Winter is officially here and the airy, cooler weather combined with the blazing hot heaters is a perfect formula for dehydrating our skin. The seasons in Ayurveda all have various properties and can affect many people differently depending on their innate and present constitution. Winter tenders to be more Vata dominated. Qualities of this include: dryer, itchy, chapped, cracked, rougher and redder skin as the air is cooler, windy and harsh. Skin that is not hydrated, smooth and soft typically appears more aged and mature. During winter not only will your skin have issues but you’re also more prone to constipation, anxiety and insomnia due to the varying climate. It’s a great time to incorporate these traditional Indian Ayurvedic tips to warm and sooth your winter skin and help you reverse the signs of aging.
Drink for Good Health
Start your day off with warm water with lemon on an empty stomach and then drink this throughout the day. This not only has detoxifying properties by keeping your body alkaline, but it also helps start your digestion off by keeping you regular, boosts your immune system and keeps acne at bay. You can also drink hot teas like chai mixed with cardamom, ginger, and raw organic honey for a more warming effect as well as holy basil (tulsi) teas. Green tea and matcha green tea have tons of polyphenols and antioxidants which help relax the body and mind while fighting free radicals that cause the signs of aging.
Get your massage on!
Before you shower, massage your body with a warming oil like sesame oil. This is called Abhyanga. You want to stroke against the hair follicles to help the oil penetrate into the skin better. Massaging oil in the evening is ideal for Vata prone skin verse early morning. Massaging your body helps with sleep, relaxation, increases circulation, all while keeping your skin soft, smooth and fresh!
Sweat it out
Sweating is always recommended in Ayurveda whether through traditional exercise or saunas. This is not only detoxing your largest organ but it also keeps your blood circulating and your joints lubricated. By exercising you are sending oxygen to your skin and removing toxins, all which contribute to aging. Sweating also helps keeps your skin moisturized and your pores smaller. So, work up a sweat to continuously detox during this cold winter season and keep your skin glowing.
Eat more fat!
During the winter, you want to avoid cold and raw foods since this can aggravate your Vata skin symptoms. Winter is a time we should be eating heavier, richer, nourishing foods full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like walnuts, avocados, chia seeds, coconuts, olive oil’s, ghee (clarified butter) as well as salmon and herring. These are all healthier fats rich in omega 3 fatty acids which many people don’t get enough of anyway. Your diet will help keep your skin moisturized by producing it’s own essential oils; ensuring your skin stays hydrated and your complexion clear while reversing the aging process.
Keep it Steamy
Steaming your face with warm water and neroli or rose oil helps add moisture back into your face and is great for a more youthful appearance. You can also try incorporating other soothing essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, or bergamot. Start by boiling water on the stove. Remove it, let it cool down a little and then add up to 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oils. Then place a towel over your head and hover over the warm steam. Having a humidifier is also helpful to add back moisture to your skin while you’re sleeping and throughout the day. This will instantly make your pores smaller and you’ll look younger as your skin stays full, healthy and plump.
Strike a Pose
Fish pose (matyasana) is a great pose that increases blood circulation to your face. Start by laying on your back with your hands beside your body and your feet straight ahead of you. You want to arch your chest, neck and face upward while keeping the top of your head on the floor. Eventually your elbows and crown of your head will be your only support on the ground while the top half of your body is arched up and stretching backward. Stay like that for 5 long, slow deep, breaths or up to 3 minutes. This not only relaxes your mind and body while lengthening your back and neck muscles, but it gives you an instant face lift by toning your facial muscles.