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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ayurvedic expert shares a comprehensive summer skin and hair care guide

"In the summer, the body’s mechanisms are affected in many ways as the influence of both sun and wind becomes relatively strong," said Ayurvedic expert Varalakshmi Yanamandra.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
April 7, 2022 7:00:56 pm
ayurveda, skincare, haircareEverything you need to know about what Ayurveda has to say about summer skin and haircare. (Photo: Pexels)

In most parts of India, the summer season is extreme, with heat, humidity, dryness, and pollution soaring. Besides amping up your health routine and keeping yourself safe during extreme weather conditions, you also need to give your skin a lot more TLC. The combined effect of the harsh sun, pollution, and dryness can wreak havoc and result in irritated skin and a compromised barrier. The same applies to your hair, which might feel frizzier, drier, and lackluster during summers.

In the summer, the body’s mechanisms are affected in many ways as the influence of both sun and wind becomes relatively strong,” stated Ayurvedic expert Varalakshmi Yanamandra. “The fire element of the body i.e., pitta dosha gets influenced by the summer heat. Hair being the by-product of the bone tissue is linked to gut health. During summer, the digestive fire gets deranged and the nourishment of body tissues deteriorates, thus causing impairment in hair growth and impacting both appearance and strength.” She said that it is, therefore, important to keep pitta in balance as there is more heat and intensity in the body. “When it is kept in balance it will maintain physiological functions and keep both skin and hair healthy.”

When we talk about skincare and summer, it goes beyond just applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses; the diet and the seasonal hair and skincare regimen we follow is also equally, if not more important. Yanamandra shared the following Ayurvedic rituals that will help your skin cope with summer:

Abhyanga – Ayurvedic oil massage is ideal to support your body from within. Applying cooling oils to the body and gently massaging it focusing more on the head, ear and feet daily before bath can create a protective shield. Any coconut-based skin oil is good to be used in summer as it has cooling properties.

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Hair brushing – Brush your hair daily. Brushing the scalp stimulates blood flow and promotes hair growth.

Nasya – Instillation of medicated oils or ghee in the nose is another healthy practice.

Hydration – Ayurveda recommends drinking sufficient water. It is important to stay hydrated all day long. Boiled and cooled water may be infused with cooling herbs that can help beat the heat and keep the body hydrated.

Meditation – Stress plays a significant role in hair health. It is important to keep the mind calm and stress-free by meditating.

BreathingSheetali Pranayama, known as cooling breathing, helps with cooling down the body temperature. It keeps the mind calm and is also beneficial for maintaining a digestive fire.

coconut oil Coconut oil is considered a hero ingredient for both skin and haircare due to its cooling properties. (Photo: Getty/ Indian Express)

As for keeping your hair healthy, Yanamandra suggested protection of the scalp from the sun while going out. She also shared that Ayurveda recommends deep massaging with coconut-based hair oil as it helps in improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, nourishing the hair follicles, and stimulating hair growth. It helps protect the hair from external aggressors such as pollution. Application of cooling herbal pastes like sandalwood also keeps the scalp cool. Additionally, make sure to carry an umbrella while stepping out of the home to protect the head and body from sharp sun rays. 

Besides oil massage, Yanamandra shared the following rituals for hair:

  • Consume a nourishing diet by eating fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Stay well-hydrated with coconut water or water from the clay pot
  • Practice sheetali and nadi shodhana pranayama
  • Adding good herbs in food like aloe vera, sandalwood, neem, holy basil brings a cooling effect

Food, too, plays a big role in providing the hair and skin protection and nourishment against external aggressors, harsh sun, dryness, and humidity. Come summer, Yanamandra suggested adjusting the diet to include more pitta and vata-pacifying foods.

food, summer foods Food, too, plays a big role in providing the hair and skin protection and nourishment against external aggressors, harsh sun, dryness, and humidity. (Photo: Pixabay)

For the skin:

  • Avoid foods that are spicy, salty and sour. Example, pickle, tamarind, raw mango, sour fruits, etc.
  • Intake of sweet-tasting food keeps pitta and vata in balance
  • Include healthy fats to counter the drying quality of summer, and avoid fried, junk and heavy foods
  • Drinks prepared from fresh fruits added with lemon, sugar, salt help in beating dehydration
  • Well churned buttermilk is recommended during summer. Coconut water is also beneficial as it is sweet and nourishing 

For hair:

  • Green leafy vegetables like mustard, cilantro and foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent in taste have a cool, light and oily quality 
  • Eat less pungent, sour, hot and dry quality foods such as spicy foods or hot beverages
  • Oils such as virgin coconut oil, olive, ghee are recommended
  • Intake of dates in the morning keeps your body nourished
  • Avoid refrigerated, canned and packaged food that is processed
  • Buttermilk intake is very beneficial
  • Adding spices while cooking your food promotes digestion and assimilation of nutrients

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