Cellulite is the dimpled, orange-peel skin that results when fat cells break free from the sub dermal layer and push up into the dermis, the layer of tissue just under your skin’s surface. Collagen breakdown drives cellulite formation, but the good news is that you can heal your cellulite naturally. The main steps are: 1. Repairing cell damage 2. Regenerating collagen 3. Improving circulation 4. Releasing the ‘tethering’ of fibrous cords 5. Reducing body fat.
In “The Cellulite Solution,” Dr. Howard Murad, named one of America’s top dermatologists by Vogue, details how cell wall damage causes leaks, leading to cell dehydration. Dehydrated cells cannot create the strong skin needed to hold fat cells in place, so we need to repair our cell walls to start to heal cellulite. Start with an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplement. Dr. Murad recommends 1000 mg of fish oil 2x/day. You can also add lecithin in the form of eggs, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, apples and oranges to your diet to further strengthen your cell walls.
Regenerating damaged collagen will significantly reduce the appearance of cellulite, as this study shows. Eating more antioxidants will help prevent collagen breakdown by “…reducing the concentration of free radicals…” (Anderson). Some key antioxidants are: vitamin A, found in carrots + other yellow/orange fruits + veggies, vitamin C in citrus and goji berries and polyphenols in green tea and pomegranates. And adding bone broth to your diet builds strong connective tissue according to nutritionist Dr. Kaayla Daniel. If you don’t like bone broth, she suggests adding collagen peptides to whatever you are consuming, whether its tea, coffee, soup or stew.
Supplements for collagen regeneration
A collagen peptide study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2013, revealed that women who took 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed peptides once/day for 8 weeks increased their pro-collagen I levels by 65%, and had greater skin elasticity for 4 weeks after stopping. This means that “…these bioactive peptides are activating the body’s own…processes by signalling fibroblasts to make more collagen” says study lead Steffen Oesser, PhD, Collagen Research Institute, Kiel, Germany. He advises us to seek supplements with studies supporting them, and to look for hydrolyzed collagen for better absorption. Some brands to consider (according to Elle) are: Reserveage, Beauty Scoop (backed by 10 yrs of clinical tests) and Biocyte, a popular French brand. Lastly, in order to metabolize the EFAs, lecithin and collagen into healthy connective tissue, we need a daily multivitamin B complex with “…at least 100% of the daily value (DV) for all 8 of the B vitamins (Murad, p. 48) and a multimineral supplement that has 100% of the DV of minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and iodine (Murad, p.49).
In addition to changing your diet + supplementation, exfoliation also helps to regenerate collagen as “…creating mild irritation for your skin triggers…healing” and “fibroblasts…begin to synthesize collagen fibers.” (Dr. JoDee Anderson, “Understanding + Healing Cellulite,” freshfacesrx.com, Nov 2017). Dry brushing is an excellent way to not only exfoliate, but also to encourage lymphatic drainage and improve circulation, which also happens to be the 3rd major part of our cellulite treatment plan.
Repair Damaged Blood Vessels
The first step to improving circulation is to repair damaged blood vessels so that they can carry nutrients all the way to the top layers of our skin so that we can rebuild the healthy dermis needed to keep fat cells in place. In order to repair damaged blood vessels, we need amino acids, as they are the building blocks of collagen and elastin, which is what our blood vessels are made of (Murad, p.43). You can increase your amino acid intake by eating beans, nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits (Murad, p. 47).
Once we’ve added more amino acids to our diet we can further improve circulation through body rolling. There are 2 main schools of rolling: body rolling and foam rolling. Body rolling was created by Yamuna Zake 30+ years ago. Yamuna Body Rolling, (YBR) uses balls to roll out the muscles + fascia to create a healthy, well-aligned body. Foam rolling uses a cylindrical roller to roll out the body, and one of its most popular practitioners is Lauren Roxburgh, She suggests pairing rollouts with dry brushing, says that foam rolling can “help reduce cellulite…by addressing the connective tissue…you’re bringing in circulation, you’re smoothing out that density…” (“Foam Rolling Can Help Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite,”people.com, Jan 2017). And in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, physiotherapist Satoshi Suzuki states that “YBR can also be used clinically to improve …circulatory…system functions.”(The Theory & Technique of Yamuna Body Rolling,” Sept 2013). While Yamuna Zake makes no claims that YBR improves cellulite, many YBR devotees say that it does. So which system is better? Ultimately, it’s all about what works for you. For more info, check out: yamunausa.com and laurenroxburgh.com.
Release ‘tethering’ of fibrous bands
YBR + foam rolling also help with the 4th part of our cellulite healing plan: releasing the tethering of fibrous cords. These fibrous bands are called septae, and they connect the skin above the top fat layer to parallel tissues in the lower layers of fat. “MRIs show that the vertical fibers correspond to depressions in the skin’s surface” (“The Cellulite Cure?” Laurie Drake, prevention.com, Nov 2011). Rolling helps by providing a “…low-load, gentle pressure applied slowly over an area…to elongate the fascia and connective tissue.” (“What is Cellulite + Can It Go Away?”, Dr.Mercola, fitness.mercola.com, Feb 2017).) The key with rolling is to do it consistently and to be realistic – it is not likely to eliminate cellulite, but it can significantly reduce its appearance.
The last part of our plan is to reduce fat. While diet + exercise alone cannot reduce cellulite significantly, it’s still important to get rid of fat as “…analysis suggests that fat globules retract out of the dermis with weight loss” (Rawlings AV, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, June 2006). Exercise and diet are the best ways to reduce body fat, and strength training could be the key. Leslie Baumann, a dermatology professor at U of Miami, says that she never wore shorts due to cellulite. But she started working out with “…an hour of weights on the machines and 30 to 45 minutes of cardio 3-4 times per week for 2 years,” she is now 2 sizes smaller and wears shorts (prevention.com, Nov 2011). Baumann’s story suggests that building muscle could be more important than cardio when it comes to cellulite reduction, as she spent more time on weights than cardio.
In conclusion, both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that DIY natural methods are not only practical, (compared to expensive clinical treatments) but also effective, especially when implemented together as a holistic plan. Through a diet focusing on collagen, lecithin, antioxidants and amino acids, exercise involving body or foam rolling paired with dry brushing + strength training, and supplementation with EFAs, hydrolyzed collagen peptides and a B complex + multimineral supplement, you really can heal your cellulite naturally.
Heal Your Cellulite Shopping List
- Fish Oil, for Essential Fatty Acids/EFAs – 1000 mg
- Organic Bone broth
- Hydrolyzed Collagen peptides (Beauty Scoop, Reserveage, or BioCyte are some suggestions)
- B complex (with at least 100% of the Daily Value of all 8 B vitamins)
- Multi mineral supplement (with at least 100% of the DV of minerals like magnesium, iron zinc, copper + iodine)
- Antioxidants like green tea and pomegranates (polyphenols) and carrots and orange/yellow fruits + veggies for vitamin A, citrus and goji berries for vitamin C
- Direct sources of amino acids such as: beans, nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits