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How self-massage can tackle your cellulite
Many of us are familiar with that dimpled effect on the back of our thighs and bum, and in the run-up to summer it becomes a source of self-consciousness and endless trips to the gym in order to shed the orange peel look.
But what if there was a simpler solution that gives you smoother, firmer skin without the need to submit to the knife or the laser? According to many dermatology experts, massage and dry-brushing can address the root causes of cellulite and restore baby-soft skin and a smoother complexion.
Luckily, you don't need to spend a huge proportion of your income on beauty salon trips if you learn how to self-massage.
Start off with an essential oil mixed with carrier oils and warmed in the palms of your hands. There is a huge range of these oils to choose from, but if you want to tackle your cellulite the best ones to opt for are those that deal with the renal system, the lymphatic system and circulation.
Juniper berry and rosemary are both known for their stimulating effects and can be used to cleanse the renal system, which helps move toxins out of the body. There is evidence to suggest that cellulite is partially caused by the build-up of toxins, so by massaging the problem areas with herbal oils you can improve the blood circulation and get rid of nasty waste products.
You'll want to mix the essential oil with your carrier oil of choice because its purity means it can sometimes cause skin irritation unless it is diluted. Alternatively you could opt for Fushi's Really Good Cellulite Oil, which contains Gotu Kola, a herb used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine to strengthen connective tissue and improve circulation.
Apply the oil solution to your thighs, bum and anywhere else on your body that has cellulite and start massaging it into your skin, always moving towards the heart.
With your palms, knuckles and fingertips, make long sweeping strokes up your legs before moving in small circles with your hands starting from the lowest point. Make sure the oils are being massaged right into your skin so they can permeate the dermal layer and start breaking up the cellulite. The movement of your hands will also stimulate the blood and lymph circulation, as well as waking you up first thing in the morning.
Next, knead the skin between your thumb and forefinger and roll it around, pulling it slightly away from your body as you continue the circular massaging motion. Finish off your session with some broad strokes to soothe the skin.
If you find it hard to reach problem areas with your hands, you could always try a long handled cellulite brush, which boasts natural Japanese Palm bristles to stimulate blood flow. A sponge wrapped in Sisal fibres will have the same effect on your cellulite within a few weeks of use.
Although the massage technique will not give you overnight results, you should see a difference in the texture of your skin within a fortnight if you use the oil twice a day, morning and evening. Continue using it once a day for ongoing results.
It's worth bearing in mind that most women have cellulite, so try not to get down about it. If you combine self-massage with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, you will be able to tone up the muscles in your thighs and improve the appearance of the skin.
Dr Claudia Aguirre of the International Dermal Institute pointed out: "You can have cellulite and be perfectly fit, perfectly healthy and live a long healthy life. Cellulite is not going to affect your life in terms of your health. It is just cosmetic appearance."
She also noted that typically about 90 per cent of women have cellulite, particularly past their teenage years. "So if you have cellulite, then you are just a part of the majority, not the minority," she said.
The best thing you can do to tackle your cellulite, aside from eating a healthy diet and being active, is to give up smoking and alcohol. Smoking is incredibly bad for your skin, as it accelerates the signs of ageing and contributes to collagen breakdown, which causes sagging. Cigarette smoke also impacts on hyaluronic acid production, which is the ingredient used by the body to add plumpness and firmness to the skin, resulting in grey, dry and rough-looking skin.
Your ten a day habit will not only hit you in the purse but will also lead to the constriction of the blood vessels, which can affect your overall health. This narrowing of the blood vessels means lymph fluid and blood can't get around the body as easily, which means those toxins are left to build up and cause puckering of the skin.
Remember to drink plenty of water - around two litres a day if you can - as this can prevent water retention in the cells that can damage the structure of the skin, and within a few weeks of following the self-massage regime you will have a beach body to be proud of this summer.