It’s spring in the UK and the weather is starting to warm up and soon you’ll want to pop on your shorts and take a seaside holiday or lounge in the garden with your cocktail in hand. But you look in the mirror and notice dimply pockets on your upper thighs where there used to be smooth skin. What’s happening and should you worry? 

Almost every woman has cellulite – and even some men – and whether it means you skip the swimsuit, seek the nearest salon for treatments, or just wear the shorts anyway and not worry, many of us want to know if these cellulite treatments actually work or if they’re just another marketing gimmick. Here are the pros and cons of cellulite treatment. 

What is cellulite?

What is cellulite? 

If your skin ripples on your hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, breasts, and other common areas, you might just have cellulite. Unflatteringly referred to as “cottage cheese” skin or “orange peel” texture, it’s a completely harmless condition that affects 80-90 per cent of women in varying degrees. That’s pretty much everyone!   

When the skin that lies over certain areas of fat pulls down towards the deeper tissues by connective bands, that’s when the uneven surface occurs. Many people try to go to extreme measures to improve the appearance of cellulite via weight loss, exercise, massages, rubbing in various creams, and other medically proven treatments. Results, however, vary and aren’t always long-lasting.

Cellulite may be caused by hormones, poor diet, accumulated toxins, an unhealthy lifestyle, genetics, weight gain, inactivity, and pregnancy. However, it may be caused by none of these since can we really say that only 10 per cent of people have a “healthy” lifestyle and thus don’t have cellulite? It’s common for women to start to notice cellulite around age twenty-five to thirty-five.

cellulite treatments

What cellulite treatments are available?

Since cellulite is really just fat pockets that bulge against your connective tissue, you can’t really control it but there are treatments that may help. You may have to shop around to find the treatment that works for you. If something doesn’t work right away, then you may want to give it chance to work but if it is still not working after a few weeks or months, then try something else as there’s no instant fix or targeted treatment for cellulite that’s an overnight solution.

Without medical intervention, some products do promote skin smoothness, so if you’re going the non-surgical, non-spa treatment route, you’ll want to look for creams that contain caffeine. Caffeine causes the blood vessels to constrict and the fat cells to shrink temporarily. When you add peptides and amino acids to the creams too, then you’ll get increased elasticity and firming too. 

creams and gels

Are there creams and gels that work to reduce cellulite?

You can try body butters like BeautyBio The Sculptor Firming Body Cream (£70), body whips like Coco & Eve Glow Figure Body Moisture Whip (£34.90), something lightweight like Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Body Gel-Cream (£5.98), or a cream mask like Truly Anti-Cellulite Body Mask (£28).

Does body contouring like VelaShape work for cellulite?

Another anti-cellulite option is body contouring like VelaShape, which uses a combination of technologies to contour the body. This option is done in a salon and is for men and women with a BMI less than 30. It’s not a weight-loss treatment and is for contouring trouble spots that diet and exercise don’t touch and it’s for someone who falls under The Nurnberger-Muller Cellulite Classification Stage 1 and 2. On the scale 0 is where the person has no cellulite and 1-2 is where there’s visible cellulite but not at the highest level 3. 

ValaShape works using infrared light and radiofrequency energy to heat the fat cells and connective tissue. It then uses a vacuum and massage rollers to stimulate new collagen and elastin. VelaShape in clinical studies does reduce cellulite and does work but the results only last up to four months and you’ll need regular treatments, which cost around £200 per treatment and you’ll need four to six treatments plus maintenance.

Does liposuction/fat freezing work for cellulite?

The short answer is no because cellulite is not fat. It’s fat coming through connective tissue so you have to solve those problems and sucking out the fat with an expensive liposuction treatment will not work. The same goes for fat freezing. Nothing that simply targets fat will work.

Does Thermage skin tightening treatment work for cellulite?

Thermage is a facial and body treatment that tightens and lifts the skin, stimulating the formation of collagen. The treatments usually last around one to two years. Treatments cost around £2,000 to £3,000. Many claim that Thermage is one of the better non-surgical treatments for cellulite, but it’s very, very expensive.

Thermage skin tightening treatment

The bottom line

There are all sorts of other treatments that have varying success on cellulite like Cellulase, subcision Cellfina, acoustic wave therapy, vacuum-assisted precise tissue release, Carboxytherapy, Ionithermie cellulite reduction treatments, radiofrequency, VelaShape, Thermage, and creams and lotions. They all have varying rates of success and can reduce cellulite if not completely remove it.


What are the pros and cons of various solutions?

The pros of gels and creams is that they are readily available and cheaper than the clinic alternatives, but the results are temporary and some of these creams can be on the pricier side. Visiting spas and clinics can cost you hundreds to thousands of pounds per year and you can get results but the results are not permanent. The bottom line is that no treatment on the market is effective at permanently removing cellulite, which is really unfortunate for those women that worry most about cellulite.

To make you feel a little better, YouTuber and Influencer Stephanie Lang demonstrates how everyone has cellulite, even skinny people and even your favourite celebrities.

But if you do want a cellulite treatment, know that you can only reduce the appearance of cellulite and that cellulite is normal. Cellulite is not harmful or unhealthy. Cellulite can appear more pronounced depending on lighting and angles! And, as you age, you’ll get more cellulite.

taking a dip in swimming pool

The takeaways

Remember before highlighting was a thing? Remember in the 90s where flat bottoms were in and now how curves are in? Fashions change and often the most coveted body types are the ones that only 1% of women actually have and it’s nearly impossible for the 99% of us to get. We are taught what to worry about and cellulite is one of those worries that doesn’t have a permanent solution. It’s better to wear the shorts and enjoy life. Your partner, friends, husband, children, family, and so forth will never describe you as “having cellulite.” They’ll talk about how you have a lovely laugh, a killer sense of style, or how you make the best martinis on a summer’s day. 

Also, remember to be kind to yourself since most magazine images are airbrushed (and even video clips, Instagram images and reels, TikTok videos, YouTube videos and the like are often filtered) and not realistic. Legs are natural and there’s no such thing as perfect. So, this spring and summer, let’s focus on the bits you can control like unwanted body hair removal and breaking out that anti-ageing laser – because these products are proven to work unlike the latest anti-cellulite craze.

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