. Don't waste your time doing the wrong things."
This is because skin brushing works by literally scraping off the epidermis, i.e. the top layer of the skin, while for cellulite reduction the subdermis (i.e. the bottom layer of the skin) needs to be manipulated.
This is yet another example of a cellulite "cure" involving working on the epidermis (surface of skin) to treat the exact opposite layer of the skin (hypodermis). Dry brushing is actually more hyped up than coffee scrubs, but it is almost as pointless. It is a bit naive to believe that with a 10-minute, superficial exfoliation of the epidermis you can treat deep tissues on the subdermis, which 60-minute, deep professional cellulite massages treat with much difficulty.
In summary, body brushing is a waste of time, when it comes to cellulite reduction. However, if you have bought into the hype and purchased a body brush, all is not lost. Dry skin brushing can still be used to exfoliate the skin prior to applying a good, concentrated cellulite cream, so at least you can use your body brush to boost the effectiveness of a more valid cellulite reduction method. Just do the body brushing first, have a hot shower afterwards (not the other way around) and then apply the cream.
And don't become overzealous with the body brushing. Your epidermis is there for a reason: to protect your skin from external aggressions (natural and artificial chemicals, high/low temperatures, UV/infrared light, mechanical damage and transepidermal water loss / TEWL). If you continuously scrape it off, with daily and/or aggressive exfoliation, skin allergies and sensitivities are guaranteed to follow.
Have you ever wondered why more and more women complain about sensitive skin? Yes, it is the constant exfoliation, the cheap trick to look beautiful for a day or two: frequent chemical peels, AHAs, ablative laser treatments, microdermabrasion, body brushing and the like destroy the epidermis, opening the door for allergies and sensitivities). But that is hot material for another article.
(In fact, a few days before writing this article I treated a client who caused quite severe skin damage to her epidermis with intensive dry brushing. Her skin was dry and visibly damaged and also suffered from hyperpigmentation, caused by inflammation due to the skin damage from body brushing. Dry brushing is not smart: when you do it lightly, nothing happens (for cellulite, at least). And when you do it vigorously you get skin damage. Forget the inane hype and throw away your brush.)
4> "Caffeine causes cellulite". Since when?
Caffeine is a very misunderstood substance. It is proven to help treat cellulite if you apply it on your skin, but it is also alleged to cause cellulite if you drink it. What gives?
Well, the truth is that caffeine has a triple anti-cellulite action when applied directly on the adipose tissue (e.g. as an active in a good anti-cellulite cream): it is lipolytic, anti-fibrotic and circulation enhancing, i.e it acts on three aspects of cellulite at once. And it is also absolutely innocent when consumed in moderation (up to 4 cups of coffee per day, i.e. 400mg/day).
The only problem with caffeine occurs with abuse: drinking 10 cups of coffee a day (I have treated some clients who do that) will most probably exhaust your adrenal glands and nervous system, eventually leading to a collapse in your metabolism, which will ultimately affect your cellulite. Very indirect effect, but possible.
Having said that, although 1-4 litres of water per day is great for you, with 10 litres per day you actually die. However, no health or beauty writer claims that water is lethal. Very unfair for caffeine...
In summary, normal consumption of the usual 1-4 cups of caffeinated drinks a day is absolutely fine. For caffeine sensitive people 1-2 are the maximum I would recommend, due to its effect on the nervous system. Caffeine does not normally give you cellulite and it actually does help reduce it as an anti-cellulite cream active ingredient.
5> Cellulite exercises? "5 Yoga poses to get rid of cellulite?" They don't exist.
Any personal trainer worth their salt will tell you that spot fat reduction (i.e. removing fat from a specific body area by exercising the muscles above that area) does not exist. This does not make any physiological sense whatsoever, and it has also been proven beyond doubt with different studies.
How on earth then thousands of personal trainers and cellulite "specialists" recommend outer leg exercises to get rid of cellulite on the outer thighs or inner thigh exercises for inner thighs etc? Unfortunately, it's the same marketing hype / ignorance thing that makes people recommend ground coffee scrubbing and dry brushing...
Let's make it clear once and for all: you can perform vigorous whole body exercise (e.g. interval training, running, swimming, uphill walking etc) to reduce overall cellulite and it will work. But doing hip extensions (butt exercises, such as the one in the picture) to remove cellulite on the butt is futile. Yes, it will tone your gluteus maximus muscle and lift your bum, but never in a million years will it specifically reduce butt fat or cellulite. That makes no physiological sense and has been proven non-existent beyond any doubt by multiple studies.
