Useful Essential Oils
Which essential oils are effective in reducing cellulite?
As mentioned in the video below, the following essential oils have traditionally been topically applied to help breakdown adipose tissue and cellulite:
- Juniper Berry or Juniper Alpine (which is easier on the kidneys) – dilute 2% in a carrier oil like olive oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area once a day. Although it is generally nontoxic and non-sensitizing, some may find it slightly irritating. Avoid using it during pregnancy.
- Cypress – dilute 2% in a carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area once a day. It is non-toxic and non-sensitizing. If you find Juniper irritating, try this instead. Avoid during the first five months of pregnancy.
These are generally considered the most useful. But if these don’t work for you, you may like to try:
- Atlas Cedar – dilute 3-5% in any carrier oil (15-25 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area. This is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. Avoid during pregnancy.
This video is by the founder of Amrita Aromatherapy and master aromatherapist Christoph Streicher, Ph.D.
- Eucalyptus Citriodora – dilute 3-5% in jojoba or hazelnut oil (15-25 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area.
- Mastic – dilute 1% in a carrier oil (5 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area once a day. Mastic helps with cellulite treatment because it supports the lymph.
- Lemon – dilute 2 % in a carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and apply to the affected area once a day. Although it is nontoxic, it may cause dermal irritation or sensitization reactions in some individuals. Use in moderation and do not use on skin that is going to be exposed to direct sunlight.
Note: If you are using any of these oils for a whole body massage, use half the amount of drops per tablespoon.
If you are overweight, you may also find this page about Essential Oils For Weight Loss And Obesity useful.
About the Condition
What is cellulite?
Cellulite isn’t a medical condition. It is just the name for the fat that lies beneath the skin. It appears bumpy because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker.
Although it isn't harmful, most people would like to get rid of it because of the way it looks.
What causes cellulite?
Even thin people can have cellulite. But losing weight can help reduce cellulite in people that are overweight. It is more common among women than men, and there seems to be a hereditary component to it. Other factors that seem to increase its visibility include fad dieting, lack of exercise, dehydration and hormonal changes.
What are conventional treatments for cellulite?
- Cellulite creams – there is little evidence to support their use, and some may even be harmful because they could be narrowing the blood vessels and forcing water from the skin, which can be dangerous for people with circulatory problems. A lot of them contain aminophylline - a prescription medication approved for treating asthma. This drug can also cause an allergic reaction in some people.
- Liposuction – a surgical procedure which removes deep fat deposits (not cellulite) from the body. It can actually worsen the appearance of cellulite.
- Mesotherapy – injecting substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes into the tissue just beneath the skin. It was originally developed to relieve painful inflammatory skin conditions. It may break down fat and cause slight improvements in the appearance of cellulite. But it can cause swelling, infection, and make the body shape appear irregular.
- Massage and other spa treatments like seaweed baths – these may have a temporary effect, but they do not remove cellulite.
- Laser treatment – there is a device which is said to melt the fat under the skin, break up the fibrous bands under the skin, and stimulate collagen production. But the long-term effects of having such treatment are not yet known.
What are alternative treatments for cellulite?
Even most doctors would agree that the best way to prevent and to reduce cellulite is exercise (both aerobic exercise and strength training), and, if needed, lose weight. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber (e.g. flaxseed) can also help. Reducing your salt and sugar intake may also help.
Some women found that doing a 10-minute scrub with coffee grounds and hot water in the shower twice a week helped to reduce their cellulite. Others found a small effect from just doing the scrub without the coffee grounds. Others also found rubbing on coconut oil and following it with dry massage brush helped.
Some found drinking a mixture of cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water 3 times daily helped.
Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for cellulite. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.