I have always had heavy legs, even though I am not overweight and exercise regularly. I suffer from water retention, so thick ankles and calves are inevitable. At the knees, they meet my dimply thighs.
I'm in my 40s, and with these less than attractive features, I haven't put on shorts in about 20 years. But hope springs eternal. As summer approaches, I inevitably think that maybe this is the year I can show my legs unselfconsciously once again.
To help reach that goal, I tried the Sweetsation Phyto*Lite Anti Cellulite Smoothing Body Scrub ($32). The product claims to improve circulation, smooth skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. It contains several high-quality natural and herbal ingredients. As the title indicates, the featured actives are paprika and caffeine.
Paprika is a common spice made from ground bell pepper. It is high in vitamin C, which is great for brightening and tightening the skin as many of us know from the vitamin C serums we use on our faces. Prior to my research for this review, I was unaware of the health and beauty benefits of paprika -- there are many!
Caffeine has become increasingly popular in beauty products over the last 10 to 15 years. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, which can reduce puffiness. It is also a diuretic, so it dehydrates the skin and smoothes it for a short time. Its skin care benefits have been widely documented, including on Truth in Aging.
Sweetsation Anti Cellulite Smoothing Body Scrub has a heavenly citrus scent. The sugar and salt mixture combined with a variety of oils make it a nonabrasive exfoliant. It is gentle enough to use even on the neck and décolleté.
The directions are simple and, in my opinion, should be more detailed. They state: "Gently rub it all over your body, in a circular motion, paying special attention to affected areas and rinse off with warm water.
Photos of the product show a fluffy scrub heaped in its container. So I was surprised when I peeled back the foil cover and rust-colored oil splattered all over my bathroom. The sugar and salt had sunk to the bottom of the tub and were buried below a thick layer of fragrant but messy oil. I found it helpful to mix the scrub with a spoon every couple days to keep the ingredients from separating.
But the mess didn't end there. With the simple instructions in hand, I dug down into the tub and began massaging a glob of the mixture in a circular motion on the backs of my thighs. Little clumps of scrub were flaking off all over the place.
I soon realized this wasn't the way to do it, so I jumped into the shower where the mess could be more confined. That presented its own challenges, however. Sugar and salt quickly dissolve in water, so it is important to keep the scrub away from the water until you are ready to rinse. While the sugar and salt wash away easily, the oil stays on the skin. Some folks may like this, but the residue was a bit too much for me. I followed the scrub with a body wash.
The scrub leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and energized, but I have not seen any lessening of my dimply cellulite. I'm not completely surprised. I've been looking for a cure for years and haven't found one. Topical use of gentle scrubs with actives like paprika and caffeine may briefly improve the appearance of the skin, but there is no evidence they can get rid of cellulite.
If I have learned anything from Truth in Aging, it is that good products that make a real difference can take a while to show results. We all need a quick fix now and then, but for regular use, I'm not interested in products that promise to "improve the appearance of" wrinkles, discoloration, sagging skin, cellulite or what have you. "Improve the appearance of" on any label tells me I'm likely in for a superficial plumping or shimmer to deflect attention from my problem areas for a few hours.
Perhaps continued use of Sweetsation Anti Cellulite Smoothing Body Scrub could provide greater results than what I've seen so far. I won't be finding out, though. With the lack of progress so far, I just don't have patience for its messiness.