Our present-day lifestyle requires us to experience health and wellness in the most natural manner and this is true for our face and skin too. Here, Vaidya Anilkumar explains how Ayurveda can help us achieve this feat in the most natural way.
Beauty, cynics say, is skin deep. Turn that sentence upside down and you will find that it is indeed skin deep and that tells us a lot about the need for skin care! There would be none who has not, at some point of time in his or her life, got a little worried about skin going dry or losing its natural complexion and texture.
For the white-skinned, spending lakhs to get a tan is no matter for worry. For the black-skinned, it is often a social statement, about identity. What is important amidst all this is the need to keep the skin healthy, for the overall health of the body and appearance of a person to the discerning eyes out there. For, the skin is the outermost part of our body that is in constant touch with nature. It is generally through this organ that the world outside views us. It is this organ that performs the function of protecting the inner layer of cells of the body. Hence, the health of the skin is essential for a good inner health and wellness too.
Structurally, the skin consists of the Epidermis, Dermis, and Hypodermis or Subdermis. Epidermis is the outermost layer which we can feel externally and it has no blood vessels or nerves passing through it. The next layer is Dermis known commonly as the true skin where the sweat glands, oil glands, nerve endings, blood vessels and major portion of hair follicles are present. Finally, the innermost layer, the hypodermis functions as a cushion to prevent shocks to the bones and inner delicate structures. The hypodermis stores food and water that are required for the body. According to scholars, beauty does not age but it involves the preservation of the skin, hair and body. More often than not, the skin which is the largest and outermost organ of the human body decides the beauty of a person.
Glands of the Skin
The beauty of the skin is often considered by the functioning of its two glands namely:- the Sweat Glands and the Sebaceous Glands. Water Soluble wastes are expelled from the internal system of the body through the Sweat glands. The Sebaceous glands produce the oily or greasy substance thus preventing the skin from extreme dryness. Ayurveda has a lot of solutions to improve the quality of the skin by helping in the proper functioning of its two glands.
The Sebum is a semi-fluid oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. When the pores of the skin are covered by the hardened sebum it results in the formation of blackheads. The basic functions of the skin can be described as protection, regulation, respiration, excretion, secretion, hydration, absorption and sensation. According to the modern concept of a cosmetologist,skin can be classified as Dry skin, Oily skin, Combination Skin, Sensitive skin and Normal skin.
When the dry skin is assessed by a cosmetologist the appearance of the surface of the skin will be rough and there will be a tendency for the skin to scale, wrinkle and for ageing lines to form. There can be two reasons for this kind of skin to form of which the first issue will be due to the inadequate quantity of Sebum production or else its failure to moisturize the surface. Also, dry skin is known to age faster and will cause many issues in cold weather. Oily skin can be easily identified by the oily reflective surface shining in the slight incidence of sunlight incident on the skin. Obviously, oily skin is the reason of excessive production of the Sebum.
Skin Care through Ayurveda
It is understood that complexion and tone of the skin decides its quality and beauty. This is the basic beauty concept of common man. The natural health and beauty of the skin is usually damaged either by wind or sunlight whichever can cause blemishes or infections or even allergies. Compared to other diseases, skin problems definitely have more significance in health due to its function to protect the internal tissues such as muscle or fat. A healthy skin is one that glows and is supple.
In Kerala, which is often known as the land of Ayurveda, skin care is usually taken care of by making use of the abundance of coconut milk that is available here. As per Ayurveda care, new-borns are bathed and massaged with coconut milk and oil to improve the texture and quality of their skin. This is an Ayurveda technique that has been handed over through generations in this land.
Ageing is a natural process but geriatrics is the science of rejuvenation. The texture and tone of the skin is usually decided by the ageing process of the body. Prolonged exposure to sunlight is a major cause for the darkening of the skin by the ultraviolet rays. Use of natural moisturizers and sunscreens can protect the skin from the wrath of the UV rays of the sun.
Medicinal herbs like sandalwood, red sandal, turmeric etc. can be made into a paste and used on the skin to preserve its glow and luster.Using the pastes of these herbs on the skin is among some of the traditional beauty practices of Kerala. Lemon juice also can be used to protect the skin from sun rays and ultraviolet rays.
Everyone likes to have a fair skin tone, as fairness is often always considered synonymous with beauty.But, medically, fairness has nothing to do with health and beauty. According to aesthetics fairness is considered as the major aspect of beauty. Washing the face with pure fresh water repeatedly helps to cleanse the skin and maintain or develop fairness. Also, the skin should be protected from direct sunlight and dusty wind.
Natural moisturizers (castor oil, buttermilk, olive oil, cucumbers) sunscreen products and skin packs should be used to prevent the skin from darkening. According to Ayurveda, premature aging of the skin is caused due to the aggravation of vata dosha, which naturally increases with age.
The reasons why ageing occurs in skin early can be divided into internal and external factors. Internal factors include the inability of the skin to retain moisture, decrease in the production of Elastin and low rate of rejuvenation. External factors include the poor lifestyle and environment of the individual like smoking, exposure to sun, exposure to cold, poor diet, too much stress, lack of exercise etc…
Some anti- aging treatments that can be practised at home:
- Massage the face with ghee, almond oil or coconut oil before going to bed.
- Apply fresh Aloe Vera gel onto the skin
- Use grated cucumber as a face pack.
- Massage the face using index and middle finger. It will smoothen the skin and relax the muscles and release the cause of wrinkles from tension and stress.
- Applying a mixture of lemon and honey juice on the face before going for work will help to tighten the skin, feel fresh and smell nice.
And finally, there is no better way to tighten the skin and remove ageing lines than by hydrating yourself with a lot of liquids, including water.
Srielayichi Ayurveda Center