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History of Skin & Beauty Care in Ayurveda

History of Skin & Beauty Care in Ayurveda

Ayurveda is considered as one of the ancient sciences of Health & Medicine. This complete health includes cosmetic aspects as well. As Ayurveda the concept of beauty has an age-old origin as well. Ancient scriptures like Abhijnana Shakuntalam and Meghadootam of Kalidasa and many mythological epics encompass the reference of cosmetics like: Tilak, Kajal, Alita and Agaru that were used for cosmetic purposes. In fact, the concept of beauty and cosmetics is as old as mankind and civilization. Safe solutions, no side effects, use of natural herbs, long lasting impacts etc. have made Ayurveda as choicest cosmetology.

In fact, the concept of beauty and cosmetics is as old as mankind and civilization. The famous depictions in the Ajanta and Ellora caves, Khajurao prove that not only women but men also adorned themselves with jewelry, scents and cosmetics. Enscripted in history is the Aryan period that witnessed the use of Turmeric- Haridra, Saffron, Alkanet, Agaru, and Chlorophyll green from nettle plants and Indigo, Raktachandan, Chandan for beautification. Using Mehendi (henna) for dying hair in different colors and conditioning was also practiced in the olden times.

Use Of Ayurveda For Beauty Care In Ancient India

There is evidence of highly advanced ideas of self beautification and a large array of various cosmetic usages both by men and women, in ancient India.
Many of these practices were subtly interwoven with the seasons (Sanskrit: Rutus) and the normal rituals of life (Sanskrit: Dinacharyā).
Significantly, the use of these products was directed not only towards developing an outwardly pleasant and attractive personality, but towards achieving merit (Sanskrit: Punya), Longevity with good health (Sanskrit: Aayush and Aarogyam) and happiness (Sanskrit: Anandam).

The ancient use of beauty products is believed to have originated in India, but the earliest records of products and their application dates back to Circa 2500 and 1550 B.C, to the Indus valley civilization.

In this context, the earliest reference of a beautician is from the great epic Mahabharata, where the Pandavas were in exile incognito. Draupadi worked for the queen of Virāta (Northern district of India). She called herself Sairandhri (A female attendant in the women's sections of the palace). There is a reference of her carrying a Prasādhana Petikā (A vanity case containing substances to beautify, toiletries and accessories to decorate).

Different Lepās (Masks or applications) were recommended for different seasons for body beautification. The ingredients used during the cold seasons were quite different from those used in warm seasons.

In fact Ashtānga Hridaya (a 1500 year old book of Ayurveda) offers six different formulations to be used for the six seasons of the year. Similarly special Ayurvedic Tailams (Oils) and Ghritas (Clarified butter or ghee) were used for facial beautification. Special ingredients were used for hair washes. Many remedies have been indicated for hair growth, prevention of falling hair and premature graying. Hair dyes, fragrant hair rinses and fumigants were also in use.

Fragrant bath powders and body deodorants also find frequent mention.

Skin According to Ayurveda

As skin is an Upadhatu of the Raktadhatu , it is a mirror that reflects the qualities of the Raktadhatu (blood) and the Rasadhatu (body's plasma tissue).Hence it is a common saying that 'glowing skin is the result of good quality Rasa and Rakta'.