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How to Incorporate Ayurvedic Skin Care into Your Routine

In today's fast-paced world, where synthetic skin care solutions often promise immediate results, many are turning back to the roots, seeking answers from ancient wisdom. Among the oldest healing systems in the world, Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old Indian science of life, offers not just remedies but a way of life. Ayurvedic Skin Care isn't just about the exterior but delves deep into holistic well-being, understanding the individual's unique constitution, and treating the skin as a mirror to what's happening inside the body. This blog will unravel the secrets of Ayurvedic skin care, introducing you to timeless rituals, potent herbs, and personalized approaches that not only promise radiant skin but also a harmonious balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Join us as we embark on this journey of natural beauty and wellness.

Introduction to Ayurvedic Skin Care

For millennia, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and wellness, has offered a profound and holistic approach to skin care. Unlike many contemporary treatments that address skin issues superficially, Ayurveda delves deeper into the skin’s intrinsic nature and its connection to overall health.

Skin is the largest organ of the body and covers the external surface of the body. It provides protection to the body from micro-organisms, heat, chemicals, and breeze, and maintains thermoregulation.

Skincare has received a lot of attention in the current era. A good complexion and texture of the skin boosts the self-confidence. Cosmetics of chemical origin are harmful to the skin and hence Ayurveda skin care becomes essential which makes use of harmless skin care products, as well as the regimens followed routinely and seasonally that help maintain and protect the skin health.

Skincare aims to support the integrity of the skin, provides nutrition to the cells that enhance the appearance, and treats skin disorders.

The Core Principles of Ayurvedic Skin Care

Skin as explained in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, skin is called twacha. Twacha is formed in the third month of intrauterine life. It is formed from the combined effects of Shukra (sperm) and Shonita (ovum) and is the organ of tactile sensation. Seven layers of skin have been explained in classical texts of the Indian system of medicine.2,4

  1. Avabhasini: This can be correlated with the Horne layer of the skin. It measures about the thickness of 1/18th portion of vrihi bhaga (rice grain) and reflects all types of complexions. 
  2. Lohitha: This is the second layer and can be correlated with the Status lucidum layer of the skin. The measurement is about 1/16th portion of vrihi bhaga (rice grain).
  3. Shweta: The third layer of the skin and is closely related to Stratum granulosum measuring about 1/12th portion of vrihi bhaga (rice grain). 
  4. Tamra: This measures about 1/8th portion of vrihi bhaga (rice grain) and can be correlated with the Malphagian layer.
  5. Vedini: The fifth layer of the skin that can be correlated with the Papillary layer. This layer measures about 1/5th portion of vrihi bhaga (rice grain).
  6. Rohini: The sixth layer of the skin measures the thickness of one vrihi bhaga (rice grain) and can be correlated with the Reticular layer.
  7. Mamsadhara: The seventh layer of the skin that measures about two vrihi bhaga (rice grains).

Ayurvedic Skin Care can be explained as follows:

  1. Dinacharya: The skin care can be done as a daily regime and below discussed are the measures taken:
    • Mukhaprakshalana: This is a face wash with cold water or with some herbal drugs like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), etc. that prevents dryness, and acne on the face.
    • Nasya: The installation of medicine in the nostrils circulates through microchannels and helps in wrinkle-free skin. Anu taila, Katu taila, etc, can be used. 
    • Gandusha: Oil pulling with the medicated oils or decoctions prevents cracking of lips with oils like Tila taila etc.
    • Abhyanga: Oil massage improves the skin complexion.
    • Padabhyanga: Massaging the feet makes the sole skin soft and improves vision.
    • Vyayama: Physical exercise to be done at one’s half capacity until there is perspiration. The sweating helps in cleansing the channels of the body.
    • Udwartana: This is a powder massage that helps to make the skin soft and helps improve the complexion.
    • Snana: Bathing regularly twice a day keeps the skin wrinkle-free and cleanses the channels of the body.
  2. Besides all these measures herbal packs for both body and face have also been told in Ayurveda. The drugs or formulations used can be described with the help of the following properties:
    • Vayasthapana: These drugs possess age-defying properties, enhance collagen synthesis, and hence maintain the skin complexion. Ex: Centella asiatica (Brahmi) etc.
    • Varnya: These drugs enhance the complexion of the skin. Ex: Sandalwood, Indian sarsapilla etc.
    • Sandhaniya: These are the drugs that have regenerative and healing properties. Ex: Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) etc.
    • Vranaropana: Deep healing drugs that heal the wounds of the skin. Ex: Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) etc.
    • Twachya (nurturing): The drugs nourish the skin by maintaining the moisture content and provide essential nutrients. Ex: Karanja (Pongamia pinnata) etc.
    • Shothahara (anti-inflammatory): These drugs prevent damage from external agents like chemicals, heat, and cold which cause inflammation. Ex: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) etc.
    • Rasayana: The drugs are rejuvenating in nature and hence improve the strength and tone of the skin. Ex: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) etc.

