Naturally fresh and healthy skin is protector of body and a thing of beauty. Ayurveda our ancient science of medicine has suggested many herbal remedies and natural methods to protect our skin from pimples, acne, dark circles, wrinkles and marks left by pimples and to increase the fairness of the skin. Pimples , acne dark circles, wrinkles and marks give a dull and unhealthy look. Here is a herbal guide for naturally fresh, fair and glowing skin.
Structure of skin
It is essential to know about structure of skin before analysing the causes which make changes on skin. Skin is made up of multiple layers of epithelial tissuess. Microscopic section of the skin shows two distinct parts. Epidermis is the top most layer. The upper layer of epidermis contains dead cells which gradually cast off. These cells are gradually replaced by fresh new cells produced by basal layer which is the lower layer of epidermis.
The Dermis lies below epidermis and consists of net work of collagen fibers which is responsible for elastic properties of skin. Sebaceous glands associated with hair follicles and sweat glands, are all present in dermis and get blood supply from the subcutaneous tissue present below dermis. Sebaceous glands get activated during puberty and produce an oil like substance called sebum.
In ayurveda according to Sushrutaachaarya the skin has seven layers. These layers when get affected by imbalanced doshas (vital energetic forces of body ) give rise to different skin diseases The list of seven layers of skin and diseases which originate from them are as follows.
Avabhasini- This is the outermost layer of skin. Pimples, acne, dandruff etc arise when this layer gets affected by vitiated doshas.
Lohita – This is the second layer of skin. Moles, dark circles, black pigmentations occur when vitiated doshas affect this layer.
Shweta – The third layer of skin shweta when gets affected by vitiated doshas precipitates the diseases like eczema, allergic rashes etc
Tamra – This is the fourth layer of skin which when affected by doshas harbors different types of leprosy.
Vedini- The fifth layer succumbs to herpes when vitiated doshas affect.
Rohini- Harbors cancer, tumors, elephantiasis etc when affected by vitiated doshas.
Mamsadhara – This is the seventh layer in the body which when affected by vitiated doshas , abscess , fistulas arise.
Functions of skin
It covers and protects the underlying muscles and organs. It guards our body from the invasion of pathogens, acts as insulation, regulates body temperature and is one of the sense organ. It plays a major role in synthesis of Vitamin D.
The melanin pigment of skin protects us from UV radiations of Sun.
What spoils the beauty of skin.?
Several internal and external causes spoil the beauty of skin.
Sun : Sun is the worst enemy of skin. Apply a good sun block on exposed parts of body. Wear full armed lite colored cotton clothes when you move out in sun. Do not forget to wear a hat and cooling glasses.Mix sandal powder in a large glass of water and keep it in refrigerator to cool. Transfer this into a sprayer and keep on spraying this on your body whenever you feel your skin is irritated due to sun rays.
When climate is hot and humid the skin feels sticky due to sweat. Microbial activity increases on wet skin . Bathe daily to keep the skin clean and lower the microbial activity. Use a mixture of soap nut powder , besan (gram flour) and sandal wood powder to scrub the skin. Home made oat scrub also helps to reduce tan and increase glow of skin.Drink plenty of water to compensate the loss of fluid through sweat.
When climate is cold and dry the moisture level of skin lowers and skin becomes dry and it tends to crack. Apply moisturizing lotion liberally all over body. Smearing fresh aloevera juice improves moisture levels of skin. Massage your body with gingelly oil (til oil or sesame oil) once in a week. Always wear warm cotton clothes and socks. Regular foot massage with warm gingelly oil or castor oil prevents fissuring of heels and foot. Drink plenty of warm water to keep the skin well hydrated and to prevent dryness.
Air Pollution : The air pollutants like dust, smoke, smog, dirt can clog pores and cause acne and pimples. Apply a good moisturizer which acts as a barrier between skin and pollutants. Cleanse the skin care fully when you are back home . Use besan (gram flour) and rose water as scrub in summer. A mixture of Masoor dal flour (orange lentils) and milk make a best scrub for winter.
Life styles :
Sleep : Lack of sleep causes dark circles and diminish the glow of skin. 7- 8 hours sleep keeps the skin healthy and glowing
Exercise: A brisk walk for 45 minutes keeps the skin healthy by improving blood circulation and eliminating toxins. Lack of exercise
lead to dull looking skin.
Stress : Stress causes dark circles, loss of complexion and appearance of permanent lines on facial skin. Yoga, Meditation, Exercise and Body massage are best stress busters and skin friendly therapies.
Addiction: Tobacco, drugs, alcohol etc make the skin look lifeless and unattractive. Say no to any form of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
Unhealthy diet spoils the skin. Junk, spicy , oily foods spoil the beauty of skin causing acne, pimples and black heads . A healthy diet retards ageing process of skin and gives it a charming look. The tips given below help you to adopt a healthy diet.
- Drink plenty of fresh clean water (2-3 liters daily). It helps to eliminate body wastes and toxins. It keeps constipation at bay.
- Let fresh fruits and vegetables occupy major portion of your diet. Dark green and orange vegetables and fruits have antioxidants and also pocess cancer fighting properties
- Avoid sweets, chocolates, junk foods, deep fried, oily and spicy foods.
Daily and weekly regimen for beautiful skin
- Take bath daily
- Wash your face twice daily with herbal natural scrubs like besan, methi powder, green gram flour, masoor dal flour etc. Splash clean water on face as soon as you wash.
- Do a complete body massage with gingelly oil once in a week.
- Doing Pranayam daily for 15 minutes keep the skin healthy and radiant.
- Do facials with natural fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables etc once in a week. Cucumber, carrot, water melon, sandal wood paste, turmeric, honey etc can be used according to seasons and skin types.
- Drink a glass of water with a spoon of honey in empty stomach .This should be one of your daily routine.
- Savor milk, curds and butter milk.