Reversing signs of ageing skin is an uphill task, even more so when you can’t dash to your favourite spa due to a pandemic. To help you take care of your skin health at home, here are some easy-to-follow tips and tricks pulled out of the professional’s handbook. By Bayar Jain
According to the spa manager of The Leela Palace Bengaluru, Vishwajyoti Goswami, you can look young if you manage to strike a balance of emotional, physical, and mental well-being. And to achieve this, alternative-nostril breathing helps. This form of yoga, which involves taking deep breaths through one nostril at a time, is said to improve oxygen levels in the body, and thus, facilitate the skin’s natural purification and regeneration. Pair this exercise with applying a natural face mask, which you can easily whip up at home. Mix half a tablespoon of rice flour and turmeric powder with 15 millilitres of coconut milk, and apply on your face. Once the paste is semi-dry, rinse your face with cold water. The vitamins in the pack hydrate the skin, retain skin-cell water, improve elasticity, and erase wrinkles.
Seeing diet and environment as the main causes of accelerated skin degeneration, the medical team at Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort recommends dietary changes. You need to modify your diet according to your body’s doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. This could be in the form of incorporating herb-infused water to fortify dietary values or adding more organic vegetables to your meals. Alternatively, natural baths can help. While a mud bath can prevent diseases, a plantain-leaf bath helps increase peripheral blood circulation to accelerate toxin elimination from the body.
It’s healthy to consume fruits with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties like papaya, mango, banana, and avocado. Lallawmzuali Mylo Khawlhring, spa manager of Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, suggests combining this dietary makeover with fruity facials for youthful skin. Begin by using yoghurt as a cleanser and rosewater as a toner. Next, mix any fruit with brown sugar, or coffee grounds and milk to create a scrub, followed by a light olive-oil or coconut-oil massage done upwards and outwards. Make a face mask using mashed avocados or bananas; apply this on your face and let it dry for 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water. This treatment erases fine lines and restores your skin’s elasticity.
For Dr Ratheesh Kumar, the director of spa and recreation at Grand Hyatt Goa, the trick lies in embracing simple lifestyle choices. Maintaining a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, drinking at least eight glasses of water every day, sleeping for a minimum of six hours, and regular meditation are key to slowing down the ageing of skin. Applying an effective sunscreen lotion helps as well. To further slow down skin ageing, Kumar suggests consumption of some herbal Ayurvedic supplements. “Triphala, brahmi, turmeric, and ashwagandha contain antioxidants that destroy free radicals. Their anti-inflammatory properties resolve skin conditions, and the phytochemicals present stimulate metabolic activities.”
The spa manager at Park Hyatt Hyderabad, Narayana Prasad, recommends putting nature’s bounty to good use to deal with skin issues. Take coconut oil, for instance. This natural resource doubles as a moisturiser that stimulates collagen production, thus keeping skin supple and radiant. For best results, use it as a night-time cream or as a mask by mixing a teaspoon of the oil with a tablespoon of honey. Alternatively, a banana mask, created by mixing the fruit with a teaspoon of yoghurt, can help. This Vitamin A-rich fruit aids the lightening of dark spots and blemishes caused by prolonged sun exposure. Also consider applying natural aloe vera gel to boost collagen production, moisturise skin, and reduce wrinkles.
Noting that stress is the leading cause of ageing skin, Vijay Wanchoo, senior executive vice president and general manager of The Imperial New Delhi, swears by meditation, pranayama, and yoga to combat skin ailments. “Tension causes an acidic response in the body that is corrosive, and therefore, destructive to blood cells.” Apart from recommending regular cleansing, hydrating, and moisturising of the skin and body, Wanchoo says that healthy skin can be achieved by sending neurological messages from the pineal and pituitary glands to the endocrine system, which is responsible for manufacturing hormones. The neurochemicals thus generated can help protect skin from ageing and decay.
Simplicity and skincare go hand-in-hand, according to Athini Kashe, the spa director of The Lodhi. To slow down skin ageing, she recommends applying an SPF 30 (or higher, depending on the sun’s intensity) sunscreen every time you step out. She also suggests a bedtime ritual that involves cleansing skin and applying a heavy emollient moisturiser. Above all, lifestyle changes are essential; this includes abstaining from smoking, practising yoga or exercising every day, eating foods rich in Vitamin E and Vitamin C, and drinking lots of fluids.
Dr Prabhat Kumar Bal of Kolkata’s Vedic Village Spa Resort believes in herbal hacks to deal with ageing skin. For example, mix a tablespoon each of ashwagandha powder, dried ginger powder, and diluted lemon juice, to create a face pack. Let it work its magic on your skin for half an hour before washing it off. Alternatively, take a cup of basil leaves, a tablespoon of gram flour, and a teaspoon of honey—and apply the mix on your face and neck. Once dry, wash it off with lukewarm water. This paste helps the skin retain moisture and prevents wrinkles. A teaspoon of cinnamon—known to boost collagen synthesis—mixed with a tablespoon of honey makes for another great anti-ageing face mask.