SKIN INSTINCT

Is acne just an annoying skin condition or is it your body raising an alarm for an underlying health issue? Read on for more.

You know the drill: Cleanse, tone, moisturise and protect, but still the nasty zits pop up. Hormonal changes, stressful lifestyle and lack of a balanced diet are generally the culprits behind the breakouts – but that’s not the whole story, there is more to it. According to traditional Chinese medicine and reflexology, it is believed that the location of acne on your face can reveal the ailment or problem in certain part of the body. So, rather than topically treating the acne, you can address the problem in a specific body organ, that has caused the eruption. Here’re a few tips to decode the signs and help you understand what’s going wrong where.

Upper Forehead

Cause: Breakouts in this area indicate a problem in digestive system. Intake of excessive fats, sugar, alcohol and processed foods, stress and lack of sleep could be the reason. Lactose intolerance affecting your digestion might also cause acne here.

Remedy:

– Keep digestive system humming by drinking ajwain water. Add 1 tbsp ajwain, 1 pinch of rock salt to 1 cup of water. Boil and have it at night after the dinner.

– Another home remedy for you to try is consuming 1 tbsp of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a warm cup of water. Have it at least twice a day.

– Add a drop of lavender essential oil to your drinking water or tea to cure indigestion.

– Massage spice oils like black pepper and cinnamon to balance the solar plexes chakra.

– Include organic and healthy foods in your diet, limit the intake of alcohol, switch fizzy and caffeinated drinks with herbal and green teas, and take a good 8 hour sleep.

– Those who are lactose intolerant should drink substitutes to dairy like soy milk, nut milk and rice milk.

– Yoga for better digestion:

1) Paschimottanasana: Sit with legs stretched in front. Keep the back straight. Inhale and raise both the hands above your head. Exhale and bend your trunk forward. With your hands hold the toes if you can or place them on floor near the leg and put your head down. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds and release.

2) Pawanmuktasana: Lie on your back with legs joined and hands beside the body. Raise your legs and fold the knees. Press the thighs towards the abdomen with clasped hands. Inhale deeply and lift your head and chest off the ground. Try to touch your knees with the nose. Hold the position for few seconds and release. Remember to inhale while raising the body and exhale while coming down. Repeat this 2-3 times.

Between The Eyebrows

Cause: This area is linked to the liver, so if you see an acne popping out here blame it on the much-loved samosas and pakodas. Your body is sending an SOS that your liver is working too hard on the greasy foods and needs a break.

Remedy:

– Having 2-3 cloves of raw garlic daily can help in keeping the liver healthy. Try and include it to your meals as well. Beetroot, green tea, avocados and broccoli are foods that should also be part of your diet.

– Eat early in the night as eating late will not allow the body to break down the food effectively, leading to toxin build-up.

– Yoga moves for strong liver:

1) Kalpalbhati Pranayama: Sit cross-legged with both hands resting on the knees. Deeply inhale once and exhale the air through nostrils with pressure, pulling the navel in towards the spine. Repeat it 20 times at least. Your focus should be on breathing out. Always perform on an empty stomach.

2) Meru Vakrasana: Sit down with legs stretched in front. Keep the spine straight and both the palms on the sides of the buttocks pointing outwards. Bend the left knee and place your left foot across near the right knee. Bring your left hand to the same side and place it near the right hand. Twist your trunk and head towards right as far as possible. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds and release. Repeat it for the other side as well.

Nose

Cause: Problem in your heart triggers breakout here. High blood pressure, poor circulation and stress can be the reason. So if you are holding hurt in your heart then it is surely going to show up.

Remedy:

– Massage the center of the chest in circular motion with essential oils like holy basil, rose and patchouli. This will help release the pent up emotions.

– Keep a check on your BP and cholesterol levels.

– Eat foods like fish rich in Omega-3 like tuna, mackerel, salmon, flaxseeds, almonds, berries and oatmeal which will keep your heart strong. Reduce salt intake and try maintaining a balanced weight.

– Yoga asanas for a healthy heart:

1) Utthita Hastapadasana: Join your feet and stand evenly on both feet. Stretch the arms down and keep your spine erect. Bring the hands in front of the chest with palms facing downwards and tips of middle fingers slightly touching each other. Inhale, and spread your legs wide apart and hands open on the sides. Hold the position for few seconds, stretching the hands and legs and back to straight position. Repeat this a few times.

2) Trikonasana: Stand straight. Spread your legs 3-4 feet apart or to the extent it is comfortable. Raise the arms out to the sides such that they are parallel to the ground. Turn your right foot 90 degrees towards right and left foot also slightly to the right. Inhale and while exhaling bend your upper body down to the right with the left hand going straight up in the air and right hand down touching the right leg. Keep your eyes on the tips of the left hand fingers. Hold the posture for 30 seconds and release. Repeat this for other side as well.

 Cheeks

Cause: A lung infection, damage, allergy, asthma, smoking or even breathing in the polluted air makes this area more prone to breakouts. Unclean surfaces like cell phones and pillows coming in contact with the cheeks might clog pores causing acne.

Remedy:

– Wear a mask when going outside.

– Use air purifiers in your home and office to save yourself from the polluted air.

– Also consider putting plants like dracaena, weeping fig and peace lily that can purify the air.

– Burning essential oils like frankincense, lavender, lemon and cinnamon in diffuser can also give respiratory benefits.

– Replace your pillow covers once a week and wipe the phone with anti-bacterial wipes every day.

– Asanas to strengthen the lungs:

1) Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: Sit cross-legged with left hand relaxing on the knee. With right hand control the flow of breath. Place the thumb on right nostril, index finger and middle finger on the center of the forehead, and ring and little finger on the left nostril. Press the thumb and breathe out from left nostril. Inhale from the same nostril, then press the left nostril and breathe out from the right. Inhale from the right nostril and exhale from left. This completes one round of nadi shodhan pranayama. Take long deep breaths while doing this. Repeat 9 such rounds daily.

2) Gomukhasana: Sit in dhyana veerasana wherein the right knee is exactly above the left knee. Stretch left arm out to the side and fold it behind the back. Extend your right arm straight above the head, then fold it over the right shoulder. Both the hands should be placed on the back such that the left hand’s back is resting on the back near the spine and palm of the right hand against the spine. Try to clasp the fingers of both hands behind the back. Remember your spine should be erect while doing this asana. Repeat this for other side also.

Chin

Cause: Women might be noticing zits during that time of the month on the chin. Hormonal imbalance, due to menstruation or birth control medication, can be the reason for this. Stress, insufficient sleep, excessive intake of alcohol, high sugar foods can be few other factors causing chin acne.

Remedy:

– Take extra care of the skin before the periods.

– Massage the sacral chakra in circular motion with essential oils – cedarwood, rosewood and geranium.

– Have a balanced diet which includes foods like avocado, quinoa, almonds, salmon and spinach, which regulate our natural hormonal cycles. Try and skip processed sugars and limit alcohol.

– Yoga to take care of hormonal imbalance:

1) Bhujangasana: Lie flat on the stomach with legs together and your palms flat on the floor beside the shoulders. Lift your head and chest upward with hands stretched. Hold the pose for a minute while inhaling and exhaling deeply and release. Repeat it 4-5 times.

2) Sasangasana: Sit on your heels with the knees folded and joined. Stretch your arms back to hold the soles of your feet. Bring your chin to the chest and curl your body down such that your forehead touches your knees and top of the head touches the floor. Lift your hips up as high as possible while breathing normally. After 5 deep breaths come back to the start position. Repeat this 3 times.

Ears

Cause: Flare ups under the ear can be pretty painful, they reflect about your kidney’s health. Too much of salt and caffeine in your diet and inadequate water intake can also make this area break out.

Remedy:

– Cut down on food high on salt content and try switching your caffeine shot with a cup of green tea. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water in a day.

– Have fruits and vegetables like kiwi, grapes, oranges, bananas and apricots, which are rich in potassium as the nutrient helps in cleansing the kidney.

– Few other kidney-friendly foods like red bell peppers, cranberries, strawberries, cabbage, garlic and onions can also keep them healthy.

– Keep a check on your protein intake as high-protein can be detrimental for the kidneys. Consult a doctor to know how much quantity should be consumed.

– Workout for proper functioning of the kidney:

1) Naukasana: Lie on your back with legs joined and arms beside the body. Inhale deeply and as you exhale lift your head, chest, hands and legs off the ground with arms stretching towards the feet. Your eyes, fingers and toes should be in a line. Hold the position and keep on breathing normally and release after few seconds.

2) Ardha Matsyendrasana: Sit with legs stretched straight in front, keeping the spine erect. Fold the left leg and place your right heel beside the left hip. Take left foot across the right knee. Keep the left hand behind and with right hand hold the left ankle. Twist the upper body and head to the left, looking over the left shoulder. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds and release. Repeat for other side also.

Experts consulted: Jhelum Biswas Bose, aromatherapist and chakra healing specialist, and Kavita Devgan, nutritionist.

 

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