Cellulite, also called “orange peel skin” or “cottage cheese,” is what gives your skin a wrinkled, dimpled look. It appears when body fat exerts pressure on the connecting tissues present throughout the body and distorts the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly seen on the buttocks and thighs. Cellulite will likely appear post puberty and can increase in severity with age. It is also more common in women than men, with about 85–90% of women facing it at some point in their lives.1
However, cellulite isn’t a serious health condition and rarely requires medical attention. If you are, nevertheless, worried about its appearance, essential oils are a good natural and healthy remedy for you.
Essential Oils For Cellulite
Essential oils for cellulite are commonly used in the form of massage oils or bath oils and mostly in blends. Although they greatly contribute to treating cellulite by improving the quality of the skin, they might not be a downright cure. Combine the oils with a healthy diet and a weight loss plan and you’re well on your way to a much healthier body and skin!
Given here are some of the oils that have been seen to reduce cellulite deposits in the body:
1. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil is a regular part of diuretic bath oil blends for cellulite. It flushes out toxins, reduces fat accumulation underneath the skin, improves blood circulation, and helps slim the body when used with topical creams containing caffeine.2 3 It is commonly used with vegetable oils, such as olive oil, for massages. It also goes well with a carrier oil like coconut oil for anti-cellulite massages.
Note: This oil might induce UV damage, so avoid if going out in the sun. Also, do not use if pregnant and breastfeeding as there isn’t enough research supporting this use.
2. Citrus Essential Oils
Citrus oils such as lime, tangerine, orange, and lemon essential oils are commonly used for cellulite as they’re diuretics and enhance circulation. They promote lymphatic drainage and are used in massage oil blends for fat loss, which consequently helps with cellulite.4 Some of the oils that go well with citrus oils are oregano, juniper, grapefruit, and basil.
Note: Citrus oils might cause phototoxicity when exposed to direct sunlight. So avoid using before going outdoor.
3. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil is commonly used in massages and gets rid of excess water in the body. It detoxifies the body, stimulates the circulation, and strengthens the lymphatic system. Some oils that blend well with rosemary are grapefruit, oregano, and cypress.5
Note: Rosemary oil might not be safe for pregnant women, seizure patients, and might induce excessive bleeding if applied on bruises and wounds. Replace with juniper oil in such cases.
4. Juniper Essential Oil
Juniper essential oil detoxifies the body since it’s a diuretic and is hence used for cellulite. It is a common ingredient in anti-cellulite massage oil blends and bath oils. It is also used in massages that treat flabby skin and stretch marks, which helps reduce cellulite.6 Some oils that blend well with juniper oil are fennel and grapefruit.
Note: Avoid using this oil in the case of injuries or wounds on your skin.
5. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil is popularly used in skin care to reduce wrinkles, acne, and cellulite.7 Massage oils for fat reduction and bath oils for cellulite make use of this.8 Some oils that blend well with clary sage oil are geranium, juniper, citrus, and patchouli.
Note: There’s not much research to support the use of this oil with pregnant women. So, avoid using the oil to be on the safer side.
6. Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel oil is a diuretic that accelerates the expulsion of toxins from the body. It is used in fat-loss massage and anti-cellulite bath and massage oils.9 Some of the oils that blend well with fennel oil are lemon, grapefruit, and rosemary.
Note: This oil may not be the right choice if you’re pregnant or suffer from epilepsy.
7. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamon bark oils stimulate the lymphatic system and improve the circulation in the blood vessels, thus helping expel toxins and reduce cellulite.10 It is generally used in massages with a carrier oil. But you can also take cinnamon tea regularly to complement the treatment.
Note: The oil may inhibit the clotting of blood and cause drug interactions. Do not use in the case of blood disorders.
8. Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium oil is a good skin toner, improves circulation, balances hormones, and detoxifies the body.11 It is commonly used in creams for treating cellulite and also be used in massages. Some oils that blend well with geranium oil are juniper, clary sage, and citrus oils.
Note: Do not use on children or pregnant women. It might also induce rashes on sensitive skin.
9. Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress oil treats cellulite by strengthening weak connective tissue and toning the skin.12 Some of the oils that go well with cypress oil are lemon and juniper.
Note: This usually isn’t recommended for pregnant women and children.
10. Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli oil is commonly used in treating water retention. It can be used on skin covered in wounds as well as it is an antiseptic. It is also commonly used in treating skin issues and cellulite.13 Patchouli oil is commonly used in combination with sage.
Note: Preferably, do not use this oil on pregnant women and children.
11. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil treats cellulite by expelling toxins and excess water from the body. Massage blends that use lemongrass oil attack the fat cells beneath the skin and tone the body.14 15 Some oils that go well with lemongrass oil are oregano, fennel, and basil.
Note: Do not use this oil on pregnant women, diabetics, and children younger than 2 years of age. Also, do not use on hypersensitive and damaged skin.
12. Celery Seed Essential Oil
Celery oil brings down the level of cellulite deposits and purifies the body by removing toxins.16 It is a commonly used diuretic for cellulite prevention. It is most frequently used in combination with grapefruit oil.
Note: Do not use celery seed oil before going outdoor and on sensitive skin. Store the oil in dark, airtight containers as old and oxidized oil might have adverse effects.
13. Oregano Essential Oil
Brushing the affected areas with oregano essential oil can stimulate blood circulation and also expel toxins from the tricky spots.17 Some of the oils that go well with oregano oil are juniper, grapefruit, basil, and lemon.
Note: This oil can reduce blood clotting, cause drug interactions, and should be avoided by children and pregnant women.
14. Thyme Essential Oil
Note: Most people allergic to oregano are also allergic to thyme oil. The oil slows down blood clotting, so avoid using it about 2 weeks before any surgery scheduled. Also, avoid if you need to reduce exposure to estrogen due to health conditions.
15. Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood oil targets excess fat, removes toxins, and thus treats cellulite.20 Some of the oils it blends well with are cypress, juniper, and grapefruit.
Note: Do not use on pregnant women.
Apart from the oils mentioned so far, essential oils such as hazelnut, peppermint, spearmint, benzoin, and carrot seed are also used in the treatment of cellulite.
Methods To Use Essential Oils For Cellulite
Following are some of the common ways in which essential oils are used for cellulite:
- Dry brushing: Use a body brush, apply a few drops of an essential oil mix, and brush in an upward motion. This improves the blood circulation beneath the skin. The preferred time to do this is before a shower.
- Massaging: Use a few drops of the oil and massage in a circular motion. This also improves the blood circulation and improves the skin quality. Doing this before taking a shower is a good way to exfoliate, which helps open up the pores in the skin and remove toxins.
- Bathing: Doing this with an essential oil allows the oil to penetrate into the skin. While bathing, pinch and gently hit the affected areas to help the oil break the fat deposits. You can also massage the areas when under water using particular blends.21 22
Apart from these methods, essential oils are also taken in the form of tea or as is.
Tips To Use Essential Oils For Cellulite
There are many essential oils for cellulite and the combinations are even more in number. Keep the following things in mind before trying out the different oils:
- Essential oils are never used as is because they can be strong and harsh on the skin and have adverse effects. Remember to always mix the oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba, flax seed, sesame, sweet almond, avocado, carrot, olive, hazelnut, and walnut.
- Alternatively, you can also make a blend of the carrier oil: Mix 2 tbsp almond oil with 5 drops each of jojoba and carrot oils and blend them well.
- Find out and eliminate the oils that you’re allergic to.
- Some oils might work for a friend but not for you. Follow a trial-and-error method and find the right oil.
- Figure out which combinations work best.
- Consult your doctor before using any essential oil as some may interfere with any medications you take. Keep the health risks in mind before choosing.
- Make sure the oils you use before going outdoor do not increase UV-related skin damage.
How To Use Essential Oils For Cellulite
Given here are a few example blends. Remember that you don’t need to limit yourself to these as there are many types of blends.
Bath Oil For Cellulite
- Mix 6 drops each of oregano and juniper, 10 drops each of lemon and grapefruit, and 8 drops of basil. Blend it well.
- Add 2 handfuls of Epsom salt, 1 handful of rock salt, and 8 drops of the blend from the first step to your bath water.
- Massage the affected areas under water.
- Mix 5 drops of juniper and 3 drops each of orange, cypress, and lemon with 2 tbsp honey.
- Use this twice a week in your baths and complement it with massage oils.
Massage Oil For Cellulite
- Blend 1: Mix 14 drops of juniper, 10 drops of lemon, and 6 drops of oregano.
- Blend 2: Mix 8 drops of fennel, 10 drops of lemon, and 12 drops of grapefruit.
- Blend 3: Mix 10 drops of basil, 8 drops of thyme, and 12 drops of grapefruit.
Cellulite is not a condition that you suddenly get but something that develops over time. Consequently, reducing cellulite also takes time, patience, and perseverance. The essential oils for cellulite work wonders, provided you use them right. So give it some time, do not overuse the oils and in high quantities, and listen to your body; look out for avoidable allergies. Feel free to experiment and do let us know which oils work best for you!
|↑1||Kravitz, Len, and Nicole J. Achenbach. “Cellulite: A Review of Its Anatomy, Physiology and Treatment.” IDEA Fitness Journal 7, no. 4 (2010): 36-43.|
|↑2, ↑8, ↑9, ↑15, ↑17, ↑19, ↑20, ↑21||Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health Beauty a Safe Home Environment. New world library, 2012.|
|↑3||Rawlings, A. V. “Cellulite and its treatment.” International journal of cosmetic science 28, no. 3 (2006): 175-190.|
|↑4||Rawlings, A. V. “Cellulite and its treatment.” International journal of cosmetic science 28, no. 3 (2006): 175-190.|
|↑5, ↑11||Kulisic, T., A. Radonic, V. Katalinic, and M. Milos. “Use of different methods for testing antioxidative activity of oregano essential oil.” Food chemistry 85, no. 4 (2004): 633-640.|
|↑6||Garg, S. C. “Essential oils as therapeutics.” (2005).|
|↑7||Ali, Babar, Naser Ali Al-Wabel, Saiba Shams, Aftab Ahamad, Shah Alam Khan, and Firoz Anwar. “Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 5, no. 8 (2015): 601-611.|
|↑10||Rao, Jaggi, Michael H. Gold, and Mitchel P. Goldman. “A two‐center, double‐blinded, randomized trial testing the tolerability and efficacy of a novel therapeutic agent for cellulite reduction.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 4, no. 2 (2005): 93-102.|
|↑12, ↑16||Schiller, Carol, and David Schiller. 500 formulas for aromatherapy: mixing essential oils for every use. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 1994.|
|↑13||Ramya, H. G., V. Palanimuthu, and Singla Rachna. “An Introduction to Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin Benth.)–A Medicinal and Aromatic Plant: It’s Importance to Mankind.” Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal 15, no. 2 (2013): 243-250.|
|↑14||Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013.|
|↑18||Imelouane, B., H. Amhamdi, Jean-Paul Wathelet, M. Ankit, K. Khedid, and A. El Bachiri. “Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oil of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) from Eastern Morocco.” Int. J. Agric. Biol 11, no. 2 (2009): 205-208.|
|↑22||Worwood, Susan, and Valerie Ann Worwood. Essential aromatherapy: A pocket guide to essential oils and aromatherapy. New World Library, 2012.|