Pollution in the air is making our world increasingly hostile to our well-being. Among the organs of the body, the skin is one of the first to bear the brunt of air pollutants, which not only attack the skin surface, but also lead to an accumulation of toxins. These disrupt the normal balances of the skin, leading to dry-skin sensitivity, rashes, pimples and acne. Our lifestyle can compound the problem further. Alcohol, rich and spicy foods, inadequate sleep, lack of exercise and increased stress, all lead to a build-up of toxins, which reflect on the skin. So, the time comes when we need to detoxify and get rid of toxins and wastes. Many theories abound, but its best to go nature’s way to detox the system, in order to look and feel good.
Include raw, natural foods and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Not only do they detoxify the system by promoting the elimination of wastes, but also bring about a sense of well being. Include fresh fruits and lightly cooked vegetables, unprocessed cereals, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, yogurt. Fresh juices of fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes. Recently cold-pressed juices have become popular. Experts say that cold-pressed juices contain more nutrients. Drink plenty of water. Have the juice of a lemon with a glass of warm water first thing in the morning. This helps to flush the system. Have probiotic foods, like probiotic yogurt.
For external skin detox, deep cleansing and exfoliation with scrubs helps to cleanse the skin of dead cells. Look for cleansers containing sandalwood, eucalyptus, mint, neem, tulsi, aloe vera, lemon etc. Their anti-toxic and tonic properties help to clear skin congestion and eruptions.
Skin “brushing” helps the elimination of toxins. It is used in the treatment of cellulite, which is caused by deposits of water, fat and other wastes collecting in pockets beneath the skin. The entire surface, is brushed, using a rough cloth, or a natural bristle brush. Begin from the feet and go upwards. Then brush from lower to upper arms. Go across the shoulders and back. Brush gently on the chest and abdomen.
Nowadays, activated charcoal is used to detoxify the skin, because it purifies the skin, drawing out toxins. It also refines the pores and removes dead skin cells. This actually brightens the skin. Activated charcoal can be used in face masks. Mix activated charcoal with aloe vera gel and rose water. Apply a thin layer on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. For acne prone skin, add 3 to 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil and rose water to activated charcoal, for a face mask. Wash off the masks after 20 minutes. Activated charcoal may be available at a chemist shop.
Today, sunscreens are very much a part of routine skin care. This is because people are more aware of the damage caused by UV rays and chemical pollutants. Anti-pollution cosmetics, which are basically protective creams or “cover” creams, can also be sunscreens. These creams form a transparent protective film on the skin. By including sun filters in anti-pollution creams, they can serve a dual purpose. Such products also protect the skin from problems like hyper-pigmentation.
Take up yoga. The exercises or “asanas” are particularly beneficial for strengthening the body, making it flexible, supple and youthful. They are combined with breathing exercises, improving oxygenation, purifying the organ systems and inducing relaxation of body and mind. There is no feeling of fatigue. Instead, there is physical and mental exhilaration. Indeed, according to Yoga, the body is the temple of the soul.