So the next time you see a YouTube video or an article with pictures of cellulite exercises and "five Yoga positions to lose bum fat", don't waste your time with that misinformation. Go for a power walk instead :)
6> "Cellulite is just fat". No it isn't!
This is an old one: "cellulite does not exist, it is just plain fat".
No it isn't. What people call "fat" is subcutaneous adipose tissue, i.e. fat UNDER the skin, and does not normally cause any bumps to pop out of the surface of the skin. Cellulite, instead, is hypodermal fat, i.e fat WITHIN the skin itself and is characterised by unsightly small and large bumps, accompanied by fibrosis (scar tissue), inflammation, glycation, oxidative damage, skin laxity and water retention. Normal subcutaneous fat is not fibrotic, it is not inflamed and has good circulation. Physiologically, normal fat and cellulite are two different things.
And of course cellulite does exist. No matter what name you give to it, it is there, in front of your eyes. It is a visible, inflamed, quite often painful, unsightly, hardened tissue protruding out of the skin, and nobody can deny its existence. If the name 'cellulite' offends, call it 'superficial hardened lumpy inflamed fat', if you must, but it exists and it is still different than plain deep fat.
7> "Cellulite is not fat, it's fascia". How naive and ignorant...
This is the opposite of the statement that "cellulite is just fat", and it is actually even more ignorant and misleading.
Fascia was one of the biggest fad-words of 2017 and it seems it will become even more faddy in 2019. Suddenly everyone became an expert in fascia and anything and everything was attributed to it, including cellulite, of course. The more ignorant of fascia one was in 2017, the more noise they made. Read what Tom Myers, the undisputed "father of fascia" had to say in Nov 2017 about fascia, and you will get an idea about how bogus all those fascia claims are:
"I am so over the word ‘fascia’. I have touted it for 40 years. Now that ‘fascia’ has become a buzzword and is being used for everything and anything, I am pulling back from it in top-speed reverse. Fascia is important, of course, but it is not a panacea, the answer to all questions, and it doesn’t do half the things they say it does."
Well said, Tom, "it doesn’t do half the things they say it does". Thank God we have a voice of sanity amidst the hype.
So, back to our point: cellulite & fascia. According to the latest fad theory about cellulite that does the rounds on the web, cellulite is not a fat problem at all, "cellulite is just fascia".
Fascia, the latest buzzword thrown around by people who have never studied it properly, is basically connective tissue and can comprise skin, superficial fat, ligaments, tendons and any other hard collagenous tissue in the body. So according to the marketing hype, all you need is to prod your thighs with a "fascia blasting" massage tool and all cellulite will be gone forever, because it will break down/heal/thin/thicken (choose whatever you prefer) your fascia.
Although totally incorrect, this is not a new "discovery", as some people try to present it. Far from it. "Palper-rouler" massage (see below), vibration massage and quite a few other cellulite treatments, some more than two decades old, are based on the premise that cellulite is just a connective tissue problem and that it can be "cured" just by mechanised vacuum massage (palper-rouler), manual cellulite massage or cellulite massage with a "fascia tool".
The truth is that all these three types of massages do help somewhat with cellulite, as they boost circulation and help break down some scar tissue, but each has its own problems and none addresses the elephant in the room, the main issue with cellulite: FAT. No matter how many times you repeat "cellulite is not fat, it's fascia", cellulite will not magically become a "fatless" tissue.
Cellulite is not just a skin laxity issue, a fibrosis issue, a water retention issue, an inflammation issue, a glycation issue, a free radical damage issue or a fat issue. It is all of the above, and most crucially it is a hypodermal FAT issue, so no amount of fascia tool massage will remove all that FAT from the tissues.
And most importantly, the fascia that these massage tools act on, is the wrong fascia. These tools mainly work on deep fat and deep connective tissue, rather than the hypodermal adipose tissue and the hypodermal connective tissue where cellulite is found. At some point people should read some anatomy and some research papers on cellulite and understand that:
Cellulite is NOT subcutaneous fat and therefore it is a NOT deep fascia issue.
Cellulite is hypodermal fat, so it is a hypodermal fascia issue.
Half-knowledge is worse than ignorance.
All in all, the latest "cellulite is just fascia" theory is yet another American consumerist fad based on tons of hype and exaggeration.
