Depending on which dermatologist you ask, cellulite supposedly affects between 80-95% of we women. We’re skeptical about that figure; based on a speedy survey in the office, we’re inclined to think it is probably much closer to the 100% mark - not a woman we spoke to claimed to be entirely free of the dreaded dimple, and most claimed that theirs had been present since their late teens.
Mine is of the most common, boring variety: all the way across my thighs, mimicking orange peel. It’s been there since I was about 13 and the various detoxes, diets and exercise regimes I’ve undertaken since then haven’t made a jot of difference. Luckily, I’m not overly bothered by its existence - yes, being sans cellulite would make donning a bikini a bit easier, but I’m not inclined to throw too much time or money at ridding myself of it.
This, it turns out, is probably a good thing - cellulite is notoriously hard to shift, with creams not being able to penetrate to the point of making any difference whatsoever, and weight loss also having little impact because - wait for it - cellulite isn’t actually fat. Here’s the science bit: cellulite is actually the result of irregular pockets sitting in the subcutaneous fats that connect your muscle and bone rather than fat itself.
And before you even think it - no, it really isn’t there because you had too many doughnuts - it’s there because of genetics, hormones, lifestyle and, damningly, also because you’re a woman - women’s skin collagen is arranged differently to men’s and that, along with the fact that men have thicker skin, means that cellulite pockets protrude more.
The good news? There are plenty of things you can do to lessen its appearance. Here are our top 7:
1) Body Brushing. This is the single most effective way to get blood circulating, encourage lymph drainage and smooth the surface of your skin all in one. According to Noella Gabriel, founder of Elemis, the three work wonders on cellulite because they ‘help to eliminate toxins and excess fluid that accumulate under the skin’s surface.’ Aim for daily, pre-shower, always brushing towards your heart. We love the Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush and Aromatherapy Associates Polishing Body Brush.
2) Get Your Burpee On. Moving around will help to shift fluid retention, which will in turn reduce the appearance of cellulite, advises Dr Ross Perry from Cosmedics. Also, try lying down with your legs raised against a wall after a long day at the office to counteract the effect of time spent sitting at your desk - and reduce the appearance of thigh dimples by draining excess fluid. You could also try one of these butt exercises at home.
3) Ice It. Alternating blasts of icy water and warm water in the shower is another great way to boost circulation and help your lymphatic system out. Scandis are the kings of this technique that they refer to as ‘kneipping’, lauding it for its ability to help keep them svelte and smooth of thigh.
4) Dodge sugar. And salt. And booze. They all contribute to the prevalence of cellulite in their own ways - sugar and salt swell fat cells, making cellulite appear more pronounced, while booze leads to fluid retention, which is the number one enemy of bump-free skin. Check out our guide on how to quit sugar here.
5) Get a massage. Yep: we’re onto the fun stuff - manually pummelling skin is not only relaxing, but it also really does help to shift the pockets of excess fluid that make up cellulite. A good massage has the ancillary benefit of oxygenating your blood, which helps to up your glow and make skin look all-round better.
6) Book these treatments before events. While we cannot hammer home enough that there’s no quick fix to cellulite, we’ve unearthed two treatments that instantly help to firm legs and drain fluid. Head to the Grace Belgravia for the Capri Palace Leg School treatment, or hotfoot it over to the Urban Retreat in Harrods for their Guam Double Body Wrap. A word of warning: expect to shiver through both - both involve a lot of ice, so those results come at a (very cold) price.
7) Get your hands on a massage/serum tool. We’ve mentioned massage before, but the rolling action of a massager combined with a stimulating serum will, over time and with diligence, work wonders. We bank on Exuviance Body Tone Firming Concentrate for its firm rollerballs and for the hyaluronic acid and caffeine serum. Top tip from those in the know: apply it after exercise to supercharge their effect.