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Skin Health

These Tips Can Give You Radiant, Glowing Skin, Even During the Summer Months

Photo: Courtesy of Blake Wheeler

Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old Indian system of health and natural healing, is the art of living in harmony with the laws of nature. 

Ayurveda (“ayus” means life, and “veda” knowledge or science) reminds us we are intimately intertwined with our environment. The great rhythms and forces of nature — the alternation of day and night, the cycle of seasons — all affect us. Maintaining good health by living in tune with nature means continually balancing our inner ecology by adjusting to the ever-changing outer environment, such as wearing heavier clothing and eating warming foods in winter, and wearing lighter clothing and eating cooling foods in summer. 

Your skin — biologically the largest organ in your body — reflects your inner state of health. Clear, glowing, radiant skin indicates a vibrant, healthy body. Keeping your skin smooth and radiant in the summer months, when sun, wind, heat, and salt water take a daily toll, is a challenge. But Ayurveda, which developed and flourished in a hot climate, has many valuable tips to offer us.

Keeping your cool

Hot temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity, can trigger skin problems like acne, eczema, and rashes. That’s why our No. 1 recommendation is to keep cool. Here are nine ways to help you beat the heat and pamper your sensitive skin:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, at least six to eight glasses a day. Start the day with a cup of warm or room temperature water. Cold or iced drinks are not recommended in Ayurveda, as they hinder digestion.  
  • Have a refreshing lime drink: During the day, try a glass of water with 2 teaspoons of lime juice and ½ teaspoon of rock candy (or natural sugar). 
  • Minimize warming foods: Avoid menu items that are spicy and heating, such as citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chilis, tomatoes, sour cream, and salted cheese, as well as spicy seasonings. Instead . . . 
  • Favor cooling foods: These include coconut, cilantro, fresh greens, melon, cucumber, dairy, and ghee.   
  • Make a cooling facial mask: To rejuvenate a complexion parched from exposure to salt water, wind, or too much sun, apply fresh cilantro pulp, or make a simple cooling facial mask out of fresh, mashed cherries. Apply a thin layer to your face and allow it to dry and remain for 10-15 minutes before gently washing it off. Afterwards, apply a small amount of organic coconut oil, which is cooling. 
  • For a rosy complexion: Mist  your face with rose water, renowned for its cooling properties.  
  • Avoid direct sunshine: If you have to work outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and cover arms and legs with loose-fitting clothing to protect your skin. 
  • Go jump in the lake: If you feel really hot, take a cool bath or shower, or, if you can, swim in a cool lake or pool, then drink a little water with lime juice.
  • Moisturize your face: Every day, moisturize your face with a thin layer of coconut or sunflower oil. 

Mindfulness in a hectic world

As we transition from summer to more hectic back-to-school and back-to-work routines, remember your skin reflects the health of your body and mind. Manage stress by incorporating mindfulness and a simple meditation practice into your day, and don’t forget that keeping a smile on your face will maintain the tone of your facial muscles and skin, whatever the season!

Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc., Director and Professor, The Ayurvedic Institute, [email protected]

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