8> "Cellulite is just perpendicular arrangement of fibres, all you need is vacuum massage"
This is the 1990s "fascia theory of cellulite", mentioned above. According to this theory, based on an erroneous interpretation of ultrasound images, women's "septa" in their hypodermal tissue are arranged perpendicularly to the surface of the skin, while men's are oriented diagonally (septa are connective tissue sheaths that allegedly separate fat tissue compartments). This led to the theory that "all you need is connective tissue / palper-rouler / vacuum" massage, the fascia-cellulite theory of that time, which actually still persists today separately from the 2017 fascia-cellulite theory.
That was good enough for the 1990s, but since then science has progressed. Firstly, there exist no septae, there only exist retinaculae, as with any other adipose tissue. Retinaculae are connective tissue strands, as opposed to connective tissue sheaths (septae). Secondly, nothing is arranged vertically or diagonally by birth. Everyone, man or woman, has the same type of diagonally arranged retinaculae in their connective tissue (pre-cellulite) and if their fat tissue gets enlarged, it makes the retinaculae appear vertical (cellulite). That's all.
And most importantly, cellulite is not just connective tissue (fascia, septae or retinaculae. )It is fat plus connective tissue plus water retention plus inflammation plus glycation plus oxidative damage plus skin laxity. Any oversimplification leads to ineffective treatment.
So, yes, some massage can be helpful but it is nearly not enough. And no, palper-rouler is not all you need to "get rid of cellulite".
(A few notes about palper-rouler, i.e. vacuum suction massage)
Palper-rouler refers to a machine rolling the skin while the skin is literally sucked up in a vacuum between the rolling cylinders or rolling balls. The strong massage in combination with the vacuum do boost circulation and do stimulate collagen production, but at the same time they break the small blood vessels, causing spider veins (thread veins) and most importantly they stretch the skin. What is the point of firming up the skin A LITTLE, when at the same time you stretch it A LOT?
In a small minority of women, who have very firm skin and very strong veins, palper-rouler can give good results, but nothing amazing or long-lasting. This is due to the fact that this technique does not do anything to fight the fat - the most important aspect of cellulite - it mainly addresses the circulation / lymphatic drainage aspect.
In fact, the only reason I would use palper-rouler would be to break down scar tissue, but the problem is that if you set the machine at low suction settings it does not do much in that respect, while if you set it at high suction settings the possibility of skin loosening and thread veins disproportionately increases.
I used to offer palper-rouler treatments when I started treating cellulite in the year 2000, when it was the only anti-cellulite treatment you would care to take seriously. As soon as I realised the limitations of the treatment I adapted the machine so that I could create the same effect on the skin, but with minimal suction. And later, I got rid of the suction altogether, working with my hands, special tools and special creams that I developed (cellulite-specific massage) and the results were much better and without the side effects of skin looseness and thread veins.
For the record, I stopped offering cellulite-specific massages when the cavitation, electro-mesotherapy and - especially - radiofrequency technologies became more powerful, effective and affordable. Eighteen years later I am amazed by how popular palper-rouler still is, despite its problems and low effectiveness. The last few years I have met at the clinic dozens of clients who previously had palper-rouler treatments and none of them was happy with the results.
9> "Love your fat and your cellulite"? What is there to love?
And this is a new one. Lately different campaigners, including plus size models who have a vested interest in people getting to "loving" excess body fat and obesity, urge women to "love their cellulite" or "love their fat", which is totally absurd. As I mentioned above, cellulite is 'obesity of the skin' and is characterised by inflammation, fibrosis, glycation, free radical damage and poor circulation/water retention, all unhealthy physical processes. What is there to love about a negative state of health in your skin?
This point is in fact an extension of the fallacy mentioned above - that cellulite is an invented condition that does not exist. However, both our eyes and numerous scientific studies show that cellulite exists, it is real, it is unhealthy, many women do not like it (in contrast to most men who are generally indifferent to it, unless it is excessive), they perceive it as ugly and wish to reduce it. Nothing wrong with that and no woman can force another woman what to like or not like.
I could totally agree if someone said "accept your cellulite" instead of "love your cellulite". Although cellulite is unhealthy, it does not kill and you can live a happy, long, fulfilling life even if you have lots of cellulite. But I do not think the word "love" makes any sense when it comes to cellulite, and especially when it comes to overweight/obesity, which is a major source of multiple civilisation diseases, such diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. There is absolutely nothing to love there.
And the fact that more and more people become overweight these days, it does not make overweight normal or loveable, in the same way that more and more people developing cancer or diabetes, does not make cancer or diabetes normal or loveable.
It is the same as one man saying to another man "love your beer belly". Most men "accept" their stomach fat because they cannot be bothered to reduce it, but I have yet to meet a single man who "loves" his beer belly, and I have yet to meet a woman who "loves" men's beer bellies either. All in all, there nothing feminist about loving your cellulite. It is yet another slogan used for publicity and hype.
10> Does liposuction get rid of cellulite? Nope.
Another myth arising form the fallacy that "cellulite is just fat" is that liposuction can get rid of cellulite. This could not be further from the truth. As I described above, cellulite is obesity INSIDE the skin, while subcutaneous fat, the fat that liposuction reduces, is obesity UNDER the skin. Cellulite is part of the skin itself. No liposuction can get rid of it, because it would have to remove the skin itself. And you wouldn't like to walk around without skin, would you?
In fact, by emptying the volume that used to be occupied by fat underneath the skin, liposuction always makes skin appear looser and accentuates cellulite. Liposuction doesn't make cellulite itself better or worse per se, but it makes it look worse.
So, no, liposuction does not get rid of cellulite. Neither do vaser or smartlipo, which are supposed to tighten the skin but in reality they just harden it via the creation of scar tissue, with cellulite just sitting on top of the hardened skin and actually looking worse than before.
11> "Cellulite surgery is the best option". Not really.
There are two types of surgical procedures for cellulite.
One involves cutting off the connective tissue strands that tether the skin's surface onto the underlying tissues and which cause cellulite fat to protrude. There are two types of such surgery: subcision surgery and cellfina surgery. By cutting those strands off we (kinda) "get rid of" cellulite on that spot, but then the skin is no more tethered to the underlying tissues and becomes flabby (that natural tethering is there for a reason). Given that most women with cellulite already have loose skin, it does not take a genius to realise that this type of surgery causes skin on that area to behave like a fruit jelly with every step its owner takes.
Furthermore, the female legs have a few dozen large connective tissue strands that can be cut with surgery and a few hundred, if not thousands, smaller ones, that cannot be undercut with any surgery of any type. They are just too small and too many. This means that unlike other methods (such as monopolar radiofrequency which treats everything, small and large, and is non-invasive and safe), this type of cellulite surgery leaves plenty of cellulite left untreated.
The other type of surgery (cellulaze) involves a laser cannula which is inserted inside the skin and fires its laser beam upwards to melt and harden the cellulite fat cells and connective tissue. It all sounds good in theory, but as with vaser and laser liposuction, mentioned above, this is not exactly skin tightening, it is skin scarring/hardening. It quite often goes wrong and endows the unlucky receiver with some beautiful scar tissue bumps, much worse than cellulite itself.
If I had cellulite I would not even contemplate cellulite surgery. I'd better "love my cellulite"...
12> "Cellulite is genetic. All resistance is futile."
Cellulite is 50% genetic and 50% lifestyle-related, i.e. dependent on how much you eat, drink, smoke, move and what chemicals/medication you consume. Even women with perfect genes, such as top models, eventually get cellulite after years of drinking, smoking and an overall unhealthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, women with less-than-perfect genes can avoid cellulite if they follow a healthy, natural lifestyle. Resistance is not futile. Cellulite is not a given: eat healthily, exercise a lot, avoid chemicals and you can either stay cellulite-free for life or keep cellulite at a minimum. A strong cellulite treatment and a concentrated cellulite cream can help a lot too. More on that below.
13> "For cellulite all you need is diet and exercise". I wish...
You heard and read it many times: "cellulite treatments do not work, cellulite creams don't get absorbed and all you need to reduce cellulite is diet and exercise". However, this could not be further from the truth...
Healthy diet and regular exercise are prerequisites for cellulite prevention, (limited) cellulite reduction and essential if you want to achieve maximum results from any cellulite treatment or cream. But on their own, diet and exercise are not enough to significantly reduce cellulite. This is because diet and exercise cannot be focused on a specific body area, hence the need for treatments and creams.
Now it is true that most cellulite treatments and creams do not 'work', simply because they are too light and too diluted, respectively. However, strong treatments, such as high intensity monopolar radiofrequency, and quality cellulite creams, containing high concentrations of multiple anti-cellulite actives, such as caffeine, forskolin, gotu kola, curcumin, escin and more...) do produce great results, always in conjunction with healthy diet and exercise, of course.
14> "Cellulite is just toxins and water retention, so all you need is lymph massage". If only it was so simple...
