The Truth About Cellulite

If you're seeing bumps on your behind, you're in good company: About 90 percent of women -- and virtually no men -- have cellulite, fat cells found underneath the top layer of the skin that have squeezed between bands of connective tissue, or collagen, attaching your muscle to your skin. While the structure of women's connective tissue is vertical (like mattress springs), men's collagen is angled, which means that fat cells don't push through and pucker as much. Dermatologists believe that poor circulation, which is primarily genetic (thanks, Mom and Dad!), can exacerbate the look of lumps. "When blood flow slows, collagen separates, allowing fat to come up to the surface of the skin, creating an orange-peel effect," says Howard Murad, MD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Cellulite Solution.

This puckering can mess with your confidence: In a FITNESS survey, readers ranked cellulite as their number-one beauty bummer (above acne, frizzy hair, and wrinkles). Fifty-seven percent of women have worn clothing over their bathing suits to camouflage it, according to a study commissioned by Nivea. While there is no cure (sadly!), derms believe it's possible to temporarily camouflage bumps. So before you grab that sarong, here's the skinny on the latest potions that firm.

Smooth Operators

Cellulite busters aim to help tone your skin and minimize lumps by drawing out excess moisture that can become lodged between bands of collagen. The newest ones also have multiple benefits. FITNESS readers tested them so that you can get the best butt for your buck.

Product: St. Ives Cellulite Shield Gel Creme ($6.99, drugstores)

Mission: Firm and cool
Claim: Laced with cooling menthol and depuffing caffeine, this gel also contains green tea to help soothe your skin.
Reality: "I have tried a few products before, and none worked. But with this, my trouble zones looked tighter after only one week." -- Jennie Blagg, Sherman Oaks, California

Product: Olay Quench Plus Firming Body Lotion ($6.99, drugstores)

Mission: Firm and hydrate
Claim: Ginseng extract in this lightweight product tones your skin, and petrolatum locks in softening moisturizers.
Reality: "I didn't see a significant change in my cellulite. But I'll keep using this lotion every day because it makes my skin very soft and keeps it moisturized for hours." -- Beth Prather, Pelham, New York

Product: Bliss FatGirlSleep ($38,

Mission: Firm and induce sleep
Claim: Packed with calming lavender, this rich concoction uses lotus extract to help make lumps less noticeable.
Reality: "My dimples haven't disappeared, but the skin on my thighs appears somewhat firmer. Every little bit counts! Plus, the formula felt cooling after my nightly bath." -- Hope Teich, Wanaque, New Jersey

Product: Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer ($8.99, drugstores)

Mission: Firm and self-tan
Claim: This lotion helps you build a bronze color gradually and tightens skin with elasticity-boosting ginseng.
Reality: "My thighs look smoother, and the golden brown tan makes my legs and butt look more muscular and toned. I'll be using this cream all summer." -- Angela Vetta, Brookfield, Wisconsin

Product: Rodial Skinny Beach SPF 15 ($49,

Mission: Firm and protect
Claim: This sunscreen's vegetable collagen tones skin, and caffeine and peptides help reduce puckering.
Reality: "Unfortunately I didn't see a difference in my cellulite. But I really like the feel and the light, refreshing fragrance of this cream." -- Cathy Saragosa, Fresno, California

Look Better from Behind

Three simple steps to improve your rear view.

Twice a Day: Slather on Lotion

The tightening effects of anticellulite creams start to diminish after six to eight hours, says Bill Johnson, MD, a cosmetic specialist in Dallas. Apply an additional layer at midday to extend the toning time.

Once a Day: Exfoliate

Creams and gels will penetrate the skin on your butt and thighs more deeply if you slough dead cells first, Dr. Johnson says. Sweep a natural-bristle brush over cellulite-prone areas before you hop into the shower.

Three Times a Week: Stretch It Out

Boosting circulation helps lessen lumps, says Howard Murad, MD. Get blood flow going: Lie on your back and extend legs. Bend your right leg and pull your knee into your chest. Hold 20 seconds; switch legs to do one rep. Repeat twice.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.

Banish Cellulite

Try a Massage

Get a spa-like cellulite treatment at home by using a body brush or washcloth to help boost circulation and break up fatty deposits, says Ann Marie Cilmi, director of education and development for Bliss. Starting below the knee and working up to your thighs, massage skin in a circular motion with gentle pressure (do this on dry, not wet, skin). In the shower, use this massage technique when applying an anti-cellulite scrub that contains stimulating ingredients such as coffee.

Try Von Natur Coffee & Salt Cellulite Body Scrub, $36.50 >>

Consider a High-Tech Cream

While many topical cellulite treatments boast big results, not all of them deliver. But a new one shows promise -- it's chock-full of circulation-improving ingredients like caffeine and cola nut, skin-fiber softeners, and peptides to improve collagen. Seventy-one percent of women who smoothed on Biotherm Celluli Laser High Precision Slimming Treatment for 10 days felt their skin had less of an "orange peel" appearance and was firmer, according to research by the company.

Homemade Coffee Cellulite Scrubs

The first one, from Spa Index is an exfoliation scrub. All you need is:

2 cups of coarsely ground coffee

1/2 cup raw sugar or sea salt

2-3 T massage oil, or olive

Here's what you do:
Mix all ingredients together. Apply in hot shower after your skin is evenly moistened and your pores are open. Using wide, circular motions, rub the coffee mixture onto your skin with strong, even pressure. Rinse off, pat skin dry, and apply a thin layer of your favorite body lotion.

The second coffee rub, from Care2 claims to be a cellulite buster. I have seen many spas offering coffee cellulite treatments, and I don't believe anything like scrubbing your bum with coffee will get rid of the dimples. Cellulite occurs in 50 - 90 % of women regardless of their age or clothing size. But this scrub is an interesting variation on the coffee theme so I am sharing it with you.

Want to see what you need for this one? Then read more

1/4 cup warm used, caffeinated coffee grounds

tablespoon of olive oil


1 roll of plastic wrap

Here's what you do:
Mix coffee and olive oil. Place newspaper on your bathroom floor. Apply coffee mixture to the cellulite area with your hands or a loofah. Some will fall onto the floor, hence the newspaper, you just need a thin layer of the scrub on your skin.

Wrap the area with plastic wrap, and keep it covered for several minutes. This might be a good time to give yourself a pedicure.

When your toe nail polish is dry, or you're just plain bored of hanging out dressed in nothing but coffee and plastic wrap, unwrap yourself and brush off the excess coffee mixture. Shower with warm water.

It is suggested that for best results you should repeat this process twice a week.

Dr. Oz Cellulite Scrub 

During these tough economic times, there is nothing better than learning about budget beauty! You don't have to spend a lot of money on beauty / spa products when all you have to do is look in your own kitchen!

I first learned about the Cellulite Coffee Scrub on the Dr Oz show. A viewer named Jodi came up with this DIY Beauty Scrub. What's interesting is how the scrub works. The caffeine enhances fat metabolism, so when it is applied directly to the skin, coffee absorbs and removes liquid and fat from your skin - thus decreasing the appearance of cellulite.

What You Need

1/2 cup coffee grounds

1/4 cup brown sugar

olive oil

Time Required: 15 Minutes

Here's How:

Apply olive oil to your "problem areas" with cellulite.

Combine the coffee grounds and brown sugar into a bowl. Doing so will create your actual coffee scrub.

Use the coffee scrub on your "problem areas" by moving in circular motions, on top of the olive oil.

Rinse the scrub off in the shower.


1. Expect to do this Cellulite Home Remedy in the shower! This is the easiest way not to make a mess.

You will need to do this a couple of times a week to see any difference, but note that this is not a cure or long term solution.