Collagen is a protein that is essential to the structure of skin, bones, and connective tissue. As collagen breaks down or becomes depleted, tissues lose their integrity. In the skin, this creates wrinkles. Sunlight, specifically, UV-A radiation is a major contributor to its breakdown. So too is cigarette smoking. Vitamin C provides support. So too do retinoid substances which stimulate collagen production. These are in a lot of over-the-counter creams. Over-the-counter supplements contain collagen hydrolysate and collagen peptide. Both stimulate production within the body and may be helpful.
7 essential practices to support collagen and the reduction of wrinkles:
- Nasya: Pour two drops of oil into each nostril daily. This is not a strong medicated oil but a simple oil application. Use oil appropriate to the prakruti of the patient. This helps to prevent wrinkles on the face and keep the hair from graying.
- Abhyanga: Daily oil massage is suggested to keep the skin well-nourished.
- Kneed the muscles of the body daily: This keeps the whole body healthy. It also improves circulation to the muscles and skin.
- Snana: The term “snana” means “bath” or “wash.” A regular bath keeps the skin clean. Herbs may be added to the bath, such as neem, turmeric, and haritaki. Herbs are chosen for each dosha. Be careful not to use much soap, as this strips off the natural oils of the skin.
- Diet: A nourishing diet that nurtures the rasa dhatu is considered to be most important. In general, milk, ghee, and butter are also considered the most nourishing for the skin, while the following foods aggravate the skin: Fish, chili powder, alcohol, and a diet that is too heavy.
- Lifestyle: A lifestyle that will support healthy skin, in general, includes one that allows for adequate rest and avoids excess sun and wind exposure.
- Vyayama: The term means “exercise.” Exercise is important for good circulation and keeps the connective tissue tone.
There is a complete Ayurvedic approach to healthy skin. You can learn more in the California College of Ayurveda’s dermatology class in our Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist program. This, of course, includes diet, lifestyle, and appropriate herbs that act as skin rasayanas (twagrasayana) or rejuvenators. You can also learn more about Ayurvedic skincare during our Ayurvedic Facials workshop.
Learn about Ayurvedic skin conditions and rashes, listen to Dr. Halpern’s interview on The Healthy Skin Show Podcast!