Given that until the past couple of decades little was known about cellulite, many "experts" claimed that cellulite is just water retention and "toxin" accumulation. This has lead to the myth that MLD massage (manual lymphatic drainage massage) can "get rid of" cellulite on its own or as the main anti-cellulite therapy. This, of course, could not be further from the truth, as millions of women have discovered to their disappointment, after dozens of MLD massages leading to minimal, temporary or no results at all.
Although there is some truth in that argument (toxins from smoking, plastics and food additives accumulate in fat tissue and partially do cause cellulite), these are far more important causes of cellulite. Think hormonal contraception, sugar consumption, excess carbs and fat in the diet, inactivity, alcohol consumption and more.
So a mere lymphatic drainage massage or some colonic irrigation would only scratch the surface. For example, manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) indeed helps shift excess water from the legs and reduce some of the inflammation, thereby improving the appearance of cellulite VERY temporarily, but does not do anything else.
Obviously, a feather-light massage (such as MLD massage) can do absolutely nothing to firm up the skin, affect free radical damage or glycation or significantly break down fibrotic tissue (all major aspects of what we call cellulite). But most importantly, it does not do anything to reduce fat - the number one issue with cellulite. Such a simplistic approach can only offer a very temporary (1-2 days), very mild relief, solely based on removing excess water from the cellulite tissues. And nothing else.
On the other hand, circulation and lymphatic drainage can be improved equally well - or even more so - by strong cellulite-specific massage, which offers several other benefits, as described further above on this page. Furthermore, cellulite-specific massage can be used with a good anti-cellulite product, whose absorption it boosts - while MLD can only be applied with talcum powder or a minute amount of oil, thereby preventing such synergy. Contrary to the popular myth, even good old deep tissue massage can boost circulation equally well or more than MLD, with the added benefits of muscle relaxation and muscle tissue micro-stretching.
All in all, a strong cellulite massage focusing on skin, rather than on muscles, would do a much better job than the feather-light manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) suggested by the "toxin brigade".
In summary, lymph massage should be confined in the care of people with compromised lymphatic glands (typically due to chemotherapy) or people who for a variety of reasons are fragile and with very poor lymphatic system. For those people, the Vodder-style MLD is the treatment of choice, as it is very precise and very, very mild and quite often it is the only manual treatment that can help.
However, for the vast majority of the population the feather-light manual lymph massage is a sheer waste of time. This is evident by the fact that when healthy, fit people try it, they experience minimal results - or no results at all. They find it boring and pointless. For those people, MLD does not add to what the body can already do so the stronger cellulite massage techniques - or the anti-cellulite technologies mentioned above - are preferred, as they are more effective and offer multiple benefits.
15> Sports/Deep tissue massage for cellulite? How deep?
This is a common question: "I have tried various types of massage to reduce my cellulite but it seems they don’t really work. At the gym I was advised that deep tissue massage can reduce cellulite - is that true?" The short answer is "no". The long answer follows.
Deep tissue/sports massage is a technique specific to muscles, deep fascia and other deep tissues of the body, all located UNDER the skin. Deep tissue massage improves muscle circulation and muscle lymphatic drainage, as well as reducing tension in the muscles and deep fascia. It is essential for sportspeople and sedentary people alike in the prevention and treatment of muscular tension
However, cellulite is a tissue located IN the skin (hypodermal layer), i.e. way ABOVE where deep tissue massage acts.
In deep tissue massage the pressure of the therapist is not applied on the cellulite layer in any specific way that will offer appreciable results in cellulite reduction, and therefore most of the benefits of this massage technique are seen on the muscles - not the hypodermis, i.e. the “cellulite layer”.
Furthermore, cellulite, being a complicated aesthetic condition can not be expected to respond to any simplistic, non-specific massage measures, including deep tissue massage. Consequently, I can safely say that deep tissue massage is a waste of time as a cellulite reduction method and you should consider cellulite-specific massage or other more effective cellulite treatments, such as high power monopolar radiofrequency.
16> "This treatment melts the fat away to break down cellulite". Hmmmm...
"The treatment melts down the fat which is then naturally expelled by the body through the kidneys and liver". Sounds familiar?
Many providers of anti-cellulite treatments (typically laser, ultrasound, acoustic wave or radiofrequency-based treatments) and manufacturers of such equipment, claim that their treatments can “melt” the fat which is then naturally “expelled” out of the body, through the kidneys or liver. This cannot be further from the truth, as any biologist or doctor knows.
Simply put, expecting to melt the fat with a machine and then go to the toilet to flush it away from the body via your urine is wishful thinking and does not exist, no more than Santa Claus exists, anyway. In fact, fat is already in liquid form in the body (it is referred to as the "lipid droplets" by scientists) and does not need any smart a** with a laser to help it melt.
