How To Get Rid of Cellulite in 2020: 8 Tips from Dermatologists

Look, I know you’re here to learn how to get rid of cellulite, but I just gotta say it: No matter how many cellulite creams or scrubs you slather on your body, you can’t actually destroy it at home. That’s because cellulite forms when fat cells beneath your skin (which, BTW, everyone has, regardless of how healthy you eat or how frequently you exercise) push up against your connective tissue, causing your skin to dimple or pucker—and permanently removing it requires an in-office treatment with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. DW, though, I talked to two dermatologists to figure out what you can do.

Can you actually get rid of cellulite?

Well, no—at least not at home.“Think of a button creating a pucker on a couch cushion,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale. “To get rid of the pucker, you have to go deeper and cut the cords.” That said, there are a handful of tips and tricks that help lessen the appearance of cellulite in the short term—and as long as you go into the process with realistic expectations, they’re not a bad place to start.

Do me a favor, though, and pls remember that cellulite is ridiculously common and natural—like 93-percent-of-all-women common, says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having it, loving it, or, yup, wanting to get rid of it. If you fall into the latter, keep reading for Dr. Gohara and Dr. Engelman’s tips for minimizing cellulite at home, including OTC creams, coffee scrubs, and more.

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Start dry brushing to minimize cellulite

The Organic Pharmacy Skin Brush


You know those wooden body brushes you’ve always considered buying? Yeah, they’re kinda clutch if you’re trying to minimize the appearance of your cellulite. “Daily body brushing and massaging can jumpstart lymphatic drainage, which helps to eliminate toxins that can accumulate in the fat layer, leading to inflammation and ultimately more pronounced cellulite,” says Dr. Engelman. 

Pro tip: Dry brushing requires dry skin, so it’s best to try it before you jump in the shower—and don’t forget to slather on a creamy moisturizer when you hop out.


Try a retinol body cream to minimize cellulite

Paula’s Choice Skin-Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment


In addition to regular dry brushing, Dr. Gohara suggests incorporating a retinol body cream into your cellulite-minimizing routine. The collagen-building ingredient works to plump and smooth your skin every time you use it, and this non-greasy, antioxidant-rich formula from Paula’s Choice is a great formula to start with. 

Psst: If you’re applying this bb in the day, just make sure you’re layering it with a healthy coat of SPF (which you already do everyday, right?), since retinol makes your skin extra sensitive to sunburns. 


Use a coffee scrub to minimize cellulite

Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub


If massage nubs aren’t quite your thing, spring for a caffeine-filled body scrub and pay special attention to your cellulite. When used topically, a ground-coffee exfoliant can minimize the appearance of cellulite in two ways: (1) Massaging the scrub along your skin can help stimulate lymphatic drainage, and (2) Coffee contains caffeine, which temporarily tightens and plumps your skin. “Caffeine can also dehydrate fat cells so they deflate, which then makes your cellulite look a little less obvious,” says Dr. Gohara.


Layer on a serum to minimize cellulite

Biotherm Celluli Eraser


PSA: Serums and topical creams can help reduce the look of cellulite, but you definitely shouldn’t expect any miracles. At best, they can help strengthen your skin, making your cellulite a little less noticeable. Dr. Engelman recommends Biotherm Celluli Eraser, which is formulated with caffeine and coralline extract, a marine algae extract that helps minimize fat cells. 


Eat a healthy diet to minimize cellulite

Remember: Your diet isn’t solely responsible for whether or not you have cellulite—but eating healthy definitely won’t hurt, says Dr. Engelman. She suggests watching your sodium intake and eating plenty of fiber and whole grain foods (think: bran and oat cereals), since they help remove waste and toxins from your intestinal tract. Don’t forget to load up on fruits and veggies too.


Drink plenty of water to minimize cellulite

I know, I know—drinking water sounds like such a basic solution, but if you want to minimize the appearance of cellulite, you need plenty of H2O. “You want to stay adequately hydrated, since cellulite can appear worse in a dehydrated state,” says Dr. Engelman. “Dehydration can cause the skin to become thinner and weaken, and when the skin is thin, it tends to show cellulite more.”


Exercise regularly to minimize cellulite

Cellulite aside, it’s obvi a smart idea to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle—whether you hit the gym a few times a week, just take a yoga class when you can, or switch up your commute by jogging or walking. Again, Dr. Gohara suggests keeping in mind that cellulite can be genetic—even if you’re doing your squats and quad exercises every morning.


Try an in-office treatment to get rid of cellulite

If you’re really committed to minimizing your cellulite, it’s worth talking to a dermatologist about your treatment options. The cellulite-blasting technology that dermatologist Arash Akhavan, M.D. recommends? Cellfina, a minimally invasive, FDA-approved treatment that microscopically severs the connective bands that weave throughout the fat in the thighs and buttocks.

“Once the site of the dimple is numbed using a tiny needle, another microscopic device goes in and cuts or shatters the connective cord, so the fibrous bands can’t find each other again,” says Dr. Akhavan. “The good thing about this procedure is you’ll only need to do it once—it’s considered semi-permanent because the results show in as little as three days and are still visible in three years.

Know that this procedure definitely isn’t cheap—Dr. Akhavan suggests talking to your dermatologist or going to a plastic surgeon for a consultation, since the treatment can cost upwards of $5,000, depending on where you live.

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