Is it true that I can use coffee grounds for cellulite?

It sounds totally bogus or too good to be true! I'm crossing my fingers for the latter! I recently read somewhere that you could use coffee grounds for cellulite and my first thought was that I'd have to ingest them! Rubbing the grounds against the cellulite makes way more sense. But before I switch from instant to grinding my own beans, can you confirm for me whether there is truth to that statement? I'm sure there are millions of women out there who'd be thrilled to learn that this was an option.


F, 28, Texas

Tags:woman age 25-34 cellulite peeling

No, I don't think it's true.  I've never heard any evidence to support that.  Besides, it's much better to have the coffee to drink ;)

An estimated 85-90% of women are affected by cellulite. Unfortunately, there is still no clinically tested method that can completely eliminate cellulite. While there is a range of treatments that can improve the appearance of cellulite, the improvement is sometimes incremental, and not every treatment can be guaranteed to work for everyone.

Do-it-yourself potions or natural treatments for cellulite often carry much fanfare but contain little scientific evidence. A recent trend is to combine coffee grounds with olive oil or coconut oil and then add warm water to form a homemade paste. This is then massaged in a circular motion into the problem area to temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite.

The purported science behind fresh ground coffee is that the caffeine present can reduce cellulite in the short term as it dilates the blood vessels, promotes blood flow, temporarily tightens tissue, and reduces water retention by dehydrating the cells slightly.

There are no clinical studies to support this. While topical natural treatments such as these are not harmful, it is unlikely that they will render any noticeable long-term effect on cellulite. This is because cellulite originates in the connective tissue layer of the skin. The fibrous cords that tether the skin to underlying muscles are interspersed with fat lying in between them. Cellulite occurs when fat cells accumulate, pushing up against the skin, while the fibrous cords continue to pull down. This creates the dimpling effect. Any product applied topically to the skin can therefore not improve the long-term appearance of cellulite.

However, there are some clinically tested treatments available from dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons that may be able to improve the appearance of your cellulite to some degree. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Cellfina

During the procedure, a dermatologist or surgeon inserts a needle under the skin to cut the connective tissue bands that cause the fat to bulge. Cellfina™ can successfully reduce the skin dimpling that appears with cellulite, giving a much smoother appearance. In a study of 232 patients, 95% of them said they were satisfied with the results. The results can last up to two years and possibly longer.

  • Cellulaze

Cellulaze is a minimally invasive laser treatment. A tiny laser fiber is inserted beneath the skin. When fired up, the laser energy breaks through the fibrous bands beneath the skin causing the appearance of cellulite. The treatment can also help thicken the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite further as cellulite is often more visible where the skin is thinner. Results last a year on average.

  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release

This also breaks up the connective tissue that leads to the appearance of cellulite. The dermatologist uses a device to cut through the tough bands, releasing the fat tissue to move upwards and smooth itself out.

Another easy, cheap option that can also improve the appearance of cellulite is a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Carrying extra weight makes cellulite look more visible, so aim for a healthy weight. Regular exercise builds muscle tone which also helps the skin look smoother and firmer.

The skin is structured with a layer of fibrous connective bands that connect the skin to the underlying muscle. Fat lies between these layers. Cellulite occurs when fat cells bulge through the connective bands, pushing up against the skin. The long fibrous bands hold firm, creating an uneven surface or dimpling.

For women with a familial history of cellulite, pregnant women or overweight women, cellulite is more common. While cellulite is not an issue of medical significance and can be present in healthy subjects, it is often aesthetically troubling and may cause some women to feel self-conscious about revealing their body.

Many women go to great lengths to treat their cellulite, applying natural products or over the counter moisturizing creams and exfoliators that promise to eradicate it. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that natural substances or DIY beauty tricks, such as a homemade coffee scrub made from used coffee grounds, can smooth away cellulite or bring about long-term improvement. These products cannot target the underlying structure of cellulite.

The only treatments that have any evidence of success in the reduction of cellulite are products such as Cellfina or Cellulaze, and not even these can guarantee to improve the appearance of cellulite in all patients. Cellfina uses a tiny blade to cut through the tough bands that constrict the fat, allowing it to spread smoothly under the surface of the skin, eliminating the rumpled look cellulite causes. Cellulaze uses a laser to release the connective tissue and allow the fat to spread, smooth out, and settle. These treatments have relatively high patient satisfaction rates, and clinical studies have been conducted that demonstrate their efficacy.

The American Academy of Dermatology also notes that women also experience an improvement in cellulite from:

  • Following a healthy diet.
  • Engaging in regular exercise that builds muscle.
  • Using retinoid creams containing Vitamin A which can help to thicken the skin.
  • Carboxytherapy treatment.

If you are serious about addressing your cellulite, avoid the coffee grind cocktail and consider scheduling an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon instead.

Stephen T. Greenberg has 1 Cellulaze Treatment before & after:

Cellulaze Treatment before image performed by Dr. Stephen GreenbergCellulaze Treatment after image performed by Dr. Stephen Greenberg

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