The reality is that a good, strong cellulite treatment does release fat from the cellulite fat cells, which is then taken up by the lymphatic system and veins and transported to the liver, muscles and other tissues where it can be burned for energy. But under no circumstances fat melts and then gets urinated or defecated away by the body, as many brochures and websites would have you believe.
17> Graduated compression stockings for cellulite?
Graduated compression garments aid the flow of blood and lymph from the feet, calves, thighs and hips towards the heart. For this reason graduated compression stockings and tights help prevent water retention, one of the seven aspects of cellulite.
However, all compression garments insulate your fibroblasts (your collagen and elastin-producing cells) from the effects of mechanical stimulation and therefore have a negative effect on skin firmness. Skin looseness is a major aspect of cellulite and therefore compression tights may lead to looser skin if worn continuously.
In addition, all compression garments inhibit arterial flow. This is because arterial blood travels in the opposite direction of vein blood and lymph, and also against the pressure gradient of graduated compression garments. So, although graduated compression aids in lymph/vein flow, it also keeps arterial flow reduced, resulting in poor nourishment of the tissues. For all these reasons the continuous use of graduated compression socks, stockings and tights is not recommended.
It is now very well established that specific herbal extracts (such as centella / gotu kola, escin / horse chestnut, ruscus / butcher's broom), hesperidin, rutin) can provide results equal or better to compression garments, without the discomfort of wearing tight garments on your legs. These natural actives can be taken both orally (as supplements) or locally on the legs (as creams).
So I would say that if your cellulite is characterised by lots of water retention rather than loose skin, then these garments may be slightly helpful to you for some time. On the other hand, if you suffer from loose skin, using graduated compression tights is not advised, as they will make your skin looseness worse.
On the other hand, plain (non-graduated pressure) stockings and leggings do absolutely nothing for cellulite, and especially "caffeine-infused" or ceramic fibre tights and leggings are pure hype, as we explain below.
18> "Avocado & nuts are good fats So I can eat as much as I want, right?"
Short answer: Wrong. Fats are still fats, 9 kcals/gram. 110g of "good fat" will deposit 1 kilogram of of good fat in your bum. That's a lot of bum fat! And no, fat doesn't boost metabolism enough to help you burn 9 kcals/gram - more like 10% of that...
Long answer: Foods rich in oils and fat, including "healthy fats" such avocado, coconut, seeds, nuts and olive oil, are good for your health, as long you don't have too much of them. The adverse health consequences of overweight and obesity, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis, do not discriminate depending on how you got overweight or obese in the first place. And the same applies to cellulite.
All fats and oils (good and bad) have a high calorie content (one gram of fat/oil contains 9 calories). Extra calories mean more fat deposited in the tissues, including the hypodermal fat tissues located on your legs (cellulite).
This general rule applies to almost all oils/fats, even many so-called healthy ones, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, argan oil, rapeseed oil, sesame oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, cream, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios etc.), seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts etc.), avocado and fatty foods in general (fatty meat, cheeses, pastry, biscuits, chocolate etc.).
Even the hyped up coconut oil, which is supposed to help you slim down because it contains MCTs, is fattening. This is because coconut oil contains 10% "slimming" MCTs (which do help you lose weight, somewhat) and a good 90% "fattening" oils. You do the maths. And the maths (clinical studies) have shown that coconut oil fattens you, it does not make you lose weight.
On the other hand, pure MCTs can indeed help you lose (some) weight, as mentioned above, and are really "good fats". The only problem is that they also cause you diarrhoea if you have too much of them.
Fortunately, there is one more exception: EPA and DHA fatty acids from fish oil can indeed help you lose (some) fat and they will not cause cellulite, so they are the ultimate good fats. For more information on them click here.
As with everything else, moderation is the key here. Eating an excessive amount of oily fish will reduce your immunity, cause metabolic dysfunction and will probably not lead to more weight loss. It may even possibly lead to weight gain, as not all the excessive HUFAs can be used up as building blocks and the excess will end up being stored. So be reasonable. More is not always better.
Another previously thought of as miracle fat, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), seems to work (a bit) but at very high intakes and to not be very good for your liver at such high dosages, so unfortunately it cannot be considered as a good fat, when taken orally.
