Open just about any women’s magazine and you’ll find ads for anti-cellulite creams that promise to reduce the spongy, dimply, cottage cheese-looking skin that causes distress to so many women.
The products tout caffeine, retinol and the antioxidant DMAE as the special ingredients that help reduce the appearance of cellulite, which first surfaces on the hips, thighs and buttocks of millions of women during adolescence
Though excess weight and a lack of exercise can contribute to the problem, even thin women grapple with it.
Retinol is supposed to work by being able to penetrate the skin, exfoliate it, and increase collagen production, which makes skin thicker and hides the dimpling fat.
But the question is how much is needed in the products to achieve the effects, because too much can dry out the skin and cause it to redden and peel, Wells said.
Other creams boast the ingredient dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE, an antioxidant derived from fish that when combined with amino acids supposedly stimulates the muscles to contract and become firmer.