From the spring rains and summer heat to the cool autumn evenings and harsh drying winds of winter, each season offers benefits and challenges for our skin. Here are some ayurvedic skincare tips for every season.
The increased moisture and warmth of spring soften the skin but can increase heaviness and stagnation. Go lighter on the moisturizers now but don’t give them up. Misting with rose water or orange flower water has a gentle astringent effect, as do cool wet tea bags placed on puffy eyes, or a toner made with a tulsi base. Also, consider detoxifying from the inside to stimulate circulation. Improve spring skin with juices that contain kale, parsley, ginger, or cucumber.
Spring lifesaver: Citrus essential oils—used in lotions, they slough off dead skin and promote circulation.
Fifteen minutes of sun on our unprotected skin gives us all the vitamin D we need—an essential cofactor for a variety of physiological functions. More than that may cause skin damage, however, so don’t skimp on the sunblock. Nourish the skin with lotions containing coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E. Avoid essential oils like bergamot, which can increase sun sensitivity. Drink plenty of green tea: its antioxidant effects have some skin-protective qualities.
Summer lifesaver: Lavender—it reduces heat and inflammation, and a lavender-infused lotion can soothe sunburn.
As the days shorten, the vata dosha becomes progressively dominant, increasing our internal dryness, no matter what our constitution. Wrap up in a warm scarf and apply lotion throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated. Choose a lotion with a nourishing oil base of avocado, almond, jojoba, sesame, or even olive; steer clear of anything synthetic or petroleum-based.
Fall lifesaver: Organic unrefined shea butter—it easily penetrates and moisturizes the skin.
Wind and cold can leave us with chapped raw skin. Reach for shea butter, which is solid at room temperature but absorbs readily, sesame oil, or even small amounts of castor oil. Castor oil can be a little sticky, but it calms the vata dosha and smoothes dry, cracked skin. Spritz a little valerian, jatamansi, or ruh khus essential oil on your pillow to calm the flighty vata dosha and promote a sound beauty snooze.
Winter lifesaver: Lotions with small amounts of ginger or rosemary—they stimulate circulation and warm the skin.