Nov 20, 2012

Summer Skin Care with Ayurveda

Summer Skin Care with Ayurveda
Come summers and everyone starts looking for ways to avoid the sun. Umbrellas, hats and sunscreens become the norm, especially for those who remain outdoors during the day. After all, it is in this season that the powerful rays of the sun can lead to severe skin-related complications such as sunburn, redness, irritation, rashes, acne outbreaks, and more.

According to Ayurveda, summer is the season when sun is strong and increases heat in the body, which is one of the main causative factors of skin problems. To ensure your skin remains healthy in this scorching heat, you need to take good care of it by using the right herbs and Ayurvedic remedies.
Understanding the Skin

 
The skin is a sensory organ that guards our body, acts as an insulator, regulates body temperature, and protects us from harmful radiations of the sun. In order to repair damaged skin, you first need to understand the structure of your skin and analyze the factors that are damaging it.

According to Sushruta
Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic textbook, the skin is made of seven layers. Vitiation of the doshas affects one or more of these layers, giving rise to different skin diseases. The list of seven layers of skin and diseases which originate from them are as follows:
Layer    
Name
    Diseases Caused

 
First     Avabhasini     Pimples, Acne
Second     Lohita     Moles, Dark Circles, Black Pigmentation
Third     Shweta     Eczema, Allergic Rashes
Fourth     Tamra     Different types of Leprosy
Fifth     Vedini     Herpes
Sixth     Rohini     Cancer, Tumor, Elephantiasis
Seventh     Mamsadhara     Abscess, Fistula

Tackle Skin Damage with Ayurveda
There could be several internal and/or external factors that are spoiling the beauty of our skin and making it look unhealthy. However, there are simple ways to counter these factors and restore the health of your skin. Let’s examine some of them here:

Sun
Excessive exposure to skin in summer season damages our skin. The qualities of the sun (hot, sharp and penetrating) correspond to the attributes of the Pitta Dosha and this is why most people face Pitta-related skin problems in this season. Moreover, prolonged exposure to the sun also leads to increase in Vata, which is the prime cause for drying of skin.

To prevent the rays of the sun from damaging your skin, apply a good herbal sunscreen lotion (preferably containing Aloe Vera) on exposed parts of body. Wear full-armed cotton clothes, hat and sunglasses when you move out in sun. Also, drink plenty of water to keep the skin moisturized and replenish the fluid lost due to perspiration.

Air-conditioning
In summers, most of us leave no opportunity to get closer to the air conditioner. Be it at office, in the car or at home, the use of ACs has increased like never before. However, most of us do not realize that cooling devices like air conditioners don’t just control the temperature in the room, they also reduce the moisture levels in the surroundings, leading to drying of skin. Apart from that, spending long hours in the AC prevents sweating, which is the body’s natural process of eliminating toxins in summers. When the skin becomes dry, it loses its natural moisture and becomes susceptible to infections.

In order to prevent dry skin, make sure you moisten the skin regularly. Stop the use of harsh soaps and instead go for herbal soaps or mild cleansers. Applying Aloe Vera gel after bath can also be helpful. To soothe dry skin, you can try this excellent home remedy: Mash half an avocado or papaya and mix it with few drops of fresh lime juice and spread this paste over the cleansed skin. Leave it untouched for about 10-15 minutes. Then, wash the skin alternatively with warm and cold water. You can do it once or twice a week.

Air Pollution

 
In summers, hot and dry winds are a common phenomenon in several regions of the world. Indians especially get exposed to air pollutants like dust, smoke and dirt, which clog the pores of the skin and cause several problems, such as pre-aging of skin, eczema, allergies, and more.

To counter the effects of air pollution, apply a good herbal moisturizer that can act as a barrier between the skin and pollutants. Also, remember to cleanse the skin properly using rose water when you are back home. You can also try this home remedy: Take 1 tbsp of un-boiled milk, dip a small pad of cotton wool in this and rub on the face gently. Leave this on for 15 minutes and then wash with cold water.

Diet and Lifestyle

 
Faulty dietary habits and irregular lifestyles are invariably one of the topmost reasons for skin problems. Most people today consume junk and packaged food in excess, do not exercise daily, spend long hours sitting in one position, and don’t have a fixed sleep schedule. Moreover, due to the increasing competition and expenses, most of us lead stressful lives. This results in Pitta and vata aggravation, which in turn leads to diminished glow of skin, dark circles, wrinkles, acne, blackheads, and decreased blood circulation.

To ensure that your skin retains its healthy glow, you will have to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. The following tips can be helpful:

    Ayurveda recommends that you establish a regular bedtime and morning routine. Go to bed by 10pm and get up by 6am. The time after 10pm is known as Pitta time, and if you stay awake in those hours, you could fall prey to Pitta imbalance. Get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep daily.


    Make sure you exercise for at least 15-30 minutes daily, preferably in the outdoors. It improves the circulation of blood and ensures that your vital body organs get ample Prana Vayu (life-giving oxygen). Moreover, when you exercise, the body sweats profusely, helping your skin breathe freely.
    Drink plenty of fresh water daily as it helps to eliminate toxins and keep your digestive system strong. It also helps in preventing dehydration by balancing the water content in our body.

 
    Let fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices and salads occupy major portion of your diet as they have high nutritive value and provide glow to the skin.


    Avoid sweets, chocolates, junk food, deep fried, oily and spicy foods, tobacco, drugs and alcohol as they are known to aggravate Pitta Dosha.

Always remember, most skin problems have deep-rooted causes. Hence, the use of local creams or antibiotics can only mask the symptoms. Specific Ayurvedic treatment comprising the right diet, lifestyle and specialized herbal formulations is the only way to destroy such diseases from their roots. So, adopt Ayurveda, and enjoy healthy, glowing skin all summer!

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