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Do skincare firming products actually work?

The promise of tighter, smoother, cellulite free skin is a hefty claim to make. Nevertheless, here’s the skinny on firming products…  

In the beauty world, few topics have garnered as much attention and intrigue as cellulite. That stubborn dimpled skin has led to a long-running search for the holy grail of skincare: creams, lotions, gels and oils that banish it.  

Promising to reduce the appearance of cellulite and tighten the skin, firming products have captured the hopes of many. But do they truly deliver on their claims, or are we merely chasing after a beautiful illusion?  

The science behind cellulite 

Cellulite occurs when fat deposits push through the connective tissues under the skin, resulting in that familiar dimpled appearance. It also becomes more prevalent as we age, as skin loses its elasticity. Firming products are designed to promote a smoother skin texture.  

They help the top layer of skin to appear tauter and firmer by counteracting the natural loss of collagen that occurs with ageing. So, the quick answer to the main question is still: Don’t expect any miracles.  

The only way to truly get rid of cellulite is on a deeper level, by increasing physical activity so that your body is burning rather than storing fat – or to go the more ‘invasive’ liposuction route.   

What’s inside?  

Weak elastin (what gives the skin its bounce) as well as lower levels of collagen both contribute to drooping skin. However, certain ingredients have proven to aid in promoting the production of collagen and elastin.  

This includes antioxidants like vitamin C and coenzyme Q10 (which helps prevent cell damage), retinol, peptides, glycolic acid, caffeine and botanical ingredients like moringa seed oil and African birch extract.   

The benefits  

Dermatologist-approved firming products – whether in cream, gel or oil form – can certainly support the firmness of your skin. Firstly, they provide intense hydration (look out for hyaluronic acid on labels), improving its appearance and texture. Additionally, the act of massaging the product into the skin can stimulate blood flow and lymph drainage.   

Many formulations also contain nourishing ingredients like vitamins B and E that can have a positive impact on skin barrier function and contribute to a healthier, more radiant-looking skin overall.  

While the transformative claims surrounding cellulite reduction may fall short, the indulgent experience and potential additional skincare benefits make firming products an enjoyable addition and confidence boost to one’s beauty routine.  

Firming foods for thought

Another way to promote skin firmness and smoothness is by incorporating foods into your diet that are proven to help purify, brighten and tighten your skin naturally. These include:   

Bone broth – High in collagen peptides which function as antioxidants and promote skin hydration. 
Almonds – Packed with vitamin E which has a restorative effect on skin cells. 
Beets & berries – Help detoxify the skin through antioxidants, which also have an anti-inflammatory effect. 
Green tea – Contains plenty of antioxidants that fight free radicals, plus EGCG (epigallocatechingallate), which accelerates metabolism and removes toxins. 
Fatty fish – Contains omega-3 fatty acids which are incredibly important for optimal skin and brain health. 
Water – Helps to flush out excess fat cells and toxins.  

Words by: Charndré Emma Kippie

Photography: Pexels