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At one point or another, we’ve likely all experienced dry skin. A common imbalance amongst both men and women, for some dry skin, can be a seasonal side-effect and for others a daily occurrence. No matter when or how often your skin runs dry, this outward expressing imbalance speaks to what is occurring internally. To better understand this notion, we asked Ayurveda Practitioner, Leah Klatt and co-founder of PAAVANI, a skincare line rooted the wisdom of Ayurveda to provide potential causes for dry skin and tips on how to prevent it through Ayurveda’s holistic lens.
Q & A with Ayurveda Practitioner, Leah Klatt & co-founder of PAAVANI
What are some factors that contribute to chapped, dry, rough skin?
From an ayurvedic perspective, improper diet, inappropriate lifestyle choices and the time of year are all factors which can contribute to chapped, dry, rough skin. For example, choosing to eat astringent foods like coffee, cruciferous vegetables and legumes can all cause excess dryness in the body which will, in turn, reflect as dryness in the skin.
Why does the skin tend to get drier, rougher, and duller in the cold season?
Ayurveda refers to the colder seasons of fall and winter, as vata season. This time of year is when the elements ether and air are predominant in our environment. You can see the qualities of these elements through the changing and falling of the leaves, the drop in temperature and the crisp, cold wind. These changes in our environment naturally affect our bodies, mind, and skin. Therefore, the dry, cold weather outside makes our skin more prone to becoming dry, rough and dull during this time of the year.
What are 3 -5 skincare rituals to keep skin soft & glowing?
1.Gently exfoliate & detoxify the skin daily. Ayurveda recommends cleansing the skin through gentle daily exfoliation as opposed to using harsh soaps which cleanse through stripping away the skin’s natural protectant sebum. Sebum is the term used for describing the oils naturally produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin. These naturally produced oils are helpful in protecting the integrity of the skin; thus, they are welcomed when in the right amount. Exfoliation helps to slough off old, dead skin cells residing on the skin’s surface, while also preserving the necessary sebum to support the balance of the skin. Using powdered herbs mixed with clay can be a great way to gently scrub the skin, removing any toxins and unwanted residue, while also preserving the skin’s natural oils.
2. Use an organic facial toner. Facial toners offer your skin a protective layer of botanical ingredients that hydrate, repair, tone, balance & enable the skin to be its best.
3. Oil the skin daily. Ayurveda highly recommends the use of beneficial oils to provide the skin with adequate moisture, ideal balance of natural sebum & natural protection from the sun and environmental stressors. This may sound counterintuitive to those of you who struggle with oily complexions, but the key is learning how to choose the right oils for your skin’s needs.
4. Drink plenty of water. Keeping the body hydrated will reflect in the health of the skin. Proper intake of water will keep the skin moisturized, detoxified and luminous.
5. Get adequate sleep. Without enough sleep, we deprive our body and mind of the ability to function optimally and our ojas, responsible for the foundation of our immune system, becomes depleted. Also, without adequate sleep, our body is not given the proper time needed to detoxify and repair- crucial elements in maintaining the skin’s healthy glow. Ayurveda recommends that you acquire between 6-9 hours of sleep per night and set your sleep schedule to correspond with the rising of the sun.
Are some oils more beneficial than others for dry skin?
Yes, some oils have a higher content of oleic acid, while others have a higher content of linoleic acid. Oils that are high in oleic acid, like sesame and apricot, are better for dry skin due to the consistency of the oil being heavier, more unctuous and slow drying. These attributes, mimic the qualities of earth and water, which help to balance dry skin caused by excess air and ether, known as vata.
What are some of the other benefits of using oil on the skin?
Beneficial oils mimic the consistency of sebum; thus, they help to balance out the skin’s natural oil production by producing more or less depending on its needs. Another added benefit of using oil in your skincare routine is that many oils naturally contain SPF to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Some of my favorite natural sun protectors are carrot seed and raspberry seed oil.
How much of a role does diet play in our skin’s health?
We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”. Although at times we may all want to ignore this fact, it is undeniable that what you eat becomes the very tissues that construct the systems of your body. That is why it is important to choose fresh, pure, organic, high-quality foods to become these essential building blocks. Stay away from highly processed ingredients which you cannot pronounce the names of as they are hard to digest and will only lead to a build-up of ama, or toxins, in the body and skin. Eating a clean diet will be sure to reflect on the health of your skin.
What foods would you recommend adding to the menu to prevent dry skin?
Foods which contain the moist, heavy, warm and oily qualities of earth and water are best at preventing dry skin. Some examples are grounding root vegetables, fresh fish rich in omega fatty acids, nourishing grains, and unctuous nuts. Cook foods with ghee and sesame oil to obtain your daily dose of healthy oils needed to prevent dryness. Spice with warming, demulcent herbs which help the body to retain heat and moisture, like licorice, cinnamon, and ginger. Drink aloe vera juice, coconut water and plenty of water to hydrate and replenish the body.
Co-founded by Ayurveda Practitioners, Leah Klatt, and Trudy Collings, PAAVANI Ayurveda is an artisan line of small-batch, pure, organic health and skincare products formulated in Northern California. Handcrafted with the wisdom of Ayurveda, their products offer ancient traditions to the modern world, with the intent to reconnect people to their innate body wisdom.