Could your skin do with a little extra attention during summer? In general, we suffer less from skin issues in the warmer months than in winter, but this time of year comes with its own challenges. Number one on the list is something we’ve all been familiar with after a nice day at the beach: sunburnt skin. And while a red tan has an obvious cause and can easily be prevented, there are also plenty of skin problems whose origins are less readily pinpointed. Typical summer issues include hot skin, acne, rash, redness, irritation and hypersensitivity.
Do you recognize these symptoms and is your skin in need of some cooling? Or do you tend to suffer from irritated and troubled skin in general? In this blog, I will tell you why this happens and how you can address this issue. I’ll also give you 4 Ayurvedic tips to soothe your skin the natural way, with foods you might even already have at home. In this way, you can instantly lend your skin some relief from without as well as from within.
The skin as a mirror
In the West, skin issues are often seen as a topical problem, something that is limited to a specific part of the body. This is also how these problems tend to be treated, by means of an ointment or a cream to alleviate the symptoms. But according to Ayurveda, skin issues rarely have a local cause. Ayurveda thinks of the skin as a reflection of how your entire body is feeling. The skin is, as it were, the mirror of our health. This is why skin issues often indicate a deeper imbalance. To really address these problems, it is necessary to get to the heart of the matter—to discover the nature of the imbalance and address it.
Pitta out of balance
Relatively mild skin problems such as heat, redness, acne or irritation usually indicate that Pitta is elevated in the body. In summer, we are especially susceptible to a Pitta imbalance, due to the light and warmth with which the days are filled. To address these skin issues at their source, it is therefore essential to rebalance Pitta. There are several ways to accomplish this, and an Ayurvedic doctor can help you on your way. Especially if you’re suffering from severe or persistent skin problems, rather than experimenting on your own, call in an (Ayurvedic) doctor to determine the exact cause and help you with the treatment.
4 Ayurvedic tips for a radiant summer skin
Fortunately, there are also many changes you can easily make yourself to restore your inner balance. For instance, make sure to create plenty of natural coolness and take sufficient time for yourself. Is your skin in need of some instant relief, for example after an afternoon spent in the sun or in case of irritation? Soothe your skin with these 4 natural foods, from both without and from within.
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is the showpiece when it comes to calming the skin. This plant is praised for its cooling properties and is an ingredient in many aftersun lotions. But aloe vera can also provide relief for other Pitta-related skin issues, such as redness and acne. Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effect, and reduces redness as well as itching. This healing plant even helps heal scars and wounds, as it boosts the production of collagen in the skin.
How to use it
Apply some aloe vera gel to irritated skin. Aloe vera gel can be found at health food stores. Or, if you have your own aloe vera plant, simply cut off a leaf and squeeze out the clear gel.
Did you know that aloe vera can also be taken as a drink? From within, the juice of this plant has the same healing effect on your skin and comes with health benefits to the rest of your body. The slightly bitter taste of aloe vera means that this plant has a cleansing effect on the liver and gallbladder. Aloe vera juice, too, is available at many health food stores. Always check the ingredients list to make sure the juice does not contain any unnecessary additives.
Perhaps the tastiest fruit on a hot summer day: watermelon. And not without reason, because watermelon has a cooling effect and restores the balance in an overheated body. Because of these properties, this fruit is a great remedy against burnt, red, hot, swollen or irritated skin.
How to use it
By eating watermelon, this fruit can carry out its healing work from within. Make sure to always eat watermelon alone, not combined with other foods and not immediately after meals. Because watermelon (as its name suggests) consists for 92% of water, it digests very quickly. If other foods are blocking your digestive tract, digestion cannot take place properly. The melon will then start to ferment in your stomach, resulting in flatulence, bloating and abdominal pain. Therefore, rather eat watermelon before breakfast or as a snack in-between meals.
Don’t throw away the rind after enjoying a nice piece of watermelon! The last bits of pulp that still stick to the inside of the rind are a perfect for bringing some relief to irritated skin. Rub the inside of the rind over your skin to soothe it.
You love it or you hate it. Not everyone is a fan of coriander, but your skin is! Coriander is rich in antihistamine and therefore a natural remedy for hypersensitivity reactions of your skin or immune system, such as rash, hives or sunburn. The cooling effect of this herb instantly soothes the skin.
How to use it
To harness these fine properties, put a handful of rinsed coriander in a blender. Add 5 tablespoons of water and blend into a pulp. Strain the liquid from the pulp and collect it in a glass. This way, you’ll gain double rewards: the pulp can be applied to the irritated skin and the juice can be consumed. When drunk, the juice soothes your skin and immune system while also stimulating digestion and the functioning of the liver.
4. Coconut water
If there is one drink that is incredibly thirst-quenching, it is coconut water. This juice from the coconut has a huge hydrating effect due to its richness in electrolytes. Electrolytes are important salts and minerals that are essential for the proper functioning of your body, but of which you lose large quantities on a hot day by sweating. With coconut water, you replenish those deficits and hydrate your body at the deepest level.
How to use it
If your skin feels warm or dry, drinking coconut water is a great idea to restore the moisture balance from within. In addition, coconut water has a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect—not only on your skin, but also on your digestive tract and even your brain. This way, coconut water can also provide mental cooling when you’re feeling irritable or restless.
Although coconut water is most effective when consumed, it can also be applied topically to the skin. This will nourish and hydrate the skin through the nutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes that coconut water contains. Apply some coconut water to a cotton ball and use it to gently rub irritated skin or flushed skin.