The quest for beautiful, youthful skin isn’t a new one – it has driven humankind to innovate and experiment for centuries! What started with home remedies in ancient India, China, and Egypt, has become today’s multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry. However, as the downsides of harsh synthetics become evident, more consumers are seeking alternatives to conventional skincare. For many of them, this means getting back to nature’s basics with Ayurveda – the age-old Indian science of holistic medicine. Here are a few simple ways you can use it to combat your modern skin woes:
Sound quirky? Ayurveda teaches that beauty lies within the body. A healthy body and a calm mind are key to radiance! All it takes to get started is your yoga mat, and a quiet space. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, and switch off your electronic appliances (and don’t forget to silence your phone!) Straighten your spine, clear your mind, and meditate (if you’re not sure what that entails, here’s a great introduction). Twenty minutes, once a day, is often more than enough – if you’re a beginner, start with five-minute sessions, and increase their length as you progress. Try to make sure you set aside a few minutes for meditation at the same time each day. Be consistent for a few weeks, and you’ll feel the difference!
As much as we love our topical lotions and serums, diet plays a huge role in skin wellness. For taut and glowing skin, cut down on consumption of refined sugars and fats, and substitute fruits, vegetables, and nuts instead. Indian gooseberries, apples, spinach, lemons, tomatoes, carrots, and beetroot, are packed with nutrients and free radical-fighting antioxidants to keep skin luminous. Eat regularly, and in moderation – ideally, breakfast should be eaten before 8AM, lunch before noon, and dinner before sundown. Also, be sure to drink water with each of your meals – when you finish eating, your stomach should be a third full of food, a third full of water, and a third full of air.
In the age of processed food and toxic preservatives in our cosmetics, our bodies have become receptacles for harmful substances. The chemicals we internalize in various ways affect the overall balance of our body, internally and externally – sometimes leading to visibly worn out skin. Simple practices like exercising regularly and drinking lots of water can help flush out impurities, but sometimes a more intensive detox can be beneficial, too. Every three months, you may want to try a seven-day detox program, which means eliminating refined sugars, saturated fats, meat, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco from your diet. Limit your diet to fruits and vegetables during this week – and consume green tea and honey sparingly as a supplement. Also, be sure to minimize your use of chemical-based products like makeup, skin cleansers, and household cleaning goods. It’s a simple process, but one that takes discipline! According to Ayurveda, this detox will rejuvenate your hepatobiliary and digestive systems, and restore overall balance to your body.
Despite some modern skepticism, oil pulling has been a popular practice for thousands of years, and is recommended as a tool to promote oral health and combat physical issues like migraine headaches. It’s also a great way to flush toxins from the body, and to remove the impurities that lead to acne, rashes, and skin discoloration. Each morning, before breakfast, take a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil or sesame oil, and swish it in your mouth for a minimum of five minutes. Spit it out, and be sure to brush and clean your tongue thoroughly, as you don’t want the impurities in the oil to stay in your mouth!
Facial Oil Massage
Gentle oil massages can promote vitality and control signs of aging – and are especially beneficial for combatting dry skin. They can also help fade scars and minimize blemishes, black heads, and dark circles on the skin. Kumkumadi tailam is an Ayurvedic preparation containing over 15 herbs including saffron, and is formulated specifically for skincare and facial massage. However, easily accessible oils like grape seed and sesame (or any of our facial blends) are highly effective, too! Try a facial oil massage once every three to four weeks to cleanse, moisturize, and arrest the skin’s aging process.
Despite Ayurveda’s ancient origins, much of its wisdom rings true for the modern beauty enthusiast – stay tuned for more blog posts on simple ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle and beauty routine!