Monday, 26 December 2011

Ayurveda & Cosmetics

Apart from the medicinal properties, Ayurveda also has many benefits in skin, hair and body care. Plant extracts and natural substances have been formulated into cosmetic products, according to the Ayurvedic system, not only for the daily care of the skin and hair, but also for the treatment of many problems. One of the major benefits is that biologically active ingredients are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin and influence it at the cellular level.

The plant extracts and natural substances have always been part of cosmetic products since ages. However, pure Ayurvedic cosmetics are without any chemical and can be used not only for the daily care of the skin and hair, but also for the treatment of many problems. Since biologically active ingredients are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin and scalp they effectively influence and treat at cellular level. As discussed above, human body responds extremely well to natural substances, while it has an in-built resistance to synthetic ones. Though natural herbs have a mild effect, yet have powerful and specific healing properties. Similarly, Ayurveda uses natural fragrances of flower and herb extracts which helps calm the nerves and provide relaxation. There are thousands of products available in market and also over Internet claiming to be 'Ayurvedic Cosmetics' by their manufacturer but the fact is that majority of them contains harmful chemicals. Though there is no specific reference about Cosmetology in the Ayurveda, yet these products must follow on the basic principles of Ayurveda. These principles are:

- Ingredients used in Ayurvedic Cosmetics must be obtained naturally from vegetable sources like plants, fruits and herbs.

- Ayurvedic Cosmetics should contain herbs, extracts or essential oils only obtained through recognized traditional ayurvedic plants.

- No animal ingredients, mineral oils, pesticides, chemicals, or testing on animals is allowed.

- Artificial preservatives, fragrances or colors should not be used. Also, alcohol should not be included in manufacturing cosmetics.

Friday, 16 December 2011


Many consumers don't realize the hidden dangers lurking in their so called 'herbal products'. As the labels do not specify exactly what ingredients has gone into the products. A cream or shampoo cannot be made of just herbs or herbal extracts, and in absence of requirement of any safety tests of cosmetic products, many different untested chemicals and low cost synthetic compounds derived from petroleum goes into the product making it as dangerous and chemical cocktail of allergies.

Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are a top hazard in fragrance mixtures. And these fragrances are mixed with essential oils to give natural look and added to the herbal products for long lasting fragrances. These are a group of chemical compounds that are mainly added to plastics to increase their flexibility. Phthalates can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled causing a wide range of health and reproductive problems.

In contrast, natural fragrance ingredients such as essentialoils are obtained entirely from plants. When properly prepared, they have not been associated with significant adverse reactions. However, the natural ingredients are more expensive than synthetic chemicals, resulting in fewer skin care product manufacturers using them.

Similarly use synthetic preservatives such as Parabens (propylparaben, ethylparaben and butyparaben), While they are broad spectrum preservatives, it has striking similarity to the hormone oestrogen. Parabens could be mistaken for oestrogen by the body and disrupt the endocrine system causing depression or cancer.

A shampoo without Sulphates (sodium laurel sulphare or sodium laureth sulphate - foaming agents made from sulfuric acid, monododecyle ester and sodium) is arguably been called one of the most dangerous ingredients in products today. Used up to 15% in essential cosmetics like bath gels, shampoos, is corrosive by nature. It can dry out skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface of the skin, weakening the body's natural moisture regulation mechanisms. Eats away at the follicle causing hair loss.