Amazing ingredients for your skin
Over the last few years, the concepts of natural and organic have been steadily increasing in all aspects of life – especially in the arena of skincare. One topic in particular that is really gaining popularity is Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of healthcare and healing that dates back more than 6,000 years. The name Ayurveda actually means “knowledge of life” or “longevity.”
I had the blessing of growing up in an Indian household and experiencing Ayurvedic principles, herbs, and foods in my daily life. I enjoyed experimenting with these ingredients and making natural skin and hair treatments, like masks, face and body scrubs, and creams for myself and my loved ones.
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In Ayurveda, skin type is based on the body composition – known as doshas – which allows skincare to be customized for maximum effectiveness by matching the ingredients to the dosha. The majority of Ayurvedic ingredients are regularly used in cooking. It’s a blessing of Ayurveda that you can treat the skin – the body’s largest organ – with the same ingredients that can also nourish and heal the body. The beautiful Ayurvedic ingredients are naturally rich in many elements that are known to be beneficial to cleansing, healing, soothing, hydrating, brightening, moisturizing, and toning the skin.
Here are the top five ingredients I use in my Ayurvedic skin and hair care products, and the facial and hair treatments I offer my clients.
Per Ayurveda, Turmeric, considered sacred in the Indian culture, is a universal healer and a primary feature in the healing of many ailments. Also known as Curcuma Longa, it contains the crucial antioxidant Curcumin, which has extensive research-backed, tried and verified benefits. Among its many healing properties are antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and many more. Turmeric is well known in Ayurveda for lightening the skin, reducing dark spots, evening out skin tone, and reducing hyperpigmentation. It also assists in reducing dark circles around the eye area. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties help to bring out the skin’s natural glow. It is a great asset in fighting acne, as the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties help prevent the bacteria from spreading further, and it reduces the redness of the problem areas. Turmeric also helps to protect the skin from UV rays, deeply hydrates, and expedites the removal of dead skin cells, which all contribute to reduce premature aging.
Also known as Indian Goosebery, Amla has a long history of use in Indian households as medicine, fruit, and even in cooking. In Ayurveda, all parts of the plant are used, and Amla Powder is actually derived from the leaves of the plant. Amla is a superfood that can contribute to a glowing complexion and is known to have one of the highest levels of antioxidants, 50 times more than blueberries. Studies have shown Amla can help stimulate pro-collagen (a precursor to collagen) when applied to the skin, and the amino acids, Vitamin C, and antioxidants contribute to the production of collagen. In addition, it is beneficial for strengthening the skin. The potent amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants help reduce pigmentation spots, black spots, dark circles, and acne blemishes. Amla assists in the removal of dead skin cells and helps protect the skin against harmful UV rays, leaving the skin smooth and radiant.
Neem Leaf Powder
Neem tree (Azadirachta indicia) is highly prized in traditional medicines and its products are widely used in the treatment of various internal and external health conditions. It is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine, where the powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties assist in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It is also known to lessen scars, blackheads, and pigmentation. Neem Leaf Powder’s natural moisturizing properties help to nourish the skin cells, restore pH balance, and treat skin dryness, toning the skin and helping to restore youthfulness.
In Sanskrit, Tulsi means “the incomparable one” and is also known as Holy Basil. Thanks to its integral healing, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, Tulsi helps to prevent blackheads and acne and relieve skin infections. Rich in Vitamin K and antioxidants, Tulsi helps to deep clean the skin, unclogging pores and removing excess oil. It also helps to neutralize free radicals, which assists in preventing signs of early aging. Tulsi has the additional benefit of lightening skin tone and reducing the effects of hyperpigmentation.
Formally known as Centella Asiatica, this is a common culinary ingredient in Indian cuisine. Referred to as a natural Botox therapy, Gotu Kola is a star ingredient in skincare due to its myriad of benefits. The bioactive ingredients assist in repairing the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss, resulting in healthier skin. Rich in antioxidants, Gotu Kola helps to reduce free radicals and offset premature aging. According to Ayurveda, it has amazing detoxifying properties and cleanses your skin of harmful elements and toxins that cause various skin conditions. Gotu Kola’s natural astringent nature helps to remove excess oil from the skin. It helps skin health and tone overall by promoting the production of collagen, enhancing healing of wounds, and reducing stress on the skin. Frequent application of Gotu Kola helps to lighten pigmentation and dark circles and reduce puffiness.
These powerful ingredients can be used individually in a skincare regimen, or for the treatment of specific skin conditions. They are much more effective when they are used in combination and with consideration to the skin type. Products and regimens that embrace ancient Ayurvedic principals and ingredients have an invaluable place in modern skin care.