Bathing suit season is here once again, and for many of us, for the first time in months, our legs, butts and thighs will be displayed in all their glory for all to see.
If you’re like many women, cellulite creams may be first on your list of beauty treatments to try ASAP. But do they work?
Cheryl Wischhover of Refinery29 did a two-month course of treatment with two different topical cellulite-banishing creams to determine their effects.
She worked with Dr. David Bank, a New York-based dermatologist, to document her skin’s appearance and to analyze the results.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the cellulite problem is that we, especially women in our 20s and 30s, have been convinced over the course of decades that cellulite is something to be concerned about, if not downright reviled.
The fact is, it’s totally normal.
According to Dr. Bank, about 90% of post-adolescent women have it at some point in their lives.
On the other hand, confidence in the appearance of our bodies is important.
Often, if you look good, you feel good too.
Whereas overemphasis on physical appearance can at times be detrimental (resulting in body dysmorphia in the worst cases), looking in the mirror and being happy with what you see can be a huge boost to one’s self-esteem.
If slathering on some lotion each day can help to make that dream a reality, more power to you.
The products that Wischhover tried were a bit on the expensive side ($56 for the Mio Shrink to Fit Cellulite Smoother and $64 for the Talika Back Up 3D) but still less expensive (and far less painful!) than laser cellulite treatments would have been.
She slathered one type of cream onto her left thigh and butt twice a day, and the other onto her right side.
Wischhover also followed the directions on the Mio product packaging insert, which indicated that the cream should be massaged vigorously into the skin for twenty seconds with every application (apparently this can help to promote lymphatic drainage, and in turn to reduce the appearance of cellulite).
According to Dr. Bank, neither product that Wischhover tried had the potential to “cure” her cellulite – rather, they were designed to make the skin look better on a temporary basis.
The Mio cream contains caffeine, laminaria, green tea, shea butter and menthol whereas the Talika serum contains various plant extracts, moisturizers, lactic acid and glycolic acid.
The goal of these products is to plump up the surface-layer skin while reducing the swelling of deeper fat cells, reducing the puckering and lumpiness that’s associated with cellulite.
They also help to cut down on excess fluid retention while moisturizing and smoothing the skin.
According to Dr. Bank, subtle smoothing of the skin was noticeable on both sides of the body after two months of treatment, meaning both products had “worked” for Wischhover!
Wischhover said she didn’t notice anything approaching an extreme visual difference herself, though she definitely noticed that the skin on her thighs felt smoother and tighter.
So, are over-the-counter cellulite creams worth a shot?
We think they are if you’re looking to improve the look and health of your skin where cellulite occurs.
Does that mean these creams are a miracle “cure”?
No, but they can’t hurt and improvement of the skin’s overall texture and appearance seems likely.
If you’re looking for which specific products to try, check out our list of the 10 best cellulite creams that we update each year.
Those are the ones that’ll give you the best chance to see some meaningful results!