Who doesn’t want to look young and vibrant? The earliest signs of aging are typically in your skin. One of the easiest ways to shed 10 years from your appearance is by improving the quality of your skin. Ayurveda offers some of the most powerful tools for creating radiant skin and reversing the common signs of aging.
Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of India and the oldest surviving healing system in the world (about 5,000 years old). “Ayu” means life and “veda” means knowledge, so ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is based on three fundamental principles:
1. Food is medicine.
2. Disease can be prevented and eradicated through your daily habits.
3. Lifestyle recommendations are based on an individual’s physical, mental and emotional makeup, known as one’s dosha. Click here to learn more about the doshas and determine your dominant dosha.
I want to share four of my favorite ayurvedic beauty secrets that I employ on a regular basis. They are simple, effective and inexpensive.
1. Sandalwood Facemask
A sandalwood facemask will give your face an instant lift, the natural way. Sandalwood detoxifies the skin by removing impurities directly as it dries on the skin. It also removes toxins by increasing circulation in the skin, leaving it glowing and feeling tighter. Sandalwood also has an alluring fragrance.
To make your own sandalwood facemask, use about 5 teaspoons of sandalwood powder and slowly mix in water until you have a thick paste. If you have a tendency toward acne or rashes, add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder. If you tend to have dry skin, you can add some castor or almond oil to the paste. You can apply the mask for 1 hour on a weekly basis for regular skin care, or leave it on overnight every few months for a deep skin cleaning.
2. Daily Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
This daily oil massage provides several benefits by reducing stress and removing the accumulation of toxins (digestive and environmental) from your skin. The accumulation of toxins causes premature aging. Doing this simple massage on a daily basis or a few times a week will markedly improve the texture and elasticity of your skin.
For the majority of people, the best oil to use is organic, cured sesame oil. But if you tend to produce a lot of body heat, get rashes easily, or are susceptible to inflammatory conditions, then organic coconut oil is a better choice. Coconut oil does not need to be cured for the massage.
The massage can take anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes depending on the time you have available. Place a quarter-cup of oil in a small plastic bottle. Heat up the oil by running it under hot water in the sink. Once the oil is warm, begin massaging your scalp and face. Afterwards, move to the arms – use long strokes on your long bones and circular strokes over your joints. Massage the chest and abdomen. Use clockwise, circular motions over the abdomen and heart. Next, reach around and rub oil up and down your back. Then, massage your hips and legs using the same long strokes on your long bones and circular strokes over your joints. Finally, massage your feet. Your feet and scalp are the two most important areas to massage to help reduce stress, so spend a little extra time on both of these areas.
To cure the sesame oil, simply place a drop of water in the oil. When the drop of water pops, it is cured and ready to use.
Nasya is the administration of oil through the nostril. Nasya removes the toxins from the head resulting in more clarity of the mind, reduced stress, and prevention of wrinkles in the face. It is regularly used in ayurveda to treat stress, headaches, anxiety, sleep disorders, sinusitis, colds, allergies and depression. It has gained popularity in America for its wrinkle-fighting abilities.
The two most common oils used for nasya are sesame oil and ghee (clarified butter). Apply a small amount in the nostrils and then breathe in while intermittently pinching the nose so that the oil goes up into the nasal passages. The ideal times for doing nasya are first thing in the morning and a few hours before bedtime.
4. Youthful Skin Tea
Premature aging of the skin can be caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body, which ultimately deposit in the skin. This is a result of undigested food that accumulates in the stomach overnight due to poor digestion or excessive stress. The key to maintaining a youthful complexion is the regular removal of these digestive impurities before they damage the DNA in the skin cells. There is a simple tea that removes digestive toxins. The recipe is below:
Boil 4-5 cups of water in the morning. Add the following ingredients to the water and continue to let it boil for about 5 minutes longer with the lid on.
Strain out the seeds and pour the tea into a thermos. Drink small sips of the tea throughout the day. If the tea is too strong, reduce the amount of seeds to a quarter teaspoon for two weeks and then increase it back to a half teaspoon.
Follow these four ayurvedic beauty secrets for at least three months and you will see signs of younger, radiant skin.