In the previous article, we started a dialogue to see how we can balance Vatha with small, but consistent changes and see big results.
On this journey to great skin and hair, let’s explore more about how hair and skin care are not skin-deep. Your hair and skin is actually the mirror of your overall health.
For example, hair is considered as a byproduct/end product of the metabolism of the Asthi dhathu (the skeletal system). This means that only when the metabolism of various other systems of your body is working to their optimum, you can have good hair and skin.
Only when there is abundant water in the river, the cascading waterfall looks beautiful, spectacular and full of vitality. To address a weak and poor waterfall, you have to address its root cause: the lack of water in the river.
Most often, a consultation for hair fall takes the longest time than any other, because the root of the issue is mostly deep within. Healthy hair does not grow on an unhealthy body.
The health and luster of your hair and skin is an indicator of overall tissue health. The goal of great hair and skin can be achieved only when we start working from inward to outward.
So, it is absolutely important to look deep into other areas of life, which are seemingly not connected to hair and skin care. If we address these issues, some of which are a part of our constitution and some which are developed due to lifestyle unsuitable for us, we are automatically close to great hair and skin.
Is your state of health unbalanced, or in need of correction?
Answer a simple “yes” or no” to the following questions:
Say yes if this is the way you have felt consistently over a long period of time (I have always been/felt like this) OR if you have been feeling this way recently (I never had/felt this before, but it is happening more often now)
Mind and Moods
Have sharp intellect and can concentrate for long hours with intense focus
Short tempered and can get impatient/agitated very quickly
I am extremely critical of my work
I either want do something perfectly or don’t want to do it
Frustration at mediocrity
Demands perfection at other’s work, but often perceived as arrogant
May be criticized for being direct, outspoken and politically incorrect.
Often fearless and argumentative
Takes tension easily, but may show it outside or burn inside
Do not suffer fools
Joints & tendons
Joints look slightly reddish when painful
Often gets reddish colored swelling and pain in the joints of the fingers and toes
Get freckles and moles, sunburn easily
Skin is warm to touch
Get skin rashes often
Acne-pimple prone skin
Frequent boils on the body which are red, painful and pus filled
Skin becomes red quickly when exposed to sun or while exercising
Can fall asleep quickly and wake up alert
Can lose sleep because of agitation and work related tension
Appetite and Digestion
Feel intense hunger suddenly and instant calm after eating
If you don’t eat on time or if the meal is delayed, you get very angry and agitated
May feel like vomiting if meals are delayed
Get mild or severe headache when there is long gap between meals. Sometimes the headache may be relieved only on vomiting
Feel burning/pain in the upper chest and back area
Sour feeling in the mouth and throat
May vomit watery, colorless/light yellow liquid often. Ex. While travelling, while brushing teeth early morning
Suffer with hyperacidity, gastritis, ulcers or bleeding piles
Burning in the anal region after eating spicy food
Stools are usually semi solid, bordering on loose, yellow or orange colored
Nails and Hair
Premature graying hair
Hair not deep black in color and may have brownish/coppery hue
Nails are smooth, not brittle
Climate, environment and reaction to it:
Intolerance to heat and humidity
Excessive heat feeling in the body
Eyes sensitive to sunlight, turns red quickly
Feel sweaty very quickly, especially palms and feet
Smelly arm pits
I like to keep windows open in all seasons
Fevers can rise to high temperature quickly
Urine may be yellow in color very often
Regular, but heavy bleeding
Bleeding longer than 4-5 days
Bleeding smells foul
May experience loose stools before periods
Bleeding may be bright red
Teeth and gums
Mouth ulcers and cold sores are common
Swelling of the tonsils, adenoids are common
I take on too much and push myself to finish before the timelines
I like things to happen as per schedule, otherwise I lose my cool
Like to excel and be heard in a group
Methodical and like to plan extensively
Like to emphasize on practicality in any project
Prescribed dietary modifications:
Do NOT skip meals. And do not wait till you are very hungry. Carry a fruit or some nuts for emergencies.
Avoid pungent, salty, spicy and sour foods
Choose naturally sweet, slightly bitter and astringent foods
Raw foods are good, but should be balanced with cooked food.
Vegetables suitable for you are ridge gourd, snake gourd, bottle gourd, ivy gourd, ash gourd, beetroot, carrot, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, okra, celery, beans, potatoes, white onions (cooked only). The gourds have liver protective action and are extremely beneficial to you.
Avoid capsicum, green chillies, brinjal, purple onions and tomatoes.
Avoid consuming food when it is very hot. Cool it before consuming.
Spices like fennel, Coriander leaves and seeds, fresh ginger, fenugreek, small quantities of cumin and pepper are good. Garlic intake should be rare and limited.
