Non-Ayurvedic Cosmetics vs. Ayurvedic Cosmetics – Effects on Your Skin & Hair

The Recova Thought

Non-Ayurvedic Cosmetics vs. Ayurvedic Cosmetics – Effects on Your Skin & Hair

At Recova Life, we constantly exhort people to eat a plate-full of naturally grown fruits at regular intervals. Try replicating the exercise next with a plate-full of factory-produced processed foods. Does your stomach register a difference? Though not obvious initially, you would over time, see a marked difference. The stuff which is nature based does not have any obvious (or otherwise) side-effects, makes you feel full, satiated and satisfied. The factory-produced matter though tasty, makes you feel heavy, bloated, in some cases thirsty. You need to consume a lot of the latter to get anywhere near the feeling of being satiated. By then, you would in most cases feel like throwing up.
Something similar is the case with your skin and hair. In fact, their reaction being on a sub-conscious & uncontrollable level could be far more obvious and visible sometimes. Rashes, open wounds, lesion, dry chapped skin or excessive oil on top, hair which becomes dry, itchy and lifeless or excessively oily, sticky and lumpy. These could be some of the symptoms that come about due to the prolonged use of chemical-based cosmetics. Agreed, the effect is skin deep but even that is good enough to give most users a tough time what with our ultra-busy life-styles and need to look good at every hour!
So, I, Dr Madhura Bhide of Recova Life, then askes you the reason why chemical-based cosmetics react the way they do and why one should stay away from them? From my over 2 decades of diverse experience in the field and my extensive reading on the subject have led me to the conclusion that chemical-based, mass, factory-produced cosmetics in most cases do more harm than good to anyone’s skin due to the fact that they are based on the premise that a single product can work wonders on all manner of skins. Add to that is the fact that these applications are based on harsh chemicals like bleach, silicate and P-Phenylenediamine to name a few which themselves are the product of other factories and are sometimes used for industrial applications. You could very well imagine the effects of heavy, industrial chemicals on your sensitive, fragile skin and hair. Are they, our hair and skin, made of metals, polymers, epoxies or anything that the industry uses? No. Our skin, like the rest of our body is made of natural, biodegradable flesh, bones, cartilages and the likes. In Ayurveda, every living being’s basic constituents include Space (Ether)/ Akasha, Air/ Vayu, Fire/ Tejas, Water/ Jala and Earth/ Prithvi. Add to that whatever we get from our parents and ones before them in terms of genetics. These don’t stand a chance before harsh chemicals and the only way they protest is by reacting.
It is precisely for these reasons that Ayurveda prescribes personalizes individualized medication which goes to the very core of each issue such that no two medications for two individuals and/ or two situations can ever be identical. Even if they seem, they would differ either in terms of intensity of dosage or its efficacy. More importantly, Ayurvedic preparations in almost all cases are nature-based using herbs, barks, leaves and bye-products of plants and sometimes Animals without causing harm to their existence.
Today I take up the case of women’s cosmetics and tell you how half-a-dozen chemical-laden over-the-counter cosmetics affect skin and hair, and where Ayurveda can be of help.

1. Lip stick!

Thick red lips! Most men would give anything for those! Ask them what they would give if the woman needs to amputate them! Yes, that is precisely what happens when you use the lead-laden paste on your lips day in and out. Lead, a known carcinogen goes through the skin directly into your blood-stream and has the potential of causing cancers of various kinds in various parts of the body. And yes , darker the color more the lead and higher the likely incidence of cancer. The Ayurvedic alternative for soft lips is home made ghee & cocoa butter. Available in most homes, it is very, very effective, palatable and has zero side effects!

2. Kohl or Kajal!

If red, glossy lips scare you, get ready for more! Your favourite eye-liner and kohl comes next. Their constitution too isn’t any different. With the stated objective to make you “look good” come what may, some unscrupulous kajal/ kohl makers resort to all kinds of chemicals and by-products that bring out the rich, black color- even vehicle and diesel-engine exhaust! The result? Dry, itchy eyes which even lose their color with time. Besides, using such products invite all kinds of conditions like glaucoma, conjunctivitis and uveitis. In Ayurveda, you find the original alternative! Kajal made from aloe vera gel!

