Can Compression Stockings Help Cellulite?
Compression stockings are great for treating varicose veins, but it’s unlikely they’ll eliminate bumpy, uneven skin on the thighs.
There are many reasons to wear compression stockings, especially if you have varicose veins. These tightly woven hose promote efficient blood flow and lessen the swelling and pain of varicose veins. Even if you don’t have varicose veins, compression stockings prevent pooling of blood that could result in bulging blue or purple veins. That’s why it’s recommended you wear compression stockings if you sit for long hours or will travel on a lengthy plane ride. But can compression stockings reduce the appearance of cellulite?
Unfortunately, no. Despite the claims of several manufacturers of cellulite-fighting hosiery, there is no evidence that compression stockings eliminate dimpled skin on the upper thighs and derriere.
What Compression Stockings Can and Can’t Do
After a varicose vein procedure, your vein specialist will advise you to wear compression stockings. Their gentle compression supports the leg veins in pumping blood back to the heart, which will help heal the treated vein. Wearing compression stockings also keeps the swelling around varicose veins in check so you’ll experience less discomfort.
Varicose veins are caused by weak valves that allow blood to backslide into the vein, eventually creating a protruding rope-like line on the leg. On the other hand, cellulite results when a buildup of fat cells stretch the fibrous cords that connect skin to the underlying muscle. This stretching leaves the skin with an uneven, bumpy appearance. Hormones and genetics are thought to play a role in cellulite. Obesity and inactivity increases the risk of cellulite, but fit people can have dimpled skin, as well. Although cellulite affects appearance and can make people hesitant to show their legs, it is not considered medically harmful.
Anti-cellulite legging manufacturers claim that “micro-massage ridge technology” built into the stockings enhances circulation and thus eliminates cellulite. In addition, people who wear compression stockings say the hosiery makes their legs feel better. One study done in the U.K. concluded the stockings did improve the appearance of cellulite, but the research was based on only eight subjects and used only one brand of compression stockings. More research was needed, the researchers noted. Manufacturers of these products recommend people wear the stockings for eight hours a day for several weeks to achieve maximum results.
However, there are more proven methods of both minimizing the appearance of cellulite and reducing the pain of varicose veins. For example, regular cardiovascular exercise burns fat cells, thereby trimming the layer of fat bumping up against the skin. Your legs will look more toned and smooth. Similarly, workouts that tone the calf muscles aid the veins in pumping blood, which prevents varicose veins from developing and reduces swelling.
A healthy, low-fat diet combined with exercise combats both cellulite and varicose veins. Obesity is a major risk factor for both conditions, so watching your calorie intake will lower your chances of developing cellulite and varicose veins.
Lastly, if you have varicose veins, avoiding direct sunlight and extreme heat decreases the bothersome symptoms such as pain and swelling. The same is true for cellulite, as harsh UV rays can accentuate the appearance of wrinkled skin.
Take Care of Your Varicose Veins
At Center for Vein Restoration, we recommend our patients wear compression stockings following a vein procedure, or as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of varicose veins. Even though compression stockings won’t diminish the appearance of cellulite if you have the condition, the garments will contribute to smoother, healthier legs. Contact us today for more information.