Your skin is the largest organ in your body and the most visible one. Healthy glowing skin is not only an indicator of good health and care, but also a highly attractive feature that will need little or no make-up to enhance your beauty. I am a self-confessed skincare junkie. From experimenting with essential oils to concocting different home-made scrubs, I love it all. I travel extensively and often end up picking up my products abroad but there are a number of Indian brands that I just love. Here are my suggestions for ensuring beautiful, healthy, and glowing skin.
As we grow older, it is particularly important to take care of our diet and exercise and also use good quality products that suit our skin types, to ensure healthy glowing skin. Also, our skin changes as we grow older, so we need to change the products we use, and our skincare regimen to suit our new requirements. It is also very important to understand skin types and choose products that work for yours. I have combination skin that is prone to pigmentation, so I’m always looking for products which correct and prevent blemishes and also protect my skin. I also change my regimen and products according to the season. There is no need for a heavy duty moisturiser in summer while a light moisturiser will not suffice for the dry winter months. I also make it a point to study and understand the active ingredients in my skin care products so I have a better understanding of what works for me and what to look for in a new product. Retinoids, Vit-C, antioxidants, bioactive ingredients which are herbs, flowers, roots, essential oils in their organic or natural forms, are excellent for skin health. Make sure your products are free from all harsh chemicals, especially parabens and sulphates.
Let’s talk skincare basics – cleansing, toning, and moisturising. Always use a hydrating face wash with all natural ingredients and essential oils. These have cooling anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that will leave your face feeling fresh. Follow it up with a good toner. I love floral face waters. Gentle, hydrating, healing, natural astringents, alcohol free, great for all skin types – these leave me feeling absolutely wonderful. I adore all Kama Ayurveda face waters and highly recommend the pure rose water, pure vetiver water, pure Mogra water and pure lavender water. Always pamper your skin with botanical infused creams. They don’t have to be high-end fancy ones. There are some great products in India. I’ve tried Kama Ayurveda and Forest Essentials and they are fabulous. Other great products available in India are Amritam (Good Earth), Iraya Pure Ayurveda Botanicals, and The Body Shop. Choose a product according to your skin type and your skin needs. Invest in a good quality eye cream. It can help to even out skin tone, reduce puffiness, and moisturise the most sensitive area on your face. Forest Essentials in India has the most amazing eye creams which I swear by.
Serums are also a very important part of my skincare routine. And they should be yours too. They have endless benefits. Because they are made up of smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed by your skin, they address multiple skin problems quickly and more effectively. Try to pick up serums which are parabens and sulphates free, without synthetic dyes, and other harsh chemicals (these have terrible impact on your hormones). They should contain essential active ingredients that help your skin to brighten, reduce the appearance of age spots, hyper-pigmentation, hypo-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, plump up and firm your skin, hydrate, minimise open pores and exfoliate. A word of caution though, if you suffer from eczema, rosacea and other sensitive skin problems you should definitely consult a dermatologist before applying any serum as it can aggravate these problems.
A high SPF sunblock is possibly the most important part of a girl’s skin care regimen, particularly in these times of depleted ozone layer, harmful UV rays and extended sun exposure. A good sunblock can protect, correct and prevent ageing, hyper-pigmentation, hypo pigmentation, and skin cancer. Choose your sunblock according to your skin type and reapply several times during the day if you are out doors. Make sure it ranges between SPF 30 -SPF 50 for everyday use. Always use a sunblock every day, even if you are sitting indoors and even when it’s cloudy.
Last but not the least in your skin care regimen is essential oils. I love essential oils and have been experimenting with different permutations and combinations for a while now. I recommend that you start with lavender and tea tree oils. Both these are popular, easily available and tea tree oil especially, is used in many skin care products across the world.
I end this post with a quick, all natural home remedy for using lavender oils for fresh radiant and healthy skin. You will need:
Rose water – it is hydrating and moisturising, has anti-bacterial properties and is good for treating eczema. Go for the best quality from Kama or Good Earth.
Witch Hazel – this is an astringent lotion made from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant. It is brilliant for treating acne, shrinks pores, and removes excess oil from skin. You can obtain it from a pharmacist or a homeopathy medicine store.
Lavender oil – I recommend that you buy pure unadulterated essential oils from stores like Kama, Good Earth, Body Shop, Khadi, Forest Essentials. They might be slightly more expensive when compared to regular departmental stores, but will guarantee purity of the oil. It is not a good idea to take chances with essential oils.
Carrier oil of your choice- I recommend olive oil or sweet almond oil- also available at Kama. This will be used to blend the essential oil. Never apply any essential oil directly on your skin, always mix it in with a neutral carrier oil.
30ml dropper bottle and some cotton face pads – both these are easily available at any pharmacists or homeopathy store.
Fill your dropper bottle with the carrier oil of your choice and add 15 drops of lavender oil. Your essential oil mix is ready. To use, soak your cotton pad both with rose water and witch hazel, add 4 to 5 drops of your blended oil on it and apply all over your face and neck. Avoid eyes and the lip area. Dab pimples, if any, with a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton bud. Follow up with your regular moisturiser and sunblock and you are ready to face the world. Some people can be allergic to essential oils so please do a patch test first. Dip a cotton bud in your lavender blend and apply on the inside of your elbow, cover the area with a bandage. Keep it for a day. If you see or feel no irritation you are ready to use your blend .
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