Due to their direct effect on fat cell metabolism, MCTs, EPA/DHA and CLA can theoretically be used in anti-cellulite creams, with the aim of reducing fat content of the hypodermal fat cells. Practically, however, EPA and DHA cannot be used locally due to their strong fishy smell (nobody wants to smell like a sardine, even if that would mean less cellulite), leaving MCTs and CLA to be used for that purpose. In the creams and treatment products we use at the clinic, we include MCTs in the cream base and we also use a patented CLA oil as a natural anti-cellulite ingredient. Every little helps...
19> Who said "men don’t get cellulite?"
Sure, most men tend to put their excess fat on their stomachs.
However, everybody, man or woman, can get cellulite if both two following conditions are met: their body is loaded with enough estrogen; they ingest more calories than they spend and/or sit down too much.
The aptly named "pre-cellulite" fat pocket infrastructure exists on the skin of hips and thighs of both sexes All it takes is
Estrogen to stimulate the proliferation (multiplication) of adipocytes (fat cells) in those areas (the fat tissue on the butt and thighs of all human beings - male or female - is very sensitive to oestrogen)
Excess calories (typically hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, sugar, alcohol and high glycaemic index starches) to fill up those multiplied fat cells with fat
A sedentary lifestyle makes things worse, by encouraging the skin to become loose and the blood and lymph vessels to become weaker, which in turns leads to water retention and consequent inflammation.
Water retention, excess superficial fat, inflammation and skin laxity are the hallmarks of cellulite.
Both of the above conditions (more estrogen, calorie imbalance) have to be met for humans to develop cellulite. In the absence of high levels of estrogen, humans who overeat can only get "fat", especially on the stomach/waist area (as is the case with men) and maybe develop loose skin, but they do not develop cellulite. Similarly, in the absence of excess calorie consumption or sedentary living, humans with high oestrogen levels can only get looser skin but they will not develop cellulite, or they will develop very little cellulite. Naturally, with both high levels of oestrogen and calorie surplus/inactivity most humans will develop a lot of cellulite.
High estrogen levels in men due to overweight, testosterone conversion, environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals
As I mentioned above, oestrogen is a precondition for a human to develop cellulite. Men normally have low estrogen levels, so if they overeat and/or live a sedentary lifestyle they typically become overweight and develop loose skin. However, some men have high estrogen levels, so those men if they overeat and/or do not move enough will develop cellulite. Men with high estrogen levels are typically either older or overweight/obese.
In older men, testosterone is more readily transformed into estrogen (via a process called aromatisation) than in younger men. This, combined with excess calorie consumption and a sedentary lifestyle will lead to the development of cellulite.
On the other hand, in overweight men it's fat cells that produce the estrogen needed for cellulite development. Fat cells are not inactive fat storage depots - they do secrete several hormones, one of which is estrogen. The more adipose cells a man's (or woman's) body has, they more estrogen is produced by those fat cells. As we saw above, this can lead to cellulite development, if combined with a calorie surplus and/or inactivity.
The same things that lead to the creation of cellulite in men can also lead to the development of what is known as gynaecomastia, also known as "man breasts", "man boobs" or "moobs". Again, the culprit here is a combination of excess estrogen and excess calorie surplus. Estrogen stimulates the development of breast tissue, in both men and women, in the same way it stimulates the development of cellulite in both men and women.
Some man-made chemicals, known as xenoestrogens, act as estrogen-like substances in the body and disrupt endocrine balance. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are known examples of xenoestrogens. Some foods and drinks also contain high amounts of estrogen-like substances, called phytoestrogens. Soya and beer are well-known examples of phytoestrogen-containing foods. All these estrogen-like substances can have an estrogenic effect on the body, and can possibly lead to cellulite creation, with phytoestrogens being more benign and xenoestrogens being more "nasty".
Transexuals and cellulite
There is one more case of high estrogen levels in men. Those who undergo sex change (transgender / transexuals) take high levels of oestrogen medication in order to transform their bodies into a more female form. These high levels of estrogen can easily lead to cellulite creation, much faster than in obese and/or older men, due to the very high estrogen levels. So most transgender individuals do develop cellulite, after some years of estrogen intake, in exactly the same way as women do. Photographs of famous transexual women can be seen in the press with clear signs of cellulite - sometimes even with excessive cellulite on their thighs and buttock areas. It is clear that by becoming a woman you face the same problems women face, unfortunately one of them being cellulite.
In summary: feminisation and cellulite
All in all, feminisation (due to old age, obesity or environmental chemicals) combined with excess calorie consumption and inactivity will inevitably lead to the development of cellulite. Women, being more feminine, are more prone to this esthetic condition, but men can also develop cellulite. The solution to the problem of excess estrogen remains the same, for both men and women: eat healthy, non-processed, organic food, avoid plastics in your food supply and do loads of exercise. And for women, lose the contraceptive pill.
