Five Ways to Cellulite-Free Skin

Ditch the dimples with our surefire ways, from quick to long-term, to leave your skin smooth, firm and pucker-free!


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1Why it works:

The Easy Fix: Hydrate. H2O is like kryptonite to cellulite. It has the power to sideline puckers. Sure, you can chug it, but chewing it (you heard right!) is more effective

Water is a buster that flushes away excess salt. But according to Howard Murad, M.D., a dermatologist and author of The Cellulite Solution, eating water-rich foods is a more potent way to diminish dimples. His top pick? Watermelon!

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It’s about 90 percent water, he says, and because it has only 46 calories per cup, you can gobble it down without worrying about weight gain. What’s more, like plums, mangoes or just about every other aguafilled fruit, it offers vitamins A and C, two essential antioxidants that help maintain skin’s thickness.

By fighting off free radicals, which are damaging molecules generated by exposure to sunlight and air pollution, these antioxidants prevent the breakdown of collagen, skin’s support structure, and preserve elastin stores. (They act like skin’s natural fillers.) When the dermis of the skin is thicker, it conceals lumps better.

Munch away: Enjoy watermelon off the rind, slice it into salads, or freeze it into chunks. One cup equals about 3/5 cup water. Aim for about 8 1/2; cups of water per day.

2The Sweaty Solution:

Exercise. Zap fat with cardio, and chances are, you’ll lessen the look of cellulite. But the real exercise secret lies in one magic move: the lunge. You don’t have to try it, unless, that is, you want firmer thighs.

Why it works: The lunge is one of your best weapons against cellulite, because it builds lean muscle in your butt and thighs, two cellulite-prone zones. Think of your leg as a legal pad: The paper is your fat, and the cardboard back is your muscle, says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., coauthor of No More Cellulite and research director at Quincy College in Massachusetts. If the cardboard is flimsy or missing altogether, the paper flops about, bulging inward and outward (as cellulite does); but if the cardboard is sturdy, the paper stays smooth.

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To maximize the lunge’s dimple-diminishing capabilities, watch your form: Never let your knees creep past your toes, and be sure to press the heel of your front foot into the floor and squeeze your glutes throughout, says Liz DiAlto, a fitness coach in New York City. Her routine: Do three sets of 12 to 20 reps of lunges on each leg, three or four times a week. In as little as one month, you’ll see improvement.

3The Who-Knew? Cure:

Caffeine. Slather on a stimulant-laced cream before you dare to bare in anything short-short, and it will tighten skin for hours. Think of it as invisible Spanx.

Why it works: Caffeine temporarily eliminates water in the connective tissue, making devilish dents less noticeable. Sorry, but downing a double espresso won’t do it. Look for a cellulite cream with caffeine or aminophylline and theophylline, two of its chemical cousins, headlining the ingredient list. (Check out a few of our favorites at left.)

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Before applying, exfoliate with a loofah or body scrub, suggests Marcia Kilgore, a spa expert in NYC and founder of Soap & Glory skin care. “Exfoliating will get rid of dead surface skin cells, which would otherwise block penetration,” she says. Then work in your cream like the strongest masseuse who’s ever laid hands on you. “The friction warms the skin, making it more receptive to ingredients,” explains Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a dermatologist in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Also smart: Curb salt intake. L’Orèal scientists had test subjects apply caffeinated cellulite cream to one leg for a month, and also follow a healthy eating plan that limited excess sodium. After four weeks, the cream-treated leg had fewer dimples, but cellulite on both legs improved, a clue that healthy diet plays a small but noticeable role. Hey, every bit helps!

4The Big-Bucks Band Aid:

Zap it. Can’t live with cellulite one more second? If you have a stash of cash, enlist a pro. This is a pricey but promising way to rid yourself of ripples.

Why it works: Liposuction has long been the go-to doctor treatment because it removes fat, and where there’s less fat, there’s less cellulite. Lipo, however, doesn’t deep-six the fat-compressing connective tissue that gives cellulite its telltale cottage cheese look.

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Enter Cellulaze, a new FDA-approved treatment for cellulite. The triple-duty laser heats and melts fat, slices the weblike connective tissue that traps fat in the first place and stimulates collagen growth for thicker skin, explains Bruce Katz, M.D., a dermatologist in NYC who conducted clinical trials for the device. “For 80 percent of subjects, cellulite was completely gone, and the remainder saw 80 to 90 percent of their cellulite disappear,” Dr. Katz says.

The procedure is considered minimally invasive: After making a tiny incision, your doctor inserts a laser probe smaller than a pencil into cellulite zones. Because Cellulaze is performed under a local anesthetic, there’s no pain during the process. Afterward, soreness can last two days; any bruising or swelling should subside in two to three weeks. One in-office treatment, to the tune of $2,000 to $3,000, will do the job for your butt or thighs. Because the procedure is brand-new, it’s just rolling out across the country. But you can find it in major cities: Visit for locations.

5Your Last Resort:

Bring on the Bronzer. Still pestered by the puckering on your thighs and butt? If all else fails, cover it up with a faux tan. This pro advice will teach you the simple way to fab-ify your bottom line fast.

Why it works: Objects in the mirror appear smaller when they’re darker, and that includes cellulite. Whether you use a tanning lotion or a spray, exfoliate first with a gentle body scrub to even out your skin’s surface, says Jimmy Coco, the “tan man” for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (Yes, even seemingly perfect supermodels need camouflage!) If you’re trying a spray-on self-tanner, prevent overload accidents by misting into the sink first.

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“This gives you a feeling of how fast the product comes out and how hard you need to push down,” Coco explains. Whichever formula you do choose, he suggests, apply it in a circular motion to avoid streaks. If there’s no time to air-dry, use a hair-dryer set to cool. Nervous about where to stop and start? Opt for a self-tanner that has a bronze tint to allow you to view your handiwork. Before you head out, try spa guru Kilgore’s sexy finisher: Apply a shimmery bronzer down the center of your legs. It’s a visual trick that gives them a longer, leaner look. Show ’em off, hot stuff!