Ayurveda – Ancient Science of Beautiful Skin
Naturally fresh and healthy skin is a protector of the body and a thing of beauty. Ayurveda, our ancient science of medicine has suggested many herbal remedies and natural methods to protect our skin from pimples, acne, dark circles, wrinkles and marks left by pimples and to increase the fairness of the skin. Pimples , acne dark circles, wrinkles and marks give a dull and unhealthy look. Here is a herbal guide for naturally fresh, fair and glowing skin.
Structure of skin:
It is essential to know about the structure of skin before analyzing the causes which make changes on skin. Skin is made up of multiple layers of epithelial tissues. Microscopic section of the skin shows two distinct parts. Epidermis is the top most layer. The upper layer of the epidermis contains dead cells which gradually cast off. These cells are gradually replaced by fresh new cells produced by basal layer which is the lower layer of epidermis.
The Dermis lies below epidermis and consists of a network of collagen fibers which is responsible for elastic properties of the skin. Sebaceous glands associated with hair follicles and sweat glands, are all present in dermis and get their blood supply from the subcutaneous tissue present below the dermis. Sebaceous glands get activated during puberty and produce an oil like substance called sebum.
In Ayurveda, according to Sushrutaachaarya, the skin has seven layers. These layers, when they get affected by imbalanced doshas (vital energetic forces of the body ) give rise to different skin diseases.
The list of seven layers of skin and diseases which originate from them are as follows.
Avabhasini- The outermost layer of the skin. Pimples, acne, dandruff etc arise when this layer gets affected by vitiated doshas.
Lohita – This is the second layer of the skin. Moles ,dark circles, black pigmentations occur when vitiated doshas affect this layer.
Shweta – This third layer of the skin, shweta gets affected by vitiated doshas and precipitates the diseases like eczema ,allergic rashes.
Tamra – This is the fourth layer of the skin, which when affected by doshas harbors different types of leprosy.
Vedini- The fifth layer succumbs to herpes when vitiated doshas affect it.
Rohini- Harbors cancer, tumors, elephantiasis etc when affected by vitiated doshas.
Mamsadhara – This is the seventh layer of the skin, which when affected by vitiated doshas, causes abscesses, and fistulas.
Functions of the skin:
It covers and protects the underlying muscles and organs. It guards our body from the invasion of pathogens, acts as an insulation , regulates body temperature and is one of the sense organs. It plays a major role in synthesis of Vitamin D. The melanin pigment of skin protects us from the UV radiations of the Sun.
What spoils the beauty of skin?
Several internal and external causes spoil the beauty of skin.
Sun : Sun is the worst enemy of the skin. Apply a good sun block on exposed parts of body. Wear full armed, lite colored cotton clothes when you are out in sun. Do not forget to wear a hat and sun glasses.
Mix sandal powder in a large glass of water and keep it in the refrigerator to cool. Transfer this into a sprayer and keep on spraying this on your body whenever you feel your skin is irritated due to sun rays.
When the climate is hot and humid, the skin feels sticky due to sweat. Microbial activity increases on wet skin . Bathe daily to keep the skin clean and lower the microbial activity. Use a mixture of soap nut powder , besan (gram flour) and sandal wood powder to scrub the skin. Drink plenty of water to compensate for the loss of fluid through sweat.
When the climate is cold and dry, the moisture level of skin lowers and the skin becomes dry and it tends to crack. Apply moisturizing lotion liberally all over body. Smearing fresh aloe Vera juice improves moisture levels of the skin. Massage your body with gingili oil once a weak. Always wear warm cotton clothes and socks. Regular foot massage with warm gingili oil or castor oil prevents fissuring of heels and foot. Drink plenty of warm water to keep the skin well hydrated and to prevent dryness.
Air Pollution : The air pollutants like dust, smoke, smog. Dirt can clog pores and cause acne and pimples. Apply a good moisturizer which acts as a barrier between the skin and pollutants. Cleanse the skin carefully when you are back home . Use besan (gram flour) and rose water as scrub in summer. A mixture of Masoor dal flour (orange lentils) and milk make a best scrub for winter.
Life styles :
1. Sleep : Lack of sleep causes dark circles and diminishes the glow of skin. 7- 8 hours sleep keeps the skin healthy and glowing
2. Exercise : A brisk walk for 45 minutes keeps the skin healthy by improving blood circulation and eliminating toxins. Lack of exercise leads to dull looking skin.
3. Stress : Stress causes dark circles, loss of complexion and the appearance of permanent lines on facial skin. Yoga, Meditation, Exercise and Body massage are best stress busters and skin friendly therapies.
4. Addiction: Tobacco, drugs, alcohol etc make the skin look lifeless and unattractive. Say no to any form of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
Unhealthy diet spoils the skin. Junk, spicy , oily foods spoil the beauty of skin causing acne, pimples and black heads . A healthy diet retards the ageing process of skin and gives it a charming look. The tips given below help you to adopt a healthy diet.
1. Drink plenty of fresh clean water (2-3 liters daily). It helps to eliminate body wastes and toxins. It keeps constipation at bay.
2. Let fresh fruits and vegetables occupy major portion of your diet. Dark green and orange vegetables and fruits have antioxidants and also process cancer fighting properties
3. Avoid sweets, chocolates, junk foods, deep fried, oily and spicy foods.
Daily and weekly regimen for beautiful skin
1. Take bath daily
2. Wash your face twice daily with herbal natural scrubs like besan, methi powder, green gram flour, masoor dal flour. Splash clean water on face as soon as you wash.
3. Do a complete body massage with gingili oil once in a week.
4. Doing Pranayama daily for 15 minutes keeps the skin healthy and radiant.
5. Do facials with natural fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables once in a week. Cucumber, carrot, water melon , sandal wood paste, turmeric, honey can be used according to the season and skin types.
6. Drink a glass of water with a spoon of honey on an empty stomach .This should be one of your daily routine.
7. Savor milk, curds and butter milk.