Ayurveda for Skincare: Follow a Holistic Approach for Healthy Skin
Ayurveda suggests a holistic approach for skin health. It considers the physical, mental and environmental factors.
The unblemished, soft, supple and radiating skin of a baby is exquisite. All of us are born with such gorgeous skin which over the course of years loses its charm.
Physical, mental and emotional health, stress, age and our environment play a huge role in skin health. However, even with these factors we can positively influence our skin and its aging.
Skin as any other organ depends on lifestyle choices. Junk food, lack of exercise, erratic sleep pattern and stress negatively affect health and skin. Though aging is unavoidable, an effective skin-care regime assists to counteract aging.
Skin is a mirror of health. Improving the skin is an inside job. No amount of topical applications can be effective if health is compromised.
Ayurveda suggests a holistic approach for skin health. It considers the physical, mental and environmental factors. In her book "Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony Through the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda”, Dr Pratima Raichur, well known Ayurvedic skin care expert, explains:
Ayurveda has emphasized the causative role of thought and behaviour in health and disease for thousands of years.
When Ayurvedic practitioners see a skin problem, they observe the person who has it and not just the symptoms.
Here’s what an Ayurvedic skin regime would look like:
Ayurvedic diet depends on three doshas, vata, kapha and pitta known as Prakriti (nature) of any individual, the six seasons and six tastes.
It stresses on fresh, organic and lightly cooked meals and including sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes in every meal.
Seasonal fruit, green and other vegetables, roots and tubers, and lightly cooked lentils are considered beneficial. Liberal use of herbs like coriander, mint and curry leaves in Ayurvedic cooking provides the micronutrients.
It endorses buttermilk for digestion and commends ghee to reduce inflammation, promoting flexibility, improving digestion, and boosting the immune system.
Stress triggers the flight and fight response and increases cortisol. Chronic stress exposes us to excess cortisol making the skin blotchy, sensitive and prone to pimples and acne.
Positive thinking supports health and well-being. Scientists believe that indulging in joyful, happy, kind and compassionate thoughts generate happy feelings which decrease cortisol and promote serotonin to calm our system.
Our face and complexion are the physical manifestation of all that we think and do—an exacting mirror of the soul.Dr Pratima Raichur
For changing our appearance, thoughts, emotions and habits need to be altered.
Regular meditation practice helps in reducing chaotic thoughts and steers mind towards joy and optimism.
The best cosmetic is the deep breath, claims Yoga-Shastra the sister science of Ayurveda. Slow deep breath with long exhalations clear the carbon dioxide from lungs allowing the inhalation of more oxygen. This increased oxygen imparts a glow to the skin.
Ayurveda encourages using natural and organic beauty products.
Turmeric, milk, honey, curd, lemon juice, ripe bananas and more can be used according to the skin type. Water infusions especially Rose water and Kewra (Pandanus flowers) water are highly acclaimed for skin healing and softening properties.
Ayurvedic Ubtans, pastes made from herbs, flours, and legumes, cleanse, exfoliate, nourish and moisturize skin naturally without exposing us to chemicals.
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Movement is crucial for physical well-being. Regular exercise increases blood circulation to the skin and brightens complexion. It enhances lymphatic -drainage by stimulating the lymphatic system and helps to remove toxins.
Though any form of exercise is beneficial, the holistic approach of Yoga is considered highly effective. It addresses body, mind and soul and involves controlled breathing, specific body movements and meditation.
Consistent Yoga practice helps in attaining optimum weight, improves skin and hair, boosts immunity and vitality and prevents lifestyle diseases.
Ayurveda emphasises good restful sleep as a crucial factor for health. Sleep is essential to relax, rest, rejuvenate. The detoxification process happens during sleep. A regular sleep pattern encourages physical, psychological and cognitive functioning.
Erratic lifestyle, work stress, shift duties and regular late nights play havoc with our sleep patterns interfering our biological rhythms and we either over sleep or are sleep deprived. Following the Ayurvedic principle of early to bed and early to rise, can do wonders to your health.
The stress of everyday living, environmental exposure and pollution negatively affects the skin. The process of repair and regeneration happens at night during sleep. Adequate sleep helps in lowering the cortisol and stimulates cell reproduction and growth.
Create a night time ritual to unwind by keeping away from electronic gadgets that overstimulate the brain. Stay away from caffeinated beverages. Explore solutions for getting optimum sleep based on your personal requirements and work-life conditions.
Try doing it the Ayurveda way by working on all aspects holistically to achieve harmony. Afterall a science that has survived for centuries cannot be wrong.
When everything is balanced the body is healthy, mind is peaceful, skin glows and heart sings a happy song.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel.)
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