5 ways to balance aggravated Vata dosha to heal dry hair and skin

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Do you have dry hair and dry skin? Are your bowel movements sluggish with a feeling of incompleteness? Do you have scanty periods? Is your hair generally rough and dry? You could be experienced dryness due to vata dosha aggravation. Read on for Ayurveda can help tackle both rough and dry hair and the underlying vata aggravation behind this.

We recently received a consultation request from a 36 year old lady, who was experiencing very high hair fall and hair dryness. From our investigation, we found 3 signs of high vata aggravation:

  • She found it difficult to fall asleep despite being very tired. In her email she said: “I toss and turn at night for nearly an hour before I fall asleep”.
  • She described her bowel movements as being sluggish and incomplete. The bowel movements felt hard , compacted and were difficult to pass out
  • She described her periods as being scanty and variable in their nature – so menstruation cycles varied from 29 days to 36 days every month

Nature of vata dosha and its role in the body

Vata is the most powerful dosha in our body – it governs the action of the other 2 doshas in our body as neither have mobility without vata. The 3 doshas in our body are made up of the pancha bhootas or the 5 basic elements – and vata is made up of air (vayu) + space(akash). This gives Vata dosha the quality of movement, lightness, swiftness and speed.

5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Vata dosha is powerful and a mobile dosha

All of are made up of a mixture of the 3 doshas. Naturally, for each of us, one or two doshas show pre-dominance making up our general character and determining our attitudes, behavior in situations and the kind of illnesses we are prone to, etc.

Apart from our basic dosha nature, the doshas in our body can increase or decrease depending upon what we eat, how we behave and how the environment around us changes.

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated easily in city people?

Acharya Charaka says that 50% of diseases occur due to aggravation of vata dosha. Vata aggravation is extremely high in cities. By their very nature and by the nature of our demanding jobs, there is a natural increase in vata in urban dwellers.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: CITY LIVING AGGRAVATES VATA

This is because we tend to travel long distances so we expose ourselves to high mobility and wind (both of which are components of vata), work late (again a characteristic of vata dosha), eat food which is high in vata (potatoes, bread and other baked goods, urad, cauliflower, cabbage, fried food), drink stimulating drinks like tea and coffee (which remove moisture and therefore increase vata).

Where does Vata aggravation show up in our body?

Vata governs all mobility and downward movements in the body. So if your back feels stiff, your knees crack or pop, or if your wrists tingle or hurt from excessively using your smartphone, then Vata has been over used and is hence aggravated.

Vata governs all downward movement. So for correct and regular bowel movement where the stools are not excessively dry or hard, and where the bowels are completely emptied in ONE shot, Vata needs to be at the optimal level.

So, if you have dry stools, a feeling of incomplete bowel movements, and the system does not do “its job” correctly, on time every day without external stimulants like coffee, then Vata is aggravated.

Similarly if you have scanty periods where timing is uncertain and there is a lot of variability in the cycle, your body is aggravated with too much Vata dosha.

Vata aggravation also shows up in the state of our hair, nails, skin and feet. Excessively cracked heels which do not respond to any form of moisturisation can be attributed to aggravated Vata dosha. Similarly chronically dry skin and hair can also be a result of vata aggravation. People who lose weight very quickly or find it very difficult to gain weight may also be naturally high in vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: severely cracked heels is a sign of aggravated vata

Vata aggravated people find it difficult to get high quality , restful sleep. They either find it difficult to fall asleep, or do not stay in deep sleep for long – so they wake up feeling fatigued, run down and low on energy. This makes them choose stimulants like tea and coffee which are again high in Vata dosha, starting a vicious cycle.

What can aggravate Vata even if our prakriti is not high in Vata dosha?

Not everyone’s constitution is basically high in Vata dosha. Yet, we CONSTANTLY see symptoms of aggravated Vata at Krya. This is because all of us are doing certain things which are calculated to drive up Vata dosha in our bodies. What are these?

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: excessive media usage aggravates vata

  • Chaotic days without a proper , regulated schedule of eating or sleeping – Vata thrives in chaotic environments. The more chaos you subject yourself to , the more Vata dosha is increased
  • Late nights with high media activity – Vata dosha aggravates during night time. So if you habitually work late or stay up late, you will be over using vata dosha
  • Eating foods which are high in Vata dosha: Ready to eat Noodles, Instant foods, Breads, breakfast cereal and vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower whichconsume a lot of oil, are deep fried and which are hard and crisp are high in Vata dosha. In times of stress, people tend to consume these foods preferentially over others. This in turn severely aggravates Vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Junk food aggravates vata

How to tackle aggravated vata dosha : Tackling dry skin & hair at the root cause

Vata is “rooksha” (dry), “laghu” (light) and “Sheetya” (cold) , “vishada” (non slimy), “khara”(coarse) and “Daruna” (instable).

Therefore, it is NO WONDER, that when Vata is aggravated, the very same symptoms are manifested at the level of the skin and the hair. So to permanently reverse this condition of dryness, we have to BRING DOWN Vata dosha from its current abnormally high level in the body. How do we do that?

5 point program to bring down aggravated Vata dosha and improve dry skin and hair:

  • FIRST, apply oil all over the body, especially in the primary vata seats (ears, abdomen, wrists, knees, joints, etc). This oil should be vata pacifying and should be applied WARM to counter the cold nature of Vata dosha. Oil Abhyanga traps scattered vata dosha and forces it back to its original place. For very high Vata, Abhyanga can be done DAILY. Else, twice or thrice a week. More abhyanga instructions can be found here.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: abhyanga controls aggravated vata dosha

  • Apply oil FREQUENTLY and REGULARLY on dry skin & hair. For chronically dry skin, we suggest twice a day application of Krya Moisture Plus skin oil. For hair, we have many options like Krya conditioning hair oil, Krya harmony hair oil, etc. Oil application has to be FREQUENT and REGULAR. This helps trap scattered vata dosha, nourish scalp and skin deeply and help proper, re-generative and correct skin and hair growth.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Apply oil regularly and frequently

  • REGULATE your exposure to cold and dry winds carefully. Strong wind, cold air, long distance travel and office air conditioning all aggravate Vata . To control this impact, plus your ears and cover the head while travelling. Keep your body warm in cold temperatures by wearing layers of clothing and additional garments like a shawl for warmth. Layering of clothing is an extremely practical and effective way of controlling vata .

 

  • CUT DOWN on your use of electronic media especially post 6 pm. We have seen earlier posts on how use of smartphones and electronic media interferes with sleep patterns and excites Vata. So when vata dosha is aggravated, use of devices that stimulate it should be controlled.

 

  • MONITOR your diet – In times of stress, all of us gravitate towards vata aggravating food (pizzas, burgers, fries, cola, caffeine, etc). The more such foods are consumed, the more they throw our doshas out of balance and the more dry our hair and skin get. Read here for more insights on choosing the correct food for you.

To sum up:

All skin and hair issues are indicative of a deeper underlying imbalance. Ayurveda, therefore, treats at the root cause level. So even dry skin and dry hair are analyzed for what they truly represent: aggravated or imbalanced vata.

Skin and hair systems are not just important for aesthetic reasons. They are our early warning systems through which our body communicates with us and lets us know of underlying problems.

Chronically dry skin and hair point to deeply aggravated vata . Vata dosha is a critical dosha in our prakriti which governs many important functions. As it is the only dosha capable of movement, it also does the job of transporting the other 2 doshas where they are supposed to be. So when Vata is aggravated the functions of the other 2 doshas are also impaired.

City living easily and quickly aggravates Vata dosha. This post explored different aspects of how we can bring aggravated Vata dosha back to balance in easy, do-able ways.

If you have any questions on aggravated vata , or would like our advice , please write to us.

Krya products suggested to bring aggravated Vata dosha under control:

  • Krya Abhyanga Skin Oil : A traditionally formulated ayurvedic abhyanga oil designed to balance all 3 doshas. Can be used everyday.

  • Krya Women’s Ubtan and Men’s Ubtan : to completely cleanse skin and remove excess oil after an Abhyanga without drying, dehydrating or damaging Srotas of the Skin
  • Krya Moisture Plus Skin system (consists of Krya Moisture Plus skin Oil, Moisture plus face mask and Moisture plus Face wash) to help chronically dry skin

 

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Revitalise & Heal chemically damaged hair with Ayurveda: the Krya Damage Repair Hair revitalising Hair Oil

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Frequent chemical treatments tend to damage hair. Stylists and trichologists tell us that we can only cover up the damage, but cannot heal hair. But, when we understand the “hetu” or cause of damage, and treat it holistically, we can solve even the unsolvable. This post will examine how we can heal chemically damaged hair through the wisdom of Ayurveda.

Imbalances seen in Chemically damaged hair

Chemically treated hair usually exhibits a few characteristic imbalances. Pitta and vata dosha of the hair system is aggravated and imbalanced. This explains the use of adjectives like “fried”, “dry like straw”, “Rough and lifeless”, “texture like hay” to describe chemically damaged hair.

Chemially damaged hair has imbalanced vata and pitta dosha. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Pitta imbalance in chemically damaged hair is caused by the use of high heat and heat aggravating chemicals. This dries out the hair strands and damages the sebum balance in the scalp. So hair thins faster, greys prematurely and the scalp is dry, itchy and irritable.

Vata imbalance is also high in chemically damaged hair . This due to the drying nature of heat and chemical treatment. This in turns slows down sebum production in the scalp and cuts off supply of nutrients to the hair follicle. This results in dry, parched scalp and coarse, rough, straw-like hair strands.

Heat & chemical treatments imbalance sebum i hair making it dry, coarse and lifeless. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Scalp damage and change in hair texture and growth patterns

Chemical damaged hair goes with a damaged and toxin filled scalp. The pitta and vata imbalance in the hair results in slower hair growth. The scalp is also unable to support the growth of long hair duet to a weak supply of nutrients. The new hair that grows is usually much thinner, weaker, much more liable to breaking and usually much shorter than the original length.

Chemically damaged hair looks much older and ages rapidly. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

The Krya Damage repair hair oil – an ayurvedic oil that heals chemically damaged hair

 

Krya Damage reapru hair system revitalizes and heals chemically damaged hair.

