11 Essential Oils for Cellulite: Benefits & Uses - Dr. Axe

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11 Essential Oils for Cellulite: Benefits & Uses


Essential oils for cellulite - Dr. Axe

What is cellulite? Cellulite is a word used to describe dimpled or lumpy flesh that can be present on the thighs, hips, buttocks, or abdomen. Adolescent and adult women are most commonly the groups that struggle with this skin concern often described as having an orange peel or cottage cheese-like texture.

Many people feel embarrassed by their cellulite or are always making sure they cover it up, but having cellulite is extremely common, especially amongst women, and is often considered a “normal occurrence” and a cosmetic concern rather than a medical concern. (1) Some known causes of cellulite include: (2)

  • Poor diet
  • Fad dieting
  • Slow metabolism
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Hormone changes
  • Total body fat
  • Thickness and color of your skin

If you’re wondering how to get rid of cellulite using essential oils, then you’ve come to the right place! There are so many essential oils for skin health, but there are some that work especially well for unwanted cellulite.

Keep in mind that the results may not be permanent, but along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, helpful habits (like dry brushing), essential oils may have your skin looking less dimpled in the very near future!

11 Essential Oils for Cellulite

What is the best essential oil for cellulite? There are actually several great options to consider. You can use these oils alone or in combination with each other.


According to a scientific review published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2017, the following essential oils are used in dermatology for their positive effects on cellulite: (3)

1. Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)

Grapefruit oil, which comes from the nutrient-rich rind of a grapefruit, has been used for centuries to help fend off weight gain, sugar cravings and inflammation. And when it comes to natural remedies for cellulite, you’ll definitely see grapefruit essential oil again and again as top pick.

A research study using an animal model published in 2010 actually demonstrates how grapefruit oil can reduce adipogenesis (the the formation of fat or fatty tissue). (4) With its uplifting citrus scent, grapefruit oil is also a great natural mood booster, too.

2. Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

There are several different species of cedarwood trees that can be sources of cedarwood essential oil, which is extracted from the wood pieces of a cedar tree. Cedarwood essential oil’s active compounds, including cedrol, beta-cedrene and thujopsene, are known to have diurectic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properites that may help to improve cellulite’s appearance on your body. (5)

3. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Not only can this essential oil with a citrus-like aroma repel bugs, reduce stress and relax muscles, but with its circulation-boosting properties, lemongrass oil may also help to improve the appearance of cellulite.

As with all of these essential oils for cellulite, you can mix lemongrass oil with a carrier oil and apply it topically. You can also use a pure, high-grade lemongrass essential oil internally by adding a drop or two to your favorite beverages or to recipes like my Secret Cucumber Detox Soup and Lemon Roasted Cauliflower.

4. Juniper (Juniperus virginiana)

Juniper oil is another option for use as a natural cellulite remedy. It may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite thanks to active components like alpha-pinene, sabinene and juniperene. (6) Juniper oil also has helpful diuretic properties. (7) It has a scent that is often described as woody and sweet yet refreshing.

5. Geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum)

Geranium oil has a refreshing floworal aroma and has many impressive health benefits. This oil contains many powerful components, including a-pinene, myrcene, limonene, menthone, linalool, geranyl acetate, citronellal, geraniol and geranyl butyrate.

Can you use geranium oil for cellulite? As a natural diuretic, geranium oil can help discourage fluid retention that makes cellulite worse. It also has anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing abilities that can be really helpful, especially for women. (8)

6. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary essential oil is pretty well-known for its ability to help hair growth. (9) It also makes the list of remedies for another cosmetic concern: cellulite. If you like woody, evergreen scents, then rosemary is a great choice for you and there are many other helpful uses of rosemary oil.

What essential oils burn fat? A study published in 2017 shows that rosemary essential oil may not “burn” fat per se, but it does appear to decrease cellular fat accumulation and boost microcirculation. Overall, the researchers conclude that rosemary along with two other botanicals (Annona squamosa and Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) in the right ratios may be able to “impact the multiple pathways involved in cellulite onset, continuation, or exacerbations.” (10)

7. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender oil is extremely popular based on its calming scent alone. Plus, it has a long list of uses including the natural treatment of burns, stress, headaches,  muscle pain and boosting the immune system. It’s also a top choice for skin problems and boosting new cell growth making it a rejuvenating option for cellulite. (11)

8. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

Mandarin oil is used both externally and internally as a natural cellulite treatment. With its sweet citrusy aroma, it also has mood boosting effects and it can be helpful for insomnia, too. (11)

9. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Is cypress oil good for cellulite? Cypress oil is touted for its ability to stimulate circulation by increasing blood flow, making it a great choice for cellulite as well as varicose veins.

