A lot of the products we use today did not exist 100 years ago such as lotions, deodorants, hair styling products, skincare products. How is it that people still had clear beautiful skin back then without using the plethora of products most of us have in our bathroom shelves today?
What Products Did our Ancestors Use?
Instead of lotions, our ancestors used oils and salves that were extracted from plants and seeds. Depending what was available locally, oils and butters were used in massages, baths, and after baths. Oils and butters penetrate deep into the tissues compared to lotion. Some oils and butters are better in penetrating through the layers of tissue more than the others. However, oils and butters in their purest form nourish us internally.
Lotion on the other hand, regardless of whether it is natural or organic cannot be an equal to oil and butters. If you read the label on most lotions, some of the cleaner products will include oils, butter or aloe vera. What are the rest of the ingredients? They are chemicals.
Congesting the Liver
Somewhere along the way, lotions became a hot commodity. Unlike the residue that oil, butter or salves leave on the skin, it is much easier to lather on lotion that “feels” better absorbed. Also, there is a convenience factor to skip doing abhyanga or taking a warm oil bath.
The problem is that the liver has a much harder time filtering the chemicals in the lotions. When the liver is congested with toxins, it cannot filter blood efficiently. If our blood carries forth these impurities, then our skin will reflect this through different conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, and hyperpigmentation among others.
In Ayurveda some of the oils and butters consumed in food like sesame, coconut and ghee are also applied on the body. These are considered the top three for best penetrating deep into the 7 layers of tissue. Bear in mind, that refined sesame oil is used in cooking. The point is these are well digested but they are also well absorbed and able to easily filter through the liver.
Lotions create a dependency, they do not get to the root of the issue- dry skin. This indicates that our internal tissues are dry. Though on surface level we visibly see dry skin. In Ayurveda, we generally identify dry skin as a vata condition and suggest to consume more moist, heavier foods. Also to include a little more ghee or oil in their diet. For external therapy we recommend doing abhyanga regularly as much as possible. For the individual who still has dry skin, it is recommended they moisturize their skin with a doshic appropriate oil after their shower or bath instead of lotions. You can read more on abhyanga and appropriate oils here.