Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Avoiding Dry Winter Skin With Maharishi Ayurveda
MAPI Staff writers

Winter doesn’t have to be hard on skin.

As odd as it may seem, winter is actually the best time of year to nourish the skin, because it is dryer and more receptive during this cold season. This illustrates one of the great underlying principles of Ayurveda: it takes advantage of the natural tendencies available in every season for rejuvenation and purification. In warmer seasons, the skin is naturally detoxifying more, and therefore is less absorbent. In winter months, it’s just the opposite.

Dryness, cracking, dullness and roughness of the skin are common issues in cold, dry, windy weather. This kind of weather, associated with the Vata Season (November to February), increases the dry, cold, rough, and coarse qualities of Vata, both in the outer environment and in our bodies. If the person is by nature of Vata constitution, or is eating a Vata-aggravating diet or living a Vata-aggravating lifestyle, or is in the Vata time of life (from 60 years of age on up), the effect of Vata imbalance on skin is even stronger. Click for more information on diets matched to Vata, Pitta or Kapha constitution.

Perhaps an even more interesting Ayurvedic skin fact is that some winter conditions actually cause heat to build up in the skin. If the weather is freezing but not windy (such as in some areas of the northern US), the freezing temperatures shrink the skin pores, preventing the body from releasing heat. As internal heat builds up, Pitta dosha becomes imbalanced, resulting in increased sensitivity, occasional blemishes, rashes, or sometimes redness. Because of the increased Pitta, this kind of weather can also not surprisingly increase hunger.

A third winter skin condition occurs when the weather is cold and wet, causing Kapha dosha to increase and result in oily, heavy skin. This is more common in late winter, although in some climates, it can be cold and damp all winter long. During this time, toxins (ama) tend to accumulate, which may make the skin dull and clog the pores, and may also cause skin irritation and breakouts.

Below find some helpful hints for nourishing your skin type in all three winter weather conditions.

A Guide to Winter Skin Care

For Vata Skin (or during cold, windy weather)

Lifestyle Suggestions:

  • Daily Organic Sesame Oil massage
  • Keep skin covered as much as possible
  • Use natural fabrics such as silk or wool
  • Walking or other light enjoyable exercise is recommended
  • Use floral or herbal essences of rose and/or lavender in your bath

Dietary Suggestions:

  • Cook with cumin, coriander and turmeric
  • Eat plenty of well-cooked, leafy green vegetables

Recommended Herbal Products:

For Pitta Skin (or in freezing but not windy weather)

Lifestyle Suggestions:

  • Daily oil massage with a cooling oil like Organic Soothing Massage Oil
  • Brisk exercise
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun (skiing, for example, exposes uncovered skin to freezing temperatures and long periods of sun)

Dietary Suggestions:

  • Include Organic Organic Rose Petal Preserve in your diet
  • Eat lots of sweet, juicy fruits
  • Cook with cumin, coriander, fennel and licorice
  • Avoid hot spicy foods

Recommended Herbal Products:

For Kapha Skin (or in cold, damp weather)

Lifestyle Suggestions:

  • Drink warm water through the day
  • Daily warm oil full-body massage
  • Exfoliate non-facial skin periodically with a loofah

Dietary Suggestions:

  • Cook with ginger, black pepper, turmeric, cumin and coriander
  • Avoid skipping meals

Recommended Herbal Products:

(Cover photograph By TooFarNorth, Flickr Creative Commons)

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