Ayurveda has found a prominent place in modern cosmetic care. Treatments that were lost in the mists of time have been revived and viewed in the light of modern scientific techniques. Today, along with the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Meditation, the holistic system of Ayurveda has also become popular worldwide. Herbal and natural extracts have been formulated into different products for skin, hair and body care, using the latest scientific techniques.
Over centuries of usage, it has been seen that natural ingredients have many beneficial properties and actually help to enhance the beauty of the skin and hair. Another important advantage is that they have shown a lack of harmful side-effects. Synthetic preparations and chemical ingredients, on the other hand, can cause allergic and irritative reactions. They can also cause a build-up of toxins in the system, over a period of time. Herbs, in fact, have been used in Ayurvedic treatments to cleanse the skin of toxins and wastes. The safety factor cannot be ignored and makes herbs ideal for cosmetic care.
Herbs also have powerful healing properties and many benefits for skin and hair care. In fact, they have definite protective, preventive and corrective actions. They also contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other valuable substances, which are imperative for the health of the skin and hair. Herbs help to improve the normal functions of the skin and scalp, including that of cell renewal. Thus, they have the power to revitalise and rejuvenate.
Another important benefit of using herbs is that they help to restore the normal balances. The same goes for the scalp too. Some of these factors are chemical air pollutants, chlorinated water, alkaline soaps, make-up cosmetics and so on. Synthetic and chemical ingredients in cosmetic preparations disrupt the normal balances and undermine the natural functions of the skin and scalp. In fact, when the normal pH balance is disturbed, it results in skin and hair problems. So, our regular skin and hair care routine should be such that helps to restore the acid-alkaline balance and improve the skin’s normal functions. This is possible through herbal ingredients.
Actually, natural ingredients have many properties that help beauty care. Some are powerful cleansers, while others moisturize the skin. Some improve blood circulation, while others tighten the skin. By and large, they have preserving, preventive and rejuvenating powers. Centuries of usage have also shown that natural ingredients are readily accepted and assimilated by the body. On the other hand, chemical ingredients and pollutants gradually increase toxic build-up in the system. The accumulation of certain chemicals over a long period of time can disturb various functions in the body, like blood and lymph circulation. Some have been known to affect healthy functioning of the kidneys. Moreover, long-term exposure to synthetic and chemical ingredients certainly cause enough degeneration to hasten the manifestation of ageing signs.
Plant products and natural ingredients also have specific curative properties. That is why they are part of Ayurveda, the oldest and most organized system of herbal healing in the world. Specific ingredients, therefore, can be used to treat problems of the skin and hair through external cosmetic care techniques. For example, ingredients like sandalwood, basil (tulsi), mint (pudina), neem (margosa) can be used to treat eruptive conditions of the skin, like acne. They can be good protective and preventive treatments for oily skins. Similarly, ingredients can be selected for varied and individual needs.
Today we can look at nature with enlightened eyes and make our choices, thanks to scientific research and information.
Text by Shahnaz Husain
Renowned beauty expert and a pioneer in organic beauty products