Ayurveda Beauty Tips for All Skin Types

According to Ayurveda, the dosha Vata predominates in the fall and early winter. Vata also increases in people over the age of 50 and in those who are under a lot of stress. One of the results of an imbalance of Vata is that our skin can become dry, irritated and rough. One of the best tools for keeping a youthful complexion is to avoid excess Vata.

Here are some Ayurvedic tips that will not only help to slow down Vata accumulation in the body, but will also help nourish the body, supporting soft, radiant skin from the inside out.

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  1. Hydrate

Drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health. Fluid losses occurs naturally due to skin evaporation, breathing, and normal elimination, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health. Your body is composed of about 60% water and depends on fluids for proper digestion, absorption, circulation, the transportation of nutrients and the regulation of body temperature.

During the cold months of the year, heating systems, especially forced air heat, cause additional loss of fluids. So putting attention on staying hydrated in the winter is as important as during the hot months of summer.

Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink plenty of plain water throughout the day: hot water is best for Vata and Kapha types, while room temperature is best for Pittas. Don’t drink iced beverages. Avoid carbonated beverages. Remember that caffeinated drinks are diuretic, ultimately reducing the amount of water in your system.

  1. Keep a Good Routine

Eat a light, cooked meal at night. When the body does not have to work hard at night digesting food, it can turn its attention to self-repair and rejuvenation. You’ll wake up feeling fresh and light and you will see an immediate difference in your skin, energy levels and general immunity.

Go to bed early. The evening Pitta time is meant for self-repair. By staying up past 10:00 p.m., your body misses out on the opportunity to recover from wear and tear of the day. Over time, this can take a real toll on your health. Going to bed late and getting up late does not make up for missing the critical 10:00 pm to 2:00 am window for sleeping. This kind of deep fatigue shows up immediately on your face.

  1. Eat Fresh, Nourishing Foods

Favor fresh cooked foods that can provide your body with the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay at your best. A variety of chemicals from plants (known as phytochemicals) can protect cells from harmful compounds in the environment. Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone

Green leafy vegetables, coconut, carrots and sweet juicy fruits provide an abundance of vitamins A, C, and E. and help to nourish the outer level of the skin. Research has shown that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and break down collagen, leading to fine lines

Phyto-estrogens are natural chemicals found in plant foods (phyto meaning plant). They have a similar structure to the female sex hormone estrogen and have been found to help keep our natural hormones in balance. There are different types, some are found in soya bean products, whereas others are found in the fiber of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and flax seeds. Include phyto-estrogen rich soya, whole grains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

Avoid canned and processed foods and foods with preservatives. Some research suggests that a diet high in processed or refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging.

Don’t be afraid of fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds) provide essential fatty acids, which act as a natural moisturizer for your skin, keeping it supple. These fats also contain vitamin E, which can help protect against free radical damage.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential fatty acids, which mean they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet. Omega-3s can be found in oily fish and plant sources such as flaxseed oil, linseeds, walnut and rapeseed oil. Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Remember, many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall. Rather than focusing on specific foods for healthy skin, concentrate on a healthy diet in general. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Include nuts, seeds and beans in your favorite meals. Opt for whole-grain breads and pasta. Limit sweets. Strive for variety as you’re making healthy choices.

  1. Keep a Good Routine

Eat a light, cooked meal at night. When the body does not have to work hard at night digesting food, it can turn its attention to self-repair and rejuvenation. You’ll wake up feeling fresh and light and you will see an immediate difference in your skin, energy levels and general immunity.

Go to bed early. The evening Pitta time is meant for self-repair. By staying up past 10:00 p.m., your body misses out on the opportunity to recover from wear and tear of the day. Over time, this can take a real toll on your health. Going to bed late and getting up late does not make up for missing the critical 10:00 pm to 2:00 am window for sleeping. This kind of deep fatigue shows up immediately on your face.

  1. Take Steps to Avoid Stress

Stress is a major factor in the aging process. Daily meditation quiets the mind, releases stress and allows the body to produce anti-aging biochemicals. At The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, we recommend the Transcendental Meditation program, which is the only meditation recommended by the American Heart Association, based on over 600 research studies that prove its effectiveness. Studies have shown that Transcendental Meditation helps alleviate stress, reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression and anger.

Ayurveda recommends that women minimize activity during their days of menstrual flow. If it is possible, take steps to adopt a slower pace to reduce stress and fatigue. This is a time of natural purification. If you are active during this time, the body is not able to effectively eliminate wastes and impurities. It can also cause imbalances in Vata.

6. Protect your Skin

You can help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in. An oil massage in the morning before your shower also helps in this way.

Sweet almond oil is a good moisturizer for almost everyone. Pat on after washing the face, then blot with a soft tissue. (Whenever using anything new on your face, try a small amount on the neck area first to check for sensitivity.)

For a gentle, natural cleanser you can make at home, grind masala dal (check out your local health food store of Indian grocery store) into a powder and soak in milk for 1/2 hour. Make a think mixture to wash with or make a thicker paste to use as a facial mask. Rinse off with water at the appropriate temperature for your skin type. Pitta types may want to use cooler water, for example. Never use extremely hot water on your face!

Nourish your skin with milk. Once a day dip a cotton ball into a small bowl of organic milk and wipe your face thoroughly with it to remove dirt from your pores. Because of its fats and lactic acid, milk has tremendous moisturizing, softening properties. Adding milk to your bath will also soothe and nourish your skin.

Enjoy daily oil massage Daily oil massage pacifies Vata, helps remove toxins from the skin and leaves a protective barrier on the skin against environmental toxins. The skin is the largest organ in the body and one of the body’s main means of detoxifying. Daily oil massage helps support the detoxification process and helps protect the skin. If you don’t have time for a massage before your morning bath, try a massage at night before a long tub soak. Those with more Pitta constitutions may prefer olive oil or coconut oil. For Vata and Kapha types, the heating and penetrating quality of sesame oil makes it the number one choice.

Protect your skin from the elements. Take a seasonal approach to skin care. Even if someone has a Vata constitution, they will have to balance Pitta during the heat of the summer” In the winter, all skin types need to take steps to avoid Vata aggravating weather. This means avoiding extreme cold and harsh winds.

An Ayurveda expert can give you more specific details on your specific body type and imbalances than may require more individualized recommendations. For information on consultations and/or Ayurveda skin and beauty treatments, contact The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

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