Homemade skincare treatments that use natural ingredients can effectively fight the early signs of ageing, says Muskaan Sharma
To ensure healthy skin it is important to have a healthy body as well as toxin-free surroundings. Whether it is the unhealthy food we eat or the polluted air we breathe, our skin is the first to indicate the effects of these toxins on us in the form of dullness, dryness, and fine lines. Today, people as young as 25 years of age witness wrinkles, blemishes, and age spots on their skin. Although the cosmetic market is filled with anti-ageing creams, very few are actually effective and the risk of side effects from their chemical ingredients runs high.
Dr. Partap Chauhan, master ayurvedic physician and director of Jiva Ayurveda, talks about a natural approach for preventing early ageing. “According to ayurveda, a number of factors and processes determine youthfulness, and these include proper moisture balance and efficient circulation of nutrients through blood to different layers of the skin. To help these processes, it is important to choose natural ingredients that have minimum side effects. As an ayurvedic doctor, I often say that one should never put any product on their skin that they cannot also consume,” he says.
Listed below are a few easy-to-make remedies made from commonly available natural ingredients that can help you revitalise your skin and reverse the signs of skin ageing.
The potassium present in papaya hydrates your skin and removes dullness and dryness. Papaya also contains high amounts of vitamins C and A. The flavonoids (plant nutrients) present in papaya increase the production of collagen in your skin, which makes it soft, firm, and supple. Collagen is the main structural protein present in the extracellular space in the connective tissues of our bodies. Ripe papaya contains a special enzyme called papain that removes dead cells and other impurities from the skin. Papaya is also used to even the skin tone by reducing dark spots and blemishes.
Method: Mash a few pieces of ripe papaya to make a smooth paste. Add some water if required. Apply it all over your face and neck. Leave it on for about 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Use this pack twice a week.
Strawberries are rich in antioxidants which help in delaying the signs of ageing. The vitamin C present in strawberries enhances your skin’s elasticity. The minerals present in strawberries remove dead cells and even out skin tone. Using mashed strawberries on the face helps in diminishing age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Method: Crush four to five strawberries till no lumps remain. Apply this paste directly to your face and let it sit for 10–12 minutes. Rinse with water. Repeat this once or twice a week.
Essential oils can help improve circulation, stimulate hormones, tighten and naturally lift your skin, and regenerate skin cells. They can help you lighten blemishes and even delay wrinkles and fine lines. You can use combinations of essential oils as a part of your night-time skincare routine as this is the time your skin repairs itself.
Sandalwood, almond, and rosewood oil
Sandalwood and rosewood essential oils can have a generally soothing effect on your mood and are also excellent for reducing signs of early ageing. Sandalwood, almond and rosewood oil contain emollients (natural moisturisers) that make your skin radiant. A combination of these three oils is highly effective in reducing crow’s feet.
Method: Mix one tablespoon almond oil, three drops rosewood oil and four drops sandalwood oil. Massage in circular and upward motion for three minutes. Leave the oil blend on the skin overnight or at least for an hour before rinsing it off. Apply this every night to a cleansed face and neck.
Geranium essential oil is extremely beneficial for both skin and hair. It is a natural astringent that can tighten skin and reduce large pores. The oil boosts cell renewal and proper blood circulation. It offers antioxidant protection which steers away oxygen stealing free radicals that degenerate healthy skin cells.
Method: In a small glass jar, mix 24 drops of geranium essential oil and 60 ml of pure aloe vera gel. Massage a pea-sized amount onto your skin before going to bed for youthful skin. You can also mix about 10 drops of geranium essential oil into your bath water to keep away age spots and dark marks.
(Essential oils should be stored in an amber or glass jar to protect them from the UV rays of the sun. Avoid using plastic containers as they may harm the contents of the oil mixtures.)
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that develops and maintains the health of skin and hair. According to the American Medical Association, retinol molecules go deep inside the epidermis (outer skin) and help regenerate deeper layers of skin by assisting the production of elastin and collagen—two vital proteins that maintain the elasticity and strength of the skin to give it a smooth appearance.
Most anti-ageing creams available in the market boast of containing high amounts of retinol to help reverse signs of ageing. Although these creams contain retinol or other forms of vitamin A, it is mostly synthetic in nature. This may have harmful side effects on the skin with prolonged use.
However, our body can produce retinol from carotenoid (pigmented) foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, raw spinach, papayas, raw tomatoes, oranges, eggs and broccoli. Out of these, carrots can be used to create easy and convenient homemade facial masks to smooth out wrinkles on the face and neck.
Carrots and honey
Mix one teaspoon of grated carrot, one teaspoon of honey and five drops of olive oil. Apply to your face. Leave the mixture in place for at least 15 minutes.
Clean using cool water and a towel.
Mix carrot juice with five drops of olive oil and one egg yolk. Apply the solution to your face and neck, and keep for 20 minutes. Clean using cool water and a towel.
Alum can be a cheap and effective way of treating wrinkles and fine lines by tightening your skin. Wet a block of alum and apply it to semi-dry skin after cleansing it thoroughly. If done regularly, within some months the fine lines start diminishing.
Method: Mix one teaspoon of alum powder with a mashed banana and one teaspoon of sugar. Apply this paste to your face and neck. Leave it on for 30 minutes or so and rinse with cold water.
This mix can be used daily and effects can be observed within a few weeks. (Alum is known to cause mild itchiness or irritation for some people. It is advisable to test alum on a small patch of skin before using it on the face to check for irritation to your skin.)
While these remedies can restore good health to the skin’s surface, it is important to heal at a deeper level in order to effectively reverse ageing. Implementing changes in lifestyle and developing healthy eating habits is vital to ensuring a youthful skin and body.
“If you visit any herbal or ayurvedic doctor for skin remedies, they will often enquire about the functioning of your digestive system and provide remedies to fix digestive problems, if any. This is because the inner workings of your body help maintain its outer appearance. If you consume unhealthy food, your skin’s health will also deteriorate. A poor diet with excessive refined sugar and dairy products can cause inflammation in the body that contributes to the aging process. To avoid inflammation, opt for an alkaline diet which is high in natural foods like tomatoes, beetroots, amla (Indian gooseberry) and all sorts of leafy vegetables,” suggests Dr. Partap.
The combination of a well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular use of homemade skincare remedies can surely help you keep your whole body looking younger and healthier for years to come.
Dr. Partap Chauhan’s easy skin care tips
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