Cellulite is a common skin condition that affects millions. While it is a harmless condition that does not require treatment, if you dislike the appearance of cellulite, you can have it treated. There are various treatment options available that can help. Read on to learn if cupping can help cellulite, and what the risks and benefits are.
Cellulite is a skin condition that causes your skin to appear dimpled and lumpy.
Cellulite risk factors include age, sex, hormones, genetics, poor diet and exercise, and obesity.
Several treatment options are available to improve the appearance of cellulite, such as laser, radiofrequency, acoustic wave, subcision, cryolipolysis, massage, topical creams, diet, and exercise.
Recently, some have promoted cupping for cellulite, but there is a lack of evidence to support this. More research is needed.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a common, harmless skin condition that causes skin dimpling. This usually occurs on the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. This dimpling or orange peel appearance to the skin occurs when the connective tissue bands under the skin pull the skin down and allow fat to herniate through these bands.
Causes of cellulite
Even though cellulite is very common, its exact cause is unknown. Even people with good diets and exercise routines can still get it. The exact cause of cellulite remains unknown, but several risk factors are known.
These risk factors include:
- Age. As we get older, we are more susceptible to developing cellulite, possibly due to the weakening of our skin from age.
- Gender. Women are more prone to getting cellulite.
- Hormones. High estrogen levels may be related to the appearance of cellulite.
- Poor diet and exercise. These can contribute to the development of cellulite. The acquisition of excess fat makes cellulite more pronounced.
- Overweight. Cellulite is more visible when you are overweight.
- Genetics. Cellulite does run in families. Even thin, fit people can get it.
What is cupping?
Cupping is an ancient practice of traditional Chinese medicine. The practitioner applies a ceramic, glass, or silicone cup to the treatment area. Then, heat, vacuum, or massage creates suction to pull the tissue upwards in the cup. Many use cupping to treat pain and sports-related injuries. More recently, some believe it can help improve the appearance of cellulite.
Does cupping work for cellulite?
The gold standard for research is a randomized controlled trial. There are none for treating cellulite with cupping. Any evidence is anecdotal and requires more research. Many believe cupping will promote increased circulation and drain fluids and toxins. This may temporarily improve cellulite. It can take many weeks and several sessions to get this temporary improvement. It does not cure cellulite.
How long does it take to see results?
Unfortunately, there is a lack of abundant research on cupping for cellulite. From the minimal reports we have, some see results of cupping massage for cellulite after the first treatment, but it can take several treatments to see the full benefits. Bear in mind, that the improvements are only temporary. To keep these improvements, regular maintenance treatments are necessary. Results can vary from person to person.
How long do the results last?
There is a lack of good research to support cupping for cellulite. Therefore, it is difficult to say how long the results will last. We do know that the improvements achieved with cupping are temporary. Consistent, periodic treatments are crucial to maintaining good results. If you are looking for more permanent results, other treatments are available for cellulite.
At-home cupping for cellulite
Many patients like to do cupping at home to help with various conditions, such as cellulite. It is definitely more convenient and cost-effective. Many at-home kits are available for cupping, but they may not all be safe.
Picking the right products for your skin type is crucial. It is best to ask professionals for guidance. Before trying it on yourself at home, get properly trained. Take the time to learn how to do it. While cupping is generally considered safe, complications can arise. Patients who use at-home kits are often at a higher risk for infections, burns, and scarring. Talk to your dermatologist first before trying it to ensure you have the correct kit and know how to do it.
Risks of cupping
Most consider cupping a generally safe procedure when performed by an experienced practitioner. There are some transient side effects associated with cupping, such as bruising and soreness. If you have certain skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis, it may worsen them. Always discuss any new treatments with your doctor first before starting them. Rare side effects include burns, scars, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Who should not do cupping?
While cupping is usually a safe procedure, certain people may not be able to have it. If you are pregnant, it may not be advisable to do cupping. Always check with your obstetrician before beginning any new treatment during pregnancy. People with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners may not be candidates for cupping. Also if you have cuts or open wounds in the treatment area, you should not do cupping. Patients with certain skin issues, such as eczema or psoriasis, may not be good candidates for cupping. If you have any skin issues, talk to your dermatologist first.
Other options for the treatment of cellulite
If cupping falls short of your expectations or you are interested in other options, there are other cellulite treatments. Some are more invasive and carry more risk factors. No treatment option is perfect, and most offer only improvement.
Other treatment options include:
- Acoustic wave
- Diet and exercise
- Topical creams
Cellulite is a common but challenging cosmetic skin problem. It gives the skin a dimpled or orange peel look that many find unappealing. There are many treatment options available for cellulite. Recently, some have used cupping to help improve the appearance of cellulite. However, these are only anecdotal reports, and we need more research. Always discuss new treatments with your dermatologist first.
- International Journal of Women's Dermatology. Treatment for cellulite.
- Aesthetic Surgery Journal Open Forum. Cellulite: Current Understanding and Treatment.
- Traditional and Complementary Medicine. The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action.