Nourish Dry Winter Skin
Dry, cracked, itchy, raw, chapped skin. Is this just a few of the ways you can describe your skin in the winter months? From your face to your heels, your skin can become increasingly dry without a proper winter skin care routine.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of wellness from India, focuses on the root causes of our imbalances and provides us with many preventative routines for skin care. Identifying our state of imbalance by energetic forces and the qualities they exhibit, we can then apply the best remedy. These energetic forces are VATA (qualities of dry, mobile and light), PITTA (hot, sharp and penetrating) and KAPHA (heavy, wet and cold).
The winter months are the time of year when VATA increases in the environment, and we also feel the effects of this increase of dryness, lightness and mobile qualities. Our skin is just one way our bodies indicate an increase of VATA within us. So, how can we nourish and protect our skin?
Adding moisture to our skin internally and externally can counter the drying effects of excess VATA.
Internally, small yet effective food changes can make a significant difference. Here are a few of my favorites.
Favor warm, cooked meals over raw and cold foods
Add more fats such as olive, avocado and Ayurveda's beloved Ghee
Drink warm teas, avoiding alcohol and caffeine
Externally, add to your day a loving massage, a technique called Abhyanga, with herbalized sesame oils. As defined in the ancient text Ashtanga Hrdayam (one of the three primary Ayurveda texts), "Abhyanga should be resorted to daily, it wards off old age, exertion and aggravation of VATA, bestows good vision, nourishment to the body, long life, good sleep, good and strong, healthy skin. It should be done specially to the head, ears and feet."
For a self massage at home, here are some simple instructions:
Self Massage instructions: Place the closed bottle of massage oil in a sink of warm water. Place a small amount of oil in your palm and begin to massage it into your skin. Start with your head, face and neck. Cover your entire body by moving to each arm, then legs, stomach and back. When doing abhyanga, focus especially on the lower legs, below the knees. This will help make sure to regulate and maintain the flow of vata downward and out – preventing vata from moving abnormally upwards in your body. Massage direction is from the top of the body, down. Joints are oiled in circular motions and long bones with long strokes. Allow the oils to soak in for 15-30 minutes before showering. Do not spend the entire day with the oil on your skin.
For a real indulgence, consider scheduling a 60 or 90 minute abhyanga with us at the spa. During your treatment, you will feel deeply nourished and relaxed as the oils are meditatively massaged into your skin, followed by a warming steam bath helping the oils to absorb deep into the skin for long lasting results. Check out our online menu.
Have an enlightened new year!
Disclaimer The sole purpose of this articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. It is not intended for use or replacement of a diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.