In this day and age, there are many wondrous creams for everything you might be struggling with.

However, we’re not often sure whether they are truly the panacea they claim to be.

The same goes for cellulite creams – many claim that theirs is the one that will finally help you get rid of the so-called “orange peel” or, as it’s sometimes called, “cottage cheese” skin.

(We simply don’t know which one of those names is worse.)

But how realistic are those claims? Are there, in fact, creams that can rid you of this skin condition? Let’s find out.

What Is Cellulite?

Cellulite infographic

As with a lot of other things, cellulite has become the it word of the century (both the last one and this one, to be honest).

After all, it is something that can mostly be seen on the skin right off the bat.

But what, actually, is cellulite?

Cellulite is a skin condition that is quite common. Now, when we say skin condition, we don’t mean something harmful. Cellulite is not harmful, no matter how much some companies may try to convince you.

Cellulite is, in fact, extremely common. Estimates for the percentage of people (especially women) who have it range anywhere from 80 to 98 percent.

And whatever people tell you, cellulite, in fact, does not have all that much to do with weight, also. While weight is a factor, there are many more that actually cause the appearance of cellulite.

Usually, cellulite is caused by the following:

  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • An unhealthy lifestyle (including a poor diet, inactivity)
  • Accumulated toxins
  • Pregnancy

It is more prevalent in women than in men due to the different distribution of fat, muscle and connective tissue. It usually appears on certain parts of your stomach, hips, legs and buttocks. It is caused by a buildup of fat underneath the skin. And that is what causes that lumpy, dimpled flesh.

Basically, underneath the top layers of the skin, there are fat cells that store excess energy. Between these fat cells, there are bands of connective tissue, which connect the top layers of your skin to the deeper tissue. So, these bands create mini pockets where normal-sized fat cells can reside. When they expand, these pockets bulge and create a small bump on the top layer of the skin. However, since the bands remain tied to deeper tissue, this gives your skin the valley appearance next to the bump.

There you have it – bump + valley = cellulite.

Now, there is even a severity scale for cellulite (yes, even that has been invented). There is Grade 1, or mild cellulite, when the skin has the “orange-peel” appearance and a bit of a sag, with 1-4 superficial depressions. Then, there is Grade 2, or moderate, “cottage cheese,” as it is also called, when there are 5-9 medium depth depressions. Grade 3 – “severe” cellulite has 10 or more deep depressions and the skin is quite severely draped.

Prevention of Cellulite

Hey, as they say – better safe than sorry.

While cellulite is quite common, there are a few ways you can minimize its appearance and even prevent it.

First of all, if you want to prevent cellulite from appearing, you most definitely have to start eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight. Mind you, a healthy body weight does not necessarily mean being extra thin (and, as you already probably know, some quite thin people also have cellulite).  

Woman running on beach

Also, some great muscle toning exercises for the “critical areas” can be of immense help. If you can, ask a fitness coach for some exercises that will focus on your belly, thighs and buttocks. This might not completely remove cellulite, but it will most definitely make it less visible.

However, if you are overweight, there is a double-edged sword hiding there. In some cases, weight loss contributes to the reduction of cellulite. In others, it actually increases the visibility of cellulite. That is why it is important to lose weight in a healthy manner, with combined diet and exercise for the best result. If you lose weight that way, you will reduce the chances of cellulite appearing.

A good way to prevent cellulite is to take care of the overall state of your skin. If you smoke, that is one habit that is generally extremely bad for your skin (in more ways than one), and you’d do well on many fronts to simply quit. Eat a healthy diet, full of nutrients good for the skin and, most importantly, use sunscreen properly.

Cellulite Creams – Yay or Nay?

Well, when it comes to their effectiveness – that depends on what you believe to be effective.

Some believe that a cream can be considered effective only if it completely gets rid of their cellulite. Others believe it to be effective when it reduces its visibility.

In general, most experts will agree that cellulite creams cannot rid you of cellulite entirely.

But that doesn’t mean they’re worthless – they can help by making it less evident.

Sooo, it basically depends on how you look at the situation, doesn’t it?

Which Ingredients Are the Most Effective?

If you’re looking for ingredients that will completely remove your cellulite – you’re out of luck. Not even experts know of such things.

They do know this – reducing the appearance of cellulite has much to do with the appearance of the top layer of the skin.

The trick is to create the look of smoother skin. And that is mostly done with these ingredients – caffeine and retinoids and retinol.

Be mindful, however, that these are also temporary, i.e. while they may work for the time being, they will not completely alter your skin unless you use them diligently.

Woman applying cream to legs

For instance, caffeine causes the skin to temporarily tighten and the blood vessels to constrict. That means there is not enough space between the connective tissue for the fat to push through. Also, some experts believe that caffeine can dehydrate those fat cells underneath the skin and reduce the size of the dimples. Again, if you’re considering using a cellulite cream based on caffeine, like with any other product, you might want to use it for several weeks if you want to see any effect.