Cypress oil is also used medicinally for its antiseptic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, stimulating and antirheumatic properties. This oil has a clean and energizing scent that is a mix of woody and evergreen.


10. Fennel (Foeniculum dulce)

If hormonal imbalance is contributing to the dimpled appearance of your skin, fennel oil may be able to help balance your hormones naturally. It’s known to be especially beneficial for promoting hormone balance in women during menopause. (13)

Fennel essential oil has a spicy sweet scent and can be used with other oils of your choice on this list in my Homemade Body Butter Lotion. Apply the lotion daily to target cellulite-ridden areas.

11. Lemon (Citrus limon)

Lemon oil is commonly used to cleanse toxins from the body, stimulate lymphatic drainage and purify the skin. No wonder it’s another essential oil option that may just do wonders for your dimpled skin!

Lemon oil uses are truly plentiful including its many skin applications. In addition to its employment as a natural remedy for cellulite, it’s also used in dermatology for athlete’s foot, blisters, boils, corns, cuts, grazes, insect bites, mouth ulcers, rosacea and oily skin conditions. (3)

How to Use Essential Oils for Cellulite

Topical Application

The main way to use essential oils for cellulite is topically on the skin. As a 2017 study states, “Collectively, botanical formulations applied topically as anti-cellulite intend to reduce lipogenesis, activate lipolysis, restore subcutaneous tissue normal structure, reduce free radical generation or scavenge free radicals, prevent inflammation, increase microcirculation, and lymphatic drainage.” (10)

I highly recommend using essential oils for cellulite recipes you can easily create at home. What a super easy DIY recipe you can try to combat your dimpled skin? Make this Grapefruit Cellulite Cream in two minutes and apply it daily.

Can coconut oil help reduce cellulite? Coconut oil is definitely a great choice of carrier oil to use with essential oils for cellulite. One thing we know for sure is that coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizing agent, which can help to make the skin appear more supple. (14) If you’re looking for other carrier oil options, you can also use grapeseed oil for cellulite and almond oil for cellulite.

Looking for essential oils for cellulite and stretch marks? Try this Homemade Stretch Mark Cream that includes lavender, cypress, grapefruit and helichrysum essential oils. Some people also like to include peppermint oil for cellulite DIY remedies because it’s so invigorating. You can also use this DIY Coffee Scrub with essential oils for cellulite.

Oral Application

Read labels carefully to make sure an oil is appropriate for internal use before using it as part of your natural anti-cellulite plan. It is also critical to make sure that the oils you use internally are 100 percent pure, therapeutic grade and certified USDA organic. Many oils on the market today are diluted or blended with synthetics that are unsafe for ingesting.

In general, only use very small quantities of essentials oil internally, about one to two drops at a time and a maximum of up to two to three times daily. You should dilute the essential oil in liquid or food such as unsweetened raw applesauce before swallowing. It’s also best to take essential oils with food rather than on an empty stomach.

Other oral application options include capsules, adding a drop or two to your favorite beverage or cooking with essential oils. In all these scenarios, only a drop or two should be used.

Possible Side Effects and Caution 

If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor before using essential oils for cellulite. You should also check with your doctor being using essential oils if you have any ongoing health condition or are currently taking medication. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can interact with essential oils.

Citrus oils like lemon, mandarin and grapefruit can cause photosensitivity when used topically, so it’s important to avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after using these oils on your skin.

Always look for essential oils that are 100 percent pure, therapeutic grade and certified organic, both for reasons of safety and effectiveness.

Of course, never use an essential oil externally or internally that you are allergic to.

Final Thoughts

  • Cellulite is a condition in which the skin has a lumpy, dimpled appearance and it most often affects the buttocks and thighs.
  • Cellulite is mainly considered a cosmetic concern and essential oils are an excellent natural way to help improve the appearance of this condition.
  • Essential oils for cellulite include cedarwood, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, cypress, lemongrass, fennel, juniper, lavender, geranium, and rosemary.
  • These oils can only be combined with a carrier oil like coconut to be used topically.
  • Only use essential oils for cellulite that are 100 percent pure, therapeutic grade and certified organic.
  • Check with your doctor before using essential oils for cellulite if you are pregnant, nursing, have an ongoing medical condition, or are currently taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Read Next: DIY Coffee Scrub for Cellulite

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