Cellulite is the dimpled-looking skin that commonly occurs in the thigh region. It forms when fatty tissue deep in the skin pushes up against connective tissue.
It’s estimated that more than 85 percent of all women 21 years and older have cellulite. It’s not as common in men.
Cellulite can develop on the thighs because the area naturally has more fatty tissue. Other risk factors for the development of cellulite include:
- family history
- tissue inflammation
- increased fatty tissue caused by weight gain
- loss of collagen
- poor circulation (a common issue in the legs)
- poor lymphatic drainage
- thinning epidermis (outer layer of skin)
In terms of your overall health, there’s nothing wrong with having cellulite. However, many people wish to reduce its appearance.
There are a number of home remedies and exercises that promise to do just that, but the key is to determine whether these solutions really live up to the hype.
Here are some home remedies that may help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
One promising remedy is massage. This can be done at home or with the help of a professional massage therapist.
Massage may reduce cellulite by improving lymphatic drainage. It can also help stretch your skin tissue. This may help stretch out cellulite dimples, too.
Massage creams offer the same benefits, but the key component is the massaging process. You can’t apply a cream and expect the cellulite to go away by itself.
Also, know that just one massage won’t help when it comes to cellulite. You need to repeat the process consistently to achieve and maintain your desired results.
Bioactive collagen peptides
You may already be wary of the promises that supplement manufacturers make about changing your body via quick fixes.
Participants took the daily oral supplement for 6 months. Overall, there was a noted decrease in cellulite on their thighs. Improvement was seen in both women with a moderate and higher weight, but those with a moderate weight saw the most improvement.
While the results are interesting, more studies are needed to back any supplement’s role in cellulite improvement.
Drink more water
Drinking water is another low-cost option that may help with cellulite. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but water helps encourage circulation and lymphatic flow.
Weight loss might also help some people with overweight and obesity reduce cellulite. Losing excess body fat may naturally reduce the appearance of cellulite.
However, anyone at any weight can have cellulite. It’s not restricted to just those who have overweight or obesity.
If you do want to lose weight or tone your muscles, you may find that a healthy diet and exercise can help reduce cellulite on your thighs. Consider some of the exercises below.
Certain leg and glute exercises may help tighten the skin around the thigh region. In turn, you may also see a reduction in cellulite.
While exercise isn’t a foolproof way to get rid of cellulite on the thighs, stronger muscles and tighter skin may reduce its appearance.
Here are some exercises you might want to try.
To perform a squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure your toes are pointed forward.
- Lower your glutes as if you were sitting in a chair, ensuring your knees don’t go over your toes.
- Squeeze your glutes as you rise to the starting position, and then repeat.
This is a step beyond the regular squat with the added challenge of a jump at the end:
- Perform a regular squat.
- As you stand back up to the starting position, speed up slightly and jump.
- Try to land as softly as you can on your feet. Repeat.
- Stand in front of a bench or sturdy exercise box.
- Step up on the box, one foot at a time.
- Step back down in the same pattern.
- Get in an all-fours position in the floor.
- Kick one leg back behind you, engaging your glutes and upper thighs.
- Lower your leg and repeat on the other leg.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a wide step out to one side. Bend your knee as you push your hips back. Keep both feet flat on the floor throughout the lunge.
- Push off with the same leg to return to the starting position.
- Repeat with other side.
Each of the exercises above allows you to use your body weight to your advantage. You can also incorporate handheld weights and barbells as you see fit.
Do 12 to 15 repetitions at a time. You can increase the weights or repetitions as you get stronger.
Be sure to stretch before and after exercise to prevent muscle strains.
Aim for 2 to 3 sessions per week, 30 minutes at a time.
Rather than focus on one single exercise, aim for a regular workout routine that combines aerobic exercises and strength training. Aerobic activities help you burn fat, while strength exercises build muscle and help with overall skin elasticity.
Combined, all these factors may help improve thigh cellulite.
Some aerobic exercises that can help burn fat include:
The key here is to find an activity you actually enjoy and stick with it.
If you’re new to exercising, be sure to double-check with your doctor first before getting started.
There’s no way to prevent cellulite, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. It’s a very common condition. The risk increases with age and certain lifestyle factors.
Although you can’t control your age, you can make some changes to your lifestyle that may help reduce the amount of cellulite on your thighs. These changes can include things like regular exercise and a nutritious diet.
Talk to your dermatologist if you’re interested in professional procedures to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Some treatments, such as laser therapy, may help but won’t fully erase cellulite on your thighs.
If you don’t already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
Also important: Know that results from any remedy or procedure aren’t permanent. You’ll likely have to repeat the process to continually reduce the appearance of thigh cellulite.