Anti-cellulite treatments that work

Decoding Anti-Cellulite “Cures": What Works, What is BS?

Here’s the thing: pretty much every woman has cellulite (a whopping 93% of us!). But just because it’s common - and it’s really not linked to poor health or weight problems - doesn’t mean that we don’t want to do something about it.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, either! That said, we don’t want you to get fooled into buying a “miracle cellulite buster” that really doesn’t work.

Here’s what you should know. 

First Thing’s First: What Is Cellulite?

No, cellulite isn’t just bumpy fat sitting under the surface of the skin.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually created when fibrous septae (membranes that connect the skin to the underlying connective tissue) pull down on fat cells, trapping fat in pockets.

These pockets create the cellulite dimples that you see on the skin’s surface.

So why do we see it more often in women? Well, in women, fat cells and connective tissue in this layer of the skin are arranged vertically, which makes cellulite appear more easily. In men, conversely, the tissue has a criss-cross structure - and fat is less likely to peak through.

But Not Everyone Has Cellulite - What Gives?

Whether or not you have this often unwelcome feature often traces back to genetics and hormones.Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin all have a say in cellulite formation - and even hormonal changes like irregular periods or birth control can influence skin tightness, making cellulite more or less pronounced over time.

And no, your chances of cellulite don’t really change based on your size. Anyone can develop the divots that cause this condition - they just may not be as noticeable on a smaller body.

What Anti-Cellulite Products (If Any) Really Work?

In any case, there are tons of products and procedures on the market that claim to blast cellulite and lead to supple, smooth, lump-free skin. Here’s what you should know about all of these products and claims.

Creams, Serums, and Scrubs

anti-cellulite creams, serums caffeine vitamin A

The products:

The companies behind these various lotions and potions claim that the active ingredients in these products will deliver major dimple-diminishing results.

The science:

Many of these products do provide real, temporary solutions. Specifically, there are two key ingredients that can actually create the look of smoother skin: caffeine and vitamin A derivatives.

Caffeine, on one hand, temporarily tightens skin and constricts the blood vessels, closing the space between the connective tissues and, essentially, not allowing the fat to push through. It can also dehydrate fat cells, which can temporarily decrease the noticeability of any dimpling.

Vitamin A,on the other hand, aims to increase collagen production to prevent fat from pushing through that connective tissue.

That said, caffeine can take a few weeks to start taking effect and vitamin A will likely require six months of continuous use before you see results.

The final verdict:

Again, caffeine and vitamin A-rich products do provide temporary solutions (and the massage that you give yourself when you apply them certainly doesn’t hurt).

That said, if you want major, game-changing, instant, or permanent results, then this may not be the way to go.

Fasciablasters and Cellulite Rollers

fascia blaster anti-cellulite treatment

The products:

These are spiked rollers that you’re supposed to massage yourself with to decrease the appearance of cellulite. The idea behind it is that you’ll drain the lymphatic fluid that collects dimples and create a smoother appearance.

The science:

Well, any massage does increase circulation and drain built-up fluids, so in this sense these products do help.

Plus, these tools are designed to intentionally damage fat cells with the hopes that they’ll heal with improved distribution and a smoother appearance.

The final verdict:

It’ll work, but even if you use it from 5-20 minutes a day, it’ll take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to start noticing significant changes.

In-Office Treatments

The products:

There are a few treatments and therapies that you can find, including:

  • Acoustic wave therapy
  • Radiofrequency therapy like Thermage, Venus Legacy, or Exilis Ultra 360
  • Cellulaze laser skin treatment
  • Carboxytherapy
  • Cellfina

The science:

Acoustic wave therapy

This treatment uses compressed air to create vibrations below the skin’s surface. These are meant to break down connective tissue and restructure collagen.

Radiofrequency therapy

These treatments heat and massage skin to break apart septae, tighten skin surface, and massage the skin. It works for a short time, but the skin will always go back so repeat treatments are required.


Cellulaze involves inserting a small laser probe under the skin to blast away the fibrous septae and kickstart collagen production during the healing process. It’ll take a few treatments, but results can last for six months to a year.


Carboxytherapy works similarly to Cellulaze, but it uses carbon dioxide gas rather than lasers to achieve the same effect. It’ll take a few treatments, but results can last for six months to a year.


This procedure involves a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon inserting a needle and physically snapping those fibrous septae. It only requires one treatment, and results can last for 2-3 years.

The final verdict:

While none of these procedures can permanentlysolve the problem, many of them can provide semi-permanent results with fairly minimal downtime. It all depends on your budget and your overall goals.