By Eleanor Langston for FITNESS magazine
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.
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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.
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This puckering can mess with your confidence: In a FITNESS magazine 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. Here's how.
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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.
TRY IT: Real women-tested cellulite creams (that actually work!)
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.
TRY IT: Smooth rough skin from head to toe.
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.
TRY IT: Do this 15-minute cellulite-fighting workout.
Find more better-body tips in the May issue of FITNESS, featuring Sex and the City's Kristin Davis, on newsstands now.
[photo credit: Getty Images]