The desire to have perfectly flawless skin is as old as time itself. Ayurveda is a system of health and well-being that originated in India over 5000 years ago. Within the Ayurvedic system, there are countless ingredients and methods dedicated to skin care and personal care in general.
The human instinct to look and feel radiant and healthy appears to be deeply ingrained in our genetics and psyche. But this instinct is not limited to humans; animals groom themselves and have many habits to enhance their appearance as well.
It is quite heartwarming to see my cat, Krishna, lick himself clean every chance he gets. His appearance is indeed impeccable.
Birds fluff their colorful feathers and not only make themselves attractive, but many also make the effort to decorate their dwellings as well.
The effort that goes into personal care stretches far beyond vanity; it is an act to honor the life we are given as a precious gift.
I wholeheartedly support the desire to look glowing; as long as care is exercised to not pollute our skin and body with harsh chemicals in the process.
In my opinion, our desire to have perfect skin should be rooted in love, not fear, which can make us vulnerable and prone to falling for methods and products that can do more harm than good in the long run.
As in everything, success in achieving glowing skin and healthy hair is made of actionable steps which should be turned into habits with constant practice. These skin care tips and habits should be wholesome and natural.
Here are my top skin care tips which can become your allies.
If you need more skin care tips, watch this video to get Sheetal's top 4 personal tips. Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Skin Care Tip #1: Keep Yourself Hydrated
We have all heard this many times and yes there is truth to it. Over 75% of our body is made of water. Dehydration causes dryness and dullness of skin.
A parched look is a result of not drinking plenty of water to keep the body in a happy state. Well-hydrated skin looks healthy, radiant and plump. However, in my opinion, the theory of 8 glasses a day might not fit all.
Our constitution is different and unique to us, and many lifestyle factors that contribute to dehydration are important as far as how much water we need is concerned. Athletes
and ones with a hard workout routine need more water to replenish the amount lost.
If your consumption of dehydration causing beverages and drinks (like too much coffee or alcohol) is high, you certainly need more water. Drink water when you feel thirsty, but be extra vigilant if you know your lifestyle demands more than usual hydration.
When talking about water, one of the most important things to remember is that it causes detoxification as well. It flushes the internal systems so to speak. Therefore if you are not drinking plenty of water, you are inadvertently allowing a buildup of toxicity in your body, which will certainly cause your skin and hair to look dull and in need of attention. Ayurveda links diseases like hives, inflammation, acne etc to an undesirable toxic buildup in the body.
Skin Care Tip #2: Have a Daily Skin Care Routine
I don’t see a time when I will tire of saying this. I also predict that my pet caveat will always be in there as well. Do not use skin and hair care products with harsh chemicals in them.
It is better not to use anything at all until you make sure what touches your skin and hair is completely devoid of anything undesirable. But assuming that your personal care products are made with high quality, natural ingredients, having a daily and
weekly routine will not only keep the skin dewy, glowing and youthful, it will also do much more.
Many of us do not realize that aside from perfecting the external appearance of skin and hair, natural ingredients (eg sandalwood, geranium, turmeric, etc) also detoxify, deep clean, and balance the skin’s oil production.
Oils like sweet almond are an awesome source of proteins and fatty acids that deeply nourish the skin and support its framework so signs of early aging are banished. While researching natural (particularly Ayurvedic) ingredients I was stunned to learn of their benefits.
Many of these natural ingredients have been studied in a modern setting and have proven to be the stars that they are. Turmeric has risen in fame for its antioxidant properties. No wonder grandma advised its usage on skin during summertime. As an antioxidant, it can definitely help minimize free radical damage due to excess sun exposure.
Skin Care Tip #3: Low Salt Diet
This I have observed first hand as well. When I switched to a low salt diet and began using rock or sea salt, I could see over time that I woke up with a fresher face that was not at all puffy.
My finger rings began to slip off easily and this was a clear indication that my body was not retaining excess water. As the day progresses our body tries to flush out the excess water as best as it can. This can cause our skin to go through the puffiness and deflation cycle, which in my opinion can cause lines and wrinkles due to the constant stretching and deflation that the skin goes through.
