When it comes to cellulite, there is far more acceptance surrounding this‘imperfection’ than there was just a few years back thanks to the plethora of body positivity movements that have started online. Simply go onto Instagram and you can easily find a collection of inspiring images of models and everyday women proudly showing off their cellulite in untouched photos. However, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to seek cellulite removal treatments should you wish to: the choice is entirely yours. With that, here is what you should know before heading to a clinic.

What is cellulite and where does it occur?

Cellulite looks like uneven, bumpy or dimpled skin that is often said to resemble cottage cheese. It is not harmful, and the skin will usually be the same colour as surrounding areas- it should not normally be red or irritated. Common areas of your body to have cellulite are the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks and breasts; areas where there is a high concentration of fatty tissues.

What causes cellulite?

It is caused by a build-up of fat underneath the skin. It tends to be more common in women than men because of the different distribution of fat, muscle and connective tissue in the body. It is thought to affect up to 90% of women in varying degrees. It also tends to become more visible as you age because the skin thins and loses a certain degree of its elasticity, exposing cellulite that is already there.Causes of cellulite can include hormonal factors, diet and exercise, weight gain, pregnancy and genetic predisposition. Cellulite can affect people of all body weights, although it tends to be more noticeable in those who are heavier.

Can diet and exercise cure cellulite?

It is impossible to ever fully rid yourself of cellulite, but you may be able to reduce its appearance. Because it is the external effects of uneven fat beneath the skin, it makes sense that losing fat from your body will minimise its appearance. Strength training is particularly effective, especially when combined with cardio exercises and a healthy diet. However, this is mainly because it sculpts muscles, rather than simply banishing fat. In fact, simply removing the fat isn’t proven to work – liposuction can actually make cellulite more noticeable!

Are cellulite creams effective?

There are many products available to buy which claim to be miracle creams that will banish cellulite for good – we would recommend taking these promises with a pinch of salt. Since celliulite is caused by a build-up of fat in the lower levels of the skin, it is unlikely that any topical treatment would penetrate deep enough to actually solve cellulite. Some may temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, by replenishing moisture on the skin’s surface, increasing blood flow to the area, or thickening the outer layer of skin.

What other treatments are available?

There are a number of different anti cellulite treatment methods which are designed to target the deeper tissue and may be a more effective approach for diminishing the appearance of cellulite. These treatments use a variety of different technologies including radiofrequency, acoustic wavelengths, vibrations and lasers, as well asvacuum aspiration, injectable solutions and lymphatic drainage.

What is most suitable for you will depend on your body type, the extent of your cellulite and where on your body it is located. You should always properly research the risks involved in any treatment and make sure that you only entrust your treatment to a professional practitioner who has the necessary training or qualifications, especially in the case of injectable treatments.