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Cellulite is one of the most democratic of beauty bandits, afflicting couch potatoes, long-distance runners, and boutique fitness fans equally, and robbing them all of their right to a dimple-free derriere.

That’s because its cause lies deeper in the structure of the skin, not on it. The most convincing study to date blames the effect on short septae, a webbing of fibers that hold muscle to skin and can allow the fat layer to poke through like a quilt. The same study found that deep massage helped, not creams.

So when I heard thatPratima Raichur, the Ayurvedic physician with a skin-care line and a spa in New York, was rolling out a summer beauty set that promised to firm and smooth legs in a way that even barre workouts and boot camps can’t touch, I asked her why we should buy it. Here’s what she said:

I don’t believe that cellulite creams, even Ayurvedic herbal ones, can change my fat deposits. What can beauty products do for nice summer legs? And what can’t they do? If pure, high-impact topicals are used in combination with vigorous massage, and the right nutrition and exercise routine, you can really make a difference in the appearance of cellulite skin. Many people understand that areas of cellulite consist of stubborn fat deposits, but there is another aspect of cellulite that is less known. As we age, collagen and elastin fibers within the skin become loose and dehydrated, and when this happens the fibers contract, which contribute to the bumpy appearance of cellulite. So using the right products with vigorous massage will not only help to stimulate lymphatic drainage and increase circulation but will also help move toxins out of the body. This will also provide the necessary hydration and nourishment needed for a toned and smooth appearance.

What is the relationship of circulation to cellulite? A main cause of cellulite is poor circulation. When we have a lack of circulation, the body doesn’t function properly, which includes poor blood flow and lymphatic drainage. These things can lead to a build up of fluids and toxins below the surface of the skin, which results in a lumpy and dimpled appearance. By increasing circulation, you can encourage the body’s elimination of these toxins and built up fluids, leading to a smoother appearance.

How exactly does it work? Are we flushing lymph or are we actually plumping up skin so it “fills in” cellulite dimples? By increasing the body’s circulation, we are essentially aiding in the body’s natural detoxification process, which flushes excess fluids out of the body through the lymphatic system. The draining of these excess fluids then leads to a smoother, more even toned skin. However, by also providing essential nutrients to our cells through application of herb-infused oils, we are also promoting better cell rejuvenation, which in turn, plumps and nourishes for an overall healthier looking skin.

How soon can you expect to see results? While you may see an immediate improvement of skin texture as a result of increased circulation, you will see permanent results with consistency (make it a daily ritual!) and if it’s combined with the right diet and lifestyle. The efforts you put into it will be what you get out of it.

In your experience, is diet linked to cellulite? While diet is key, it’s not the only determining factor. The body is a holistic system, so cellulite, as with any health condition, is a result of many contributing factors, such as diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle, and genetics. It’s important to address all of these things in order to effectively reduce cellulite and promote a healthy body, both inside and out. —Melisse Gelula

Want to try kicking cellulite the Ayurvedic way? Click here for Dr. Raicher’s step-by-step shower sequence that just might help tone and firm.

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