Among dairy products, milk is better than curd (If consuming curd, it should not be sour at all). Cow’s ghee and unsalted butter are beneficial. Coconut milk is very suitable.
Sour foods like tamarind and sour limes should be used in small quantities. Kokum can be used instead of tamarind. Food items like puliyogare and other dishes with tamarind base are highly unsuitable. Tomatoes should be avoided completely.
Most fruits are suitable for you, but they should be sufficiently ripe and not too sour. Small (yelakki) banana, apple, melons, figs, grapes, avocado, cherries, oranges, moosambi, dates, black raisins are good. Papayas and mangoes should be consumed in small quantities. Fresh coconut, pumpkin seeds and almonds are good.
Grains like rice, wheat, barley, ragi, little millet, barnyard millet and sorghum can be used. Oats increases acid in the body and is not suitable for you.
Sweets can be taken in moderate quantities. Milk sweets are most suitable.
Oils like coconut oil, sunflower oil are more suitable than sesame and mustard oil (But, if that is what you are using from childhood, please continue). Ghee can be used. Honey should be taken in small quantities.
Fermented foods like bread, old idli/dosa batter, sour cream, cheese can quickly cause illness. Processed foods like noodles, items baked with margarine, dalda and other bad fats are harmful, Indo-chinese foods with high amount of recycled oil, garlic and chillies can make you ill very quickly.
The best legumes are Urad dal/ black lentil, Green gram, but toor dal and chickpeas in smaller quantities. Can consume sprouts too.
Coffee and tea should not be taken on empty stomach. And should always taken with milk.
Non-vegetarian: Sea foods are not suitable at all and can cause allergies quickly. Lightly spiced, well cooked (not deep fried) chicken is good. Red meat should be consumed in small quantities. When eating eggs, better to avoid the egg yolk and eat only the egg whites.
Alcohol is not suitable. Beer can be consumed in small quantities.
Apply 1-2 tsps of warm Castor oil on the crown of the head once a week. It cools your eyes and it is very important for you to take care of your eyes.
Practice foot massage with oils with cooling herbs
Have a head massage at least twice a week with coconut oil based herbal oil
Lavender, rose, jasmine aromatic oils are most suitable. Use them as perfume and fragrances at home and workplace. Have fresh flowers and plants at workplace. Choose light colored clothes.
Consume cool fluids like tender coconut juice, barley water, barley grass juice, Kokum juice and Sarasaparilla juice
“Sarvadharmeshu madhyama” says a wise quote. It means middle path is the best one. Middle path is not mediocrity. It is moderation. Avoid extremes mentally and physically.
Exercise: Regular outdoor exercise is beneficial. Do not choose competitive sports. A walk in the park and along water bodies is extremely beneficial. Do not choose humid places for a relaxing vacation. Try moonlight walks.
Your hair is already thin and vulnerable to graying. Take loving care of it rather than build anxiety trying to change it with curlers, straighteners, hair dryers, chemical peeling, and bleaching. Indulge rarely and replenish and nourish without fail. Healthy and nourished skin and hair will always glow.
Avoid chemical shampoos, perpetual use of hair gels, hair dyes and hair sprays.
Avoid taking too many projects at the same time.
Set realistic goals and timelines. Try and remind yourself, that sometimes less than perfect is alright.
Do not carry office into your home and head. Learn to compartmentalize and prioritise real life joys over goals and achievement. Some things can wait.
Do your best and then surrender.
Be kind and forgiving to yourself and others
Create a few minutes of quiet time everyday when you are not doing anything.
Remember to smile more and frown less. Frowning tightens the scalp and leads to hair fall. You are choking your hair follicles with anxiety and stress. Allow it to breathe freely and relax.
Last, but not the least, in spite of our knowledge of good and bad, we will indulge sometimes (this is called pragnaparadha in Ayurveda). Have a good time, but do not feel guilty and depressed.
Quickly take remedial measures.
As some of you may have guessed, we mostly discussed about Pitta related symptoms, constitution, food and lifestyle today.
Pitta is the responsible for all kinds of metabolism and transformation in the body. So, by balancing Pitta through some small, but powerful changes, we can make sure that the food and cellular metabolism is at the optimum level and all the transformations are supportive of great health of body and mind. Great hair and skin is a given in a healthy body.
A note of caution: These are general suggestions to suit people with the above mentioned symptoms. Adopt these guidelines suitably after contemplation. You know your body better than anyone.
If needed, take the help of your Ayurvedic doctor to customize the most suitable diet and lifestyle for you to enjoy a healthy mind and body. Your Vaidya may also suggest some herbs to balance the doshas. Be rest assured, that your hair and skin care regimen begins here.