Cellulite only becomes an important subject to most of us when we realize we have it, and once we do have it then it consumes us to the point that we become conscious in what we wear and even places we go. If you find that you’ve got cellulite, then don’t don’t worry, you’re not alone. (1) According to Dendy Engleman, M.D., a board certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, around 93% of women will be affected by cellulite at some point in their lives and it’s not just those of us who are overweight and prefer a night in front of the television instead of spending hours at the gym who find that dimpled skin on our thighs, stomach and arms.
But as common as cellulite is, there’s also an awful lot of misinformation out there about what it is, what causes it, and how we can get rid of it. So before you go out there and start spending a lot of money on creams and cosmetic procedures, it’s important for you to educate yourself on this subject. Below we’ve compiled some of the most common myths that you are likely to hear about cellulite.
1. Cellulite is caused by toxins in your body
Have you ever read the back of a tube of anti-cellulite cream and read that the cream will help to ‘remove harmful cellulite-causing toxins? This should be taken with a pinch of salt, as there is no scientific evidence that backs up any claims that cellulite is caused by a build up of toxins in the body. Instead, the dimples that we see on people with cellulite are there because the underlying deposits of fat below the skin are being pushed up through the connective tissue (collagen fibers). Cellulite is more prevalent in women, but a lot of men do get it too, and there are a number of reasons why some people get and others don’t, but none of those reason involve a build up of toxins.
2. Cellulite only happens to people who are out-of-shape
Being overweight does make the appearance of cellulite more noticeable; the more fat you have underneath your skin, the more it’s likely to put stress on your connective tissue and bulge out of its weak spots. But cellulite also happens to women of all shapes and sizes, says Shira Ein-Dor, owner of the American Cellulite Reduction Center in New York City. “I even treat Victoria’s Secret models,” she says. “They’re very lean, they work out and eat well, they do everything right but they still have cellulite.”
3. Only women get cellulite
Cellulite affects women far more that men. However, men do get cellulite also. Cellulite, while regarded by many as a type of fat, is nothing more than normal fat underneath the skin pushing against collagen fibers (connective tissue). In women, the connective tissue is arranged in vertical rows, while in men the connective tissue is more closely bound in a latticed pattern. Men’s connective tissue structure has more support, thus resulting in less cellulite. Reports show about 10% of men are affected by cellulite.
4. Cardio is best way to get rid of cellulite
While cardio will help burn fat and keep weight off but it will not help get rid of cellulite. What will help reduce cellulite is strength training and stretch exercises. Building muscle tone, firming skin, and increasing circulation will make a bigger impact on combating cellulite.
5. Skin-firming creams can cure cellulite
Unfortunately, this is can be a MYTH and/or a FACT. There is no data that proves that over-the-counter creams will do anything to improve cellulite. That being said, firming creams and serums are a great way to supplement any workout plan to send dimples back to the only place you want to see them: your face. And while, yes, certain firming creams and serums do tone and tighten your problem areas, Manhattan board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt, lets us know that it can’t be looked at as a permanent solution. “Any cream or serum is a temporary fix. That said, they can work well. If the skin is dry and lifeless, a good moisturizer can help firm it up. Retin-A is thought to help remodel collagen underneath the surface of the skin but it only works when it’s being used.”
6. Liposuction will make get rid off cellulite
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves possible risk and complications. It does not help with cellulite. Liposuction works in the deep fat layers to reduce body measurements by changing the physique.
7. Injectable fillers can help smooth out cellulite
This is true! There are fillers such as Volume, Restylane, and Sculptra that can be used to add volume to cellulite dimples. New York dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, MD, likes to use filler to treat the cellulite on the thighs. Fillers are a temporary solution because they only last several months up to two years depending on the type used.
8. The clothing you wear can help cure cellulite
Wearing compression-style leggings while you exercise can reduce thigh jiggle as you move—but it’s only a temporary effect, says Dr. Karcher, and you’re unlikely to see any change after you strip down post-workout. “For any clothing that claims to actually have lasting results, it’s just a marketing gimmick and it’s not true,” she adds. In fact, for some tight clothes, the opposite may be true: Elastic bands on underwear, for example, can actually contribute to the appearance of cellulite if they cut off circulation and limit blood flow.
9. Cellulite gets worse with age
Hormones also seem to play a role in the appearance of cellulite: as women age, their bodies produce less estrogen—a hormone that helps keep blood vessels flowing smoothly. Less estrogen can mean poorer circulation, which can also mean a decrease in new collagen production and the breakdown of older connective tissue.
10. Genes play a role in cellulite
It’s true that cellulite runs in families; if your mother and grandmother had cellulite, you have a better chance of also developing it. In fact, there’s even a genetic test on the market that can tell you whether you have a gene variant that puts you at higher risk for moderate to severe cellulite—but, considering that most women will develop cellulite in their lifetimes (and the fact that you’ll know it when you see it), it’s not exactly worth its hefty price tag. If you’re not one of the lucky ones with smooth-skinned relatives, take heart: Genetics is only one small part of the cellulite puzzle; factors like diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight also play a role.