Ayurvedic Remedies for Winter Skin

Winter is known as Vata Season in Ayurveda, characterized by the the element of Air.  During the winter months, the air becomes cold, dry and crisp.  As temperatures drop, the dryness of nature makes its way into the body and, if you are like me, reeks havoc on the skin.  Luckily, my studies in Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) have taught me a few amazing techniques that keep my skin looking and feeling soft all winter long!  

Dry Brushing (Garshana):

Dry Brushing the skin is one of my favorite practices, especially during times when I feel I need a detox. Some benefits include:

  • Improves Lymphatic circulation
  • Drains excess fluids and mucus
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Decreases  cellulite
  • Stress Reduction

  I try to do this at least a few times a week!  The first thing you need is a good dry brush with FIRM bristles, like this one.  Before showering in the morning, massage your body from the extremities in towards the heart.  Use circular motions on the joints (ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips and knees) and also on the stomach and buttocks.  I follow up with Abhyanga (see below) before I shower.  I hope you enjoy this nourishing practice!

Oil Self Massage (Abhyanga):

Abhyanga is the anointing of the body with oil. It is a beautiful practice done with love and attention that leaves the body feeling supple, nourished and relaxed.  I love including this practice in my daily routine after dry skin brushing a few times a week (or more if my skin feels especially dry or I'm feeling anxious/ungrounded.) Some benefits include:

  •  Nourishing and moisturizing the skin
  •  Improving sleep
  •  Stimulates circulation and internal organs
  • Calms stress and anxiety

 I like to do abhyanga right before I shower (often after dry brushing), and I warm the oil in my hands or in hot water.  To start, apply oil (I use sesame oil) generously all over your body, then massage the arms and legs first, working your way towards the middle of the body.  Use long strokes on the limbs and circular patterns on the joints.  On the belly and chest, use large clockwise circular motions. Take your time, massage the body with love and attention for 5-20 minutes.  You can also include the scalp, feet and ears- I don't do this every time but try to do at least once every few weeks.  After your massage, you can enjoy a warm bath or shower, the pores with open and the oil will be absorbed more easily.  You can watch a detailed video for self massage HERE. 


Holly Ramey