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Cellulite is the unsightly fat that tends to look like dimples on thighs, hips, and buttocks. But what causes cellulite, and how can you lessen its appearance? Does tanning reduce the look of cellulite?

Tanning will temporarily alter the appearance of cellulite, however, it also comes with too many significant health risks to make it a practical option. The warnings of countless experts about the negative effects of tanning should make people think twice about trying this approach to address their cellulite problems, but many women are still prepared to take the risk, even when there are several products and treatments available that will reduce cellulite safely.

Causes and Effects of Cellulite


Cellulite develops between the skin and collagen fibers and appears when these fibers are stretched. The primary cause of the condition stems from genetic and hormonal factors, but even tobacco use will accelerate its development. Neither do you have to be overweight to develop cellulite. While obesity can exacerbate the issue, everybody, male or female, is susceptible to cellulite to varying degrees.

That said, estrogen is one of the main culprits behind cellulite. Men aren’t affected by cellulite nearly as often as women because of their different hormonal makeup, but approximately 85% of women in the US suffer from the condition, with the sad fact being that the vast majority of them report cellulite negatively affects their self-esteem.

Tanning to Reduce the Look of Cellulite

An almost scary majority of people believe that tanning will effectively reduce their cellulite. And while it’s true darker skin makes cellulite less noticeable, it’s only a short-term fix that will quite possibly create lasting damage. Plus, excessive tanning causes your skin to thin out over time, which ultimately makes cellulite appear more defined. Your skin also loses its elasticity when damaged by the sun and/or indoor tanning beds.

The Dangers of Tanning

Tanning was a popular trend that started gaining traction in the 1920s. Its popularity spiked in the 1960s but has since lost much of it’s lustre due to the enormous health risks involved. Research has repeatedly proven that tanning causes cancer and premature aging. Melanoma is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women aged 30 to 35 years old. It’s also the most prevalent form of cancer found in teenage girls and young adults.

Studies show that tanning before age 30 increases your risk by a whopping 75%. In fact, it only takes one severe sunburn to double your chances of a skin cancer diagnosis. Plus, overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to infections because it weakens the immune system. These risks apply equally to people who prefer outdoor tanning. The bottom line is that there’s simply no safe way tanning can reduce the look of cellulite.

Products and Practices to Safely Reduce Cellulite

Fortunately, there are better solutions out there. Cosmetic creams, exfoliants, and sunless tanners all help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Proper diet, exercise, and hydration also play a collective role in lessening its visibility. Here are a few recommendations on how to address cellulite without risking your health — or as dramatic as it sounds, quite possibly your life.

Sunless Tanning Products

  • There’s an abundance of sunless tanning products on the market; sprays, lotions, gels, and airbrush kits, to name a few. Make sure to pick one that’s similar to your natural skin tone, but slightly darker, and it will gradually darken your skin to help hide cellulite. Rub a small amount on the inside of your ankle first to ensure you picked the correct colour. It’s also important to exfoliate your body prior to application.


  • Exfoliating your skin can be an effective weapon in the battle against cellulite. It’s a great way to remove dead skin cells, enabling new skin cells to form easily in the process, something called cell turnover. Newer skin cells leave your skin’s surface smooth and tight. Cellulite can be hidden by using an exfoliant twice per week.

Cosmetic Creams

  • Choosing a good cream may seem overwhelming given how so many products claim to reduce cellulite but rarely live up to their promises. The best creams should contain caffeine, which shrinks fat cells through dehydration.

Diet, Exercise, and Hydration

  • Toned legs make cellulite harder to see and exercise helps you lose weight. It also increases blood flow, which temporarily smooths and tightens the skin.  Diets rich in fiber can also reduce the appearance of cellulite while staying hydrated is another way to maintain the skin’s tightness.

Fascia Blaster

The Fascia Blaster is an at-home device created by Ashley Black that was designed to help eliminate the appearance of cellulite by addressing flaws in connective tissues, known as fascia. Cellulite appears when fascia is stretched. By smoothening these connective tissues the Fascia Blaster is able to address cellulite issues.

Try employing a few of these strategies to reduce the appearance of your cellulite. Be it through a combination of creams, sunless tanners, exfoliants, exercise, proper hydration, a healthy diet and/or the Fascia Blaster, any of these approaches is a better treatment for cellulite than tanning.

Put another way, tanning is the only cellulite “treatment” that very well may kill you. Hopefully, that’s all you need to know in order to convince you to either just live with your cellulite (along with the other 85% of American women who have it) or pursue safer treatments to address it.