Ayurveda classics have explained six rutu (seasons) and the regimen to be followed during the specific season. The regimen also focuses on the use of medicinal plants in the form of face packs to enhance beauty.

  1. Hemanta rutu: This is the pre-winter period during which the paste of seed of Badara (Ziziphus jujuba), the root of Vasa (Adathoda vasica), etc.
  2. Shishira rutu: The winter season and the medicinal plants used are paste of bark of Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Barley (dehusked), etc. 
  3. Vasanta rutu: The spring season and the face packs that can be used are of the paste of heartwood of Sandal, the bark of Shishira (Albizzia lebbeck), etc.
  4. Greeshma rutu (summer season): The paste of Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), sandalwood, etc.
  5. Varsha rutu: This is the rainy season and used plants can be Tila (Sesamum indicum), Tagara (Valeriana wallichii), etc.
  6. Sharad rutu: Autumn season and the paste of plants like Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha), etc.

Ayurvedic Face packs depending on the nature of the skin :

  1. Oily skin: 
    • Powders of sandalwood and Multani mitti are mixed with rose water and applied over the face for smooth skin.
    • Rice pack: Paste of freshly prepared rice helps in controlling the oily skin.
    • Orange peel: orange peels are dried under shade and made into powder. The powder is then mixed with curds to form a paste and applied.
    • Face pack of masoor dal: 50 grams of masoor dal is soaked in water overnight and then the next morning it is made into a paste. A little milk or 3-4 drops of almond oil are added and used as a face pack that removes the excess oil and nourishes the skin.
    • Juices of tomato or lemon can be used as a face wash for oily skin.
  2. Dry skin
    • A paste of Multani mitti and almond oil can be applied as a face pack for dry skin.
    • A powder of dried neem leaves mixed with butter is applied as a face pack.
    • Powder of roots of licorice, turmeric powder, rose water and almond oil are mixed and applied over the face.
    • Juice of aloe vera and Indian gooseberry powder are mixed to form a face pack and applied over the face.
    • Paste of powders of Masoor dal, roots of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), skimmed milk, and ghee are applied over the face pack.  
    • Fresh milk can be applied to moisturize the skin and the ill effects of dryness of the skin.
    • A face pack of freshly prepared rice, fenugreek seeds, besan (Bengal gram flour), and a little coconut oil.

Diet and Lifestyle

The diet and lifestyle can be advised according to specific seasons that play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the skin and nourishing it providing all the nutrients.

  • Hemant rutu (pre-winter period): Sweet, sour, salty food items, green gram, black gram and their soups, sugarcane and its products, milk, milk products, etc. Body and head massage, use of warm water, sunbathing, residing in warm places. 
  • Shishira rutu (winter season): Foods with a sour taste, wheat gram, sugarcane products, milk, and milk products, etc. Massage with oil/powder/paste, warm water bathing, exposure to sunlight, wearing warm clothes, etc.
  • Vasanta rutu (spring season): Old barley, wheat, rice, lentils, and green gram are the food items to be consumed. Warm water bathing, powder massage, physical exercise, emesis therapy, and installation of medicine in the nose can be followed. Sleeping during the daytime is contraindicated.
  • Greeshma rutu (summer season): Foods with a sweet taste, unctuous, cold foods, plenty of liquid diet like buttermilk, mango juice, freshwater juice, etc. Staying in cool places, application of aromatic pastes over the body, wearing light dresses, a small amount of sleep during the daytime.
  • Varsha rutu (rainy season): Foods with sour, salt tastes, old barley, rice, wheat, meat soup, soup of green gram, and boiled water are advisable. Enema therapy and anointing the body with oil are beneficial.
  • Sharad rutu (autumn season): Sweet, bitter foods, honey, and vegetables like Patola or pointed gourd are helpful.

Conclusion

Ayurveda system of medicine has a wide range of topical applications for skincare that are devoid of any synthetic chemicals, harmless, effective, and easily accessible. The bioactive components improve the functioning of the skin and provide essential nutrients to improve the integrity of the skin. 

Age-defying, complexion-enhancing, cells and tissue regenerating, and healing properties can be explained as the pharmacological principles based on which the skincare products of Ayurveda work.

The daily regimen diet, and lifestyle of specific seasons along with the herbal packs for skincare is a unique therapy explained in Ayurveda

NOTE: 
“This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this WebSite. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.” 

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References and citations

  1. https://www.ijrmst.com/admin1/upload/131%20Dr%20Kanchan%20Bala.pdf
  2. https://www.wjpmr.com/download/article/70072020/1596183020.pdf
  3. http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/2114_2117.pdf
  4. https://www.worldwidejournals.com/international-journal-of-scientific-research-(IJSR)/recent_issues_pdf/2020/January/skin-care-and-some-effective-face-packs-w-s-r-to-ayurveda_January_2020_1578301190_7025389.pdf
  5. Ayurveda Treatments
  6. Panchakarma Treatments

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