With water retention also comes the menace of retaining toxins. As I said earlier, water is the main vehicle for the toxins to leave our body.
Water retention is like dirty water that collects in a backed up drainage system. It is best to let it out. As you can guess water retention does not only cause puffiness but also signs of toxic buildup to show on the skin and hair.
Patchiness, uneven skin and signs of inflammation ensue. Ayurveda takes a very decided stance on toxic buildup (ama in Sanskrit) and relates it to many diseases and disorders of the mind and body. An added benefit of switching to rock or sea salt is the trace minerals that the body gets.
"I found Apsara through a friend. My results have been absolutely amazing. The scarring has kept fading and fading. Sandalwood Serum: it actually works so well I actually have not needed to use a moisturizer. This definitely works for me."
Skin Care Tip #4: Prevention Is Better Than Drugs
I strongly believe in this mantra. Modern medications are awesome in many situations and can save lives, but most have a slew of negative side effects that are scary (to put it mildly).
Hyperpigmentation, dryness, sun sensitivity, excess hair fall are some common skin and hair related side effects of modern medications. But there are many more serious (more internal) side effects as well.
Therefore I would say, as much as possible, have a preventive bend of mind. It is good for your health and appearance both. I would go one more step and say what you eat and how you eat it perhaps has the most profound implication on your overall health and appearance. Food is medicine, they say. I agree.
Coming back to the topic of the usage of medication casually, I’d say this had better be examined as quickly as possible.
As a collective, we have started consuming painkillers like candy.
A slight headache and we run to the medicine cabinet and pop one in. I have learned to hit the cause of the ache and fix it at the root.
Most painkilling medicines come with the side effect of water retention and this brings us back to why that is not good for the skin and hair.
Skin Care Tip #5: Get Good Sleep
Another very obvious suggestion with profound positive implications. Inadequate and less than restful sleep takes a toll on the entire body (skin is no exception).
Our body rejuvenates and repairs the most when the mind is relatively inactive during deep
sleep. It is a recharging and healing of the entire system so to speak.
Low quality sleep shows in puffy eyes and dull looking skin. And yes under eye dark circles too. In my opinion, the quality of sleep is far more important than the quantity.
So 6 hours of sound sleep is far more reparative than 10 hours of tossing and turning in bed.
When I sleep well at night, I like the look of my skin in the morning. The opposite is true when I do not sleep well. Unplugging from the day is the key to good sleep. Meditation and visualization exercises are very beneficial.
Skin Care Tip #6: Watch Stress Levels
Stress wreaks havoc on the entire body. Excess hair fall, acne, urticaria, and many other disorders have been correlated with abnormal stress levels.
Too much and prolonged stress (can turn into depression) is thought to cause excess cortisol production, which acts on the skin’s oil-producing glands and causes them to produce too much sebum. The result? Oily skin with open pores and acne.
Mental conditioning plays a huge role in how we manage stress and in what causes us to get stressed in the first place. It is a very important topic and can open doors to mammoth topics like psychology and spirituality. To keep close to the scope of this article, let me conclude by saying that a stress-free mind and psyche equals a healthy body and flawless skin and hair.
Facing our fears rather than resisting them can be both difficult as well as profoundly healing. Realizing that the mind and ego collaborate to create many misperceptions that result in fear, anxiety and ultimately stress can be the key to peace.
Also knowing the bounds of our influence is very liberating. There are many situations that are completely out of our control; stressing about these is like a dog chasing its tail.
Beautiful skin and glossy hair are indicators of 2 things: physiological (includes psychological) health and our personal care habits.
While introspection and a deep commitment to having peace more than worry cover the first, going natural and using high-quality natural products cover the second.
Skin Care Tip #7: Eat Detoxifying Foods
I have many favorites when it comes to detoxifying foods. In all honesty, I feel most vegetables clean the body to one extent or the other; but many are superstars.
My experience with organic greens is superb. Dandelion is the top on my list. When
I told my mom about this magical green, she immediately recognized it as a wild, medicinal weed that she knew from her childhood. And then I noticed it growing in my own yard!
