Essential Ayurvedic Tips for Beauty and Skin CareDr. Surya Bhagwati
Whether it’s the internet or beauty magazines that you’re browsing through, there’s no shortage of skin care advice. Unfortunately, much of the information that you find is stuff you already know or things that just don’t work. In some cases the advice might even be downright dangerous. We’ve put together some of the most useful skin care tips and practices from ancient Ayurvedic texts and modern practitioners that are backed by research, not just dubious claims. Since you’ve probably heard all of the advice on the importance of diet, exercise, and sleep, we’ll skip those recommendations and get directly to the specifics.
Essential Ayurvedic Beauty & Skin Care Tips
1. Understand Your Prakriti
Ayurveda is the only discipline that emphasizes harmonious living and the balance of natural energies, which are called doshas. This balance in each of us is called prakriti and it has an influence on every aspect of your health – skin and hair included. There are 3 doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha, with every individual having a unique balance of these doshas. If any dosha is aggravated it can result in a variety of health conditions, also contributing to acne, blackheads, dry skin, heat rashes, and so on. Maintaining your optimal balance of doshas is vital to maintaining healthy skin. To identify your prakriti and get diet, lifestyle and recommendations to support your dosha balance it is advisable to consult a reputed Ayurvedic practitioner.
2. Oil Massage
Moisturizing is recognized as a vital element in any skin care routine, but there’s a slight difference in Ayurveda. It goes beyond applying cosmetic moisturizers, instead recommending the use of herbal oils in massages. With the use of therapeutic herbal oils, your skin gets a lot more nourishment than from standard moisturizers. Moreover, the practice of Ayurvedic massage or abhyanga itself is known to be beneficial for skin health and general wellbeing, encouraging the elimination of toxins and nourishing the skin. Plant-based oils like coconut, sunflower, sesame, almond, and sandalwood are regarded as the best choices.
3. Use Spices
While balanced nutrition is important, you can get more out of your meals by spicing things up. In Ayurveda, spices are more than flavoring ingredients and are highly valued for their therapeutic power. They can improve skin health through their strengthening effect on agni or digestion and by encouraging the elimination of toxins. This is vital to the maintenance of skin health. Spices like turmeric can also be used in topical applications, while others like cinnamon, elaichi, and black pepper are also highly regarded. While some of cinnamon and elaichi are notable for their antimicrobial properties, turmeric has been shown to help with conditions like eczema and rosacea thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
4. Ayurvedic Herbs
Ayurveda is dominated by herbal medicine, with ancient Ayurvedic texts providing us with a wealth of information on their therapeutic applications. Herbs can be used in a variety of mediums, consumed with food, used in remedies or medications, supplements, or in topical applications. Herbal teas are now widely used to promote detoxification for clear glowing skin and you can choose from ginger, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, and more. Herbal skin care products are also a much safer alternative to cosmetics that contain chemicals, which can do more harm than good.
5. Panchakarma Therapy
One of the best things that you can do would be to check into an Ayurvedic center for panchakarma therapy. This traditional Ayurvedic practice has attracted increased attention of late for its efficacy in dealing with serious lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease, but it also promotes healthy skin. Panchakarma is a purification or detoxification practice that involves 5 procedures, not only destroying ama, but also restoring the balance of doshas and flow of prana through the body. The skin health benefits of panchakarma have also been documented in some recent studies.
6. Natural Cleanse
For obvious reasons, cleansing is at the center of skin care routines, but your method of cleansing could be doing more damage to your skin. Most cosmetic soaps, body washes, and cleansing products contain harsh chemicals that can increase dryness and skin irritation even causing contact dermatitis. A return to Ayurvedic natural skin cleansers would be a good idea, as there are plenty of herbs that are effective cleansers. Just opt for herbal cleanses that do not contain added chemicals or fragrances. Ayurvedic herbs like shikakai, aritha, and reetha are particularly good at cleansing both skin and hair and are extremely gentle, even working well on sensitive skin. You can also use rose water and cucumbers for a homemade skin cleanse or simply use an Ayurvedic face pack for glowing skin.
7. Natural Treatments
While herbal oils, cleansers, and moisturizers are great for nourishing and promoting healthy skin, these herbs can also be used to manage a number of skin conditions. Studies have shown that a number of herbs possess antimicrobial properties that can help fight fungal skin infections, as well as bacterial infections. Neem and tea tree oil are particularly notable in this regard and they are safer than pharmaceutical and cosmetic products to treat skin infections. Other natural ingredients like aloe, turmeric, tulsi, and honey are also valuable when dealing with inflammatory skin conditions, even helping in the treatment of burns.
Following these recommendations should improve the quality of your skin, but it’s also important that you make changes to your diet and lifestyle to maintain the optimal balance of doshas. Keep in mind that lifestyle choices like excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and inadequate sleep can also adversely impact skin health. If you suffer from any sudden deterioration in skin health or do not got respite from skin conditions with Ayurvedic remedies and home treatments, make sure to consult a qualified practitioner for an accurate diagnosis and personalized recommendations.
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