3. Talc

The next time you see a model douse her/himself with the stuff, remember most talcs (talcum powder) are no better than asbestos in powdered form! Yes asbestos which forms the base for most vehicle brake-liners and is a known carcinogen! You could actually be applying stuff which in some cases could be worse than asbestos. The base of most talcs is silicate which is known to cause lung infections and allergies. Add to this are chemicals which make it “anti perspirants” or sweat blockers. What they do is block the sweat pores, increase the accumulation of toxins below the skin surface AND, through the skin pores, enter the blood-streams to spread chaos in various parts of the body. In women who apply talc to their private parts, there is always the danger of carcinogens affecting their reproductive organs. Ayurveda prescribes for safe alternatives as dusting bodyparts with sandalwood powder or udwartan.

4. Skin bleaches

Bleaches are typically used in the cloth industry to bring out the bright, white colors. With most Indians having a thing about the color white, be it one’s skin color or the color of clothes, bleach tends to have lots of uses- including skin whitening. Besides the fact that it plays of people’s psyche and causes all manner of mental derangements, the exercise of skin whitening using bleaches can cause excessive dryness, rashes, swelling, redness and peeling. Continued use can cause open wounds and ungainly wrinkles. In Ayurveda, we find the right answers to lighten skin tone using yashtimadhu ghrut, which in its basics is medicated ghee of Jeshtamadh.

5. Hair coloring and dying

If you haven’t heard of P-Phenylenediamine, you haven’t lived to see your hair die. Yes, P-Phenylenediamine is the name of the chemical which forms the base of most hair dyes and coloring. Its adverse effects on one’s hair are as many as the words in its name. From cancers of the eyes and lings to skin irritation & allergies of various kinds to neuro & immune-toxicity and beyond, it is the one central theme in all these. And this i.e., P-Phenylenediamine is just one of the known and harmful chemical used in the making of hair dyes and colors. There are plenty such things with effects which are just as bad if not worse. To live long, turn to Ayurveda which describes the use of heena mixed with amla powder and soaked in an iron vessel overnight ( differing proportions of heena and amla powder give different colours to the hair) to color your hair and color it the right way!

6. Nail polish

The very sight of a woman fresh out of a bath applying nail polish talks of humanity’s need to look good from every angle. And most women do it equally religiously. Nail art it is called and the ingredients used in most (if not all) nail polishes has nothing arty about it. Most are downright harmful. To bring out the right shades and colors, most manufacturers won’t shy away from using industrial-grade raw materials otherwise used in paints for ships and seagoing crafts. These HAVE to be harsh to take care of the marine and corrosive atmosphere. Imagine what they could do to your easily-degradable nails! On top of that, to take out today’s nail polish to put a new layer of misery, most women use “removers” which are worse than the nail paint itself. Made of one of the harshest known chemicals called acetone, it can cause things like dryness and chipping of the nails to drying of the skin and even cancers if used regularly. At Recova, I tell my clients and patients to put an end to this chemical warfare on ourselves and shift to Ayurveda at the earliest. For nails, Ayurveda prescribes application of ghee and sometimes rosewater wash.

7. Soaps

Soaps in their standard, factory produced avatar is nothing but a bar of industrial chemicals meant to cleanse our skin. In most cases it does its job so well that there is not much left after a few rounds of application be it to the body or the face. Better still, move to Ayurveda and use Utane (example-a mixture of triphala churna, Indian sarsaparila and rose petal powder) mixed with milk. Used before a hotwater bath, it is well, THE best scrub on earth!
At the end I have just one thing to say. Chemicals are who we are. Right from what we think to what we eat to what we do is either a product of chemicals reaction or has chemicals as their important ingredient. Not every chemical though is harmful to us. Most in fact are beneficial and a need for the body. It is just that we need to know what to consume when and in what quantities. It is precisely in these aspects that Ayurveda helps with its personalized, individualized approach towards knowing of one’s ailments and ways to bring relief.
If Ayurveda interests you and you think it could be of use to you, we suggest you visit our website You are sure to find a treasure-trove of information about Ayurveda and what Recova Life does to advance it.

Disclaimer :

This article is meant solely to provide information about remedies under Ayurveda and is not meant to be used for diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.
Where the reader or any other person has chronic and/or dire health issues, it is advisable to consult a trained and certified medical practitioner for a complete and comprehensive diagnosis which can address the underlying issues effectively.
Recova Life and its constituents are also certified medical practitioners who can be consulted. Our numbers are +91 83800-16119 and Email ID
With respect to the consumption of any herbs, fruits, vegetables and the likes mentioned here, it would be advisable where you consult a certified medical practitioner for his/her opinion before-hand.

Madhura Bhide
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