Winter can be a challenging time for your skin and hair, especially if you live in a cold and dry climate. The cold, dry air can strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture, leaving it dry, itchy, and irritated. Your hair can also become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of healing, offers a variety of tips for keeping your skin and hair healthy during the winter months. Here are a few of the favorites:
- Apply herbal oils and balms. It is more important during this season to do a regular Abhyanga / full body oil massage. Certain herbal oils, such as sesame oil, olive oil, and almond oil, can be very beneficial for dry skin. Apply a warm oil massage to your skin and keep it on for at least fifteen minutes before taking a bath to help the body absorb the oils and lock in moisture to keep your skin soft and supple. Consult with an Ayurvedic Practitioner for the right way of doing Abhyanga and the type of oil that is best suited for you and the season. Abhyanga of the feet at bedtime helps to relax, get a good night's sleep and rejuvenate the feet.
- Avoid very hot showers and baths. Although cold season asks for a warm bath, don't go overboard and take a very hot shower. It strips the body of its natural oils and moisture, leaving the skin even more parched than it was before. A lukewarm to warm bath or shower is ideal.
- Use a gentle cleanser. Avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead, opt for a gentle, hydrating cleanser that will leave your skin feeling soft and supple. Ayurveda suggests herbal cleansing powders for gentle exfoliation and cleansing.
- Moisturize regularly. The most important thing you can do for your skin in the winter is to moisturize regularly. Use a thick, creamy moisturizer on your face and body at least twice a day. You may also want to apply a moisturizer throughout the day if your skin feels dry. Unlike body oils, moisturizers not only contain oils, but also water and other hydrating ingredients that are needed during the dry, cold months.
- Nasya. Nasya is an Ayurvedic technique of instilling medicated oils or formulations in the nostrils. Nasya with a nourishing formulation helps to moisturize the nostrils, support hair and skin and also to calm the mind. Consult with an Ayurvedic Practitioner on how to do Nasya.
- Use a humidifier. If your home is very dry, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. This will help to keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Go easy on the indoor heating, as this further dries out the air indoors.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy Vata pacifying diet is essential for overall skin health. Be sure to eat plenty of warm cooked fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lentils and healthy fats such as olive oil and cultured Ghee. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for healthy skin.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated is important for overall health and skin health. Keep the body hydrated with water, warm herbal teas and soups.
- Manage stress. Stress can have a negative impact on your skin health. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
- Apply oils to hair and scalp. It is known as Shiro Abhyanga in Ayurveda. Regular head massage with Ayurvedic herbal hair oils can be very beneficial for dry hair and scalp. Do a warm herbal hair oil head massage and leave it on for at least an hour before washing off with a mild herbal shampoo.
- Use a mild shampoo. Avoid harsh shampoos that can strip your hair of its natural oils. Instead, opt for a mild, hydrating shampoo that will leave your hair feeling soft and manageable. Ayurvedic herbal hair wash powders provide a gentle cleanse without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
- Condition your hair regularly. Conditioning your hair helps to moisturize and protect it from damage. Use an Ayurvedic deep conditioning mask, once a week, that is specifically designed to provide extra hydration and moisture.
- Avoid heat styling. Heat styling tools can damage your hair, especially in the winter when it is already dry and brittle. If you must use heat stylers, be sure to use a heat protectant spray first.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy Vata pacifying diet is also essential for healthy hair. Be sure to eat plenty of protein and iron, which are essential for hair growth and strength.
- Reduce Stress. Stress can affect the hair too! Vata season is a time to de-stress and unwind yourself. Doing meditation, gentle exercises like yoga and aromatherapy with calming essential oils can help relax and relive stress.
By following these Ayurvedic tips, you can keep your skin and hair healthy and beautiful all winter long.
Connect with an Ayurvedic Practitioner at Prakriti Sattva LLC to find your Prakriti / Body Constitution to develop a personalized body care routine.
*Editor’s Note: This post is not medically qualified. This post is written by an Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner. The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.Please read the Disclaimer for more information.