Flawless skin is no accident – yes, genetics plays a large role in skin quality, but there are many other factors that dictate the quality of our skin. We don’t just ingest food and water, but also air and perceptions. Toxins can enter our bodies through all these routes. Preservatives, chemicals, pesticides in food, contaminants in water, pollutants and allergens in the air and toxic thoughts, improper perceptions and negative emotions can all affect our bodies and show telltale signs on the skin, like breakouts, acne, boils, pimples etc. It is therefore very important to clean up our diets and lifestyles to truly see a positive change in our skin’s health. Meditation, yoga, breathing are all great ways to increase the vital life force (prana) in our bodies, and very useful in detoxifying the body from the insides. Good quality sleep is another one of those lifestyle factors that contributes to our skin health – no wonder it’s called “beauty sleep”! Following a clean diet and lifestyle will truly bring about a positive change in our bodies, leading to improved immunity and health of body tissues (ojas in Ayurveda), that will ultimately manifest as a healthy glow on the skin.
Topical applications to the skin can also enhance the quality of skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body and through its pores, we ingest whatever we put on it. So, think twice before you apply to your skin what you wouldn’t eat through your mouth! Here is a simple regimen that I follow based on the Ayurvedic principles that I have learned so far. I am sharing it here in an attempt to help others see the same improvements that I have seen over the recent past, in my skin quality, texture and appearance. Please note that since there is exfoliation/scrubbing involved in the facial, it is not recommended that you do this facial, in its entirety on a daily basis. Once in 2 weeks is good enough. If you do choose to do a daily facial, just stick with the face pack step and follow the entire regimen once in 1-2 weeks.
- Lemon or lime (small piece)
- Uncooked Rolled oats (1 tbsp)
- Milk (1 tbsp)
- Raw Honey (1 tsp)
- Peeled Almonds (optional) (2 coarsely crushed)
- Besan (bengal gram flour) or mung flour (1 tsp)
- Dried Amla/amalaki/gooseberry powder (1/2 tsp)
- Sandalwood powder (1/4 tsp)
- Turmeric (haldi) powder (1/4 tsp)
- Rose Water (1 tbsp)
- Cucumber (2 thin slices)
1. Preparatory Steps
Wash the face with a cleanser that you normally use for your skin. Pat dry. Take a lemon/lime wedge and gently rub it in concentric circles all over your face and neck, ensuring that the juice evenly spreads all over. The lemon juice acts a gentle, all-natural bleach to help remove tan marks or dark discolorations on your face, while still avoiding the harmful, toxic effects of a powerful, chemical bleach.
2. Exfoliation with a Scrub
Coarsely grind oats and peeled almond together. You can skip the almond completely, if you want to (I do). Take a tablespoon of powdered oatmeal (with or without almonds), add a teaspoon of honey (preferably raw) and a tablespoon of cool milk. Mix well. Use this scrub to gently exfoliate the skin. Oatmeal is great as an acne remedy, heals skin and opens the pores. Lean over a sink while doing this. Take a tiny amount of the mix and apply to one area of the face or neck. Then, using circular movements, gently scrub the skin, portion by portion, until the entire face and neck is covered. Keep this on for a few minutes, until it gets slightly dry. Wash it off. Pat dry.
Steam the face using an electric steamer or by placing the face over a pot of hot water. Be careful not to spill hot water on yourself. Do this for at least 4-5 minutes or as you feel necessary. This step is essential for opening up the pores of the skin.
4. Face Pack
Mix 1 heaped teaspoon of gram flour (or mung flour), 1/2 teaspoon of amla/amlaki/Indian gooseberry powder, 1/4 teaspoon each of sandalwood and turmeric powder. Gram flour helps remove scars and reduces unwanted facial hair, among its many benefits. Amla reduces pigmentation, tones the skin and helps with general cooling of the skin and body. Sandalwood is cooling, soothing and healing for the skin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-aging properties and gives the skin a natural glow. Add rose water and make a paste. Apply this all over the face and neck. Cut 2 slices of a cucumber and place it on your eyes and lie down for a few minutes, until the pack dries off. Don’t wait too long, otherwise the pack will start pulling your skin. 10-15 minutes should be fine. Wash off the pack and pat your skin dry.
You will immediately see the effects of this easy, yet effective at-home facial and over time, others will see improvements in your skin as well! Just ensure that you eat clean, drink lots of water and keep yourself well hydrated, exercise sensibly, incorporate some relaxation practices and sleep well :).
Do give this facial a try and let me know in the Comments section below how you felt!