Natural Ways To Keep Skin Healthy, Smooth, Itch-Free This Summer
With temperatures rising, more exposed skin and more plants in full bloom, people are more prone to experiencing rashes, acne outbreaks and other skin inflammations.
Ayurvedic natural remedies can help keep your skin healthy, clear and beautiful, according to Gurusimran Khalsa, Ayurvedic expert and vice president of marketing for Banyan Botanicals, the leading provider of organic Ayurvedic herbs and products in the U.S.
"Even though Ayurveda is thousands of years old, people in Western countries are paying attention to it now more than ever because major studies have proven its effectiveness in restoring and maintaining health," said Khalsa. "Leaders in the field of natural health like Drs. Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra have also helped bring it to the forefront."
From an Ayurvedic perspective, problems such as rashes, acne, hives, boils, psoriasis and eczema occur when too much heat accumulates in the body, explained Khalsa. This can happen any time of year, but the warmer temperatures make heat-related imbalances of the skin more prevalent in the summer. Excess heat is normally eliminated through the GI tract, but when the system becomes overloaded with toxins, heat becomes trapped and is absorbed into the blood. The body then resorts to using the skin as an organ of elimination of the toxins. This will usually manifest as some type of skin inflammation.
Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to maintaining and regaining health. For skin flare-ups, Ayurvedic remedies incorporate the use of herbs to cool and restore balance in the body, dietary recommendations, and quick yoga and breathing techniques. A daily dose of the traditional Ayurvedic formula Triphala will eliminate excess heat from the body, remove toxins from the GI tract, support healthy elimination, and promote the skin's natural healing process. Cooking with spices like tumeric and using neem on the skin helps remove toxins from the blood. Neem has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can be used in the form of oil you rub on your skin, soap to clean and cool irritated skin, or powder that can be applied as a paste to weepy, oily or oozy skin inflammations, Khalsa explained. For this reason, neem is great to use on poison ivy or poison oak.
If your skin is irritated, avoid consumption of spicy foods, minimize alcohol and coffee consumption, drink plenty of fresh water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially cooling foods like greens vegetables, basmati rice, sweet juicy fruits, coconut, cucumber and cilantro.
These easy moves can also help, according to Khalsa. A simple seated forward bend cools the system and releases heat from the body. Shitali Pranayama, the cooling breath, is excellent for eliminating heat from the body. The practice is as follows: Curl or roll the sides of your tongue upward into a tube or straw. Inhale slowly through the rolled tongue, and then close the mouth and exhale normally through the nose. If you are unable to roll your tongue into a tube, lightly clench your teeth together with the tongue pressed against the teeth. Inhale the air through your teeth and sides of your mouth. Practice for 10-26 rounds of breath.
"It's important to try to keep your body in balance and listen what it's telling you," advises Khalsa. "The skin tells you a lot about what's going on inside."