14 December 2018

Cosmetics- And the price we pay for it.

        Beauty has become an integral part of our existence. We live in an age of ‘COSMETIC OBSESSION’. We are constantly upgrading ourselves when it comes to our appearance in the aspects of fashion and grooming.
Take a moment and reflect upon your entire adult life. Ask yourself this. How much have you put your body through just to look better.To get that pimple off your face. The two hour routine of a bucket-full of creams plastered onto your face. Insufferable amounts of deodorants that you spray on yourself on behalf of the entire neighborhood. Those moisturizers and sun-tan lotions that are religiously present in your bags.

We have all done this.

The sad part is that somewhere deep within us we know that it is not good for us. Yet due to some reasons like peer pressure, beauty myths or just an inferiority complex about one’s own appearances we put our body through it all.

In the race to look better and feel better, there is a lack of ‘AWARENESS’ of the long term effects of daily use products.

The 2 major cosmetic habits that are more dangerous than you may know are

  • Use of Moisturizers for ‘Dry skin’
  • Use of Deodorants for ‘Body odour’


The common ingredients present in almost all commercially available deodorants, which may easily cause enough problems are:

  1. Aluminium Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex gly
  • Prevents the skin from secreting any moisture for 24 hrs (much similar to the pathpogenesis of jwara where the blockage of the swedavaha srotas/the channel related to sweat production, is the main culprit).
  • Aluminium is easily absorbed into our skin and long lasting Aluminium poisoning leads to
    • nerve damage
    • kidney damage
    • Alzheimer’s
    • Breast cancer

(this phenomenon is much like the aetiopathogenesis of gara visha where low doses of toxins, though harmless in small doses, build up over time in our body to lead to harmful effects on a long run).

2. Cocmidopropyl Betaine-

  • interacts with other cosmetics and food products to form ‘Nitrosamines’ – can cause 40 types of cancer.

3. PPG-14 Bustyl Ether-

  • it is a paraben – found in 99% of all Breast cancer tissue.                                                4.

4. BHT-

  • That which gives the smell to the perfume.
  • Antimicrobial preservative.
  • But it is easily broken down by our body and when inside our body, even in low doses it can cause
    • Organ damage
    • Reproductive toxicity.


“Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin. Emollients/moisturizers work by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin. Petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil and dimethicone are common emollients. Humectants, including glycerin, lecithin, and propylene glycol, draw water into the outer layer of skin. Many products also have ingredients that soften the horny substance (keratin) that holds the top layer of skin cells together (e.g., urea, alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic/citric/glycolic acid and allantoin). This helps the dead skin cells fall off, helps the skin keep in more water, and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer.”

The short term the benefits of the moisturizers cloud the long term disaster it may cause because of above mentioned mode of actions.

Hence, even though our use of moisturizers is to nourish and protect our skin, unknowingly on a long run we are weakening our skin for further diseases.

Solution in Ayurveda

The beauty of our science is that our acharyas have given us simple answers to our even day to day problems. The combination of Abhyanga(Massage) and Snana churna (bathing powders) is the most profoundly simple, yet elegant solution provided by our science to combat all of the above mentioned problems.

  • Abhyanga-
    • Best remedy for ‘Dry Skin’.
    • Maintains moisture and texture of the skin.
    • Protects against any rough environmental conditions.
  • Snana churnas-
    • Removes any excess oily layer.
    • A natural alternative to detergent for the same.
    • Removes body odour.
    • Aromatic drugs can be added to give pleasant odour.

Abhyangam aachareth nithyam”( Massage must regularly followed before bath). Inspired by our science, majority of us do follow this in our daily regimen. But practical difficulty along with ignorance leaves it futile. After Massage the main mistake is to wash it off with soap during bath to avoid an oily/sticky skin texture. This makes Massage pointless as the use of soaps will nullify or minimize the effect of Massage. The alternative of using snana churna ensures that the effect of Massage is not countered as it removes only the excess oily layer from our skin.

Snana churnas ( bath powders) can be made even at home for daily use. Not only is it beneficial to tackle the skin types of different prakruti (constitutition) but it is also very economical as it can be made very easily with ingredients available in the kitchen.

  • 50 % – Gram Flour / Besan / Green gram flour
  • 50 % – Desired combination of drugs like Nimba, Manjishta, Haridra, Amalaki, rose powders, Khadira etc.

Dr. Unni Nilanjan,

Sri Sri college of Ayurvedic Science and research hospital,


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