Got Cellulite? Don't Bother Doing This

Dry brushing promises smoother, dimple-free skin—but does it really work?

Got Cellulite? Don't Bother Doing This

Medically reviewed in March 2021

Cellulite on the thighs, buttocks, hips and abdomen is the plight of many adolescents’ and adults’ confidence. While there’s no single treatment for cellulite, there may be natural ways to improve the appearance of cellulite, including dry brushing. Is dry brushing a beauty myth or does it really work? Find out.

What Is Dry Brushing: Dry brushing is the act of brushing your bare skin with a dry, natural bristle brush. It’s typically recommended that you start at your feet and brush upwards, towards the heart to stimulate the lymphatic system. The claim is that dry brushing problem areas regularly will reduce the appearance of cellulite, but unfortunately, there’s no scientific proof that it actually works.

Dry brushing has a plumping effect on the skin, which is likely what people interpret as cellulite reduction. The effect is a result of the increased blood circulation caused by dry skin brushing, but only lasts temporarily.     

What Does It Do: Although dry brushing doesn’t eliminate pesky cellulite, it may have several other benefits. If you have dry skin, try dry brushing to exfoliate away dead, flaky skin and unclog pores.

Dry brushing may also stimulate the lymphatic, circulatory and nervous systems. The lymphatic system is responsible for filtering bacteria, abnormal cells and other matter out of the bloodstream. Proponents say dry brushing helps increase lymphatic flow and pulls contaminants out of the body (though there’s little evidence for this, too), and increases blood circulation. Dry skin brushing also helps to wake up your body by stimulating your nerve endings in your skin, like a massage.      

Cellulite Remedies: There is no permanent fix for cellulite. Many products and procedures, like vigorous massages, cellulite creams and mesotherapy (a procedure that involves administering injections beneath the skin) claim to diminish the appearance of cellulite, but few actually perform.  

There may be other ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite, including weight loss and exercise. Shedding pounds and toning the muscles in your thighs, buttocks and abdomen can help smooth dimpled skin. Topical creams containing retinols have shown a reduction in the appearance of cellulite over a six-month period if applied twice daily.

Learn more about how one woman reduced the appearance of her cellulite, and other skin treatments.

More On

When Surgery is Not the Best Option for BCC

article

When Surgery is Not the Best Option for BCC
Anyone who begins researching basal cell carcinoma (BCC) will quickly come across a wealth of information about the various surgical techniques and ot...
6 Embarrassing Body Issues, Solved

slideshow

6 Embarrassing Body Issues, Solved
We've got solutions to your embarrassing body problems and more.
The Best Reason to Look Younger

article

The Best Reason to Look Younger
If you don't look a day older than the age on your driver's license, that could mean a longer life for you. A study of elderly adult twins showed a c...
Why Your Skin Craves Oatmeal

article

Why Your Skin Craves Oatmeal
You probably know that oatmeal's a fiber-rich superfood that does an all-star job of sopping up cholesterol and speeding it out of the body. But do yo...
Whole Grains for Clearer Skin

article

Whole Grains for Clearer Skin
Wrinkles and pimples? It just doesn't seem fair. If you've tried cleansers, astringents and toners, but those stubborn red bumps are like nosy neighb...