By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
Dimples on your face? Adorable! On your thighs and butt? Well, not so much.
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Cellulite is a genetic reality for almost 90 percent of women, which is why we're always intrigued and -- we'll admit it -- tempted by products such as these Turbocell Leggings. The manufacturer claims the compression technology will "micro-massage" away cellulite, reducing dimples by 20 percent and taking 2 inches off your thighs and butt.
The catch: You must wear the leggings eight hours a day, for eight weeks. And could they possibly work anyway? To find out if they're brilliant or bogus, we spoke to two leading cellulite experts.
The first thing to understand is what, exactly, cellulite is.
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"If you imagine your skin... under that skin is a subcutaneous fatty layer and the next layer is the fascia, a shiny surface that overlies the muscle," says Barry M. Weintraub, MD, spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "From the back of the skin, going through the fat and attaching to the fascia layer are bands called fibrous bands. Those fibrous bands keep the skin sitting where it needs to be."
When you gain weight, the number of fat cells don't increase (you're born with a set number), rather the size of the cells increase so they can store more fat in the individual cell. This pushes everything up around the back of the band, which can cause a dimple.
So, could the leggings be a magic bullet?
"I'm skeptical that a woman who spends eight weeks in these leggings will be pleased with the results she sees, especially in the long term," says Mitch Chasin, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body in Bridgewater, New Jersey. "It takes a lot of thermal energy to create any lasting effects on the appearance of cellulite and there's no way the leggings will provide that.
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"It reminds me of how women used to wrap their legs in cellophane to trap the heat of the body and reduce the appearance of cellulite. While it works, the benefits are extremely temporary -- we're talking hours -- because there is no remodeling of the structure under the skin."
We are equally skeptical and, as a side note, can't imagine wearing leggings eight hours a day for eight weeks. So what can women do to ditch dimples?
While we are generally not fans of cosmetic surgery, it's true that when it comes to cellulite, lipo, lasers and fillers are the most effective treatments. That said, we'd rather go the less invasive (and much cheaper!) route, opting for au natural strategies for reducing the appearance of cellulite and preventing dimples in the first place.
1. Eat Smart. Stick to a diet of 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day, per your doctor's recommendation. Dr. Weintraub recommends drinking one or two glasses of water before meals, so you feel slightly full and are less likely to eat more than a sensible portion size.
Related: Click here to build your ultimate meal plan
2. Exercise. Cardio is especially important for burning fat and preventing bumpage. "If your leg muscles are toned, it keeps your skin looking great," says Weintraub. "Cardiovascular exercise pushes blood to your skin, laying down elastin and collagen so skin hugs you closer." Here's a fantastic anti-cellulite workout that blends strength and cardio to burn fat and build skin-tightening muscle.
3. Wear sunscreen, and self-tanner. Obviously, premature aging and wrinkles are only going to increase the appearance of cellulite. So, there's reason No. 450 to slather on the sunscreen. In addition, find a good self-tanner, which makes your skin tone darker and more even and may camouflage the shadows created by cellulite's peaks and valleys. A SELF-tested favorite: Nivea Sun-Kissed Firming Moisturizer, which is only about $8 at your local drug store. For best results, start at your ankles and sweep upward to your thighs and butt, massaging as you go. See more of our favorite beauty products here.
Do you have any secrets for dealing with cellulite?
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio