June 13, 2015

A closer look

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of us all?"

No matter how much we pretend not to care, every woman, as a rule of thumb, is concerned about her appearance. Every single one of us desire smooth and spotless skin, a glowing complexion, and a radiant face. More importantly, a clean and clear face is not just a compliment-magnet but also an indicator of good health, and that is something we need to keep in mind.

How many times have you looked into the mirror and frowned? The angry pimples that somehow make an appearance every time you have an important board meeting or function to attend, the greasy skin that you need to constantly dab with a tissue all the time, the ugly blackheads that leave equally ugly marks when you try squeezing them out with that painful blackhead remover are issues most of us deal with. Well, all I'd say is stop torturing your face with synthetic products and harmful cosmetics. Concealing the problem isn't going to solve it. A cosmetic facial care regime will cause more harm to the skin than good, and hence the need of something totally natural and holistic in its approach like Ayurveda. 
After all, the perfect skin care should be done at both the intrinsic as well as extrinsic level. 

Here are a few important tips towards attaining a naturally beautiful skin:

 Intrinsic measures:
  • Proper nutrition: This is the key to a healthy and glowing skin. Eating fresh and nutritious food items instead of preserved ones or those containing artificial sweeteners or flavors reduces the production of impurities in the body, enables easier digestion, repairs damaged tissues, regenerates skin cells, fights against skin problems thus leading to a smooth and glowing skin. Eating a lot of vegetables (especially lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and tender asparagus tips) and fresh fruits also provides vitamins and adequate nourishment leading to good health and hence good skin. Foods like coffee, chocolate, fried foods, direct sugars should be limited.
  • Adequate hydration: Consumption of 3-4 liters of water every day is important to maintain a healthy system. Proper hydration is required for detoxification of the body. Accumulation of toxins can lead to skin problems, and consumption of water helps in cleansing the body of these toxins, thus preventing skin eruptions or breakouts. Green tea is rich in anti oxidants and helps in maintaining vitality of the skin.
  • Adequate exercise and sleep: Brisk walking at least five times a week for half an hour every day is important. Sweating during exercise promotes circulation which is important for healthy skin. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises are known to help a great deal by improving blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as muscle tone. Also, one must have at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day for a younger and improved complexion. The growth hormone that is produced during sleep and exercise is responsible for promotion of fibroblast health which in turn promotes growth of collagen and elastin that is responsible for the skin to become firm. 
  • Essential vitamins and minerals: Taking a multivitamin every day will help the skin look younger and glowing. Calcium and Vit  D (from exposure to sunlight) is also important.
 When it comes to skin care, extrinsic measures are equally important as compared to the intrinsic measures discussed above. I remember my grandmother telling me how they would use various home made methods to  achieve a blemish free complexion in the good old days. I recall her asking me to boil neem leaves in my bath water to ward off pimples. She would ask me to slather a cream and turmeric paste on my skin. Some days it would be lime and honey, other days it would be gram flour and curd.  I would cringe just imagining the messy affair, and luckily manage to give it a skip.

Here are the home remedies as I remember them from Aaji's kitchen:
  • Mix chickpea flour and milk powder in equal parts. Take two teaspoons of this mixture in the palm of your hand and add water to make a thin paste out of it. Scrub lightly over wet skin. Rinse off and pat dry. The chickpea flour acts as a natural exfoliant and the milk powder provides nourishment to the skin. 
  • Take two tbsps of natural raw honey. Add a few drops of lime. Slather on face. Wait until dry and then wash off in upward motion. (Warning: Can be messy. Err...stay away from ant hills.)
  • Rinse face with water. Pat dry. Mash up the flesh of the papaya to a paste like consistency. Leave it on for 15 mins and then rinse off with warm water. This papaya pack is useful for acne prone skin.
As I grew up, I developed my own skin care regime--simpler, less messier and something that wouldn't leave me stinking like a garbage truck.
The cleansing-scrubbing-toning-moisturizing regime: Rinse your face with water. This fattens the dead skin cells by soaking the water. Make a paste by mixing two tablespoons of oat flour and one tablespoon of water. Apply it on your face with the tips of your index, middle and ringer finger so that it sticks. Scrub gently so that it removes the dead cells especially near the problem areas which are more prone for blackheads. This home-made scrub makes sure your skin is not stripped of its natural oils. Once the exfoliation is done, dab your skin with rose water to moisturize your face.

The only issue with this above regime is its time consuming nature, In today's busy world, we are forever searching for that quick fix that will not just save our time but also be equally effective.  But fear not. Where there is a will, there will be a way. Say bye bye to greasy skin, pimples and blackheads, look in the looking glass and say 'Hello beautiful.'
Yes, it's time to come closer to radiant skin with VICCO Turmeric Cream .

We can now be totally tension free. This one-step method of skin care is complete in itself and entirely Ayurvedic. So we can safely put aside all our worries about the harmful effects of cosmetics and chemicals on our skin and reach out to the power of haldi and Ayurveda. A convenient preparation by VICCO, this cream makes use of not only the cosmetic benefits of turmeric to ward off acne, comedones and excess oil with every wash but also of the microbicidal properties that claim to prevent skin infections and stop bleeding from minor cuts and wounds.

Having said all this, I must mention that a proper balance of intrinsic and extrinsic measures is required to maintain a healthy and glowing skin. The hormone cortisol also called the stress hormone (released during stress) is responsible for a lot of health problems including poor skin. Hence it is very important to de-stress every once in a while. Smile, laugh, indulge in your favorite food (if it's unhealthy which it most probably is, then only once in a while please), dance, do what makes you happy. Spend time with people who make you laugh.
Love. Live. Learn to relax.
Life is full of chaos anyway. Learn to find a pattern you love. If you can't find it, create one.
Allow your skin to breathe. Open your pores to happiness. It shows.

So next time you are in self doubt, ask yourself if you are happy. If you are, then yes you are beautiful!

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