Skincare & Wellness Routine for Pre-Winter & Early Winter Season or Hemant Ritucharya
The nip in the air, drop in humidity levels and cool breezes have announced the arrival of the winter season. It is time to air your woollens as you pack away those sleeveless, airy cotton summer dresses or the rain-wear clothes of the monsoon for next year. While the weather is perfect for outdoor activities and basking in the sun to energise yourself, the skin starts becoming excessively dry. Cracked heels dry, chapped lips, rough hands are a hallmark of the season. A lot of sneezing too is common. All these can make you dread the season. In this blog, we’ll help you with important natural skincare and wellness tips or skincare routine for winter that will keep your skin glowing and body healthy throughout the pre-winter and winter season.
After the festival of Diwali, or roughly end October / early November to end December / early January is the Autumn or the early winter season or Hemant Ritu in India. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of well-being, this is the time that our Pitta dosha, which was impaired during the monsoon season, slowly returns back to normal as the digestive Agni increases, and so does our appetite. It is a good time for us to eat healthy rich nourishing foods which replenish the body energies which were depleted during the summer and monsoon seasons. It is said that our body is at its strongest during this season.
At the same time, it is also when for our Vata dosha increases due to the cooling weather conditions, which in turn lead to the dryness of the skin. Your skin, the largest organ of your body is also its’s first defence against the external environment and thus bears the brunt of changing weather conditions like dry, chilly winds, plummeting temperature during winters. Internally, as your body prepares for the winter season, the sebaceous glands go into a low-power mode as the body tries to retain warmth thus producing lesser sebum and therefore, dry skin.
Just like a routine for every other season, Ayurveda prescribes the Hemant Ritucharya, a set of dietary and lifestyle changes to be made during this season, in order to balance the three doshas and strengthen our body and mind. These holistic changes make our skin healthy and beautiful inside out.
Interestingly, this season is perfect for nourishing our skin thoroughly since it is dry and therefore, more receptive to absorb any treatments that we apply to it. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at Ayurveda-prescribed skincare and tips on diet, exercise and overall lifestyle for Hemant Ritu.
1. Abhyanga snana or an oil bath is a very important routine that should be included in your Hemant ritucharya according to Ayurveda. The tone for this is set with the Diwali ritual of Abhyanga Snana on Naraka Chaturdashi day. Pure or herb-infused oils like Sesame, which are naturally warming and vata reducing, are massaged all over the head and body and left on for 20 minutes before having a warm water bath or snana with gentle, non-drying and non-comedogenic cleansers or ubtan. The oil massage not only moisturises your skin but detoxifies and also nourishes it by seeping into the deepest tissues. The massage warms up your body and also strengthens and tones your muscles thus energising the body thoroughly. It is also beneficial in relieving stiffness in joints and muscles, often caused in the colder months.
A full body abhyanga with Parama Naturals' Face and Body Oil nourishes and repairs your skin keeping it healthy and youthful. A 100% pure blend of natural, cold-pressed oils of sesame, almond and coconut with antioxidant-rich Turmeric, it is perfect for moisturising your skin and protecting against and repairing the damage caused by the winter season.
If you are pressed for time and are unable to have an oil massage before bath, use Turmeric Moisturizing Oil or the Lavender-Turmeric Moisturizing Face and Body Oil for moisturising your whole body post bath. It takes just 2-5 minutes of your time and keeps your skin moisturized throughout the day without any stickiness. The mild but warm and earthy fragrance of turmeric and lavender are therapeutic for your senses too. Unlike most oils, the Parama Naturals' oils are non-greasy and quick absorbing.
For active persons, those above the age of 45-50, or those having issues of body stiffness, aches or pains, a full body abhyanga with the Zingiber Body Oil is recommended.
2. Follow the oil massage with a warm-water shower. Do not be tempted to use very hot water for your bath as it strips your skin of its natural oils. Use a mild, natural cleanser that gently sloughing off the accumulated dirt and dead skin cells like the Parama Naturals' Enriching Exfoliator. Or you can use gentle cold-processed soaps like the Parama Naturals' Turmeric Soap or the Lavender Turmeric Soap, which do not strip your body of moisture.
Do not rub your skin dry. Instead, pat-dry with a soft towel.
3. Post bath, moisturise and protect your exposed skin like face, neck and hands with a moisturising oil or body butter. Use the Parama Naturals' Turmeric All Day Lite Face Oil-Serum or the Parama Naturals' Lavender-Turmeric All Day Lite Face Oil-Serum protects your skin against direct contact with the dry weather conditions and keeps the face soft throughout the day. They have natural mild sun-screening properties and also prevents from any harmful effects of the sun.
4. Basking in the winter sun is definitely necessary for your regular dose of vitamin D but so is protecting your skin against the harmful rays of the sun. It is best to avoid facing the sun directly especially between 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Using a moisturiser which also acts as a sunscreen and protects against the harmful rays of the sun is best. Exercising in the outdoors can give the benefits of both. Turmeric and Sesame Oil have natural sun-protection properties, which also allow the Vitamin D to get absorbed.
5. Oil your scalp with a herb-infused warm oil, preferably the night before you wash it. A head massage or Shiro-Abhyanga is recommended as part of Dinacharya in Ayurveda. In the pre-winter and winter season, with the increase in the Vata the hair and scalp become dry, leading to hair fall, frizzy, brittle hair and dandruff. A regular oil massage with warm oil allows the oil to penetrate deep into the scalp providing the hair follicles with much-needed nourishment to make the hair stronger, while helping to reduce the hair fall. It is also helpful in releasing stress and for a deep, relaxed sleep. Apply the Parama Naturals Nourishing Hair Oil in the hair roots and scalp the night before the hair wash. Also apply 2-3 drops just in the roots as a leave-on serum daily post bath to protect your hair against the environment and keep them soft and manageable.
6. A daily foot oil massage, Pada Abhyanga, especially at night, not only helps your feet relax after the intense exercise, a hectic day but also keeps the skin moisturized and free from calluses and painful, cracked heels. A paste of dried ginger or mustard is recommended for pain and tiredness relief. A brisk massage of your feet with Parama Naturals' Zingiber Body Oil, which gives the benefits of the Ginger Paste Application without the mess or the stains, before going to bed reduces any Vata accumulation, and helps you get sound sleep while keeping you snug and cozy too through the winter nights too.
7. Lip care: parched, dry and cracked lips can be quite painful other than being unsightly. Licking dry lips, contrary to what you may believe, dries them out even more. Keep your lips soft, plump and moisturised always with Parama Naturals' Multipurpose Butter.
8. Stay hydrated. You may feel less thirsty during winters but it is as important to keep your body hydrated in winters as in summers. You may consume lukewarm water or warm soups to up your intake of fluids.
9. The excessive dry air, any remnant mold after the rains, the increase in the body pitta, if not balanced with nourishing foods, can leave one sneezing. For very dry places, it is also recommended to use a humidifying heater/radiator to keep your rooms moist and warm. These help balance the drying effect of heaters on the skin by maintaining appropriate humidity levels.
10. Winters are the best time for enjoying a variety of foods that are otherwise difficult to digest rest of the year. Warm, rich and spicy foods to sweet treats, there’s a whole variety of nutritious foods you can choose from like milk, ghee, nuts, seeds, dry fruit, and fruits during winters. Avoid raw foods and cold drinks. Have soups, milk seasoned with spices like Turmeric, cinnamon etc. and nuts or a masala chai to keep you warm. Choose fresh home-cooked meals over junk food or uncooked food as far as possible. Including a generous amount of cow’s ghee and coconut oil in your meals keeps your skin healthy and lubricated from within.
11. The body is at its strongest during this period. It is recommended to do intense physical exercise, during this period.
12. Protect your skin against the cold weather by wearing warm clothes made of natural and organic fibres like wool and silk. However, the first layer closest to your skin should always be made of cotton as wool can be harsh on the already dry skin. Protect your head, hands and feet by wearing a hat/scarf, gloves and socks respectively.
Follow the skincare routine for winter given above and we’re sure you’ll start enjoying the season more with no worries about your skin. Nature has answers to all your problems and if you stick to caring for your skin with natural products, you’ll be rewarded with a healthy glowing skin for ever.
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