Natural skin beauty can be affected by exposure to weather, pollution, direct sunlight, chemical sprays and repeated washing with soap and detergents.

The vitality and suppleness of the skin depends on its ability to retain oil and moisture and over-exposure to any of the above dries up the outer layer of the skin.

The health of the outermost layer of the skin determines its efficiency. As the oil glands in the skin dry up or wither away, the skin becomes dry, flaky and cracked. This allows increased water loss which causes wrinkling skin. That is why Ayurveda recommends regular application of oil to the skin before having a bath or shower.

Here is a modified natural skin and beauty treatment for you to try at home: Cook a bowl of rice and place the boiled rice in the centre of a piece of linen. Collect the four corners of the linen and tie them together to make a rice poultice . Add some orange peel to50-100 mls of sesame seed oil and warm for 2-3 minutes. Keep the oil warm. Dip and soak the rice poultice in this warm oil and dab the whole body, starting with the feet and working your way up the legs, arms, trunk and finally, lightly on the face and neck. The whole treatment should take about 20-30 minutes. Make a paste of chickpea flour in water and apply to the whole body to wash off the oil. Then have a bath or shower but do not use soap or bath foam.

This treatment is called Navarakhizi in southern India. It is very useful for maintaining skin beauty and moisturising the skin, soothing eczema and easing tension and pain in joints and muscles. Various herbs are used and medicated oils are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat different conditions.

For example, neem and turmeric extract oil is used for skin diseases; Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is used to improve skin and muscle tone; lotus, turmeric, sandalwood, rose oils are used for skin beauty. Another celebrated beauty oil is Kumkumati, made from extracts of Crocus Sativus, sandalwood, licorice turmeric and a few other herbs. This oil can be used to soak the rice poultice and dab it on to the face and neck after washing off any make-up with lemon water. Of course, one needs to have a healthy lifestyle, good wholesome nutrition and regular exercise and a cheerful temperament to look beautiful.