Scents of a woman. Natural remedies, essential oils and aromatherapy treatments can help reduce cellulite.
Most of us think of aromatherapy as a great solution to chronic stress – it conjures lovely images of flopping down in a therapy room while some nimble-fingered practitioner drops beautiful smelling oils on our back and gets to work undoing those knots.
But essential oils have farther-reaching powers. As well as helping a variety of problems from anxiety to headaches, acne to irregular periods and insomnia, aromatherapy can also be a great ally in the fight against cellulite.
For example, certain essential oils have therapeutic properties which can help regulate your hormones (oestrogen is thought to be a contributing factor both to cellulite and to being overweight); others are great for the skin, and some have effective diuretic qualities so they can help beat water retention, which many of us blame for our bulgy thighs.
So whether you’re happier putting your bottom in an aromatherapist’s hands, or you fancy some DIY cellulite busting, here’s your guide to which essential oils can do what.
Note: Some essential oils shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or with certain medical conditions, so always check with a qualified practitioner.
The Fluid fighters
These can help boost your lymphatic drainage system and alleviate the water retention, which is thought to contribute to cellulite.
- Rosemary is known for its refreshing, diuretic and purifying qualities, and may help beat water retention. (Avoid during pregnancy, if you’re epileptic or have high blood pressure.)
- Sweet fennel has a cleansing and tonic action, particularly good for helping you purify your insides after overindulging in food! It’s good for your digestive system and has diuretic properties so it can help with water retention. Smells lovely and aniseedy. (Don’t use when pregnant or if you suffer from epilepsy.)
- Atlas cedarwood – this dry-woody smelling oil has a diuretic action, so it can help alleviate fluid retention and is thought to encourage the lymphatic drainage. Aromatherapists also say it can help stimulate the breakdown of fats. (Avoid during pregnancy.)
- Grapefruit is known to be a lymphatic stimulant, so it may help with fluid retention. It has a stimulating effect on bile, so is thought to help boost fat digestion. Tangy, refreshing scent.
- Patchouli – this exotic oil has a strong spicy smell and is known for its diuretic properties, so could help with fluid retention.
- Geranium has a lovely sweet smell. It’s a great circulation booster and is good for fluid retention too.
- Cypress – this refreshing fragrance is known for its regulating effects on the body’s fluids. Plus it’s good for your circulation.
- Juniper is a detoxifier. It’s good for relieving fluid retention, and can be stimulating and refreshing.
The Skin enhancers Cellulite looks worse when the skin is dehydrated or as you age and lose that plump firmness.
The following can help boost your skin health:
- Rosemary is an energising, stimulating oil with astringent properties – it’s believed to be useful in helping to tighten sagging skin on backs of legs, bottom and thighs.
- Grapefruit is rich in vitamin C, a good antioxidant, so it’s good nourishment for your skin and aids repair.
- Patchouli is healing and is thought to encourage the growth of new skin cells.
- Cypress can help rebalance fluid loss and is great for rehydrating dry skin on bottoms and thighs.
- Sweet fennel has a tonic action which can help tone saggy, wrinkly skin.
The hormone rebalancers
The hormone oestrogen is linked with cellulite: certain oils are said to help normalise out-of-kilter hormone levels which are associated with weight gain.
- Cypress is known for its ability to help balance female hormone levels.
- Sweet fennel has a natural oestrogen content so may have a positive effect on your oestrogen levels.
How to use your essential oils
- Try self-massage. You’ll moisturise your cellulitey areas at the same time and your skin will look instantly smoother and plumper. Mix six drops of essential oils with about 3–4 tsp (15–20 ml) of carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. (Don’t use essential oils neat on the skin as they can cause irritation.)
- Bathe in them. Add four to six drops to warm water. Adding milk or vodka can help disperse the oils.
- Pop them on a tissue and smell them.
- Try burning them in a diffuser and inhale the scent.
Extracted from Cellulite solutions: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Super Smooth Skin by Linda Bird and Cherry Maslen. Published by Infinite Ideas (www.infideas.com). Available on Amazon Kindle for £4.47
Photo credit: Keerati