Ayurveda’s Approach to Healthy Skin
In Ayurveda, we work to actively promote health primarily by what we put into, versus onto, our bodies.
Ayurveda, which is comprised of the words “Ayur,” meaning “life,” and “Veda,” meaning “knowledge,” is known as the science of life. As such, Ayurveda truly touches upon all of the myriad aspects of life that make it as full and rich as it is. From digestion to psychology to sexual health to spirituality to skincare, Ayurveda, as a spiritual science of life, really covers it all, with incredible precision, clarity, and insight.
In the modern era, we work so hard to cover up our skin with various products, from moisturizers to toners to serums to lotions and creams that often deliver limited results, at best. At worst, these products, because they are all chemically based, cause our skin to react, which means we resort to wearing to makeup, which then further ruins our skin, creating a vicious cycle.
5 Ayurvedic Secrets to Glowing Skin:
Here are five surprising Ayurvedic skincare secrets that I have truly benefited from, which you, too, can begin to employ from within to activate your inner glow.
1) Avoid or cut down on heavy seafood intake.
In one of the classical Ayurvedic texts called Charaka Samhita Nidanasthana, Chapter 5, Verse 6 outlines the causative factors of skin-related diseases and imbalances. One of these factors is “continuous intake of fish in large quantity.”
Because everything in Ayurveda is customized per individual, one person may be able to safely consume more seafood than another and actually benefit greatly from the seafood. As a general rule of thumb, however, it would be best to cut down on heavy seafood intake, especially if you are seeking to improve your skin in any way.
2) Do not mix milk with fruits, meat, salt, vegetables, or honey.
Ayurveda teaches that are some things that simply do not go together. The above list are calledincompatible food combinations, which hinder the digestive process. Healthy, balanced digestion is considered the cornerstone of optimal health in Ayurveda, as healthy digestion reflects solid overall physical health.
And digestion is not just something that happens in the stomach only. Skin is the largest organ of the body and is more vulnerable to disease, infection, injury, and imbalance than any other bodily structure. When we don’t digest our food properly, it not only affects our body internally; it is also reflected in the quality of our skin. That is why we focus so much in Ayurveda on avoiding those foods that cannot be easily digested, such as the incompatible combinations listed above.
I can clearly see how my skin and digestion have improved since I stopped eating incompatible foods in particular.
3) Go to sleep and wake up early.
Sleep is considered one of the three pillars of health, according to Ayurveda. The body actually heals itself as we sleep at night, ideally by 10pm. When we miss the ideal time for sleep and try to compensate by sleeping excessively during the day, our health suffers, and it shows up adversely on our skin. Excess daytime sleep is also one of the causative factors of skin-related conditions.
Going to sleep and waking up early, between 4-6am, has changed my life in countless ways, giving me tremendous willpower, insight, and clarity, in addition to better skin.
4) Stop sunbathing.
This one should come as no surprise. Ayurveda is all about addressing the root causes of why health problems manifest in the first place. No matter how much sunscreen you may liberally apply to your face and body, excess sun exposure will definitely damage your skin. It is therefore essential to protect yourself with a hat and/or sunglasses. Whenever you feel the temptation to soak in the sun, ask yourself, is it really necessary?
5) Do something to be of service, without any strings attached.
Mental stress is a huge causative factor for skin problems. From Ayurveda, we learn that Sadvritta, a noble code of social and moral behavior, is an essential part of health that is just as important as what we put into and onto our bodies. So much of our stress in life comes from the kinds of relationships we have with others, as well as our own worries about our current and/or future security, whether that be physical, emotional, financial, etc.