Ayurvedic Skin Care: Your Winter Guide

While the winter season means holidays, sledding and brisk walks in fresh snow, it can also mean trouble for your skin. Cooler temperatures and dry conditions can leave your face feeling dehydrated and in serious need of rejuvenation. Instead of reaching for the Vaseline (no thanks, petroleum!), look to Ayurveda for hydrated and happy skin.

1)Garshana–Dry Brush

Dry brushing is best done in the morning, or before a shower. Take a long-handled bristle brush and perform long strokes, starting from your toes and heading up your body; always brush towards your heart. For more sensitive areas like the stomach and breasts, use a circular motion. Gentle bristle brushes are available for the face. It’s best to shower following dry brushing. For more helpful tips, this blog is a wonderful resource.

2) Abhyanga–Self-Massage

For many, there is no greater relaxant than a massage–but what about self-massage? Specifically, self-massage with oils for your particular body type. To perform this Ayurvedic ritual, warm sesame, coconut or sunflower oil depending on your dosha type (take the quiz here!) and, starting from your temple and working down, massage your body. Among the many benefits of abhyanga are increased circulation, a nourished body, and protection against aging effects. After your massage, take a warm bath or hot shower and revel in your supple skin.

3) Ubtans–Exfoliate

Ubtans are special pastes made from pantry staples: blend chickpea flour with dry milk powder for a moisturizing exfoliant, or try recipes using traditional blends like Ashwagandha and Rasshoul clay. Gently wash your face with warm water, then apply the ubtan (mixed with water, yogurt, or even cucumber juice), to your face in a circular motion. Once face is fully covered, rinse your face and pat dry–your skin should feel extra soft and smooth!

4) Diet

There are no shortcuts here–while supplements, like omega-3 oils, can give you a helpful boost, a healthy diet filled with whole, organic foods is your first step towards beautiful winter skin–not to mention a healthy body. Look for seasonal foods: winter squash and pumpkin, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and kale, and nourishing fats like pumpkin seeds, ghee and pastured eggs. Avoid iced drinks and reach for hot, comforting drinks like chai–the better for warming up post-sledding, anyway!