By Dr S. Ajit Summer is here and your clients can’t wait to head for the beach, the outdoors or the pool. But before they rush out to enjoy the glorious days of summer they – and you! – need to be protected from the scorching heat. Ayurveda suggests a daily routine that will help keep the skin in balance. Ayurveda emphasises that whatever is seen on the outer surface in the form of wrinkles, blemishes, pigmentation or sunburn, is a reflection of our internal wellbeing. Based on this principle there are specific daily and seasonal routines recommended according to each individual’s constitution. In Ayurveda, this knowledge is described as “Ritu Charya”, or seasonal routines. For centuries Ayurveda has stressed the importance of these routines. According to Ayurveda, every individual is a unique combination of the three doshas or psycho-physiological principles: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are given to all of us at birth. Vata is mainly air and space, Pitta is fire and water, and Kapha, water and earth. Ayurveda advocates treating or addressing the root cause of a problem rather than having a symptomatic approach. Understanding the qualities of the three doshas enables the therapist to customise a skin care regime and recommend appropriate products. Each has certain unique qualities or intelligence, which vary according to the dominance of one or two elements in them. For example, Vata intelligence is a combination of air and ether elements, and carries such qualities as dry, rough, light, thin, fragile, mobile and cold. Hence the therapist is able to easily determine that Vata skin has a tendency towards wrinkles, dry and flaky skin, blemishes, patches and poor circulation, and that means skin cells tend to die because they lack oxygen. In same way, Pitta intelligence is composed of fire and water elements and has such qualities as hot, sharp, oily, sensitive and acidic. Pitta skin will therefore be more prone to acne, pimples, freckles and pigmentation. It will also be hypersensitive and burn easily. Kapha intelligence is composed of earth and water elements so its qualities are cold, damp, thick, heavy, sluggish and watery. Kapha skin will be more prone to cellulite and pigmentation, and will be dull and thick, with big pustules. These doshas also govern the seasons of the year with Pitta, the fire element, ruling the hot summer months. The qualities of the summer season – hot, sharp, intense, bright, light and oily – are responsible for various skin conditions. As well, such hot qualities cause too much heat in tissues which leads them to become too dry so they die easily. Similarly, the hot, intense and sharp qualities are responsible for blemishes and pigmentation; the hot and oily qualities are responsible for acne and pimples; and the hot, bright and sharp qualities are responsible for sunburn, which later lead to other, serious skin problems. Hot quality also increases Pitta in the skin making it more sensitive. These qualities of summer affect everyone but the intensity of their effect will vary according to each person’s body type. Compatible and incompatible factors Once we understand one’s skin type it is easy to identify what kind of food, activities and environmental factors will be compatible and incompatible for them. In summer, you may need to take steps to placate Pitta to stay healthy and balanced. This goes not only for overall health, but skin and hair health as well. Ayurvedic skin care is based on two simple principles: • Keep the three bodily intelligences in balance. • Nothing should be applied to the skin that can not be taken internally. Use only skin care formulations that help keep the skin in balance and are prepared according to your skin’s composition. Plus, use only skin care products that are totally natural. Sun damage – are you covered? Another very important issue that makes everyone nervous during summer is intense UV rays, resulting in skin burn or deeper problems. There is much media hype that we cannot survive without sunscreen lotions. But if we look at these sunscreen lotions and creams more closely we find they are loaded with chemicals. Yes, it is true that by applying these creams one can protect the skin to some extent from the effect of intense heat, but at the same time all these chemicals are absorbed through our skin and become the root cause of more serious skin problems. We all know that skin cancer and other related problems are increasing day by day, but we never give thought as to why it is so. That’s because the hype created by the media does not allow us to think outside the square. However, in Ayurvedic science the answer to this problem is very simple. One needs to understand very clearly why one gets sunburn. Apart from the fact that those who have less melanin in their skin composition are prone to skin problems, which is true but not the only cause, the major reason why one’s skin will be targeted easily is an unhealthy skin structure. To prevent this, daily self-massaging with warm, cold-pressed, black sesame oil before or after showering is advised. This helps build cellular strength. Black sesame oil is known for its richness as it contains many minerals and vitamins that act as natural skin protectors. Ayurda Oliana oil is fortified with herbs and minerals and is especially beneficial for children. Regular massage with this oil will provide excellent protection from sunburn. Ayurvedic science advises us to return to basics and take an active role in the wellbeing of our skin as well as our total wellness. By following daily and seasonal skin routines and using only products which are close to nature and based on such principles, can we achieve total wellness over the longer term.
Sunday, 30 December 2007