Many believe healers, nutritionists, etc., have it all figured out. That they’ve found that thing, the cure or silver bullet to - insert ailment/issue, here. In my experience it’s actually quite the opposite.
I write this as I soothe a rash that has spread across my chest and face. Stress and anxiety related I suppose. I’ve finally scheduled surgery to get closure (a diagnosis) to my long-winded journey of ups and downs of symptoms from suspected endometriosis, I’ve experienced in some form or another for over 20 years. It’s time (surgery if the only way to diagnose). I’m only human. And, though my story and symptoms have ultimately propelled me into a field and career in wellness and to resolve what I believe to be caused by the toxins of a modern-day society, inside and out I feel conflicted, pulled and distorted from what society has shaped who I should feel and look like as an expert, a healer and a woman.
As I dive deeper, I realize these thoughts are not rational, only topical – truly skimming the surface again in a dimorphic society of projecting only the highlights of one's life to the public and doing everything possible to keep a lid on the hardships, ailments and conflict that make up the in-betweens. Highlighting the “just rolled out of bed” in a full face of makeup and the help of photoshop versus the reality of spots and imperfections, which in reality, are what really make us beautiful and unique. The reality is that I’ve worked hard and dedicated each and every moment of every single day to “fix” through diet, nutrition, lifestyle, allopathic (sans surgery) and alternative medicine, as my genes or whatever else might be at the root of my symptoms fight against my progress - but that’s for another time.
We are not our diagnosis, but ultimately our it is our struggles and experiences that direct our path, provide perspective, expertise, and make us complex, enriched, precious and beautiful.
Perhaps this is why I’ve always been drawn to Eastern practices that seem to seamlessly integrate the mind, body and spirit into all aspects of life and healing. Ayurveda, for example, teaches that the more we address and nurture ourselves internally, the more beautiful we become externally as well. So neither nutrition nor external skincare, nor emotional healing should be mutually exclusive. The age-old saying, "beauty is as beauty does", is rooted in ancient practice.
The core principles of these ancient medicines dictate that all parts of our health are related, and one action will create effects in more than one location in our bodies. So while we may be focusing in on applying that face lotion, it is essential to give our bodies what they need to nourish from the inside out, nutritionally as well as emotionally. There is absolutely no million dollar cream that can restore an issue that has is deep-rooted from within.
But we need to change the conversation. We need to look at the whole picture, otherwise we will always just be treating the symptoms of the cause.
Your skin, for instance, is a window into the state of health of the rest of the body. Often it can show signs of illness before detected or felt elsewhere. Chinese Medicine has this down to a science – each and every part of the body, variance of color, texture and change to the skin, mapped, associated with an organ, an element, providing the insight of how our body is out of balance. We must learn to use these signs from our bodies to trigger action and change vs. applying a bandaid – whether that be popping a pill, or applying that silver-bullet promise skin cream.
Ayurveda, too, can instruct us how to individualize our health and skincare based on our own unique needs based on our constitution, psycho-physiological principles, as well as our current symptoms. For the most part, however, certain elements exacerbate all constitutions, or doshas:
climate, environmental toxins, chemicals and living conditions
emotions, stress and fatigue, over-taxed and weakened organs
diet and nutrition, additives, and foods known to exacerbate particular doshas such as spicy or greasy foods, dairy or wheat.
While I’ll never believe in a one-size fits all approach to health or even skincare, I do believe there are certain ingredients that can be nourishing to a majority. My goal was to create a recipe for the skin that could nourish, restore and heal the skin despite our differences. Again, while only a topical solution to whatever may be underlying, this mask does double and triple duty to soothe spots, prevent aging, moisturize and brighten and heal the skin with only natural ingredients.
Turmeric is widely used as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial internally and externally. Externally, it may help to soothe acne and cleanse clogged pores as well as reduce and prevent flare-ups.
Raw Honey is also well known to be anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. In addition it contains enzymes to exfoliate skin externally, and provide a wide range of nutrients and minerals to feed and moisturize the skin.
Probiotics additionally help to nourish and gently soothe and exfoliate the skin with live active enzymes and cultures to create a sort of bacterial interference shield to many immunological reactions such as rosacea and hormonal changes.
Saffron - This prized herb has been used for millennia in skincare to soothe and even the complexion by way of its many antioxidant, nutrient and mineral content. It may additionally help to prevent and reverse sun damage, provide anti-inflammatory support and decrease swelling and redness, and ultimately prevent aging.
Propolis is the protective resinous mixture honey bees create and use as a sealant for their hives. It may help to accelerate the rate of cell growth, decongest pores, reduce inflammation and act as an anti-bacterial.
Multi-Purpose Ayurvedic Face Mask
Turmeric. Honey. Probiotics
(makes about 2-3 masks uses (store the rest in the fridge until ready to use again)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon honey
1 capsule probiotic powder, opened
1/2 teaspoon propolis
1/2 teaspoon saffron
drop frankincense essential oil (optional)
drop ylang ylang essential oil (optional)
Crush saffron stands using a mortar and pestle until a fine powder is formed. Then combine all ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well combined.
Apply to face and relax for 10-15 minutes. Remove with warm water, cleanser or facial oil.
*Note that turmeric will stain the skin a tinge of orange. This is easily removed with cleanser, micellar water or facial oil.