When you start shedding layers of your winter clothing upon spring’s arrival, you may notice that your skin and scalp are shedding too. While the winter was drying your skin, spring wants to detoxify it. The way to bring your skin back into shape is through cleansing your body internally and exfoliating your skin.
Toxins can accumulate in your body in other seasons, but in the spring these toxins want to come out. The warmth of spring starts to melt these accumulated toxins (ama), which then clog the channels of your body and create a variety of symptoms. You may feel dull, heavy and congested, or your skin may lose its glow and can be itchy and sensitive. When ama becomes charged with Pitta, and your body tries to expel this toxic ama through your skin, you get breakouts. Ama also lowers your immunity, which can give rise to skin allergies and infections. If you suffer from many symptoms, see an ayurvedic expert who can devise a personalized detoxification program. You can also benefit from the following advice from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians.
To help reduce ama, you should increase the consumption of foods that support the detoxification process. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables, Brussels sprouts and white daikon radish. Also increase whole grains like wheat, barley and quinoa and alternate them in your diet. These vegetables and grains contain plenty of water-soluble fibers that aid detoxification.
Make sure you drink lots of pure water. Sip warm water during the day, or if you are Pitta, drink it at room temperature. To help purify your skin, add the following spices to two quarts of boiled water: 2 pinches of Manjistha, 2 pinches of Indian Sarsaparilla and 1/4 teaspoon Fennel seeds. Drink this water during the day, either warm or at room temperature according to your body type.
Since springtime is Kapha by nature, you also need to balance this dosha by avoiding heavy, cold and oily foods and by reducing the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Following a light, warm and nourishing Kapha-pacifying diet also helps reduce ama and supports the detoxification process.
“The release of toxins cannot happen without proper elimination. If you are prone to constipation, add cooked prunes and figs to your diet, and eat lots of sweet, juicy fruits. Deep breathing is also important,” says The Council, “as is regular exercise.” A brisk walk can increase your metabolism, enhance the detoxification process and improve circulation to the skin. The fresh air and a little sunshine will also refresh your complexion and uplift your mood.
As you are purifying your body, you should put more emphasis on cleansing and exfoliating your skin as well. Try one of nature’s best exfoliants: oats. Commercial products are available containing oat extract that will wash the dead skin cells away without drying your skin. If you have more time, you can make the following soap substitute and use it on your face and body as well.
- For Vata skin, mix a large quantity of 80 percent rolled oats, 10 percent marshmallow root, 5 percent jasmine flower and 5 percent lavender flower. For Pitta skin, mix a large quantity of 80 percent rolled oats, 5 percent rose buds, 5 percent lavender flower, 5 percent Indian Sarsaparilla and 5 percent dried orange peel. For Kapha skin, mix a large quantity of 70 percent rolled oats, 10 percent orange peel, 5 percent Indian Sarsaparilla, 5 percent lavender flower and 10 percent bentonite clay.
- Place two tablespoons in the middle of a small square of cheesecloth, gather up the ends of the cloth into a ball and tie with a string. Make enough balls for a month and store them in an airtight container.
- Every night dip one ball into warm milk and pat your face to cleanse and moisturize your skin. Rinse with warm water. If you have breakouts or dry patches on your skin, use the bentonite clay daily. After washing your skin, apply a thin paste of the clay on your skin. Leave it on for 3-4 minutes, then wash it off. Follow with some aloe vera gel or coconut oil, which are soothing and nourishing for the skin. Even if you don’t experience the above problems, you can include the bentonite clay in your face regimen. Use it once or twice a week, followed by the Youthful Skin Oil and Cream.
Support your body’s natural tendency to detoxify itself, and this spring, you can enjoy a truly clean body and fresh, new skin.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
This article originally appeared on the vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda website and is used here with permission