Kale and swiss chard are two other very nutritious and detoxifying greens. In Ayurveda, triphala, a combination of three dried fruits is a highly respected herbal mix. It cleans the digestive system and provides the body with high levels of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system.
I have been taking triphala for years after dinner. It's awesome cleansing, purifying and strengthening effects are readily evident in the clarity, glow, and health of the skin and hair.
Skin Care Tip #8: Supplements Like Flaxseed Are Excellent
Flaxseed is an awesome source of rich fatty acids that can enhance the health of the skin, hair, and nails. Glowing skin,
glossy hair that is full and vital, healthy nails that do not chip, crack or peel: all this is not too good to be true.
It is not only possible but very likely. A balanced diet composed of high quality, organic produce and supplemented with organic flax seed oil.
It is a winning combination for obvious reasons. Flaxseed oil has also been linked to very good cardiovascular health. If you would like to explore its possible benefits for you, do ask your doctor.
Skin Care Tip #9: Eat Good Fats
When the epidemic of obesity struck (starting with the West), people starting attacking fat instead of attacking fast food joints and food like things (that do not kill immediately).
Ultimately sanity prevailed for the most part; we still have a long way to go. We are human after all, with a good amount of reason and intellect thrown into the form; so inevitably we were going to find the fundamental flaws in a low-fat diet.
In any case, fats are vital for us. They keep us lubricated, our joints moving, our brain working and so forth. Our nervous system requires fats to keep us coherent and in good mental shape.
When we deprive ourselves of good fats like those in olive oil, avocado, almond oil etc, we begin to face the consequences. Externally it is lackluster skin that looks years older than its real age, early fines lines and wrinkles around the eye area, excess hair fall and an overall look of fatigue and loss of inner radiance. Sounds appealing? Not to me.
I am sticking to a good dose of olive oil in my food and a very good dose of my favorite Apsara serum (Sweet Almond and Wheatgerm) that is made with precious oils with awesome anti-aging fats (like almond oil, rose hip oil, date extract etc).
Likewise, I have no intention of quitting the usage of Apsara’s Rosemary and Amla Hair Oil at least once a week. My follicles need a nice dose of
nourishing fats as well.
Let me share something else I feel is worth sharing. When it comes to skin and hair health, it is essential to not rob them of the beneficial oils (fats) nature intended them to produce for self-nourishment and protection.
Hot showers and harsh chemicals in personal care products both do just that. Solubilize the protective oils. So lukewarm is the best temperate for water and harsh chemical free is the best ingredient profile for personal care products.
Skin Care Tip #10: Eliminate Foods with Hormones & Antibiotics
This tip is not the last on the list because it is least important. It is last because I want to leave you with its profundity long after you are done reading this article.
Last on the list and a closing remark. Both have the capacity to have lasting impressions.
A purified and kind internal state reflects itself in flawless skin and healthy hair. Non-violence, compassion, and kindness are enough reasons already for being vegetarian. If we wanted more, it would be the eventual state of our health as a collective.
As they say, karma is just, fair and non-sentimental. It does not take sides and works out its course depending upon the momentum that set it in motion in the first place.
The modern-day animal farming industry is heart and gut-wrenching. In addition to having no space to move, animals are fed hormones and antibiotics to fatten them up in record time and to keep them from becoming sick. Where do these hormones, antibiotics and deep psychological suffering end? In our bodies.
So karma takes an obvious route. A body laden with hormones and antibiotics is a breeding ground for sickness and abnormality (perhaps early puberty has something to do with hormones in milk?). A body that is not healthy internally cannot exhibit flawless skin and healthy hair externally.
With the right personal care products, we can definitely tackle the issue externally by keeping the skin clean and nourished. That is extremely important, don’t get me wrong. But it is homework half done.
Personal care is bidirectional: inside out and outside in. Beauty is skin deep, they say. Do you agree? Please use the comments field below to voice your thoughts. Feel free to ask questions.
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Go natural. It is good karma!