What is Ayurveda?

The word Ayurveda emerges from two words – Ayur (life/age) and Veda(science/wisdom). The modern medical science starts with the diseases and ends on their symptomatic treatment.

But Ayurveda is unique. It starts with a healthy lifestyle. The primary aim of Ayurveda is not to cure the sick but to preserve the health of the healthy. It is not a defensive but proactive science.Normally it appears to the layman that Ayurveda is all about herbal home remedies and yoga etc. But Ayurveda is complete health science.

The first step for Ayurveda treatment is to stop the disease-causing factors (nidana privarjanama – removal of the cause). Let us look at some of the severely debilitating factors for naturally healthy hair and skin.

Ayurvedais one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. Ayurveda is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples

It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease. But treatments may be geared toward specific health problems.

The basic difference between Ayurveda and Western allopathic medicine is important to understand. Western allopathic medicine currently tends to focus on symptomatology and disease, and primarily uses drugs and surgery to rid the body of pathogens or diseased tissue. Many lives have been saved by this approach. In fact, surgery is encompassed by Ayurveda. However, drugs, because of their toxicity, often weaken the body. Ayurveda does not focus on disease. Rather, Ayurveda maintains that all life must be supported by energy in balance. When there is minimal stress and the flow of energy within a person is balanced, the body’s natural defence systems will be strong and can more easily defend against disease.

Hair care in Ayurveda:

Ayurvedic remedies are time-tested and proven to be the best for hair. They are healing for the scalp and beautifying for the hair.

Healthy hair and radiant skin are the hallmarks for perfect beauty. I remember the knee length hair of my grandmother. Such long and healthy hair were not uncommon a few decades back. Today such hair will make everyone’s eyes pop! The way to long and healthy hair goes back to mother nature. Ayurveda, the ancient traditional medicine, contains the secret to beautiful hair.

Skin care in Ayurveda:

Our skin is an expression of the overall harmony of what’s going on inside & most imbalances show up on our faces. Our skin, the body’s largest organ, acts more like a sponge than a barrier, and absorbs close to 60 to 90% of all that we put on it.

Over the last 50 years, tens of thousands of new chemicals have been developed, most of which have never been properly tested on humans. We absorb a huge array of these synthetic chemicals through our food, our toiletries and our immediate environment, and whilst we may not be able to avoid all of these chemicals, we believe it makes sense to do what we can to minimise contact wherever possible.

For us 100% safe means to be free from any unnatural and toxic ingredient, harsh chemical preservatives, alcohol or unnatural stabilizers, parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals or petroleum by-products, phthalates, mineral oils, hydrogenated oils, synthetic chemical perfumes/fragrances, artificial colouring or preservatives, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins.

NASTY Chemical Ingredients to avoid

We have listed some of the common ingredients that you find in standard cosmetics that you must avoid because they are proven to be hazardous chemicals, highly toxic and potentially dangerous for your health.

There is a major flaw in the body care approach today. It is the outside-in approach of care that is ruining the natural beauty of the hair and skin. We try different external remedies for hair and skin. We drown our hair in a cocktail of chemicals in the form of different shampoos, conditioners, gels, lotions, etc.

These so-called “hair-care products” are nothing but a flood of toxin for our hair. The chemicals are:

1.Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

The chemical that creates lather in a shampoo. But this chemical is known to break down proteins, and our hair is nothing but proteins. It also extracts the natural moisture cover from the hair and the scalp, thus leaving it vulnerable to all kinds of infections and irritation. It brings absolutely no benefit to the hair, only tears it apart after a long-term use. Are we willing to take this risk only for soapy bubbles!

Sulphates (Sodium or Ammonium Layryl, Laureth, Myreth, Sulphate)

Sulphates are essentially synthetic ingredients that are used to create foam or to allow liquid to spread or absorb easily. Sulphates are commonly found in soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, toothpastes and shower gels. Sulphates can irritate the skin and, in some cases, cause eczema. Sometimes sulphates can be contaminated with 1, 4-dioxane that can cause cancer.

What to watch out for on labels of your shampoos

 SLS (Sodium Lauryl sulphate), SLES and other ingredients with the letter’s “eth” (e.g., sodium laurethsulphate) on labels.

2.Parabens

These are preservatives that are used to prevent any microbial growth in shampoos and cosmetics. They have terrible resemblance to human female hormones estrogen. It can create hormonal chaos in the body and lead to many hormonal disorders like breast cancer in female and breast enlargement in males. Here we are talking something much more serious than just hair fall or hair thinning. This chemical is life threatening!

Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Ethyl, Butyl)

Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are commonly used in products like gels, shampoos, lotions, deodorants, toners, sunscreens and antiperspirants.

What to watch out for on labels: Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethyl paraben, butylparaben

3.Propylene Glycol

A shampoo thickener does not add any nutrition to the hair as advertised by most companies, This secret chemical takes away all natural oil from our hair making them dull and dry over a period of time.

4.Sodium Chloride

We have salt not only in the toothpaste but also in the shampoo and all other hair products. But no company advertises that because it is not good for hair. According to Ayurveda, excessive salt intake causes baldness, early greying and hair thinning. And here we are putting salt directly on our head! The ad should be showing “guaranteed hair fall, up to the extent of baldness very soon!”

5.Alcohol

Wine is traditionally used to wash and bring lustre to the hair. But some strong synthetic alcohols used to preserve the shampoos can be very harmful to hair. Alcohol is an acidic substance and pouring a harsh acid on your hair is going to do nothing but to burn your hair right away. This substance is the culprit behind the frizzy and thinning hair.

6.Petrochemicals (Petroleum, Petrolatum, Mineral oil and Paraffin

These are commonly found in lip balms, moisturisers for babies, shampoos and conditioners due to it being a moisturising ingredient and moisture barrier. Research has shown they potentially cause cancer, disrupt DNA and can cause birth defects.

What to watch out for on labels: Mineral oil, paraffin, Petrolatum

7. Talc

Talc is a carcinogen mostly causes lung tumour. This is a base for most body powders, baby powders.

What to watch out for on labels: Talcum powder, talc

8. Perfume/ Parfum / Synthetic fragrance (Phthalates)

These are widely used in almost any ‘fragrant’ product you can think of. Commonly found in perfumes, hair products, deodorants, nail polishes and body lotions, prolonged exposure to this ingredient can disrupt the DNA, cause cancer and can be linked to birth defects. Unfortunately, Phthalates are not required to be listed on labels (as they are classified as proprietary).

What to watch out for on labels: Products that claim an ingredient such as ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’.

9. DEA/ MEA/TEA (diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monoethanolamide)

They are almost always present in foaming products like shampoos, bubble baths, facial cleansers, body wash, etc. Prolonged exposure to this ingredient can cause mild to moderate eye and skin irritations. Research has shown that this ingredient can cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.

What to watch out for on labels: Ingredients that begin or end in DEA, MEA, TEA – e.g. Cocamide DEA, TEA Lauryl sulphate, etc

10. Glycols/PEGs

Polyethylene glycol (PEG), otherwise known as poly (oxyethylene) or poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) are commonly used in cosmetics as cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners and surfactants. Impurities found in various PEG compounds include ethylene oxide; 1, 4-Dioxane; polycyclic aromatic compounds; and heavy metals such as lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium, and arsenic. This causes skin irritation, fluctuates the pulse rates, causes headaches, nausea and dizziness.

What to watch out for on labels: propylene glycol, ingredients with ‘eth’ (e.g., polyethylene glycol)

So the next time you are buying cosmetics, keep a look out for the following:

Does it contain toxins?

How much of the content is actually natural/organic?

Are all the listed ingredients natural or is it just a portion of ingredients that are natural?

Are there any ingredients that are not available in organic forms?

Besides, fragrance and colours used in shampoo can contain heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. Artificial colours used in shampoos are derived from petroleum and coal tar and can be highly carcinogenic.

The other hazardous chemicals found in shampoos much longer Quaternium-15, formaldehyde, Imidazolidinyl Urea (imagine putting urea in your hair for better hair growth), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Triclosan, Retinyl Palmitate, etc.

All of these chemicals have a severely degenerative effect on hair growth. These chemicals might lead to temporary shine and free-flowing hair, but they cause great harm to the hair in the long term. The result is hair loss, dandruff, scalp skin disorders, baldness and so on.

After reading this, it would be amply clear to everyone why this generation does not have the kind of hair that our grannies had!

Therefore, the first step towards growing a dense mass of healthy and lustrous hair is to abandon all these toxic products. We get fooled into believing that these unnatural products can bring great looks and health to our hair in a short span. In short, all the shampoos and other hair products are like the wolf in the story of the red riding hood. They gain your trust and confidence; strip you of your hard-earned money and the hair as well.

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