We’ve heard it all before, and most of us recognize the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle for glowing skin and lustrous hair. After all, diet plays the most important role, along with maintaining adequate levels of physical activity, relaxation, and sleep. But what else can you do? If you’re doing the best that you can with your diet and lifestyle, you can also support your skin and hair health by following some effective Ayurvedic practices for beauty and skin care.
Ayurvedic Beauty Tips for Your Skin Care Routine
Know Your Prakriti
Your balance of doshas or prakriti has an influence on every aspect of health, including skin and hair health. For example, someone with a vata dominant constitution would be more vulnerable to dry skin conditions, a pitta dominant skin type would be more vulnerable to heat rashes, while a kapha dominant skin type would have greasy skin that increases the risk of acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. Understanding your individual risks allows you to follow a more personalized dietary and lifestyle routine that minimizes such risks.
Listen to the Seasons
Ayurveda is all about harmony with nature, so this beauty tip should come as no surprise. The skin care routine that you follow must reflect the changing season, taking into account your prakriti, as well as the dominant doshas in that season. Ayurveda provides specific guidance to maintain your optimal dosha balance in harmony with seasonal changes in what is called ritucharya. The recommendations follow what anyone would recognize as a common sense approach. For example, your summer routine focuses on diet, lifestyle, and skin care practices that are cooling and pitta pacifying, while your winter routine focuses on nourishment, hydration, and warmth.
Because of the role that ama or toxicity plays in the development of skin conditions, detoxification, and purification practices are important in any Ayurvedic skin care routine. Panchakarma therapy is the most famous and effective of all detox procedures, helping balance the doshas, while destroying ama, and also improving the flow of prana or the lifeforce through the body. It promotes healthy glowing skin and offers a variety of other health benefits that have been proven in studies. If you cannot undergo panchakarma in the near future, other detox measures can also help to some extent.
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Spice it Up
Add carefully selected spices to your diet and skin care routine – the help promote healthy skin through both ingestion and topical application. Spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper work internally by strengthening agni or digestion and facilitating the removal of ama or toxins from the body. That is a prerequisite to healthy skin. Topical applications with turmeric also work wonders for common skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea because of proven anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Similarly, spices like cinnamon and cardamom have strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties that will bolster any skin care routine.
Medicinal herbs are at the center of almost all Ayurvedic therapies and skin care is no exception. Like spices, herbs can be added to your diet, consumed as supplements or herbal medications, used in home remedies, and topical applications. Herbal teas with ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, dhaniya seeds, jeera, and methi seeds can be powerful detox agents, helping reduce the buildup of ama and relieving associated skin conditions. In addition to consuming herbs as part of your dietary intake, it is also advisable to avoid using harsh cosmetic products, instead focusing on natural applications that use herbal ingredients only.
A good skin cleansing ritual is the cornerstone of any skin care routine, but most of us use cosmetic cleansing solutions that contain harsh chemicals, which can do more harm than good. The first thing that you should do is to ditch those soap-based cleansers. Cleansing is important to remove dead skin cells, excess oil, dirt, toxins, and makeup, but this can be achieved by using natural Ayurvedic solutions. Rosewater and cucumber water are among the best natural cleansing solutions, but they are also mild and gentle on skin.
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Moisturizing is another essential practice and once again, you need to stick to natural products. Ayurveda recommends the use of plant-based oils such as coconut, almond, sesame, and sandalwood oils to moisturize and nourish skin. These oils are best administered through the practice of abhyanga, which is an Ayurvedic oil massage. You can also use topical Ayurvedic creams and applications containing various herbal extracts and oil blends. Studies have found such herbal moisturizers to be effective, especially when combined with ingredients like aloe or turmeric extracts.
Another important element of a skin care routine, exfoliation can be done safely using completely natural and eco-friendly products in Ayurveda. Instead of using facial scrubs and exfoliants that contain plastic micro-beads and other pollutants, make your own tridoshic scrub with turmeric and sandalwood powder, gram flour, and rosewater. To preserve skin moisture you can also add some milk and honey. You can also use ingredients like almond powder and sea salt or simply buy an Ayurvedic herbal face scrub. In addition to using scrubs and masks, you can also try the Ayurvedic technique of garshana or dry brushing to remove dead skin cells.
Natural Skin Treatments
Ayurvedic herbs are not just useful for promoting healthy glowing skin, but can also be used to treat specific skin conditions. Instead of using cosmetic of pharmaceutical products that can have adverse side effects, focus on Ayurvedic supplements and skin care products. Aloe and honey have proven benefits in promoting wound healing and treating skin burns, neem and teatree oil can help fight fungal infections, turmeric and tulsi can relieve inflammation, and so on. There’s really no limit to what medicinal herbs can do for skin care.
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Ayurveda recognizes the importance of the sun, not just in human health, but also in nature. While it does emphasize the importance of sun exposure, you will find that it is cautious in recommendations with the dinacharya also emphasizing outdoor fitness activities early in the morning, rather than at mid-day. In other words, although sunlight is essential for human wellbeing, you must minimize exposure to radiation during peak hours. This is not just because of the risk of sunburn, but because of oxidative damage and aging caused by exposure. Herbal oils and ointments can also protect your skin against UV exposure, with studies highlighting the efficacy of coconut oil, tea polyphenols, and other herbal extracts in limiting sun damage.
Following all of these practices will improve the quality of your beauty and skin care routine, minimizing the risk of blemishes and skin conditions. If you do suffer from any skin disorder and do not get relief, it would be best to consult a dermatologist who also has expertise in Ayurveda for more personalized recommendations based on your needs.
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