Water Therapy: All Weather Skin Care

Along with stress and diel, environmental factors are one of the major causes of premature aging. Seasonal and climatic changes not only imbalance the subtle internal energies of the body and mind, but also have an effect externally on the skin. Sun, wind and cold can be particularly damaging unless you take action lo counter Lheir effects.

Sun and Skin :

The sun has always been a prime offender against the skin, but in recent years its harmful effects have increased as the protective ozone layer has weakened. Solar radiation is a factor in cataracts, cell degeneration and the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which leads to premature aging and wrinkles. It is the leading cause of skin cancer and also increases free radical generation in the skin because it decreases production of antioxidant enzymes.

Drugs such as blood pressure pills, diuretics and thorazine and foods and herbs such as artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, lemon, lime, carrot, fennel, parsley and bergamot are photo-synthesisers. When ingested and absorbed into the body will cause hyperpigmentation, if the skin is exposed to too much sun. Of course, summer heat aggravates Pitta in general, leading to increased skin sensitivity and increased sebaceous secretions.

In general, sensitive skin types tend to turn red rather than tan in the sun and also develop freckles. Dry and oily skin types both tan easily. Nevertheless, nothing ages the skin more quickly than a sunburn, so individuals of every skin type should take precautions to protect themselves from the sun.

Hot Weather Tips for Beautiful Skin

• Warm weather is Pitta season, so adjust your lifestyle and diet lo avoid “overheating” the metabolism. Chlorinated pools, saltwater and sun dehydrate and age the skin, so the body needs extra moisture inside and out, all summer long.

• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 to 30 depending upon your skin. If you don’t burn easily but do tan easily, use lower SPF. If you burn more easily than you tan, use higher SPF. Try not to use sunscreen unless you are in the sun, since it tends to increase skin sensitivity in general.

• Sesame or neem oil, both are excellent natural sunscreens according to Ayurveda.

• Avoid sunbathing. If you want to be in the sun, stay active (do errands, take a walk), but it is better to stay out of the direct sun as much as possible. However, if you do sunbathe, olive and coconut oils are natural tanning agents, since they absorb ultraviolet light and provide even colouring. A daily dose of B-complex vitamins also helps produce an even tan.

• After sunbathing; take a cool bath, adding a few drops of rose, sandalwood or vetiver essence to the water. Afterwards, pat the skin dry and when it is still moist, massage all over with your body oil.

• To treat sunburned skin, rub on either crushed cucumber, cucumber juice, aloevera juice, an ice infusion of elderflower and chamomile, or cold buttermilk.

Wind and Skin :

Over exposure lo dry, cold wind also damages Hie skin. In addition to their dehydrating effects, cold and wind put pressure on the epidermis, the horny protective top layer of skin which is composed of dead cells. When the cold and pressure are extreme, the dead cells desquamate — they burst — leaving the,living, young cells of the derm layer exposed prematurely to the elements.

As a result, the unprotected cells become inflamed, causing a characteristic tingling sensation on the skin, a problem that is particularly common among the elderly in the cold season. Too much peeling with acids produces the same result. The best protection against this effect is not face creams, but essential oils.

Cold Weather Tips for Beautiful Skin

• Cold weather and cool winds aggravate Vata and cause dry skin conditions; so adjust your lifestyle and diet lo add warmth, lubrication and moisture.

• Take fewer baths and showers in the cold season to avoid dryness. When you do bathe, add a few drops of essential oil to the water to provide lubrication. Massage with oil before and after showering or bathing.

• Keep the temperature of your home as low as you comfortably can and use a humidifier or keep a bowl of water on your radiators to add moisture to the air.

• Take an occasional steam bath, but avoid saunas, which are dehydrating. Use petroleum jelly, if dryness persists.

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