Winter is at its peak. Long days filled with skin bathing sunshine seem like just a beautiful memory and a faraway future. Dry, pale and lusterless skin shows the increased Vata conditions in the environment, as well as in our bodies. By choosing appropriate food and food combinations we are supporting our health from the inside. But how conscious and careful are we when feeding our bodies from the outside?!
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It absorbs nearly 70% of what you put on it. If you use an average amount of make-up and skin products daily, that makes up to 2 kilos of chemicals being ingested through your skin per year!
The blood vessels run just beneath the skin and chemicals have a very thin barrier to cross on their way into the bloodstream. From there on, all your body cells are exposed to those chemicals.
While trying to look our best we should question whether the superficial care with toxic, health threatening products, is an actual expression of love and care for ourselves.
Beauty truly comes from within, and taking care what we digest with our stomach, as well as with our skin, will reflect in a healthy glow and dazzling appearance.
The story about turmeric
I remember when I started studying Ayurveda in London I became obsessed with turmeric. Learning about its numerous benefits it immediately became an essential part of my diet. Actually, turmeric had to be in every single meal and drink I was having. Beginning my mornings with golden oat porridge, seasoning stews, soups, kitchari, rice, vegetables, baking in desserts, juicing along with other fruits and vegetables, and closing my day with a cup of golden milk. Seeing just how powerful it was, I thought – if it’s so good when eaten, well, I might just start using it on the outside as well. I began washing my teeth with turmeric, healing eczema, treating old scars, and finally making face masks. I think now you might get the picture just how much I love turmeric.
Turmeric has been used from ancient times as a spice, medicine and skin care product. It is the main ingredient in Ayurvedic body treatments and beauty rituals. In Indian tradition it is used in the Haldi ceremony (haldi actually means turmeric) to prepare a bride for her wedding day. The mixture of turmeric, sandal, camphor and gram flour is used over a bride’s face, chest and arms. Followed with oils and herbs it results with a glowing golden complexion like the one Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm, has.
Healing properties of turmeric
- antioxidant – reduces wrinkles; neutralizes, and removes free radicals
- slows down the aging process
- improves skin color, texture and complexion
- alleviates skin problems
- relieves eczema, acne, psoriasis
- heals wounds
About the turmeric mask
This golden mask can be used all over your body. However, face, neck and chest are the most exposed parts affected with the weather and deserve a lot of your care and attention. It requires simple, edible ingredients you probably already have at home. I like to mix the dry ingredients and keep them in a jar ready to be turned into a paste by adding the wet ingredients. The mask soaks the dirt, unblocks the pores and has an exfoliating effect, thus removing old dead cells from the epithelium. Use it once or twice per week and enjoy your golden glow.
CLARIFYING TURMERIC FACE MASK
- 1 part turmeric powder
- 2 parts flour – chickpea flour for oily and sensitive skin, oat or almond flour for normal, dry or mature skin
- 1 tablespoon yogurt, goat milk yogurt is best, but any will do (for vegan version use soy yogurt)
- 1 teaspoon honey (for vegan version use molasses)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine the turmeric powder with the flour suited for your skin type and store in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. When ready to make the mask take 2 tablespoons of the mixture and mix in the yogurt, lemon juice and honey. Mix well until a thick paste is formed. If the mixture seems too watery, add more dry mixture powder. Gently apply all over your face and neck, if desired, avoiding the eyelids and brows which otherwise might become stained yellow. Allow to dry for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Use plenty of warm water to rinse it off while gently massaging the skin for an additional exfoliating effect. It is practical to wash off mask off while taking a shower to avoid mess in your bathroom. Pat dry your skin and apply one of your favourite chemical-free skin oils, such as coconut, sesame or almond oil.
- I suggest you use this mask in the evening. By morning your skin will be glowing with golden glance.
- Apply some oil on your face framing hair (or all over your hair, why not?!) and eyebrows. This especially applies if you have blond or grey hair to avoid any temporarily discoloration in case of the contact with the paste.
- Wash your skin well with plenty of warm water. As you massage it the flour will remove any remaining dirt and turmeric.
- Apply a few drops of oil afterward to prevent staining.
- Just in case, protect your beautiful white bed sheets. If they do get stained, laugh in the morning to your unique overnight masterpiece and don’t worry – it will come out with your next wash.