On the other hand, retinoids and retinol are meant to increase the collagen production of your skin, which can also prevent fat from pushing through that connective tissue. However, unlike with caffeine, retinol and retinoid products need more time to “come through,” so to speak. You might even need to use a cream for six months continuously in order to see some results.

But, while these two ingredients are the best we’ve got so far, most experts agree that it is the act of rubbing, i.e. massaging, and not the ingredients themselves, that makes the most difference. Apparently, massages stimulate blood flow and lymphatic draining, and that is why your skin will usually look smoother after applying a cream.

Best Reviews for Cellulite Creams

Now, while experts are a bit dubious regarding the overall success of cellulite creams, people will disagree vehemently when it comes to some of their favorite creams. There actually are some creams that have received good enough reviews to earn quite a following.

Hey, miracles do happen sometimes.

Just make sure to carefully explore the options available to see what suits you best. Remember, we are all unique in a way, and this also applies to our skin. So explore and check to see which brand and cream might be the best for you.

Here are some cellulite creams with the best reviews from users.

1) Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Gel-Cream

Now, this cream gets great reviews not only for its work on cellulite, but also (which is quite surprising) – for its exceptional work on the skin of the face and neck!

It’s quite versatile, this one.

When it comes to creams, Nivea is truly a pioneer and a revolutionary brand. They do try to meet popular demand and to respond to what people need, so it’s not really surprising that they have managed to do so with this cream.

It is meant to be applied twice a day for best results. Some boast results after only a few days, others claim that a few weeks or more are necessary for some bigger results.

However, if you truly want to see its firming effects and make them last longer, then you’ll definitely need to use it longer. But, as luck would have it, it’s affordable, and it doesn’t seem so out of reach as some other brands and products.

So, why not, give it a go.

2) Honeydew Coconut Cellulite Cream with Caffeine

This is another cream that supposedly helps your skin on multiple levels. It is meant to reduce the visibility of your cellulite and stretch marks. Also, it targets wrinkles and sagging skin, firming it by boosting collagen production.

And last, but not least, it also moisturizes your skin (which, as all of us with dry skin know, is super important).

This cream does all this with its carefully selected ingredients – caffeine, shea butter, sunflower, argan and jojoba oils.

When it comes to reviews, most claim that its main advantage is firming the skin, toning it and improving its general appearance.

3) Medix 5.5 Argan Oil Cream

Another cream whose purpose is to lift and tone your skin.

And, as most reviewers have confirmed, it can be used on all types of skin. That’s right, no matter whether you have dry, oily or normal skin, you can use it and apply it basically everywhere.

It does all this with argan oil, coffee beans, aloe vera and lotus extract, which promote smooth and firm skin. Some reviewers that like more neutral creams found the scent to be a bit overwhelming, but were so satisfied that they continued to use it.

Again, this cream falls under the category of the not-so-expensive ones, so it’s easy to try it and see whether it is a good fit for you.

Woman applying cream to legs

4) Maple Holistics Hot Cream Cellulite Treatment

Now, while the other creams merely boasted about firming and toning the skin, this one is certainly trying to one-up them – it can also, supposedly, burn fat.

As the producers claim, this cream helps your body break down fat. It also boosts circulation and increases sweating to help you “slim down your target areas.” In the end, the incredible product says, you’re meant to achieve a slimmer and firmer physique.

But what do the reviews say?

Well, the majority of them claim it truly does what it says it will. Buuut, most of them also claim that they wrap their bellies in plastic, which may contribute to the sweating more than the actual cream.

However, since it’s another inexpensive option, you could try it out and see for yourself.

5) Majestic Pure Cellulite Cream

You are meant to massage this cream in, so you can really feel the impact. It has juniper, grapefruit and rosemary, which are meant to tighten the skin and tone it. What is more, it has no harmful chemical and is cruelty-free.

It also contains peppermint and pine to reduce inflammation, as well as chamomile and eucalyptus to provide relief to your muscles after you’ve been working out.

As far as reviews go, the opinion is divided – they say that it leaves both a hot and cool sensation. While some reviewers found that it left a hot sensation on their skin, others felt cold, and some even found that it felt both hot and cold to them, so it seems this is extremely individual. That is why, with such creams, you should always do a patch test to see whether it suits your skin or not.

Bottom Line – Are Cellulite Creams Effective?

Will a cellulite cream make your cellulite disappear on its own?

The answer to that is – most likely not.

But, if you combine certain creams with regular (heck, even semi-regular) exercise and proper nutrition, you should be able to see improvement in the appearance of the “critical areas” and the reduction of cellulite.