Caffeinated Cellulite Creams: Not a Magic Brew

Cellulite concerns women around the world, resulting in a billion dollar cosmetics and plastic surgery industry dedicated to creating slim and smooth thighs. Cellulite results when stored fat on the thighs and rear bulges out between collagen fibers binding the fat to the skin. This natural process usually starts between ages 25 and 35. In spite of advertisements to the contrary, there is no medical, surgical or cosmetic answer to cellulite. Fighting it involves staying fit through exercise, eating healthy foods and an active lifestyle.

Many cellulite treatment preparations today contain some form of caffeine such as methylxanthine or aminophylline. The theory behind including caffeine in these products is that caffeine is a diuretic. It reduces fluid retention and temporarily dehydrates fat cells all while increasing circulation. As a result of drying out the skin and fat cells, caffeinated cellulite creams temporarily reduce swelling and make cellulite-prone areas appear smoother. The effect, however, is extremely temporary.

Much to the dismay of cellulite cream manufacturers, there is no scientific evidence that these products work. Furthermore, there is no medically-standardized way to measure cellulite. As a result, cellulite creams cannot promise they will get rid of cellulite in the body. They can only say they will “help reduce the appearance of” cellulite. Even that statement is not entirely accurate. Cellulite products, even those with caffeine or expensive ingredients, at best might have an extremely short-lived and minimal impact on the appearance of cellulite-prone areas of the body.

Most scientists find the idea of an effective cellulite cream or lotion improbable. The mechanism to absorb these products through the skin and deep into the fat tissues simply does not exist even when the products are massaged vigorously into the cellulite areas. Moreover, cellulite does not result from bad circulation, sluggish lymphatic systems or toxin build up in the body. Fat involved in cellulite formation is biochemically identical to other body fat.

Scientists agree weight loss, healthy eating and regular exercise are the best treatments for cellulite. However, even these activities only make cellulite less noticeable. Because cellulite formation is a natural condition for most women, it will never completely disappear regardless of how much money is spent on creams, ointments, lotions and other preparations.