 

Ayurveda lists keshya (herbs meant for hair care) into 3 categories: Keshya “sanjana” (to help hair originate or form), Keshya “vardhana” (to promote hair length and growth), and Keshya ranjana (to restore natural hair colour, improve hair darkness and delay hair greying).  A lot of attention is paid in Ayurveda to reduce excess pitta from building up on the scalp. This is because as we have mentioned, the brain and the eyes are both originators of heat and this heat tends to accumulate on hair and scalp. When this excess pitta energy builds up in the hair, it accelerates hair greying.

In Chemically damaged hair, there is already a build up of excess Pitta energy: so the use of Keshya Ranjana herbs helps bring down this imbalanced Pitta dosha.

The result: hair thinning and premature greying is slowed down.

Krya uses ayurevdic herbs that balance aggravated pitta in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

We use Keshya Vardhana herbs to reduce teh vata aggravation in the hair, and imporve hair length, hair thickness and improve hair’s texture.

The result: Hair is glossier, softer, smoother and is able to support growth of long hair

Krya’s damage repair hair oil,also uses scalp detoxifying and clarifying herbs . These herbs stimulate blood circulation, help remove toxins and revitalise the hair system.

Krya damage repair hair oil: ingredients

In the current formulation of the Krya Damage repair hair oil, we used 25 different forest collected and organic herbs, fruits, vegetables and cold pressed oils to help nourish, detoxify and heal chemically damaged hair. We have listed the properties of a few of these herbs below.

Beetroot : detoxifies scalp, stimulates hair growth in chemically damaged hair

The beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is a healing organic vegetable that goes into the Krya Damage repair hair oil. The roots and leaves of Beetroot have been used in traditional medicine across the world from ancient times to treat a variety of disease.

Krya uses organic beetroots to detoxify the scalp in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Beetroots are a very rich source of betains (the red and yellow pigment group) and carotenoids. This combination of coloured pigments has good anti inflammatory and detoxifying effects when consumed internally and also on topical application. Biotin supplements are now currently a range and are being prescribed for severe hair loss. Beetroot is a good source of bio available biotin and folate, and pantothenic acid (vitamin b5).

Beetroots , when added to the Krya Damage repair hair oil, help detoxify the scalp and stimulate high quality hair growth.

Krya tip: Please include organic beetroots atleast twice a week into your diet to help detoxify the system internally and improve bio-available biotin in your body.

Ashwagandha: promotes thicker and fuller hair growth in chemically damaged hair

Ashwagandha is the Ginseng of Indian medicine. It is a famous rejuvenative, growth promoting and aphrodisiac herb. The herb is prescribed to build general immunity, for its anti aging (rasayana) effects and to build strength and well being in the body.

Krya uses Ashwagandha to improve hair quality and growth in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

In the Krya Damage repair hair oil, Ashwagandha is used to detoxify the scalp and promote healthy growth of hair. The use of Ashwagandha helps promote thicker, fuller and faster hair growth in chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi: improves hair texture of chemically damaged hair

We have written many times about the healing power of this tiny, power-packed amazing Ayurvedic herb. Brahmi is an important herb to nourish the brain and is used in Ayurveda to help children’s brains develop well and also in elderly people to support the nervous system and to retard diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Krya uses Brahmi to improve the strength, health and gloss of chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi is a critical hair care herb which we use in oils like the Krya harmony hair oil and the Krya kids hair oil. In both these oils, we use a high proportion of Brahmi to reduce stress and to support the function of the young, growing brain.

Brahmi is very useful in the Krya Damage repair hair oil to reduce high Vata, and to improve hair texture and growth.

 

Besides these 3 herbs, the Krya Damage repair hair oil uses the following herbs, vegetables, fruits and cold pressed oils:

Krya uses 25 ayurevdic herbs, fruits, vegetables and organic oils to formulate teh Krya Damage repair hair oil. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

  1. Guduchi (forest collected)
  2. Khadira (forest collected)
  3. Liquorice (forest collected)
  4. Manjishta (forest collected)
  5. Nutgrass (forest collected)
  6. Rosemary (organically grown)
  7. Ram Tulsi (organically grown)
  8. Amla (organically grown)
  9. Bottle gourd (organically grown)
  10. Banana Stem (organically grown)
  11. Bhringaraj (organically grown)
  12. Moringa (organically grown)
  13. Almond (organically grown)
  14. Hibiscus flower (organically grown)
  15. Henna (organically grown)
  16. Curry Leaf (organically grown)
  17. Castor Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  18. Kokum Butter (cold pressed and organic)
  19. Coconut Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  20. Sesame Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  21. Tamanu Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  22. Apricot Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  23. (cold pressed and organic)

To sum up: Heal Chemical damage naturally

Over processed hair and chemically damaged hair is hard to care for. You are told that you cannot fix or treat this hair and asked to invest in more and more damaging chemical treatments to mask the way your hair grows. Instead, Ayurveda provides a true holistic ray of hope. We hope this post gave you a glimpse of how Krya thinks about, researches and formulates products for you. we also hope this post inspired you to seek out solutions to help holistically heal chemically damaged hair.

If you too have chemically damaged hair and would like to try out our natural solutions, please explore the links given below. In case you have any queries on the same, please write to us.

Krya’s products to heal chemically damaged hair:

Krya Damage Repair hair mask to heal and revitalise over processed, chemically damaged hair

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to help you STOP further damage:

Krya's all natural , healing hair colour that colours and nourishes hair and scalp.

 

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Krya Formulation update Tuesdays: a better oil for dry, frizzy hair

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Rupert Baxter, that quintessential suspicious secretary in PG Wodehouse’s Blanding’s Castle series was often said to be generally suspicious of everything and everyone. I often find myself invoking my inner Baxter when I read beauty product labels, especially those proclaiming to be completely natural.

1. blog post inner baxter

As you are aware, we make excellent Ayurvedic first principle based skin and hair oils at Krya. We have spoken about how Ayurvedic manufacturing has incorporated many sophisticated oil processing techniques that are designed to fractionate the oil, change its viscosity and improve its spreadability and dispersion of plant actives by the use of different manufacturing techniques.

 

None of the Ayurvedic manufacturing techniques use solvents, manufacturing chemicals or anything synthetic. Instead, a carefully thought through series of different methods like infusions, tinctures, over night soaking, the use of fats of different viscosity, slow cooking and stirring at different speeds, are all used to make emulsions, creams, pastes and herb infused oils.

While it is true that the Ayurvedic processing techniques cannot give an infinitely wide range of textures and formats, many standard formats like creams, pastes, and oils of varying viscosity can all be achieved.

2. ayurvedic oil manufacturing

 

The desperate attempt to appear natural : consumer product scams

There is rightfully a growing wave of concern around the toxic load on our skin, hair and bodies. This concern has lead to several small but significant changes in the consumer products industry like the visible reduction in the use of sulphate surfactants like SLS and SLeS, and the promised phasing out of ingredients like Triclosan.

But with these good developments have come in what may be best described as dubious developments. There is a rapid substitution being followed in the consumer product industry where consumer hated ingredients like SLS or SLeS are being replaced by another class of surfactants which are little known and have not yet been studied for their possible ill effects on the human body or the environment.

Along with ingredient substitution, another growing disturbing trend I am seeing is the mis-labelling of ingredients, making them appear much more natural than what they really are.

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Light Liquid Paraffin in hair oils and moisturizing products

Here is an inherent contradiction all of us have to live with: we all appreciate the benefits of using oil, but many of us dislike the texture and experience of using oil.

This dislike has prompted consumer products companies to find ways of making an oil, which is inherently viscous and sticky, “non sticky” and like water. This has lead to the use of Liquid Paraffin derived “non sticky oils” in hair care where 60 – 90% of the content is light liquid paraffin, a derivative of petrolatum.

3. light liq paraffin

Light Liquid Paraffin is derived from Petrolatum which is indeed natural, but it is of mineral origin. LLP is odourless and colourless and is non sticky, so when it is used on skin and hair it feels light and dry. However, petrolatum and its derivatives are occlusive and comedogenic on the skin – so consistent use clogs the skin and scalp, and can trap dirt and dead cells in the skin triggering cystic acne.

Also unlike vegetable oils which are considered an “Anupana” or medium to transmit the nutrient active of the herbs infused in them, liquid paraffin does not penetrate the skin barrier. Therefore the properties of the herbs cannot be utilised by the body.

Therefore in Light Liquid Paraffin we have an ingredient of mineral origin which does not penetrate skin, can trap dirt and trigger acne, and which cannot transmit the plant actives into the body. Using products with this ingredient does not help our skin or scalp, however pleasant it may seem while using the product.

 11.acne

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Caprylic Capric Triglycerides in moisturizing products

Another way of making oil less sticky is to not use a vegetable oil at in the base. Instead, many formulations are appearing where the ester of glycerol and fractionated coconut oil is used as a base, and herb extracts and essential oils are added to this base.

Caprylic Capric triglyceride is one such ingredient. This is a lab derived ester made by the esterification of glycerol and either coconut or palm oil derived fatty acids. Esters are present in nature and are responsible for many of the aromas we experience like the fragrance and flavour we get when we bite into a ripe apple. However, they are rarely present in an isolated form, and have to be extracted or synthesised in a lab.

The esterification process has been deliberately employed in the case of Caprylic Capric triglyceride. First the fatty acids of coconut or palm oil has to be isolated and extracted, and it is then subjected to the esterification reaction with glycerol to produce this chemical ingredient.

Caprylic capric triglyceride looks like oil, but it is completely non greasy and has a dry, almost powdery texture on skin. It is a favourite ingredient in many skin and hair care products and is specifically used for the way it feels on application.

But, here is something you should keep in mind: Caprylic Capric Triglyceride like many esters used in personal care products is NOT natural. It may be derived from molecules which have been extracted from coconut or palm oil. However, it is not a naturally occurring ingredient and is produced via a chemical reaction in a lab. More importantly, while coconut oil or even palm oil is good for skin and hair, having been used for millennia, their synthetic derivatives have never been tested extensively for use on human beings. We also do not know how these isolates compound or react when discharged into the atmosphere or even how stable they are.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, no research has been done on whether this ester is a good Anupana, or even if it is absorbed into skin or if it disperses plant actives.