20> "I can eat honey, right?"
"Honey is good for you": yet another urban myth
Urban myth dictates that honey is better than sugar, because it is a natural, unrefined product. Sugar, on the other hand, is also natural, but refined. However, there is no significant difference between the two products, as both are almost pure sugars, which are detrimental to health.
The trace element myth
Unlike sugar, honey contains miniscule (trace) amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, those tiny amounts of healthful trace nutrients are completely overpowered by the 80% sugars that honey contains, of which 40% is fructose - the main cause of metabolic dysfunction and glycation in the body. This is in contrast to really healthy foods such as blueberries, which contain a huge amount of antioxidants and other trace nutrients, in relation to their tiny fructose and glucose content.
In fact, you will need a huge amount of honey or brown sugar - containing thousands of calories - in order to receive any meaningful amount of trace nutrients such as vitamins or antioxidants. If you want to receive antioxidants and vitamins, blueberries or tomatoes are the solution, not honey or brown sugar. The idea that honey is a healthful source of those nutrients is pure misinformation.
Now sugar, in any guise, natural or refined, is one of the worst things you can put in your mouth (closely followed by nasty deep fried oils and hydrogenated (trans) oils) and is a causative factor of skin and vascular ageing (via glycation and low grade inflammation), overweight, cellulite, diabetes, tooth decay and poor vision among many other negative effects. Sugar is clearly the number one dietary enemy of our health today.
Honey, fructose and the glycaemic index fallacy
With a GI of 30-70, depending on variety, honey has somewhat lower glycaemic index than sugar (GI 63), however this is irrelevant as the detrimental effects of sugar are not mediated only by glycaemic index, but also via sheer calorie load and via the negative effects of fructose (a constituent of both honey and sugar) in metabolic dysfunction, glycation and inflammation.
Simply put, there is no such thing as "good sugar". Of course, very occasional intake of honey or other sweet treat such as chocolate, is absolutely fine, but regular consumption is clearly not a good idea, if you care about preventing skin aging, cardiovascular aging, diabetes, overweight, vision problems or tooth decay. And honey is every bit as bad as sugar for cellulite.
21 > A "bubble butt" without surgery? You must be joking...
With "bubble butts" becoming a trend on Instagram last year, it was inevitable to see treatments that claim to create a "bubble butt" out of thin air, with fat transfers, no injections and no butt exercises, such as squats and hip extensions. So how do you fill the bum to create a "bubble butt" out of a flat or small bum? Exactly. With nothing. Such a thing does not exist, but this has not stopped some practitioners to prey on the naive.
Let's make it clear once and for all: you can lift your bum with surgery, with intensive gluteus maximus exercises and with high-power monopolar radiofrequency. You can smoothen your bum by removing cellulite with any of the dozens of free tips on this page, with a concentrated cellulite cream and, again, with high-power monopolar radiofrequency. And you can fill a flat or small bum with fat transfer (surgery, preferred) and filler injections (not ideal), in order to increase it's volume. But you cannot fill your bum and make it larger with ANY non-surgical, non-filler treatment on this planet. Don't fall for the hype.
22-26> Redundant cellulite myths, which thankfully nobody believes any more
Remember the MBTs, Reeboks and other embarrassingly ugly "cellulite trainers" with rocking soles that were supposed to "get rid of cellulite" and which were hugely popular and selling off the shelves for more than a decade? What happened to them? Thankfully, after a decade of hype nobody believes in that fad any more simply because it doesn't work.
The same applies to caffeine jeans, tights and underwear which supposedly release caffeine while you were them. What a joke! If a 10%, enhanced absorption caffeine cream struggles to reduce cellulite, how can a less than 1% caffeine "enriched" fabric with almost zero skin absorption "get rid of" your cellulite? Like with MBTs, a certain cosmetic ingredient company made a lot of money thanks to hype and consumer naivety.
And what about silly detox foot pads and baths, tights with ceramic fibres woven into them that emit "far infrared rays which melt down the fat"? God, how much precious grey matter is being wasted on deceitful marketing campaigns? Sorry, but I really cannot waste precious grey matter and precious time to go into detail about how silly such "treatments" are.
On the other hand, although clay body wraps do not do anything for permanent cellulite reduction, they do help drain some water out of the legs for 2-3 days, so at least they are useful in some way.
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