How Tanning Reduces The Look Of Cellulite, If At All?

Last updated on : December 17 2022

cellulite and tanning

Both men and women are under constant pressure to look their best in this era of selfies and social media, but it seems like women fall prey to the demands of perfection most often. Many women believe they would be perfect if only they didn't have that pesky cellulite.

There are creams galore promising to banish cellulite for good, but some women choose a much simpler method instead: tanning. 

Tanning the body may give a beautiful warm glow to the skin, but things aren't always what they appear. 

To this end, we explore the beast itself (cellulite), tanning effectiveness, and alternative methods for cellulite diminution.

What is cellulite?

The scientific community believes cellulite arises from a combination of hormones and physiology. 

However, it's nothing more than a collection of fat cells, which are slightly different from regular fat cells. They are different because the connective tissues covering cellulite fat cells don't form a smooth surface. As a result, the skin has a dimpled or rippled appearance. 

Cellulite usually occurs around the hips, thighs, and glutes. Collagen fibers between the fat and skin either stretch or break down, and this allows the fat cells to bulge out. Sometimes also causing stretch marks

While women may not like the aesthetics of cellulite, the tissue isn't harmful to your health. Moreover, while overweight women may be most prone to cellulite, thin women or those of a healthy weight can develop it as well. 

It's no shocker that genetics play a factor in the prevalence of cellulite. But other factors that worsen cellulite include inflammation and hormonal fluctuations due to your menses or aging.

normal skin v cellulite skin

Does tanning reduce the appearance of cellulite?

Tanning gives the individual a darker hue, which reduces the appearance of cellulite. 

The reason for this phenomenon is darker skin conceals the skin's texture more than lighter complexions. 

However, tanning can also cause sun damage that decreases skin elasticity. Less elastic skin will only worsen the occurrence of cellulite instead of eliminating or hiding it as you hoped.

What are the dangers of tanning?

Tanning, whether inside or outside, poses significant risks to your health

The indoor tanning sector currently grosses around $5 billion per year, so we know many people select tanning treatments. 

Yes, you will achieve a temporary cosmetic fix, but it can later lead to skin cancer, premature skin aging, and damage to the cornea of the eye. 

Statistics show that in the United States from 2003 to 2012, 3,234 injuries related to indoor tanning necessitated treatment from a hospital emergency department. These injuries included burns, loss of consciousness, and eye injuries.

The FDA reports that overexposure to UV light may inhibit the immune system, and in turn, leave you susceptible to viruses and infections. Additionally, they classify sunlamps as a Class II medical device (moderate to high-risk). These devices require labeling that informs individuals of the dangers associated with tanning beds.

The FDA likewise mandates that the manufacturers warn frequent users of sunlamps to receive regular cancer screenings. 

Studies show that nearly 7.8 million American adult women and 1.9 million adult men tan indoors. 52.5 percent of these tanners began doing so before reaching age 21, while 32.7 percent began before they were 18.

You may regard the tanning bed as a healthy alternative to the sun's bright UV rays. Still, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources are both carcinogens. These UV rays cause melanomas and increase the risk of a benign mole evolving into a melanoma. 

You may be shocked to learn that the amount of radiation emitted during an indoor tanning session is similar to that of the sun. 

Sometimes artificial sources from tanning beds emit even stronger UV rays than the sun. 

Researchers postulate that indoor tanning devices cause more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer each year. And they lead to an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.

The number of cancer cases caused by indoor tanning is very alarming. Possibly even more disturbing is the cost of treating the afflicted. The estimated cost to treat skin cancer resulting from indoor tanning in the US is $343.1 million per year.

If you partake in indoor tanning sessions before age 35, it increases your risk of a deadly melanoma by 59 percent, and worse, this risk increases with each course. Women under age 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.

Additionally, some people claim they tan indoors (or outdoors) because it's a source of vitamin D. However this is a dangerous way to acquire a relatively ubiquitous vitamin in light of the cancer risks involved. 

You can just as readily absorb vitamin D from your diet and supplements. It's far easier to take a supplement in the morning than go and sit through a tanning session. 

Even worse, frequent indoor tanning often spirals into a form of addiction, with an estimated one-fifth of Caucasian women aged 18 to 30 suffering from indoor tanning dependence, an outrageous 20 percent of that population.

What can I do to diminish/eliminate cellulite safely?

The Mayo Clinic purports that only weight loss, laser therapy, and radio-frequency medical treatments can reduce the appearance of cellulite

Their advice is something to remember when you hear the false claims put forth by the makers of expensive anti-cellulite creams, which have no comprehensive clinical studies to demonstrate their effectiveness.

woman with cellulite

Spray-on or rub-on tanning products:

Spray tanners allow you to achieve a darker complexion without risk of damage from prolonged sun exposure. 

Self-tanners generally incorporate dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to darken the epidermis temporarily. When used as directed, they're a safe alternative to indoor and outdoor tanning. 

These products are available over-the-counter in the form of gels, lotions, and sprays. 

Neutrogena and Coppertone, offer self-tanners that are natural-looking. Today, even many professional tanning salons and spas provide sunless tanning treatments. 

Health and Wellness:

Diet and exercise are the keys to a fabulous physique, and they can also lessen the appearance of your cellulite. 

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables with an abundance of fiber. Of course, you also need to stay well hydrated and avoid smoking. 

