Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on beauty products toprevent their skin from aging. Yet the best ways to keep your skin healthyand youthful cost very little.
1. Get adequate sunlight.
Over-protecting from sun is not a good idea because some gentle sun isnourishing to the skin. The challenge is to maximize the benefit from sunand at the same time protect it from damage. Short periods of exposure tothe early morning sun allow even very sensitive Caucasian skin to absorbnecessary Vitamin D.
Avoid long exposure to the sun whenever you are angry, hungry oremotionally upset, as these factors increase heat in the body and make theskin more sensitive to sun damage. At these times it's important to protectyourself by wearing a hat and sunglasses. People with more Pitta (fireelement) in their body should always take care to protect themselves fromthe midday sun.
If your skin is easily damaged by the sun, try reducing the sensitivityfrom the inside. Eating green, leafy vegetables and fruits such as raisins,pears, apples, and pomegranates, for instance, will help cool, nourish andrestore balance to sensitive skin. Cook your food with a skin-friendlyspice mixture: equal parts turmeric, coriander, fennel and cumin sautéed inghee (clarified butter). Avoid eating too much ginger, garlic, asafetida,hot red peppers or any types of hot peppers even in winter if you aresensitive to the sun.
2. Avoid Chemicals.
Harsh chemicals in your shampoo, skin products, or soaps irritate theskin and cause it to become overworked and overheated.
A strong preservative or antibacterial agent in skin-care products, forinstance, kills harmful bacteria but at the same time destroys enzymes thattrigger absorption and lubrication. The result might be permanent drypatches, oversensitive skin, or susceptibility to sun damage.
Instead, use skin care products that contain all-natural ingredients andare designed to balance and nourish all seven layers of the skin.
It's also essential to avoid eating chemicals and preservatives in yourfood by buying organic foods whenever possible.
3. Eat for your skin type.
Different skin types require different foods. Vata skin is dry, thin,small-pored, delicate, and cool to the touch. Vata skin may age faster, andtends to be dry, rough and flaky when out of balance.
Or your skin may be more Pitta -- fair, sensitive, soft, warm, and ofmedium thickness. When out of balance, Pitta skin can flare up in rashes,rosacea, acne, or sun spots.
Kapha skin tends to age slower and form less wrinkles than the other twotypes. It is thick, oily, pale, soft and cool. Kapha skin types maystruggle with dull complexion, enlarged pores, excessive oil, blackheads,pimples, moist types of eczema and water retention.
Once you determine your skin-type, you can follow the Vata, Pitta, orKapha pacifying dietary guidelines to keep your skin balanced, healthy andyouthful. Vata skin types, for instance, will want to eat more warm,unctuous foods and favor the sweet, sour and salty tastes to balance thedry, rough, moving Vata dosha. If you have a Pitta skin type you will thriveon sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, as found in sweet, juicy fruits,rose petal preserve, and cooked greens. Avoid hot, spicy foods.
The oiliness of Kapha type skin calls for a diet that is warmer,lighter, less oily, and free of heavy, hard to digest foods. Eating morebitter, astringent and pungent tastes help stimulate digestion and balanceKapha skin.
4. Soothe Away Stress
There are three types of stress, and all three impact the skin indifferent ways. Mental stress starts a chain reaction that ends in a dryingout the moisture in the skin. Thinning, dryness and the shrinking of thesrotas (microchannels) that carry nutritive fluid to the skin result inwrinkles and stress lines. Emotional stress also affects the skin-justnotice how anger or embarrassment can turn your face red. This shows theconnection between emotions and the skin. If emotional stress becomeschronic, the result is acne, sun sensitivity, and other Pitta-basedproblems. Physical stress is caused by exercising too much, working toomuch, or straining the body over a period of time. Like mental stress, thiscauses the drying out of skin moisture and rough, aged skin.
To counteract mental stress, maintain a Vata-pacifying diet and dailyroutine. To bring emotional stress into balance, follow a Pitta-pacifyingdiet and routine. For physical stress, try to limit exercise or work tofifty percent of your physical stamina.
5. Cleanse and gently exfoliate.
Every skin type needs cleansing, but Kapha skin needs it the most.This is because people with Kapha skin often have low agni. Consequentlyama collects in the body, clogs the channels of the skin and causesexcessive oil on the surface.
Many people with Kapha skin try to counteract oiliness with productsthat are too drying. Instead, try cleansing the pores so the skin can benourished from the inside.
The Kapha person should be careful not to clog their pores by usinggreasy creams, exposing their skin to freezing weather, or by eating heavy,sweet, oily foods. Take warm baths, cleanse with a gentle herbal cleanser,and exfoliate with an herbal clay twice a week to gently cleanse the pores,remove impurities and open the channels.
Vata skin types should avoid any products that are too drying. Pittatypes should avoid products that are too abrasive or heating.
6. Rehydrate from the inside and outside.
It's important to moisturize your skin from the inside to keep the innerlayers of the skin from drying out and to provide necessary nutrients to thesurface. Drink lots of water, and in cold weather, drink hot water to openthe channels and help clear away toxins. If you have sensitive skin, stickto room-temperature water.
Include plenty of vegetables and sweet, juicy fruits in your diet tomoisturize the skin. Be sure to eat healthy oils, such as ghee and oliveoil to provide essential lubrication.
Massaging your body skin on a daily basis is also essential to keep theskin young and healthy.
7. Nourish your skin.
Besides following the diet for your skin type, these foods are terrificskin-enhancers: leafy green vegetables; easily digested proteins such aspaneer, milk, tofu, sunflower seeds; foods high in zinc such as quinoa; andbeta-carotene-rich foods such as carrots and sweet cherries. Almonds andwalnuts support the skin with their protein and lubricating fat content.
Some skin-friendly spices include turmeric to nourish the first fourlayers of the skin; cumin to rid the body of ama; black pepper to cleansethe channels, and fennel to balance the transformational ability of theskin. All antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as pomegranate,apple, pear, and bitter, green leafy vegetables are also excellent for theskin.
Eat only intelligent foods, which means fresh, whole and organic foods.Stay away from packaged, canned, frozen, processed, and packaged foods.Leftovers are also a no-no.
Winter Skin Tips:
1. Drink plenty of water, and avoid hot water if your skin isphotosensitive.. Many people don't drink enough water in winter. Youactually need more water in winter to moisturize your skin properly andprotect it from the sun.
2. Take a warm bath before and after skiing or exposing your skin tofreezing temperatures for a long period of time. Any time it's freezingoutside, the pores of the skin freeze shut and heat is retained in thedeeper layers. This heat dries out the skin and lowers its resistance tothe sun. That is why many people get worse sunburns after skiing than atthe beach, and it's also why some people's skin breaks out after a skiingtrip. A warm bath before and after tackling the slopes helps dilate frozenchannels and supports the skin to release heat trapped in the deeper layers.
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