The true key to making your skin glow with radiance and health is looking after what's below skin deep. The best Ayurvedic skin care truly is taking care of our skin from within. To be specific, under our skin lies two tissues that Ayurveda considers highly influential on skin health. These tissues are plasma and lymph tissue (including Skin Associated Lymphatic Tissue) and blood tissue.
Of course, the health of other organs and tissues determine skin health, especially the gut and the nervous system, but particularly optimising the health of your lymph and blood will optimise the health of your skin. Here are some top Ayurvedic skin care secrets:
A thousand years ago, the Ayurvedic sage Caraka said:
“Just like we bathe ourselves daily to wash our skin, we should also be putting oil on and massaging it in."
Self-Ayurvedic oil massage (“Abhyanga”) not only deeply lubricates and hydrates our skin, it activates lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. Self-abhyanga also enhances our skin’s detoxification ability, so toxins from the skin, lymph, blood and even deeper tissues can eliminate out through the sweat pores, leaving you with clearer skin and fresh skin cells.
Self-Abhyanga is also one of the most profound rituals for self-care, self-respect, self-love and self-nourishment. This act of surrendering your time and attention to your higher self-will alone promote glowing skin. This is because beauty comes from within - when you feel “comfortable in your own skin”, confident and self-loving, that certainly shows to the degree of clarity and radiance that manifests on your skin. Have a go at integrating self-Ayurvedic oil massage into your daily routine before your shower, bath or swim, with having a break every time your menstruate (for women) or if you happen to be sick with a cold, flu or fever.
Thin Cooling Lassi
If the skin is experiencing any inflammation, rashes, acne or redness, this can be mitigated by reducing that heat, known as pitta (link to doshas article), in the skin and body. Learning about Ayurvedic dietary principles (link to article on 10 principles of Ayurvedic nutrition) will help you balance excessively hot or cold parts of the body, but one food item that is very effective in pacifying inflamed skin and skin in general (especially in the summer-time) is thin lassi or buttermilk.
Recipe & Method for Thin Cooling Lassi:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of regular cows yoghurt with 1 cup of water and add:
- 1/4tsp of rose water
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly chopped mint
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly chopped coriander/cilantro
- Mix all together well with a fork of blender.
If you don’t have all the ingredients that is fine. Even just water and yoghurt (plain lassi) is still very effective to help pacify inflammation.
When to drink think lassi:
- With your lunch and finish your lunch with thin lassi.
- If it is summertime or you are experiencing inflamed skin or gut, you can drink it 2-3x/day. Drink with meals and/or as a snack.
- If it is winter or cold climate, better you add some ground cumin seeds and salt instead of the cooling herbs and rose water, or only drink it if you experience this body inflammation all year around.
Detox the Three Main Waste Products
In Ayurveda there are three main waste products: sweat, urine and faeces. When these are properly eliminated on a daily basis, it prevents toxins from clogging up the blood, lymph and skin, which would either wise manifest as dull, rough or inflamed skin. If these toxins are regularly taken out the body via daily Ayurvedic techniques, rather than relying some seasonal or annual “cleanses”, this give your skin the change to glow with radiance for all to enjoy.
To promote effective detoxification via the sweat glands, self-abhyanga (link to self-abhyanga article or diagram) actually “pulls” fat-soluble toxins from skin via the oil’s lipophilic quality(1-2). Follow that by sweating (either right after or later that day) and your detoxification pathways are open to help eliminate toxins and waste products.
Having A Good Diet
There's no doubt that diet has a huge influence on your skin health. Integrating Ayurveda’s 10 Dietary Principles (link to article) will support this.
If you are struggling for your skin to glow or want more dietary support and foods specific to promote skin health, integrate these foods into your diet:
- Thin lassi – daily with lunch but perhaps not in winter.
- Turmeric powder – one of the most medicinal spices. Ayurveda emphasises the use of turmeric for glowing skin. Implementing turmeric into your diet every day is a wise move for many areas of health, especially skin.
- Bitter vegetables or foods – dark leafy greens, bitter melon, dandelion, fresh coriander and roquette are some bitter foods that will help clean the blood and pacify the skin.
- Cooling fruits – pomegranate, apples, grapes, watermelon and coconut are some sweet cooling fruits that helps promote lustre and skin glow. Ensure they are organic (particularly apples and grapes) and only eat them when they are in season and eat what grows as local to you as possible.
- Ghee – Ghee is a superior cooking oil that Ayurveda highly prizes to enhance the softness, lustre and youthfulness(3) of skin. Ghee also pacifies skin inflammation.(4) It helps regulate an ideal fat and cholesterol ratio to whatever that person needs.
Meditation’s Natural Anti-Ageing Sebum
There are countless benefits of regularly meditating using an effective technique, but I am going to share one with you that is not so well known, nor is it produced with every meditation technique.
But firstly and perhaps more importantly for skin health, meditation, such as Vedic Meditation, significantly helps reduce stress and pacify the nervous system. When your nervous system is calm, strong and cortisol (stress hormone) levels are down, inflammation markers will reduce, promoting lustrous and glowing skin.
Now for the additional juicy part. According to the Vedas, when you transcend and experience your inner state of Pure Absolute Consciousness, your body is in such a hypometabolic and rested state that your consciousness is essentially “free” from the body.
You are in a “free zone” where your individual experience is “free” from any physical and mental imbalances you may have. You have transcended your body. You are ultimately experiencing perfect health when this happens.
According to the Vedas, a physiological reaction occurs from this harmonious state of the physiology. You secrete a sweet sebum on your face which Ayurveda calls “Bindu”. Meditators commonly report this. It is a thin liquid substance that naturally manifests on the face during and after meditation.
“Bindu” is an anti-ageing liquid that your body produces itself after experiencing a state of bliss and sufficient levels of “Ojas” (a similar bio-celestial liquid substance responsible for vitality).
Glowing skin is a result of an energetic body, radiant mind and glowing soul. When we have a holistic approach to the mind, body and spirit, our skin health will reveal deeper information and truths.
- Sharma HM, Midich SI, Sands D, Smith DE: Improvement in cardiovascular risk factors through Panchakarma purification procedures. J Res Educ Indian Med, 1993; 12(4); 2-13.
- Heron, Fagan. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in its September/October 2002 issue, two
- Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbhata, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 6, 68-71.
- Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbhata, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 1.