How to handle pollution woes with Ayurveda?
It's that time of the year! Air pollution gets worse in winters. The cold air is denser and traps the pollutants in the atmosphere. Hence, we tend to breathe more pollutant particles during winters than at any other time of the year. Dust storms. Crop fires, firecrackers and the burning of fossil fuels also contribute to the cause. The visible smog is not a pleasant sight to wake up! It also has a long-lasting impact on our health.
How pollution affects your health?
As the air, water and land get polluted, it leaves a long-lasting impression on our health. The effects of pollution are evident on specific body parts like the skin, hair, respiratory system, fertility and life expectancy.
Skin: Skin gets damaged by air and water pollution. The ultraviolet radiations, dust particles, cigarette smoke, or other pollutants affect the skin's structural integrity. These pollutants enter through the pores in the skin, causing oxidative stress. This oxidative stress causes premature ageing, freckles and black spots on the skin.
Cigarette smoking is linked to early skin sagging, and the appearance of small black-tipped acne called comedones. Pollution also triggers inflammatory diseases in people who already have a history of psoriasis, lupus etc.
Hair: Air pollution also affects hair lustre and growth. The pollutants settle on the hair causing dirt and grime, slowing down the rate of hair growth. It also increases the oxidative stress to the hair follicles and thus causes premature greying of hair.
Such complaints are common among youngsters who move to urban areas.
Respiratory system: Lungs, sinuses and other respiratory organs are the most affected by the pollutants. The dust particles, toxic gases and pollutants irritate the inner lining of the sinuses and airways, causing inflammation. Air pollution worsens COPD, asthma, sinusitis, triggers migraine headaches and seasonal illnesses. Exposure to Ozone causes bronchospasm, leading to wheezing, tightness on the chest and breathlessness.
Life expectancy: A new research study found air pollution shaves off two to nine years of average life expectancy from an individual as per various studies conducted. In some cities of the South Asian countries, just controlling air pollution within the WHO recommended levels will increase life expectancy up to five years.
Air pollution also increases the risk of Congestive Heart Disease and autism, which also decreases life expectancy.
Air pollution and fertility: The pollutants and toxic gases in the atmosphere are said to decline healthy sperm rates in men and reduce fecundity and fertility in women. When a couple is exposed to air pollution, the ovarian follicles and sperm forming the gamete are also affected. It means that the effect can be passed on to the next generation. Specific research studies are being carried out to understand the cause and effect of air pollution and fertility.
How to protect yourself from pollution?
If you are someone living in cities and is highly exposed to air pollution and contaminated water, here are some basic tips and tricks to safeguard yourself from the harmful effects of these pollutants:
- Wear masks when you are outdoors. Cover hair while you are outdoors.
- Use Sunscreen with SPF 50 regularly.
- Limit morning walks or children playing outside when the air quality is not good.
- Use air purifiers indoors. Keep the doors and windows shut on days of heavy smog.
- Avoid burning wood or garbage or any other articles in the surroundings.
- Start using public transport or shared transportation as much as possible.
- Plant Oxygen purifying indoor plants at home.
Home remedies to protect your respiratory system from the effects of air pollution:
- Drink tea prepared by boiling Tulsi, black pepper and jaggery once or twice a day.
- Nasya, dropping Ayurvedic medicated oil into the nostrils, clears the pollutants sticking to the nasal tract.
- Neti Kriya is a yogic procedure where warm saline water is poured through one nostril and drained through the other.
- Steam inhalation helps clear the blockages in the nasal passages. It can be done once or twice a day by boiling herbs like tulsi, Ajwain leaves and camphor.
- Intake of 1/4 tsp Trikatu powder, a mixture of Long pepper, black pepper and dry ginger with honey twice or thrice a day, prevents and treats allergies and congestion.
Oil massage protects your skin and hair:
Oil massage is a part of Dinacharya (daily regimen) according to Ayurveda. It is called Abhyanga, where the oil infused with herbs is applied all over the body.
Skin is composed of three layers, and the uppermost layer has several pores that can help absorb oil and the goodness of other herbs applied over it. You can use the Eladi, Triphala & Hemp seed face and body glow oil for this purpose.
Oil massage to hair and scalp plays a vital role in reducing hair fall and improving hair growth. People who started oil massage as a routine started noticing small baby hairs in 2-3 months.
Massaging with herbal or medicated oil improves circulation to the hair follicles in the scalp. Hair oil infused with Methi Bhringraj, and Amla also removes frizz, dandruff and gives a shiny look to the hair.
CTM routine for skin - skincare routine:
Cleansing, Toning and Moisturizing is a highly trusted and highly effective skincare routine. Suitable products have to be identified and used for sensitive and combination skin types. CTM skin care routine at home brightens the skin and is the best skincare routine for Indian skin types.
A skincare routine starts with cleansing, using the best suitable face wash according to your skin type. Cleansing removes makeup, grime and dust particles from the skin. Cleansing is mandatory, especially after a day out. Make CTM a daily skincare routine at home.
Toning balances the pH of the skin and also closes the pores open due to cleansing. Toner is an astringent that seals the pores and prevents infections.
Moisturizing is to replenish the skin's moisture. It makes the skin soft and supple.
Benefits of CTM routine:
Following CTM regularly once or twice a day has its benefits.
- It removes dirt, dust. makeup and pollutants from the skin
- Regulates excess oil secretion in the skin
- Improves skin glow
- Tightens the pores
- Reduces the signs of ageing
- Nourishes the skin regularly
In winters, cleansing with vitamin C, E and HA foaming face wash is recommended. It is suitable for all skin types and a skin brightening face wash. It is also free of parabens and SLS.
For toning, you can go with the Natural niacinamide and Yashtimadhu Face Toner. It also reduces acne marks and pigmentation.
Moisturizing can be done with Vitamin C serum. It is infused with natural ingredients and evens the skin tone, promoting illumination and glow. Vitamin C based products can be included in the skin care routine for oily skin.
Using a day and night cream in your skincare routine also helps to keep your skin nourished in winters. Manjishta and Gotu Kola Day cream is light with SPF 15 and protects skin from damage due to pollution.
Night cream with Nalpamaradi, curcumin, and Retinol is more like a gel-based cream with anti-ageing properties. It restores the natural glow to the skin and tightens the pores to give a more youthful look.
For dry skin, a very useful natural skincare product is Eladi Triphala & Hemp seed Face and Body Glow oil. This oil can be used for massaging the face and body in winters.
Keep these are some tips to keep in mind while choosing a skincare product:
- The product should be SLS and paraben-free.
- The product should be made from 100% natural skincare product made from organic ingredients.
- The product suits your skin type. You can take the dosha test here to understand the best suitable product for your skin and hair.
- Always do a patch test before using the product on the face, especially if you have sensitive skin.