3 Tricks That’ll Help Get Rid of Cellulite

Those dreaded dimples are sapping your confidence-here's how to dealThose dreaded dimples are sapping your confidence-here's how to dealOn your cheeks, dimples are perfectly fine-cute even. On your thighs? Not so much--especially during short-shorts season. But cellulite is more than just a bummer; it can also be a major blow to your self-esteem. Women who have cellulite think they're less attractive than women without cellulite, according to a new Harris Poll commissioned by Cynosure Inc, a cosmetic, aesthetic, and medical laser company.

Harris Interactive surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. women above the age of 18. Out of the women who admitted to having cellulite (40 percent, for the record), 90 percent were bothered by the condition. Of the women who reported feeling insecure due to their cellulite, 76 percent also said that it makes them feel unattractive.

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So what is cellulite exactly? Basically, the layer of fat beneath your skin gets squished and squeezed by bands of collagen, fibrous connective tissues that are arranged in a manner that makes bits of fat pop out and up, resulting in the dimpled appearance, says Alicia D. Zalka, MD, a Yale-affiliated dermatologist and founder of Surface-Deep.com. Being overweight isn't the culprit behind spongy-looking thighs, though having more body fat might make it appear worse, she says. Genetics, inflammation, and hormonal fluctuations due to having your period or aging can all make cellulite worse, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Cellulaze, a procedure offered by the company that commissioned the study, is the only FDA-approved cure for cellulite. Cellulaze involves inserting a tiny laser under the skin to break down the actual structure of cellulite, says Barry DiBernardo, MD, director of New Jersey Plastic Surgery in Montclair, NJ, and one of the lead clinical investigators affiliated with Cynosure. The procedure can be pricy--anywhere from $300 to $8,000, depending on how large the treatment area is--but you only need to do it once to see results. About three months post-treatment, you should have noticeably smoother skin, and about six months post-treatment, you shouldn't see any cellulite at all, says DiBernardo.

If you can't shell out $300 (or more) right now, there are some strategies that'll temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Try these stay-smooth tactics:

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Apply topical exfoliants and creams
Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin can make dimpling look worse, says Zeichner. The easy fix: Exfoliate to buff your skin so it looks as smooth as possible. Certain creams are also designed to minimize the appearance of cellulite. Look for ones that contain caffeine since it can shrink fat cells by dehydrating them. You may also want to consider using a topical retinoid: It'll boost collagen growth and repair damaged collagen, plumping up your skin to minimize the quilted appearance, says Zalka.

Be OCD about sunscreen

UV rays can damage collagen, which ultimately makes cellulite more apparent, says Zeichner. Wear SPF daily to protect your skin. Creams containing antioxidants can also help since they can reduce UV-induced collagen damage, resulting in healthier-looking, stronger skin, says Zalka.

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Eat well--and exercise regularly
Loading up on veggies and hitting the treadmill won't actually get rid of cellulite, but dimples are much less noticeable on toned legs, says Zeichner. Plus, maintaining your weight through exercise and a healthy diet will help keep skin in top, taut shape. Zalka also recommends indulging in a massage: Stimulating blood flow will temporarily smooth out rumpled skin.

By Alexandra Duron, Women's Health

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