 

Making an Ayurvedic oil: and how we avoid the use of synthetics like Caprylic Capric Triglyceride

We have spoken often with pride about the Krya oil making process. We frequently speak about this because our oils are an integral part of our skin and hair care offerings. If there is one health giving practice that works immediately, it is the application of oil on your scalp and skin, whether it is to balance your doshas in your weekly abhyanga or to improve the quality and health of your hair.

There are 2 key differences between genuine Ayurvedic oils and synthetic oils with suspect ingredients like the 2 we have discussed above.

  1. Sneha Kalpana Paka (Oil cooking) technique: A genuine Ayurvedic oil is“paka” oil where the oil is “cooked” to incorporate various herb extracts, decoctions, juices and pastes. The cooking of the oil can take place either via direct heat or through solar heat.4. paka process
    1. When the oil is cooked on direct heat, the temperature is kept as low as possible, and the final oil mixture which contains different kinds of juices, extractions, tinctures and pastes) needs to be continuously and gently stored. The combination of heat, manual stirring and use of different kinds of herb extract methods (water based infusion, boiled decoction, paste), transfers the plants actives from the herbs into the oil.
    2. The solar heat process sis generally used when delicate herbs or flowers are infused into oil (like flower petals) where the use of high heat can alter the fragrance and plant actives. In solar cooking method, the oil is infused for atleast 1 mandala (48 days) in a vessel made out of a particular material (bronze, eeyam, etc). As the temperature increase in this method is not as high as direct heating, the oil has to be infused longer to extract the plant actives efficiently.
    3. The result of the Ayurvedic oil paka technique is an oil whose properties have been transformed by the process Even if we started with a relatively viscous oil like sesame or Coconut, the Paka process makes the oil lighter, more nutrient dense, alters its colour and aroma and makes it much easier for the skin / scalp to absorb both the oil and the herb actives.
  2. 5. result of paka processAn Ayurvedic oil is always made using a particular proportion of herb extracts, pastes and oils
    1. The oil is usually only 25 – 40% of the base volume of the mixture. The balance consists of fresh juices, herb decoctions and a paste made from the herbs.
    2. The oil is cooked until all the water in this solution evaporates leaving behind only the transformed oil and the solids from the herb paste. This usually takes anywhere between 5 – 9 hours of steady boiling.
    3. The final oil that is achieved is highly concentrated and potent containing the actives of all the herb extracts which were added into the oil mixture.

 

Making the Krya conditioning hair oil: a quick update

For Formulation Tuesday today, I have chosen to speak about skin and hair care oils and moisturizing products and to illustrate how genuine Ayurvedic oil is different in its manufacturing and ingredients in general.

As a part of this, I also wanted to share with you in brief, how we make the Krya conditioning hair oil – we made our newest batch this Saturday.

 

Who is this oil designed for?

The Krya conditioning oil is designed for vata prakriti skin and scalp. Vata prakriti skin and scalp tends to be inherently dry and usually drinks up or soaks up oil and moisture with gratitude. This kind of hair is usually inherently dry or frizzy. Winter or low humidity environments can cause dry dandruff or flaking in this kind of hair.

6.vata prakriti hair

If this hair is excessively shampooed or chemically treated, it tends to increase frizziness, split ends and hair breakage.

We have 2 kinds of hair oils for Vata prakriti hair. The first is the Krya conditioning hair oil. The second is the Krya harmony hair oil, which is to be used if you are mentally stressed, or work for long hours with uncertain timings and tight deadlines.

The Krya harmony hair oil works on soothing the brain and reliving vata caused by mental stress. The Krya conditioning hair oil works on physically balancing vata dosha in your scalp by using herbs and oils that nourish and nurture the scalp.

7.harmony hair oil

 

What goes into the Krya conditioning hair oil?

The Krya Conditioning hair oil is formulated using herbs that are very high on soothing a dry and irritated scalp and also help tame “frizzy” and vata aggravated hair. 16 nutrient dense herbs and 4 cold pressed and organic vegetable oils are used to make the Krya conditioning hair oil.

Herbs like Daucus carota (carrot), Lagenaria siceraria (Bottle Gourd), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Moringa oleifera (Moringa) are used to improve the texture and health of hair and improve its gloss and smoothness. Herbs like Acacia katechu (Khadira), Phyllanthus embellicus (Amla) and Eclipta alba (Bhringaraj) are used to soothe the scalp and improve its health and therefore improve hair growth.

8. krya codnitioning hair oil

Herbs like Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Murraya koenigii (Curry Leaf), Terminalia Chebulia (Haritaki) and Terminalia embelica (Vibhitaki) are used to promote hair growth, rejuvenate the scalp and hair and normalise the dosha balance so that the entire hair system becomes healthy.

Ayurveda ranks the extraction method of each herb and also assigns different nutritive values to Swarasa (fresh expelled juice), Kwathas (Infusions), Kashayas (decoction) and Kalpa (herb paste). Depending upon the bio actives in each herb, we are advised to follow the above 4 methods to extract a herb’s actives.

Every Krya oil has a high volume of potent plant actives going into the oil mixture. For example, in the Krya conditioning hair oil, 25% of the oil mixture is fresh Swarasa (cold pressed plant juice). Swarasas are considered very nutritious and of high potency in Ayurveda, and addition of this to an Ayurvedic oil greatly improves its efficacy. In the Krya conditioning hair oil, we use fresh Swarasa of Carrot, Bottle gourd, Amla and Bhringaraj, all grown organically.

9. potent bio active hair oil

Woody herbs and tubers have tightly bound actives within the plant. So it is recommended in Ayurveda to coarsely crush the herbs, soak them in water and then boil the mixture for a particular duration (either until water evaporates to ½ its volume or ¼ its volume). The Kashaya preparation and boiling process takes 12 hours (before the oil boiling starts). The process followed and the time taken both ensure we are able to successfully extract actives even from woody and hard herbs like Khadira, Ashwagandha and Liquorice to ensure that the final oil is rich in their actives.

10.kashaya extraction process

To sum up:

So there you have it: that is the Krya Tuesday formulation update for this week. We have discussed how we work on the Krya conditioning hair oil; a product that is much loved for its hair texture improving, scalp healing and hair growth improving properties. The Krya Conditioning hair oil is to be used along with the Krya Conditioning hair wash and the Krya conditioning hair mask. Together these 3 products form the Krya conditioning hair hydrating system.

 

Our ongoing Formulation Tuesday series is designed to give you a glimpse into how we think about, research and work on our product formulations. We believe that it is imperative for companies to be transparent both about their products and their manufacturing process. This, we believe, helps consumers make better choices for themselves and be more involved in what enters their home, is applied on themselves and is released into the soil and water.

 

Information helps us all make better choices. We hope you found this post both interesting and relevant to read.

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What your breakfast can tell you about your hair: Ayurvedic eating fundamentals

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Millets have made a wonderful come back across India, with a lot of extensive research now available on the health benefits of various millets, the micro nutrients in the millets, and their satiety factor. It is no wonder that when we ask for diet charts from consumers who come to consult us on skin and hair, we see a preponderance of Millets among consumers who believe in eating healthy.

1.millets health fad

 

In most cases, we advice that these consumers cut back on Millets and we are met with major disappointment from the consumers end. Many of these people have been told that regular cereals of choice like rice and wheat are nutritionally poor and Millets are far better, healthier and good for them. Therefore, in their zeal to improve their health and their family’s health, these consumers completely ban conventional cereals in their home and substitute this with Millets.

 

Why do we advise against excessive consumption of Millets? How is this linked to good health, good skin and good hair? We will examine this in today’s post.

 

Basic Ayurvedic framework:

We have spoken extensively about the Ayurvedic framework behind health. So I am going to repeat this very briefly. We are all made up of 5 basic elements: these 5 basic elements combine to form 3 doshas (humours) in the body. The combination of these 3 doshas decides our prakriti / constitution.

2.basic ayurvedic framework

So if we have a predominance of fire, we would be called a Pitta prakriti. If we had a dominance of air and space, we would be called Vata Prakriti. A predominance of water and earth makes us a Kapha prakriti. We can also be combinations of 2 or even three doshas, with one dosha being more dominant over the other.

 

The importance of Vata dosha:

Vata dosha is a primary dosha to examine when we have dis-ease. Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Charaka say that 50% (or more) of human illnesses are due to the derangement of Vata dosha. Vata dosha becomes even more important for city dwellers, because the Ayurvedic texts say that cities are already high in Vata dosha. So for a city dweller, where the environment itself is high in vata dosha , it is very easy to have your own body’s vata dosha aggravated when improper food is taken or proper lifestyle practices are not followed.

3.city living vata

 

Whenever vata dosha is deranged, it also quickly helps derange the other 2 doshas as well. Therefore all Ayurvedic preventive healthcare looks at reining in vata dosha through external and internal means.

 

What happens when Vata dosha is aggravated?

Vata dosha is the dosha that brings in dryness, dullness, brittleness and pain, when it is aggravated. It is also the dosha that governs all movement, physical energy and a positive mental attitude. So whenever Vata dosha is impaired, we see extreme darkening of the skin, dryness and dullness of skin and hair, a tendency of the hair to break and get damaged easily.

4. dry hair

We also see joint aches and pains, a lack of energy, a feeling of tiredness, and improper digestion or constipation.

 

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated in a stressful job?

We have many consumers who work in IT and Finance where the job entails very long hours, being available on the phone for a long time, a long commute and uncertain eating hours. Vata dosha is the dosha that governs all mental activity and mental stimulation.

5.corporate life

Typically working with a laptop or a Smartphone excites and energises vata dosha. When this is compounded with a long commute, a cold air conditioned environment and uncertain eating timings, we have all the elements that can over stimulate vata dosha and push it over the edge.

 

How can my diet help control Vata Dosha?

Vata has 6 properties: roughness, dryness. Lightness, coldness, hardness, coarseness and non-sliminess. Ayurveda says that foods which have the same property as vata dosha are vata promoting in nature. So if your vata dosha is already high, eating vata promoting foods will aggravate vata dosha further.

 

Example 1: Millets

Ayurveda considers Millets dry, rough, coarse and slightly hard to digest compared to Rice and Wheat. Traditionally, Millets are sprouted, roasted and made into flour to make them easier to digest, or soaked, made into a liquid batter and fermented before eating. These are practices meant to make the millets easier to digest and to not put a strain on the digestion.

 

Millets are also in many areas consumed in cold season. For example certain kinds of millets are typical winter foods in Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat. This is because Ayurveda teaches us that digestive ability is extremely high in winter. This gives our body the power to digest even difficult to digest Millet preparations.

6.bajre ki roti

 

Specific millets are paired along with fermented foods like buttermilk and drunk in Summer  as a porridge in states like Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These millets are Kambu (Pearl Millet) and Ragi (Finger Millet). These millets are prepared as roasted and sprouted flour and then cooked into a thin porridge like consistency and then mixed with fermented buttermilk. The mixture is traditionally considered both satiating, cooling and easy to digest. However, it is always drunk in the morning., which is a time when digestion is much more stronger.

 

7.kambu kanji

 

In lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, Ayurveda says that the body is very high in kapha dosha (earth and water). Therefore foods given in this disease are mean to be light, rough and drying in order to balance the Kapha dosha. So here, Millets are a very good dietary substitute to conventional cereals.

 

If you do not fall into any of the above categories, and have simply substituted rice with millets, then you may be aggravating your vata dosha further. If you already have hair and skin dryness, brittleness and lack of healthy growth, then you should be consuming less millets and not more.

 

The safe way to include Millets in your diet is in moderation. Do not consume more than twice a week. Try and make millet preparations using flours or the fermentation technique to avoid straining your digestive system. Ensure that you eat Millets only as a warm preparation with plenty of ghee to reduce its vata aggravating properties.

 

Example 2: Dry breakfasts like Cereal, granola bars and Bread

Most of us have moved to the system of 3 meals a day with breakfast being the first meal of the day. A well cooked, well planned breakfast can give us a good jump start to the day. Similarly, a breakfast that aggravates one dosha can worsen its effects and make us feel worse.

 

Most working people opt for an instant, ready to eat breakfast as it saves times. However, breakfast foods like instant cereal, cornflakes, granola bars or even bread are considered very high in Vata dosha. This is because all these foods have the same property as Vata dosha: they are rough, cold, crisp, brittle, light and bind water (reducing its availability in the system).

8.breakfast cereal

 

Again, if you are already suffering from the effects of aggravated Vata dosha, it is far better to go for a freshly cooked, traditional Indian breakfast (upma, poha, idly, cheela, etc). If eating cereal, cornflakes, granola or breads are unavoidable, always follow these suggestions:

  • Eat vata aggravating foods warm. This somewhat brings down their Vata nature. Eating cereal with cold milk will only aggravate Vata.
  • Eat vata aggravating foods after making them soft in some manner. For example, bread can be buttered well and warmed, or ghee can be added. Cereal can be soaked for sometime in warm milk until it becomes slightly soggy before eating. Making the food soft brings down its Vata nature slightly.
  • Reduce the particle size of the food to make it easier to digest. So you can crumble the granola bar well and soak it in warm milk. Mashed and soft food is kinder on the stomach.
  • Add warm ghee to all vata aggravating food – this helps make it easier to digest and reduces its vata aggravating nature slightly.
  • Avoid making vata aggravating foods harder or crisper – so dry toast, crisps, or fried bread is not advised.

9.dry crisp foods

 

External oil application: the other Key to controlling Vata dosha

Apart from diet control, an Abhyanga is a key practice to controlling excess vata dosha. Regular Abhyanga atleast twice a week physically restrains vata dosha, brings all 3 doshas to the right balance and promotes harmony and good health.

10. oil application

With this practice, you will see visible effects of vata in balance: your skin and hair will be healthy, supple and well moisturised. Your energy levels will be high and consistent, your digestive ability will be good, and your physical fatigue will reduce dramatically.

 

Vata dosha’s primary seat is your skin. This is why external oil application is so helpful in controlling Vata dosha. Even if your vata aggravation is felt elsewhere (for example dry, brittle hair), an abhyanga on the body will help control the overall vata dosha and bring your hair back to health.

11.vata pacification

 

The Abhyanga is such a key health giving practice that the Acharyas have put the abhyanga in our Dinacharya list.  A practice that can be followed by anyone, irrespective of age or gender, every day for health and well being. Tuesdays and Fridays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Women and Wednesdays and Saturdays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Men. These days are prescribed if you are unable to find the time to do an Abhyanga every single day.

12.abhyanga days

 

An abhyanga must be done in a sesame based oil for the face and body. The oil should preferably use Vata reducing herbs that help balance Vata dosha and bring all 3 doshas back to balance.

13.krya abhyanga oil

 

To conclude:

We hope this post on controlling vata Dosha was both enlightening and useful for you. With the fragmentation and splintering of knowledge, we are often bombarded from all directions with health and wellness advice. Some of this may not be appropriate or right for us.

 

Ayurveda gives us a fantastic framework to understand both our constitution and determine what foods, practices and behaviours can give us health and well being. As a part of our work at Krya, we try and disseminate this information in an interesting and engaging manner. We continue to hold firmly onto our belief that the principles of Ayurveda are both timeless and relevant. We believe that Ayurveda alone holds the key to giving us a life of holistic health, harmony and well being.

 

We hope this post gave you a glimpse into the relevance that Ayurveda continues to hold for us. We also hope that the post gives you a new lens to look at your health and inspires you to take charge of your own health.

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3 Ayurvedic changes Krya recommends to help dry, flaky skin this winter

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

When people write /call us for suggestions on how they can make their hair and skin look their best, we follow the 3 golden rules of Ayurveda to ensure that the life they are leading has the right balance of doshas for their constitution.

Ayurveda says that when your doshas are balanced as per your prakriti (individual constitution), then your body will function excellently well for you. All of us tend to have one or two doshas manifesting predominantly within us. Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like – so whatever is your dominant dosha, you will choose food, activities and regimens that will further increase this dosha. When it goes in excess you will have a manifestation of your dominant dosha going out of balance.

The sum of your 3 doshas adds to the same number mathematically, and this total is the same for everyone. What varies is how much each of the individual doshas contribute. But the total is always the same. So for example if the normal level of your pitta is supposed to be 60, and it goes upto 80, then your other 2 doshas will be depleted as pitta dosha has increased.

So apart from the manifestation of your dominant dosha in excess you will also suffer from the consequence of the other 2 doshas decreasing.

The 3 golden rules we follow when doing product suggestions is to always add suggestions on diet and regimen to help balance your dosha. The Ayurvedic golden rule of 3 is that the combination of right diet +right regimen +right product will lead to harmony and good health.

rule-of-3

 

Drier skin and hair? Your vata may be out of balance
If you have a prominent vata dosha, then it is likely that this season of Hemanta (Winter) can further push your vata dosha out of balance. This will result in drier skin and hair than normal, hair that breaks easily, a build up of static, an increase in joint pains and perhaps an increase in menstrual cramping in this season.

The Ashtanga Hridyam describes the qualities of vata dosha thus:

“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmachalo nilah”

The qualities of Vata are dry, light cool, rough, subtle and mobile.

qualities-of-vata

 

In Ayurveda, we believe just as like promotes like, to control a dosha or an imbalance we have to use foods, products and regimens which are the opposite of that dosha. So as vata is cool, we have to use warm foods, regimens and products. As vata dosha is mobile, we have to weigh it down with heavy oils and fats. And as vata dosha’s nature is light, we have to feed it with heavier and more substantial foods to balance it.

 

So if you have come to us with complaints of flaky, dry skin or brittle and frizzy hair, here are the 3 changes we would recommend:

Change 1 : Switch to the right products that will not aggravate vata imbalance:

  1. Switch from a drying soap / shampoo to a gentle, completely natural herb based cleanser for skin and hair. In the beginning you may need far more moisturising or conditioning products to compensate for the dosha balance. The use of a herb based cleanser also increases warmth (therefore bring down the cooling nature of Vata) and therefore also increases elimination of toxins through the skin.

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  1. Add an oil that nourishes (and we will explain why in the Right regimen) and arrests the dry and light nature of Vata dosha.

 

Change 2: Modify your Regimen to reduce vata imbalance:

  1. Include an abhyanga for your body + one for the hair in your regime. Twice a week if your skin and hair are very dry, but atleast once a week for good health. The abhyanga should be preferably done with an oil that is designed to balance vata using vata balancing herbs in a sesame oil base. If you are unable to source this oil, the abhyanga should be done with pure sesame oil – no other oil base will do.

abhyanga

  1. Wash off the oil with a lentil and grain paste only. Do not use a soap post abhyanga.
  1. Control the timings of eating and stick to a rigid schedule. Rigidity brings order to chaotic vata dosha. Vata dosha promotes fluidity and creativity – but in excess it leads to chaos. So sticking to a rigid schedule helps bring it to normal
  1. Stick to a rigid cut off after which you will not do vata increasing activities – these include checking social media, messages, or responding to emails. Vata is excitable so you need to calm it down by reducing stimulation. Using heavy curtains and a dark room to sleep in also helps controlling vata as Vata is excited by visual stimulation.

cut-down-stimulation

 

Change 3: Add vata pacifying foods and eliminate vata aggravating foods from your diet:

  1. Excess vata and excess pitta is best controlled by Ghee. So if you are suffering from symptoms of excess vata, it is best to add a teaspoon of melted cow ghee to every meal. Ayurveda is very particular about using dairy from native cows – so search for options where you are sure Indian native cow breeds are supplying your milk. Ayurveda is also particular about the karmic effects of consuming cruelly sourced food. Ensure your dairy is sourced from a farm where antibiotics and hormones are not used, the cows are not over bred, and the calves are looked after well.

desi-cow-ghee-for-vata

  1. Reduce the intake of vata promoting foods – these included baked goods, fried foods, instant and processed foods, and vegetables that are part of the vata group like potatoes, cabbage and cauliflower
  2. Reduce the intake of vata promoting drinks – tea, coffee, processed fruit juices and colas are all vata increasing. Besides this they are full of E-numbers, preservatives and sugar, so they are just not good for you. If you must drink something, warm water or tender coconut water is a better drink.
  3. Ensure you eat your food and drinks warm – warm water and freshly cooked warm food help dispel vata. Stay away from cold foods and drinks. Warm controls vata.

fresh-food

Anyone following our posts or who is interested in Ayurveda will be able to appreciate this difference in approach to a seemingly simple problem. A truly Ayurvedic company cannot simply sell you a product if you complain of dryness. We must be able to understand the root cause of this dryness and suggest a diet and lifestyle change to arrest the dosha balance at the roots.

True beauty comes from balance and wellness. Not from an external product alone.

A happy, dosha balanced Monday to you from us at Krya. If you are seeking true beauty as well, and would like a consultation or advice on how to make a lasting change, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

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Ayurvedic Tejas – Krya Abhyanga Series

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within” – Maya Angelou

As I was writing my to-do list for the day, I glanced at the bottom of the page to see the quote which I have put up here.

The inner light is referred to as “Tejas” in the Ayurvedic texts, and the English translations of this word are extremely inadequate. So when the Charaka Samhita refers to an abhyanga increasing the “Tejas” in the body due to nourishment of all dhatus, an English translation would read, “An abhyanga increases the lustre in the body / improve the complexion”.

However Tejas is much much more than the external appearance of skin. Tejas has to do with an inner light and a feeling of well being when all the 3 doshas are balanced, and when the dhatus are well nourished eternally by the copious application of oil regularly through the abhyanga.

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Different people report a different state of well being after an Abhyanga. People with a  predominantly vata based constitution report that their skin which is generally dry and itchy feels well moisturized, soft and nourished. Their joints feel supple and well oiled and they report feeling at peace, and able to bring in a strong amount of focus, and not as scattered as they usually would feel.

People with a predominantly pitta based constitution report feeling cooler as their eyes and skin release tremendous amounts of excess heat after an abhyanga. They feel less inclined to speak sharply or lose their temper and report feeling cool, calm and tranquil the whole day.

 

People with a predominantly kapha based constitution report feeling energetic and less sluggish and wide awake and focussed the whole day. They also report having a feeling of their internal blocks being cleared.

No matter what your dosha type is, what you will feel after a regular abhyanga is a feeling of well being. Your entre body feels light and strong – the texts describe this as the “vigour and energy of a lion in the forest”. Your skin flows with Tejas – one can only describe this as an inner light switched on in your body.

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The practice of an abhyanga followed by a Snana with herbs and grains is not supposed to be a once a year ritual. It is prescribed as a Dinacharya (daily ritual) that helps maintain good health. Even if it is not possible to follow an Abhyanga every single day, the texts prescribe 2 days every week to do an Abhyanga for Men and Women – these days are decided by their auspiciousness and the deities that govern these days. So Fridays, governed by Goddess Lakshmi are considered auspicious for an abhyanga and traditional Snana for Women. In addition Tuesdays are also considered auspicious for Women to take an Abhyanga and Snana.

Saturdays, the day governed by Lord Shani, is considered auspicious for Men to take an abhyanga and Snana. This is said to promote good health and longevity. In addition, Wednesdays are auspicious also for Men to do an abhyanga + Snana to promote the intellect.

In this way, the texts have ensured that we do an Abhyanga atleast twice a week to promote good health and well being.

If you have been looking at adopting good health giving routines , do start with the Abhyanga. Here are some Krya products / bath systems you could explore to make your Abhyanga special.

  1. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha (for the bi-weekly abhyanga – dosha balancing, fatigue reducing oil)
  2. Krya Abhyanga Bath powders for Women & Men – classic, tradition-inspired Bath powder that is cleansing, toxin removing and refreshing on skin – perfect post Abhyanga
    1. Krya Abhyanga Bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf & Lodhra
    2. Krya Abhyanga Bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi

 

 

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Krya Ayurveda series: The effect of unbalanced vata on skin & hair

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

We had written yesterday about the pada abhyanga and how this dinacharya can go a long way in calming excess vata down. The proper balance of the doshas as per your individual constitution helps you maintain a sound mind and good health.

In our continuing education series on Ayurveda, you will find that we pay a lot of attention to the Vata dosha in your body. The proper functioning of the vata dosha hepls the functioning of all sense organs including the largest one in our body, the Sparsanendriya / our skin.

The fundamental quality of Rajas (cohesion) which ensure our hair grows deep rooted and strong is also governed by Vata dosha. So any discussion on skin and hair in ayurveda needs a deep rooted discussion on Vata dosha. We also focus on Vata dosha, as Krya focuses its work on city dwellers. City and city dwelling leans towards excess vata as the excitement, energy and constant stimulation of the city excites our vata dosha. It is therefore no surprise that more than 50% of dis-eases experienced by city dwellers has its roots in unbalanced vata.

We are happy to present today’s blog post by Dr.Anupama Santosh on how unbalanced vata affects skin and hair. We hope you find her post as insightful and practical as we did – we also hope that this post (and this series) inspires you to take a good look at your body and health and make the changes necessary to maintain its health and well being.


 

I often hear this at my practice at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Centre:  “Doctor,

  • I really take care of my hair. But still I have hair fall. I don’t understand this.
  • I eat lot of nuts and salads. But I still have dull skin and hair.
  • I exercise regularly and follow a great lifestyle; still I do not seem to feel healthy and energetic.
  • I oil my hair regularly, but I still have hair fall
  • I thought my hair fall is due to the water and I started using drinking water to wash my hair. But still my hair is thinning and becoming dry and rough
  • I make sure to moisturize my skin, but it still looks aged and lined.

WHY?”

 

My one answer to all these concerns is this: Hair and skin care is not skin-deep. It is much more than that. 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 in to 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:

  • I think and worry excessively
  • I think of the same thing over and over again
  • I feel a sense of nervousness, anxiety, panic and fear often
  • I am full of enthusiasm while starting something, which exhausts very quickly. Working in spurts and bursts than consistently
  • I am very active, sometimes restless, but I have low stamina
  • I am easily exhausted and irritable

Joints & tendons

  • My neck and other joints feel stiff, often
  • I often develop twitches and tics in the eyes and lips
  • I experience sudden spasms and pain in the muscles
  • My bones hurt and I can hear a creaking sound in the joints

 Skin:

  • My skin has darkened
  • My skin feels dry and rough patchy skin
  • My skin is dry or chapped
  • I am seeing skin wrinkles showing up prematurely
  • My skin is dry and lustreless
  • I have dark circles under the eyes and general darkening of complexion

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Sleep

  • My sleep is light and often interrupted

 Appetite and Digestion

  • I have constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
  • I have low body weight or varying body weight
  • My appetite and digestion is irregular/variable: I feel extremely hungry on one day and loss of appetite on another

 Nails and Hair

  • My nails are hard, brittle, rough and cracked
  • My hair is dry, rough and coarse and tangles easily
  • My eyes become dull very quickly

 Climate , environment and reaction to it:

  • I dislike the cold and the wind
  • I am unable to tolerate loud noises
  • I love the heat and feel ‘active’ after getting sun
  • React quickly to climatic change

befunky-collage

 

 Periods

  • My periods are irregular
  • I experience scanty blood flow in my periods

 Teeth and gums

  • I often have teeth and gum problems
  • My teeth are sensitive to cold

 Lifestye

  • Excessive use of gadgets for work or entertainment
  • Long commutes, late nights, eating out often

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If your answer is yes for most of the above, some of the following changes may help you towards better health and well being for your body and mind.

 

Prescribed dietary modifications :

  1. Food should be well cooked and warm
  2. Food should be consumed on time
  3. Cooked food is better than raw. Too much raw food like cold salads, should be avoided especially in the morning and evening

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  1. Choose fruits which are naturally sweet and sour like banana, avocado, melons, mangoes, coconut, oranges, plums, cherries, grapes, lemons, figs, dates etc.,
  2. Though fruits are good for you, a fruit-only diet is not suitable
  3. Natural sour foods like lemon and oranges are suitable, but avoid sour curd, vinegar, pickles and overly fermented food like old dosa/idli batter/ alcohol. Sweet wines in small quantities are better for you than beer or hard liquor.

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  1. Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, ajwain, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, garlic are useful. Avoid green chillies.
  2. Over eating or heavy foods will quickly lead to digestive problems
  3. Though salt is good for you, use it in cooked food moderately, do not consume fried salty foods

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  1. Vegetables like green beans, okra, radish, turnip, sweet potatoes, onion
  2. Whole grains like rice, wheat are suitable more than oats and millets. The grains should be well cooked with butter/ghee/oil.
  3. Bread and processed food like noodles, canned food and food items made with maida/all purpose flour are not suitable. Drying foods like biscuits, chips, khakra, popcorn, crackers should be avoided.

 blog-post-7

  1. Dairy products are suitable, but not in cold form. Warm milk can be consumed with cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric and unrefined sugar
  2. Moong dal is better than Tuvar dal, Rajma and Chana. When other dals are used, cook with turmeric, cumin, pepper, hing or coriander
  3. Almond is the best nut for you. Soak them overnight and remove the skin and eat in the morning. Pumpkin seeds are good too. All other nuts should be consumed moderately.

 blog-post-8

  1. Fats and oils should be a part of your regular diet. Choose the oil which you are habituated to, as your family diet, than choosing new oils like olive oil. (They may be a healthy option in themselves, but your body may not be able to digest). Take cow’s ghee with rice, wheat and pulses. Moderate use of oil and ghee in all forms except deep fried is beneficial to you.
  2. Well cooked chicken, goat meat, fresh fish and eggs are suitable
  3. Frozen items like ice cream should be consumed rarely
  4. Choose nourishing drinks and warm drinks over aerated drinks
  5. Stimulant drinks like coffee, tea are not suitable and should be taken rarely and always with milk.

 

Lifestyle modifications

  1. Avoid multitasking, bring in more routine and consistency
  2. Spend time to organize your day at home and work
  3. Choose warmth over cold wherever and whenever possible
  4. Choose calmness and serene over loud and harsh. (Eg. While listening to music)

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  1. Room temperature is better than AC environment
  2. Develop a habit of applying oil on head and body at least twice a week, if not more. Seasame oil based oils are best suited for you.
  3. Learn relaxation techniques and meditate regularly even if it is for 5 mins.
  4. Remember to replenish your energy with at least 7-8 hours of sleep

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  1. Bring in discipline in food, exercise, sleep and work
  2. Smoking is best avoided
  3. Avoid frequent changes in work, routine, place and timings. Favour stability vs excitement.
  4. Avoid rigorous and excessive exercise. Choose light, slow but regular exercise like short strolls, yogic stretches, and learn breathing techniques

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  1. An afternoon nap of 10-15 minutes will help you avoid exhaustion
  2. Take deep breaths in between tasks and avoid rush
  3. Accept and begin to love the complexion, colour, texture, nature of your hair and skin. 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.
  4. Avoid chemical shampoos, perpetual use of hair gels, hair dyes and hair sprays.

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  1. Make your house and work place soothing with gentle, soothing music, colours, art and fragrant smells
  2. Avoid excessive partying, late nights and if you indulge, compensate with soothing and relaxing activities
  3. A gentle pace with less hurry and more awareness is the recipe

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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 Vata related symptoms, constitution, food and lifestyle today. Vata is the driving force of the other doshas and is mostly responsible for all aspects of health and disease. So, by balancing Vata through some small, but powerful changes, we have taken a big step towards a healthy mind and body. 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.

 

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Dr.Anupama is an Ayurvedic consultant at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center based in Bangalore. She believes that the Ayurvedic way of living is more relevant today than ever before. Her success in treating infertility cases has earned her immense love and gratitude from her patients. She is also a medical consultant for some Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies and advises them on product formulation and development of proprietary Ayurvedic medicines.

 

About Shreshtha Ayrvedic Centre, Bangalore

Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center, founded in 1997, is run by leading Ayurvedic consultants Dr.Santosh and Dr.Anupama. Though the center is located in Koramangala, Bangalore, patients from various parts of the country visit, owing to the genuine Ayurvedic treatment made available here. Apart from the consultation services, the center is equipped with a good pharmacy stocking Kottakkal medicines and organic lifestyle products. A Panchakarma center is also maintained at the center, which offers none of the spa kind of massages ( which is often confused for Panchakarma), but authentic, classical chikitsa with curative effect. To reach out to the growing demand of patients outside Bangalore, Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center started their Online consultation portal and also shipping facilty for prescribed medicines, which has had an overwhelming response. More details on www.ayursambhasha.com and Shreshtha’s facebook page.


This is a part of Krya’s continuing education series on Ayurveda for the benefit of Krya’s consumers and our blog readers. This is imperative as knowledge and belief in Ayurveda is fast falling and there is a rise in unscrupulous elements who are exploiting people’s inherent belief in Ayurveda with sub standard products / advice.
More articles in the Krya Ayurveda series:

  1. The Science behind hair oiling for healthy hair and basic health
  2. Making friends with Ayurveda – a guest post by Dr.Anupama Santosh, Shrestha Ayurveda
  3. The search for safety in the products we use on ourselves
  4. Ayurvedic Skin care in hot and humid India 
  5. The connection between your feet and your hair – pada abhyanga for health

 

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Krya Ayurveda series – Balancing vata dosha through your feet

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It is interesting how the state of your feet reveal a lot about your dosha type and helps traditional medicine diagnose the state of your skin and health.

Ayurveda defines twin goals as its objective: the promotion of “Ayu” (long life) and the promotion of “Ayush” (health). Most treatises say that with the right care, proper following of prescribed health regimes, a human being should be able to live for atleast a 100 years free from disease. In my experience, I have seen this to be true of many of the great yoga gurus like T Krishnamacharya, BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, who all lived well beyond 90, and were mobile, extremely sharp and teaching and working until their very last day.

The most special quality of traditional medicine systems is their ability to form a holistic view and see the patterns between different parts of the body and the organ systems – no traditional medicine will dived itself by organ parts or systems. The body is treated as a whole and the corrections that are to be made are deduced by observing different parts of the body and forming seemingly disparate connections.

 

The role of Vata dosha in the body:

I have spoken about vata dosha and how it is essential in a healthy body to promote mobility, intellect, creativity and speed. Vata is often called the companion dosha as it helps transport and move the other 2 doshas of pitta and kapha which are immobile without Vata. Vata therefore governs the seat of the muladhara chakra in the body – the kidneys, uterus, and all organs of downward movement (faeces, urine, and blood).

Therefore any disturbance in Vata always affects all downward movements in the body – limbs, walking, joints, periods, bowel movements, etc.

I have mentioned before how cities and people living in cities naturally have an excess of Vata. Vata dosha governs the qualities of wind, space, and actions associated with air like speech and hearing. So when we utilise transport to commute long distances, use our speech and hearing in excess (with most office and creative jobs), use objects that excite the sense organs and involve creativity like a computer, mobile phone, Ipad, we are engaging with our Vata dosha – if this engagement is not balanced and does not give our Vata dosha a chance to calm down, we would have excited it to the point of excess.

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Vata vitiating measures:

When we use products, or engage in treatments that dry out our body, we are removing moisture and therefore increasing vata in the body. So lack of oiling, no regular abhyanga and the use of drying products on hair and skin are also factors that can increase vata in the body.

Vata also increases when we selectively consume vata promoting foods – these include foods that promote wind like potatoes, cabbage, excess amount of lentils, high amount of raw foods and fried foods and even healthy foods like Millets.

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The quality of air that we must keep in mind the most is its ability to move rapidly and fill gaps – unlike pitta and kapha dosha which are immobile, vata is extremely mobile. So every time we leave our internal body dry, use products that deplete moisture, and over engage with vata dosha, we are leaving gaps in or body for vata to rush in and grow in excess.

The dance of the 3 doshas in the body is a fixed sum game: so whenever one dosha goes in excess/ reduced the other 2 doshas go down / up to make up the difference. So the vitiation of one dosha, if left untreated always leads to complications caused by other doshas.

 

Symptoms of vitiated vata dosha:

One of the questions we ask people who write to us with symptoms of dry lifeless hair and skin is to ask them to observe the state of their nails, especially toe nails. Ayurveda states that hair and nails are both made from asthi and majja – bones and marrow from the body. So in one sense, the quality of your hair and nails reflect the quality of your bones and marrow – so if your hair is dry, weak, lifeless and your nails are not in the pink of health, this reflects that your body needs to be taken care of.

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The asthi and majja, like the rakta is formed from the food we eat. When we eat the right food, and when our organs are in good shape to absorb nutrients, the process of forming our body is said to be good. Similarly, if the organs of Mala (excretion) like the skin, kidneys and lower intestine need to be functioning well to remove the waste products from the body, to ensure the channels are free and clear from toxins for nutrition assimilation to happen.

Food and external application are the twin routes to keeping the body in shape. Ayurveda emphasises on the roles of both anna and daily regimens to be followed (external application) to nourish, feed and maintain the body’s health.

An excess of both Pitta dosha and vata dosha can cause cracks in your heels. The cracks formed due to aggravated Pitta dosha are less deep compared to the cracks formed by vitiated vata dosha. The heel cracks formed due to aggravated Vata dosha can be deep, where you can see a layer of fat and tissue underneath the cracks, leading to pain when you walk.

Cracked heels are not a cosmetic problem: they are your body’s way of letting you know that you are off balance.

 

The quickest way to manage vitiated vata:

Vata dosha is the dosha that responds the quickest to the sense of touch as it is the dosha that governs all the sense organs. So every sense organ like the eyes, ears, skin, respond well to measures that decrease vitiated vata.

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The is why our single point prescription for any form of dryness (dry hair, dry skin, dry feet, lifeless skin, dullness, constipation, improper bowel movement, pain in joints) starts with an abhyanga (oil massage). By bathing the body in oil and massaging it vigorously, we control the spread of air. By increasing the warmth in the body, we liquefy fat / kapha and encourage it to come to the surface. By cooling the body, we also cool down pitta / Agni in the body. This is why an abhyanga is considered tridoshic and so beneficial for the body.

The Charaka Samhita states that if a twig is dipped in oil and massaged vigorously every day, no force can break this twig – it can be only bent but not broken. Similarly a daily / frequent abhyanga adds strength, glow and nourishment to the body and gives it the strength to withstand disease, old age and delays ageing.

Nail care in Ayurveda:

As the nails are a precursor to bone and marrow health, it is important to keep them in good health. Ayurveda recommends that the feet be observed atleast once a week in minute detail to ascertain signs of dosha vitiation. Nails should be clean and free from artificial colours and nail polish so that you can examine their colour, smoothness and growth to see if your body is working well.

Application of nail polish has long been deduced to be extremely harmful to the body. Nail paints are loaded with substances like dibutyl phthalate that are carcinogenic. The phthalate family is linked strongly to breast cancer, precocious puberty and has adverse foetal effects like low birth weight, and changes in foetal mental and motor development.

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In addition to their strongly adverse effects, the application of nail paint seals off the nails from interacting with the environment, and does not give us a chance to continually examine the state of our health.

Pada abhyanga:

Pada abhyanga is a strongly recommended Dincharya in Ayurveda. This is especially suitable for high vata vitiation – so if you generally have late nights, irregular eating schedules, dry skin and hair, cramping and pain during periods and incomplete bowel movements, a daily pada abhyanga before sleeping is very beneficial.

If you are not doing a daily abhyanga, a Pada abhyanga is beneficial between your regular abhyanga days. A Pada abhyanga is also beneficial; when you are not allowed to do a full Abhyanga due to certain health conditions.

A Pada Abyanga is also an excellent complementary Abhyanga practice to remove the fatigue of the day, calm down high mental stress and to assist you or your family members during periods of high mental stress (board exams, board exam results, etc).

How to do a pada abhyanga and when:

If your vata is out of control, a nightly pada abhyanga before sleeping is very beneficial. Else once a week as a part of a good maintenance routine, especially on Sunday morning is beneficial.

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Wash your feet extremely well, preferably with a grain based wash ensuring the pores of the skin are roughly cleaned and opened. Dry the feet very well and begin abhyanga using a medicated sesame based oil. If vata affliction is very high, warm, melted ghee may also be used. Using Melted ghee also helps with excess pitta if it is an issue.  Pay a lot of attention to the soles of the feet – The soles of the feet contain Marma points corresponding to many organs like the kidneys so a strong regular massage is said to be very beneficial to the entire body.

Once the soles of the feet are done, pay attention to the toe nails and the nail beds. Apply a good amount of warm oil / ghee copiously ‘watering” the nails to ensure oil penetrates the cuticles and the nail bed. This is also a good time to clean the nail beds and shape your nails without damaging the cuticles in any way.

Once the pada abhyanga is done, wait for 15 – 20 minutes before removing excess oil from the feet. If your vata dosha is very high, you can simply wipe off the excess oil with a warm and moist towel. If this is done, wear loose cotton socks over your feet to retain warmth and ensure the oil does not smear onto your bed linen while you sleep.

Otherwise, you can wash your feet again with a grain based wash and then dry the feet well. Whether your vata dosha is high or not,you must clean the excess oil using either of the 2 methods suggested.

Benefits of a good pada abhyanga:

The immediate benefit of a good pada abhyanga is that excess vata is controlled and you get sound sleep. Generally vitiated vata results in disturbed, light sleep that leaves you feeling tired and irritable the next morning. This settles within 2 – 3 regular pada abhyangas.

Apart from directly affecting the health of the feet and ensuring there are no cracks, dry skin or stiffness around the toes and ankles, in the long term, a pada abhyanga improves clarity of vision, reduces fatigue, improves strength of feet and improves the circulation of rakta in the body. Pada abhyanga along with an overall body abhyanga and kesha abhyanga (hair oiling) are the 3 important external oleation routines prescribed in Ayurveda for good health.


This is a part of Krya’s continuing education series on Ayurveda for the benefit of Krya’s consumers and our blog readers. This is imperative as knowledge and belief in Ayurveda is fast falling and there is a rise in unscrupulous elements who are exploiting people’s inherent belief in Ayurveda with sub standard products / advice.

Our work consists of 2 parts: the first is in disseminating good quality information that is interesting and engaging to help you understand how relevant Ayurveda is to your life. The second part of our work is in research, formulating a manufacturing a high quality set of support products that are designed to help you maintain the health of your hair, skin and body (externally). We hope that our work inspires you to take charge of your health and follow simple, consistent and meaningful health routines to help you lead a better life.

 


Krya’s list of abhyanga-snana products can be found in the links given below:

Krya for abhyanga and pada abhyanga: Skin Oils

Unique features

  • Processed using traditional, skin health enhancing and regenerative herbs like Ashwagandha (Winter cherry), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Moringa, Liquorice, etc
  • As per the Ayurvedic tradition, all of Krya’s skin oils are processed with warming herbs like cumin, ajwain and dried ginger to ensure the body’s kapha and mucous level does not increase with the oil application. This is especially important when making skin oils for babies, as babies are generally high in kapha dosha, so the oil should not further vitiate this kapha.
  • All the herbs we use in our oils are either organically cultivated or wild harvested and are free from synthetics, pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Our herbs are processed in our cold pressed, manually extracted, full of goodness base oils of coconut, sesame, apricot, tamanu and kokum butter
  • The oil processing is done on gentle heat and takes upto 8 – 10 hours of gentle manual stirring per batch. The oils then steep for 7 more days in aromatic herbs before they are bottled and packed.

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Krya Abhyanga-Snana : Ubtans

Unique features

  • Processed using organic grains, seeds and forest collected herbs that are extremely nutrient rich and beneficial for skin
  • The herbs are carefully sorted, cleaned, washed where necessary and solar dried at a gentle temperature before processing
  • Each herb is processed separately as per Ayurvedic Dravyaguna standards and then carefully blended for the final formulation
  • We take care to ensure that the natural aroma and properties of the herbs are maintained
  • Our ubtans are perfect post abhyanga to remove excess Abhyanga oils from skin and cleanse thoroughly yet gently, without stripping skin of essential oils.
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Shampoo Seppuku – Throw away that shampoo part 2

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Our last post on SLS in a synthetic shampoo has set the cat among the pigeons. We have received a huge number of emails, calls and messages from You stating your concern on the issue ( and you should be concerned!).

We’ve also had several of our consumers sending us pictures of the labels of their current brand of shampoo – and we’ve played Sherlock decoding the labels to them. Almost every brand of “natural” or gentle shampoo label that has been sent to us contained Sodium Laureth sulphate (SLES), that we write about and some other toxic animals like Methyl and Propyl Paraben.

And that is the point of this post. If you thought the only villains hiding in your shampoo were SLS, SLeS and silicones like DiMethicone, well, you were mistaken, weren’t you.

Instead your Shampoo has an entire secret society of villains hiding in it – (yes, we love DC Comics and aren’t ashamed of it !)
If SLS was the Lex Luthor in your shampoo, meet The Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, and the Funky Flashman, right here.

 

MEA, DEA and TEA (Monethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Tri-ethanolamine)

DEA, TEA and EA (Ethanolamine) are produced when aqueous ammonia reacts with ethylene dioxide.

Ethanolamines are clear, colorless, viscous liquids which reduce the surface tension of oil and water combined products so that the oil and water can mix together without separating. Ethanolamines are found therefore in shampoos, face washes, body washes, bubble baths and gels, sunscreens, hair dyes, eyeliners, mascaras and also in dishwashing detergents, liquid detergents, metalworking fluids, paints and printing inks.

TEA is commonly used in cleansing milks or creams – because it is so strongly alkaline (a 1% solution of TEA has a pH of 10), it is used as a dirt remover in ironically named “gentle cleansing creams”.

What the Industry says about MEA, DEA and TEA – rinse fast, and thoroughly:

Even industry supported and funded bodies like the cosmetics Ingredient review Panel (established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance association and supported by the U.S FDA), recommended that TEA and DEA concentrations should not exceed 5%.

They also recommend that if you use a product containing any Ethanolamine, you should use the product briefly, and not continually and thoroughly scrub and rinse to ensure there is no ethanolamine lingering on your skin or scalp.

This recommendation does not take into account the fact that most of us linger when we use wash off products (and definitely more than the recommended 5 minutes). It also does not address the issue of continuous usage – many of us have now graduated to shampooing every single day. Nor does it answer the concern of DEA in leave on products like conditioners, and skin care products like mascara or even medicine like ear drops which are supposed to linger.

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Why you should keep away from MEA, DEA and TEA

Effect on hair:

The excessive use of shampoos containing TEA and DEA can irritate your scalp, make your hair feel dry and lifeless, and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure,

Contact dermatitis:

3 studies spaced several years apart found that TEA based products occasionally cause contact dermatitis – the products studies were as diverse as a sunscreen, and ear drops.

Environmental toxicity:

When TEA hits water bodies, as is common when the shampoo we use goes down our drains, into our sewers and into our rivers, it can potentially cause acute and chronic toxicity in several aquatic species.

The last word on TEA:

TEA is a scheduled chemical listed in Schedule 3, Part B of the chemical Weapons Convention. This Control treaty outlaws the production or stockpiling of dangerous chemicals or their precursors that can be use to create chemical weapons.

So if we manufactured or used more than 30 tonnes of TEA every year, we have to declare this, and allow ourselves to be inspected just to make sure we weren’t manufacturing weapons. And we cannot export TEA to countries who have not signed off on the Chemical weapons Convention treaty.

Not so Fun fact: TEA is used to manufacture Nitrogen Mustard a chemical warfare weapon. In World War 2, several countries manufactured and stockpiled Nitrogen Mustard but did not use it (thankfully!). Nitrogen Mustard has a strong cytotoxic (cell destroying) effect and is today used in cancer chemotherapy.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish is a chemical scheduled under the chemical Weapons Treaty doing in your shampoo / sunscreen /shaving cream / ear drops?

Here are some avatars of Ethanolamines you could find in synthetic products around your home – our recommendation? Toss em out:

  1. Cocamide DEA
  2. Cocamide MEA
  3. DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  4. DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  5. Linoleamide MEA
  6. Lauramide DEA
  7. Myristamide DEA
  8. Stearamide MEA
  9. Oleamide DEA
  10. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  11. Triethanloamine

 Parabens

Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and medicines. They have been used in these products for about a hundred years now and are the industry standard for anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.

You can find Parabens in almost every single synthetic cosmetic and personal care product from shampoos, to skin creams to under arm deodorants. They are also used in fragrances, but as fragrances are considered trade secrets, manufacturers do not have to disclose what goes into their fragrances, including deadly villains like Parabens.

What the Industry and Governments say about Parabens:

In spite of extensive literature on the hormonal effects of Parabens, the 2006 Cosmetic Industry Review compendium trivializes the problem. They maintain that Parabens “must certainly be considered safe”.

However, after the work of many consumer awareness groups like EWG, companies like Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove both parabens and formaldehyde from its baby care and adult skin care products by 2015 including brands like Aveeno & Neutrogena.

Globally most governments have not re-examined the safety of parabens. Some outliers are the Danish government which has banned the use of products for children below 3 years. In India parabens are commonly used in cosmetic and other applications.

Why you should keep away from Paraben containing products:

Effect on skin and Hair – aging and cell damage

The irony is not lost on us. Parabens are commonly found in anti aging products. However, research shows that they actually accelerate the skin aging process!

Researchers from Meijo University, Japan concluded that Methyl Paraben could cause carcinogenic skin damage when people who used the compound in skin care products were exposed to sunlight irradiation. Similarly, Researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan concluded that UVB exposure to Methyl Paraben when used on skin significantly increased cell death and oxidative stress in human skin.

Endocrine disrupting function

The European Commission on Endocrine disruption have listed Parabens as a category 1 priority substance because they easily penetrate skin, and interfere with the function of the hormones. In our body, Parabens can mimic estrogen.

Penetrative ability into the body:

Parabens have been detected in urine, serum, breast milk and seminal fluid, but the most worrying fact has been their detection in breast tissue from patients with breast cancer. In one important North American study, it was calculated that the average person is exposed to 76 mg of parabens every day, with 50 mg from cosmetics, 25 mg from pharmaceuticals and 1 mg from food.

Research from the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health found that the blood of over 60% of the children surveyed during the National Health and Nutrition examination survey was contaminated with more than 8 toxins including significant levels of 3 kinds of parabens.

One alarming property of parabens is their ability to enter the body through the skin, something that most people are not aware of. This has been widely studied in underarm cosmetics like deodorants and whiteners. Breast cancer research shows a higher concentration of parabens in the upper lateral breast near the armpit corresponding to the use of deodorants which contain parabens.60% of breast cancer tumors occur in the precise area where we use deodorant sprays!

 

An important point to note here is the route we allow to Parabens when we apply then on our skin and hair. While eating Parabens in your food is not the best thing to do, in the oral route, Parabens are metabolized better, and are less estrogenic.

However in the dermal route, we allow Parabens to directly enter our blood stream and make their way to our organ systems, increasing our exposure risk.

Effect on Male reproductive health:

In addition to Paraben’s estrogen like properties, this chemical has also been associated with interfering with the Male reproductive system. Studies report low sperm counts, and decreased levels of testosterone in Men linked to the absorption of Parabens form personal care products.

Intersex fish:

Boulder Colorado in 2008 undertook a multimillion dollar upgrade of their waste water effluent plant. Until then, intersex fish were a common sight – stimulated by the chemicals in personal care products like shampoos and pharmaceuticals like steroids, male fish across species developed female characteristics. This multimillion dollar plant has not removed the problem – however, with efficient sewage treatment, the male fish are taking slightly longer to get feminized.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish (pun intended) is a gender bender chemical that has been found in cancerous breast tumors, decreases sperm count and ages skin and hair doing in your shampoo? I mean, really?

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Here are some labels Parabens hide under in your shampoo or skin care product:

  1. Benzylparaben
  2. Butylparaben
  3. Propylparaben
  4. Methylparaben
  5. Ethylparaben
  6. Isobutylparaben

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on this September on more Super villains hiding in your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our super useful newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used 
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them. 
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label
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Better hair this September – the healthy hair series from Krya

Krya Hair Wash
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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Good hair appears to be in alarmingly short supply today. We seem to have an epidemic of products available in a store to satisfy our every hair wish, but this appears to be the time when we are collectively most upset about the state of our hair.

I put out an appeal on our social media page asking for great hair stories from people. I get an interesting response from Preethi Raghav who is a 24 year old entrepreneur with her hair story. She tells me about her teenage tryst with the whole bag of hair tricks: shampoos, conditioners, serums, gels the works. And then in 2012, she decided to literally clean up her act and drop the synthetics.

The result?

“My hair has thickened to almost twice to what it was!,” says Preethi. “Plus, Shampoos and conditioners would leave my hair dry and frizzy no matter what I did! I used to have headaches almost every time after a shampoo. It never occurred to me that the chemicals could be the reason! My hair feels so earthy and nice now”.

Most of us aren’t this kind to our hair. Our five year journey at Krya has given us data points spread over thousands of consumers across different parts of India – and our conclusion is expected. Only a very tiny percent of consumers, no matter what their age , or lifestage is, are happy with their hair’s health. Everyone seems to experiment a lot with hair – we colour it, highlight it, straighten it, perm it, and shampoo it frequently. And all of this has an impact on how healthy or unhealthy our hair is.

 

The structure of our hair

Human hair, actually every single part of the human body is a marvel of bio engineering. The evolution of mammalian hair can be traced back to our common ancestors, the synapsids, which existed about 300 million years ago.
The 2 aspects of hair that we are most concerned about, gloss and strength are attributed to the 2 parts of hair: the cortex and the cuticle.

An intact, smoothly layered cuticle gives us hair that is naturally glossy and shiny. And its strength to withstand tugs, combing, brushing and the stresses of daily life comes from a cortex that has integrity.

 The overlapping scales

hair strand

The picture shows you how hair looks under 200X magnification and what is visible is the outer cuticle layer of the hair. ( The cuticle itself is made up of 6 – 8 layers of cells). Each cuticular cell is made up of proteins , lipids and polysaccharides – they are colourless and arranged in an overlapping roof-tile or fish scale like pattern.

This arrangement ensures 2 important aspects of how your hair is designed to protect itself:
1. the overlapping scale like pattern helps dirt and scales to be removed easily by lifting up the cuticular cells.
2. This overlapping pattern ( which ensures that each cuticular cell overlaps the next exposing only 1/6th of its surface) ensures that the cuticle regulates entry of water, and chemicals forming an effective barrier to protect the inner cortex of the hair.

Important parts of your hair:

  1. Epicuticle – the water barrier – prevents water from entering and being absorbed by hair. Hair which is structurally weak absorbs water and swells changing its shape
  2. A layer – high in cysteine which helps form disulfide bonds to give high structural strength and rigidity to the cuticle. This layer provides the strong structural matrix to hair. Damage to this layer makes your hair structurally weak.
  3. Cortex: Lies below the cuticle and forms the the major component of hair. The keratin protein in the hair is bound by disulfide bonds formed by cysteine residues within the cortex. These bonds are responsible for the natural shape of your hair strands.

 

Hair fall and damage – reasons

Your hair’s life depends on a number of factors like the medication you take, stress, your diet, and also the products you use on it.

The more you style or alter your hair’s characteristics (like colour, texture), the more you change the natural constitution of your hair. While the amount of styling products and treatments each kind of hair can accept is different , less is always more for hair health.

So here are 5 beauty treatments that can permanently damage your hair :

1. Excessive shampooing with SLS / SLES based shampoos
Shampoos exist to cleanse your scalp and remove excessive oil from your hair. But as we’ve discussed before, SLS and SLES are strong detergent like substances that literally bubble the oil out of your hair and scalp. With the sebum layer stripped from your hair, your hair starts to lose its sheen and becomes extremely dry.

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In younger hair, excessive washing can also lead to aggressive sebum secretion from the sebaceous glands – which leads to more washing. This vicious cycle gives you extremely greasy hair that slowly starts to get dry as you grow older and your sebaceous glands start to secrete less oil.

2. Heat (hot air blower or hot water washes)

The constant use of hot water to wash your hair or repeated use of a blow dryer, can damage the overlapping pattern of the cuticle resulting in bumps on the cuticle surface where some of the cuticular cells have been damaged. Your hair therefore appears dull and loses its natural shine and gloss. Further, this cuticular cell loss exposes the inner layers of hair to the entry of excessive water and chemicals which can then damage the inner layers.

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3. Hair texture altering treatments (straightening, perming, relaxing)

Several chemical treatments that are designed to alter hair’s shape or colour (straightening, perming , relaxing) work at the level of the cortex. Any change in hair texture or shape requires that the disulfide bonds within the cortex need to be dissolved. This damages the hair’s basic structural integrity at its core.

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4. Highlights and colourants

Permanent hair colourants use an oxidation reaction that requires a compbination of para dyes (para-phenylenediamine, para-toluenediamine, and para-aminophenol ) with hydrogen peroxide. The hair colouration process takes place inside the cortex of the hair and the entry of these molecules into the hair cortex is facilated by the ammonia in hair dyes and some colours. In the newly advertised “ammonia free” dyes, this entry of the colour molecules is facilitated instead by sodium carbonate or ethylamine – so while your hair colour may be ammonia free, it is still a very dangerous process and is quietly damaging the core of your hair as it uses chemicals to slip past the hair’s natural barriers.

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5. Chemically treated henna

Henna is also being contaminated by the addition of PPD dyes, and kali mehendi or “black henna” is a mixture of henna with PPD derivatives and hydrogen peroxide. Apart from cortex damage, hair dyes also strip the hair of 18-methyleicosanoic acid or 18-MEA. This is an important lipid component of the cuticle. When this is removed from hair, hair becomes coarse and dull.

 

A prescription for happy, healthy hair :

Here’s the first thing: our hair’s structural design ensures that our hair is supposed to look beautiful and feel healthy. All that we want from great hair: shiny, glossy, strong, long, etc, is achieved through the cells, polysaccharides and disulfide bonds and everything else in hair’s natural design.

But here’s the second thing: Unfortunately, we all seem to be rather proud of subjecting our hair to the equivalent of a harsh concentration camp: by using products that are designed to seek and destroy the fine structure of our hair.

So is there a prescription to healthy happy hair?

Yes there is. And we are going to spend more time on this in the Krya blog. But our prescription in short is this:

Oil your hair regularly, wash it when it feels dirty (not too often) with the gentlest possible natural shampoo. Don’t heat it in any way. Eat well and leave it alone.

prescription for healthy hair

  • Oiling, as you might have guessed, helps work the arrector muscles, stimulates the papilla and lends a helping hand to your sebaceous glands as you get older.
  • Washing it less frequently, keeps your cell structure intact – which is important if your hair is already damaged and cannot handle too much washing.
  • Not heating hair too much just makes sense – hair is made of protein, so heating it is basically cooking it – think of frying tofu or an egg – you create an irreversible chemical reaction when you “cook” hair with hot air or water.
  • Eating well is a good prescription for healthy anything – hair, skin, everything else. Our bodies are designed to be supported with dense, nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, high quality grains and micronutrients. Good eating repairs your whole body and gets your hair back to good health.

Lastly, your hair deserves a gentle, completely natural product that does not stress it out. Look for sulphate free, paraben free, all natural shampoos – your shampoo should gently work with you to lift out dirt and additional grease form your hair and scalp. It should not remove so much oil that your hair “squeaks” afterwards. A shampoo that uses natural, plant based surfactants like soapberry, shikakai, is gentle and effective on hair and skin.

So there you have it – a simple, do-able prescription to start with. Does it work? Yes it does. It did for me and a whole lot of other people you are going to be read about this month.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here.

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  2. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend – http://krya.in/blogk/2015/07/my-hair-feels-like-itself/
  3. Is beauty external? We think not – http://krya.in/blogk/2015/02/the-tree-of-life-the-holistic-approach-to-beauty-health/
  4. What should you be looking for on that product label?  

 

 

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