How To Get Rid of Cellulite Without Expensive Treatments

Cellulaze Works, But A Clean Diet, Skin Brushing and Exercise Can Help

Stomach with cellulite
••• Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Do you want to get rid of the dreaded cellulite -- also known as “cottage cheese thighs?” You’re not alone. Ninety percent of women have cellulite, according to Howard Murad, M.D., author of The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor's Program for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples, and Stretch Marks. Getting rid of cellulite is women's #1 beauty issue.

What Is Cellulite? And Can I Really Get Rid of It?

Cellulite is a concentrated collection of fat cells that have bulged into the skin's middle layer, where they pull on connective tissue to create an unattractive, dimpled skin surface.

Until recently, the conventional medical wisdom was that nothing could be done to get rid of cellulite.

That has changed with a new laser treatment called Cellulaze, which can get rid of cellulite surgically. The results are impressive, but the procedure is expensive -- typically $5,000 to $7,000, according to Cynosure, the company that makes the machine.  But it's not the only option available.  There are many things you can do to get rid of cellulite yourself.

If you don't want the expense, invasiveness or inconvenience of Cellulaze, there are things you can do to get rid of cellulite yourself, according to Dr. Murad, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at University of California. Cellulite progresses through four stages and the sooner you begin to treat your cellulite, the more success you will have.

To get rid of cellulite, Dr. Murad says you need to strengthen and hydrate your body's cells and the connective tissue in your body.

Cellulite may not disappear altogether, but it should diminish if you make important lifestyle changes. 

Lifestyle Changes That Help Get Rid of Cellulite

  • Avoid toxins like excessive alcohol and cigarettes, which put a burden on your body's lymphatic system. This is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health, AND it helps get rid of cellulite.
  • Improve your eating habits.. This means eating lots of leafy greens and fruit. Organic food is better because it contains fewer toxins like pesticides.
  • Avoid junk food, diet soda, processed foods, artificial colors and flavors, and saturated fats such as butter and animal fats. Limit sugar and salt, which aggravate fluid retention. A trip to a detox spa or a health spa can help you make some of these changes.
  • Drink a lot of water to hydrate your body and flush out toxins. Eight to ten glasses a day are recommended.
  • Brush your skin daily, preferably before bathing. The best is a Tampico Skin Brush made with natural agave plant fiber. This simple technique stimulates blood and lymph flow, removes dead skin cells and encourages new cell growth. Skin brushing is also inexpensive. You can get a good quality body brush for $6-$8.
  • Take Glucosamine supplements, which helps your body repair the dermis and connective tissue, an effective cellulite treatment.
  • Maintain your healthiest weight. Yo-yo dieting can aggravate cellulite.
  • Finish your daily shower with a cool rinse to tone your skin.
  • Bathe in a comfortable, warm (not too hot!) seaweed bath to re-mineralize and increase circulation, ideally three times a week. Spa Technologies Sea Cal is the high-quality product .
  • If the cellulite is severe, avoid high-pressure massage so as not to damage lymphatic function and micro-circulation. Also avoid high-impact exercise.
  • Apply an essential oil blend designed to stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems to the back of your knees and at the top of your thighs near your bikini line. Naturopathica Deep Forest Bath and Body Oil is a good one. 
  • Manual lymph drainage massage is considered to be a beneficial treatment for cellulite.

While regular treatment cannot completely rid the body of cellulite, especially as it gets more advanced, it can help prevent further deterioration of the tissues and reduce both pain and swelling.

Will Creams Get Rid of Cellulite?

Most anti-cellulite creams have caffeine, which dehydrates the skin. This tightens and firms the skin for a temporary improvement in appearance.

So it's not actually getting rid of the cellulite, just changing the way your skin looks, which can be a plus in bathing suit season. Cellulite-fighting creams are expensive, and there have been many disappointed consumers. But if you want to try this, look for a cellulite cream with 5% caffeine.

The newest cellulite-fighting ingredient is aminophylline, which helps break down fat in cells so it can burn easier. One of the better reviewed products, with aminophylline and caffeine, is Procellix.  

What Definitely Won't Get Rid of Cellulite?

  • Getting traditional liposuction won't get rid of cellulite. In fact, it might make the problem more noticeable.
  • Body wraps that promise to reduce the diameter of your thigh by one inch work by compressing the tissue. They're a good choice for a big night out, but they don't get rid of cellulite.
  • Using detox foot pads. The moisture itself turns them dark, not toxins leaving your body.