Ayurveda Skin-Care Remedies: Beauty from the Inside Out
"Don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth,” teaches Manesha Kshirsagar, an Ayurvedic specialist in health and skin care.
In the practice of Ayurveda, much focus is placed on metabolism and digestion. But the care you take inside should also apply outside, to the skin, a porous protective organ, the largest in the body, taking up 15 percent of body weight.
The skin also gets nutrients from food, says Manesha. Once agni — the fire that drives digestion and metabolism in Ayurveda — is balanced, the skin is improved, she says.
"Beauty is not only from the outside, it comes from within," said Manesha, speaking to workshop attendees recently at the ashram's third annual Ayurveda Conference, Living Healthy in the 21st Century. "You need to feel good about yourself and then you will recognize the beauty in others."
Develop inner beauty by taking care of yourself, cultivate compassion, kindness, and helpfulness, she suggests. "This attracts people. Then you feel good, have satisfaction." Negative thoughts hamper inner beauty, she says. "How you speak, that is your beauty, so use kind words. How you feel about yourself cultivates your inner beauty."
Healthy skin comes from healthy blood and healthy liver so you need nutrition, hydration and occasionally detoxification, Manesha advises. Touch is important to the skin and brain so receive an oil massage regularly. In order to avoid chemicals on your skin, it's best to make your own treatment, depending on your body type, or dosha.
Manesha's 10 Commandments of Beauty:
- Respect the rhythms of the seasons. In winter, deep nourishment; in spring, detoxification; in summer, protect your skin.
- Don't consume synthetic products. Look for natural, botanical-based skin and beauty care products.
- Make your diet rich in phytonutrients. Eat cooked leafy greens, fresh seasonal veggies and sweet, juicy fruits, all rich in antioxidants.
- Eat mindfully and stoke your metabolism. Pay attention to the food you're eating and eat only when hungry.
- Practice Ayurvedic oil massages daily. Use warm oil before morning bath or shower to increase circulation and help body flush toxins.
- Get quality rest. Quality and quantity of sleep will increase energy levels and general well-being.
- Manage your stress. Incorporate moderate exercise, yoga postures, and meditation into your daily routine.
- Develop a daily skin care regimen. Be sure to perform the four basic steps of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and nourishing twice daily.
- Try making your own skin care aids. Blend essential oils for massages, mix up fruit to make a facial, or scent bathwater with a sachet of herbs and spices.
- Define your own concept of beauty. A positive attitude about yourself will help project an aura of confidence and radiance.