The Truth About Cellulite
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. 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.
This puckering can mess with your confidence: In a FITNESS 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. So before you grab that sarong, here’s the skinny on the latest potions that firm.
Cellulite busters aim to help tone your skin and minimize lumps by drawing out excess moisture that can become lodged between bands of collagen. The newest ones also have multiple benefits. FITNESS readers tested them so that you can get the best butt for your buck.
Product: St. Ives Cellulite Shield Gel Creme ($6.99, drugstores)
Mission: Firm and cool
Claim: Laced with cooling menthol and depuffing caffeine, this gel also contains green tea to help soothe your skin.
Reality: “I have tried a few products before, and none worked. But with this, my trouble zones looked tighter after only one week.” — Jennie Blagg, Sherman Oaks, California
Product: Olay Quench Plus Firming Body Lotion ($6.99, drugstores)
Mission: Firm and hydrate
Claim: Ginseng extract in this lightweight product tones your skin, and petrolatum locks in softening moisturizers.
Reality: “I didn’t see a significant change in my cellulite. But I’ll keep using this lotion every day because it makes my skin very soft and keeps it moisturized for hours.” — Beth Prather, Pelham, New York