With shorts season around the corner, you’re probably in the midst of prepping your skin for the warmer temps. (Hello, there, long-lost razor.)
But young or old, rail-thin or curvy, light or dark, if you’ve inherited the genetic predisposition for it, the cellulite fairy has gifted you with a smattering of dimples on your thighs, bottom, and even your belly. And if you want to hide them or get rid of them altogether, it’s pretty dang hard unless you’re willing to pay for a pricey in-office procedure to laser or snip the fibrous bands responsible for that puckering effect.
At home or on a budget, your options are limited to caffeinated creams and scrubs, which claim to help you smear your skin into smooth submission.
But how well do they work? Well, caffeine can dehydrate the water content of your fat cells, so they’re less swollen, and cellulite looks less obvious, says Howard Sobel, M.D., a New York City dermatologist and founder of DDF Skincare. However, the results will be subtle, at best, and temporary, says Angela J. Lamb, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Womp, womp.
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Still, if some improvement—any improvement—sounds good to you, look for a formula that also contains Vitamin C, which can help increase collagen production and make skin look firmer and smoother, explains Sobel. And the higher the caffeine content, the better, adds Lamb. We like Vichy Celludestock ($40, vichyusa.com), which contains five percent pure caffeine—the most we’ve seen touted on a bottle.
Another product we love: Dr. Brandt Cellusculpt ($59, drbrandtskincare.com), which has a massaging applicator that cools the skin on contact. (Bonus: It soothes sore legs, too!) Want to keep it on the cheap? Whip up this DIY coffee scrub recipe, instead. The act of exfoliating can actually add to the smooth look, since it’s getting rid of dead skin cells in favor of fresh ones.
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The bottom line: While in-office procedures are your best bet to blast cellulite away for good, caffeine-laced creams and scrubs can give you some in-the-moment smoothness.