With each new trip around the sun, I find myself paying more attention to skincare tips from experts and other folks around me. Applying oil to the skin has been a common theme throughout the Ayurvedic classes I’ve been able to experience. As the Ayurvedic doctors would say: If you can take the time to change the oil in your car or condition your leather possessions, why neglect your own body?
An Ayurvedic Perspective on Skin Health
According to Ayurveda, aging brings about dryness in the body, and too much dryness can be harmful to both internal health and the health of the skin. It is advised to drink lots of room-temperature or warm water, avoid too many cold and dry foods (such as chips and cold dip), and eat a balanced diet that’s appropriate for your unique body type. One of the core principles in Ayurveda is the idea that one should not just fix the surface-level issue, but instead the root problem. Because skin issues may be caused by inner imbalances, Ayurvedic doctors often advise a holistic herbal regimen, involving lifestyle changes, internal herbal supplements (like triphala or traditional Ayurvedic herbs), and topical applications. Here are a couple simple body care techniques to promote beautiful and healthy skin throughout the aging process.
Pre-Shower Oil Massage
This routine is full-body and most practical for weekends. When choosing which oil to use for self-massage (called “abhyanga” in Ayurveda), it’s important to be aware of your unique body type and sensitivities. According to Ayurveda, folks who tend to run warm should generally use “cooling” oils such as coconut oil or sunflower oil, and folks who tend to run cool should generally use “warming” oils like sesame oil. If you’re trying an oil you’ve never used before, run a patch test and dab a little on your arm or leg to see how it feels before applying oil to your entire body.
- 1/8 cup high-quality oil or more, as needed (you can use a plain carrier oil, homemade massage oil, or DIY infused herbal oil)
- Natural, non-synthetic soap of your choice
- Apply oil to entire body and massage into skin.
- Wait 10 to 15 minutes to let the body absorb the oil.
- Take a shower to wash off any excess oil. Avoid using any chemical-based soaps, and instead use a natural face wash and natural body soap for your post-massage cleansing.
Only apply oil at a temperature that feels comfortable with your skin. Slightly warm oil in pan or double boiler for a minute or two if performing self-massage during the winter season.
Post-Shower Facial Care Routine
This easy routine is the perfect daily ritual, incorporating self-massage without the oily mess that can come with the pre-shower massage above. If you’d like to create a similar effect without taking a shower, spritz your face five or six times with your favorite hydrosol (I like rose and peppermint!).
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. organic sesame oil, almond oil, or another preferred oil
- 1/4 tsp. skin cream of choice (optional)
- After a warm shower, refrain from drying your face.
- Massage oil into hands and lightly into the face.
- Let face naturally dry and absorb oil for a few minutes.
- If desired, lightly pat face with skin cream.
Want More Traditional Skin Care Inspiration?
You might also enjoy:
- Guide to Oil Cleansing (and the Best Oils for Your Skin Type!)
- Traditional Turmeric Face Mask for a Golden Glow
- Ayurvedic Cooling Drink with Amla (Indian Gooseberry)