It is important to remember that we cannot spot-reduce our fat, so you may not get rid of all of the cellulite. However, you will feel great and decrease the occurrence of cellulite.


Cellulaze is the only FDA-approved cellulite cure. 

The procedure involves inserting a minute laser under the skin to decompose the cellulite structure. 

You see results with only one treatment, so it's excellent for those seeking instant gratification. It will cost you to get those immediate results, however. Prices range from $300 to $8,000 depending on the size of the treatment area.

Topical Creams and Exfoliants:

Dead skin cells on the epidermis can exacerbate the appearance of cellulite. Exfoliating helps your skin look as smooth as possible. 

Topical creams containing caffeine are another excellent choice. The caffeine shrinks the fat cells by dehydrating them, providing the skin plumpness that helps minimize the dimpled appearance.


UV rays are capable of damaging collagen, which makes cellulite more visible. 

Begin using an SPF daily to protect your skin from all the damage caused by the sun's rays, including skin cancer. 

You may find it especially beneficial to choose sunscreens with antioxidants because they help to reduce UV-induced collagen damage.

Massage Therapy:

Treat yourself to a relaxing massage. The therapy restores blood flow that will temporarily diminish cellulite appearance.

Myofascial Release:

The FasciaBlaster is a tool to open the thick layers of fascia and loosen any fascial adhesions. It is suitable for any part of the body. 

In addition to reducing cellulite prevalence, regular use provides the following:

  • Reduced Pain
  • Improve Flexibility
  • Improved Joint Function
  • Improved Circulation
  • Enhanced Muscle Definition and Performance
  • Enhanced Nerve Activity


We can now see that tanning does offer a temporary cosmetic fix to reduce the appearance of cellulite. However, it's essential to accept that the consequences of tanning far outweigh the relatively minor benefits.

Tanning with UV radiation makes you more susceptible to skin cancer and damage at the molecular level. 

Sunless tanners deliver the desired results in a much healthier fashion. And we can further improve cellulite occurrence with diet, exercise, topical creams, and medical treatments.

Recall that the FDA classifies tanning beds as moderate to high-risk devices, which is why they must display warnings to notify people of their dangers. 

You can achieve the look you want without damaging your health. After all, this is the only body you'll ever get, and aesthetics aren't worth dying over.

The most important thing is to feel good within yourself, which will exude to your exterior. There is also power in accepting the limitations of our flaws. Genetics may render it nearly impossible for you to achieve a body with no cellulite. So what? Your body is beautiful, and you should remind yourself of much more often.

Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked these questions more often than not. 

Does fake tan reduce the look of cellulite?

Fake tan can reduce the look of cellulite; however, once your tan fades, it will become visible again.

The tan helps to camouflage the natural look of cellulite, giving you an all-over glow.

Not only that, but a properly applied fake tan will also help mask stretch marks and scars, as well as make you seem slimmer overall.

Does cellulite show up more in the sun?

Cellulite will show up on your body and be visible depending on where it is and how visible it is generally, rather than based on the weather conditions.

The problem is not whether it will show up in the sun, but rather how the sun makes cellulite worse. The sun makes it worse due to excess damage from UV rays that harm your body's collagen and elastin.

How do I get rid of cellulite on my thighs and bum?

Before you start a savings account to try and get liposuction to rid yourself of cellulite, stop. Liposuction can make cellulite worse. It doesn't treat it appropriately.

As we note above, for you to rid yourself of cellulite, you must eat a healthy diet with lots of fiber. You can find fiber in a lot of vegetables, so make sure they are dominant in your meals.

Regular exercising and body brushing or massaging troubled areas such as the thighs and buttocks will also aid you in getting rid of cellulite through lymphatic drainage.

What reduces the appearance of cellulite?

The worst thing you can do when concerned about cellulite is to let your body get dehydrated. Your body needs water to stay healthy regardless of cellulite, but it can also help you reduce the appearance of cellulite.

If you are a smoker, we strongly advise that you stop, not only to reduce the appearance of any cellulite but also for other health benefits such as healthier lungs and longer life.

By exercising regularly, you will also aid in minimizing cellulite, and building lean muscle will help prevent the growth of any more.

Is there a cellulite cream that works?

Cellulite creams have been debunked time and again by scientists.

A lot of these creams contain caffeine, so they tighten the muscles and skin, but this effect is only temporary. These creams can also potentially cause other problems, such as reddened or peeling skin.

The only real way to remove cellulite is through proper diet, exercise, and building lean muscle.

Is massage good for cellulite?

There is some evidence that massage may help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is a common condition when fat deposits push against the connective tissue under the skin, resulting in a dimpled or uneven appearance.

Massage helps improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and break down these fat deposits, which could help reduce cellulite's appearance. However, the effectiveness of massage in reducing its appearance can vary from person to person. Some people may see a reduction in cellulite after a massage, while others may not notice a significant change.

In addition, massage results are generally temporary, and you may need regular treatments to maintain any improvement.

Other treatments may be more effective at reducing the appearance of cellulite, such as topical creams and lotions, laser treatments, and injectable therapies. It's a good idea to speak with a dermatologist or healthcare professional if you are concerned about cellulite and want to explore treatment options.

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The Kewl Shop

The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.

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Editor: Charles Fitzgerald

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