The cheapest treatment for cellulite involves exercise and a proper diet. This will help you to tone muscle and decrease fat, removing the pressure that fat places on cellulite -- remember, cellulite sits below your skin and any additional fat that's pushing it up through connective tissues can exacerbate its appearance.
But if you have an event to attend or a swimsuit to fit into and you'd like to mask your cellulite as quickly as possible, temporary treatments are available. These include mechanical treatments (like massage), topical treatments, medications and injections.
Topical treatments improve the look of skin with specific ingredients, such as retinoids (which make skin stronger), lactic acids (which remove dead skin cells) and caffeine (which will be discussed on the next page). These treatments promise to strengthen skin, shrink cellulite fat and build collagen and elastin -- proteins that strengthen connective tissue [source: Medical News Today]. Unfortunately, creams cannot get deep into the fat, and their effect is temporary. Worse, creams can cause allergies and irritate skin [source: Saint Louis].
Medications may contain ingredients similar to what you'll find in cellulite creams. These medications can be injected into the skin. Sometimes, fat is injected into the skin to fill the pits of cellulite. Other invasive procedures include liposuction (see sidebar) and subcision, in which a needle is injected into connective fibers to cut and separate them. Invasive procedures could cause pain as well as bruising and irritation around the injection site or surgical opening [source: Avram].
Caffeine is a common ingredient in cellulite treatment. On the next page, learn how it is used in cellulite treatments -- from medications to clothing.