I'm really excited about this post for a few reasons: 1) I've had it on my list since at least October. 2) The results have been amazing. 3) I've learned some new, amazing things that have made this acupressure facial even more amazing.
So, I was talking to this Ayurvedic practitioner about some under eye inflammation that I have and I've known for several years I get what is called Vatta aggravated, both emotionally and physically. I tend to have dry skin that's also prone to acne and inflammation, mixed with the emotional component of being a bit capricious and having a scanty, unpredictable appetite. Those two emotional things might be related. So, when talking about these problems one thing I realized is both with my diet and skin care I tend to over detox. Instead of option for mellow toners and a steady healthy diet, I tend to opt for astringent, detoxifying skin care. The same goes for my diet I like detox and sometimes skip meals, because the exact thing I think I should be eating isn't around. All of this leads to all kinds of Vatta problems, combine this with the way I practice yoga which is a whole different beast, creates a real, inflammatory irritable problem. It's not all that bad it's not that my skin is flaky and I'm cranky all the time, but that's where my tendencies lie. We've all got 'em.
So, while describing these problems he recommended oiling skin at night with a light massage, followed by a little bit of steam to get everything in my skin moving to keep my sinuses and skin clear. Sometimes it's the simplest things that make the biggest difference. I've been toying back and forth with oil cleansing for a long time. I've tried everything but the castor oil that is recommended. I've used avocado, apricot, coconut oil, and any combination of these you can think of and making a general mess of my skin, until I finally go back to other types of face washes. Anyways I thought this would be the perfect time to revisit my oil cleansing saga, while also practicing massage specifically around my lymph nodes and sinuses. Going back to the Vatta thing — I was always taking things out of my skin but never adding them back in creating the types of unbalances I talked about before, but the oil adds a nourishing element that's been missing for me.
I've learned a bit about acupressure, facial massage, and face exercises over the years. All are effective, but the combo of massaging to relax the muscles, oil to nourish, and acupressure to stimulate works really well for my nightly routine, and it's not quite as time consuming as you might think. Maybe somewhere around 10 minutes, not a bad trade off for clear, glowing skin. So, like I said, I've struggled with acne and inflammation since my late teens, somewhere between 18-19. I made it through high school mostly unscathed by skin conditions, but my onset has really been a part of adulthood, specifically the hormonal kind around my chin, combined with over all dry skin, this can really be something to tackle. Oh, in case you need another selling point I read this article about French women being partial to face massages at night to keep the circulation going and keep their skin bright. There are some good pointers in there too.
Oh, there's a recipe for skincare oil, too. Like I said, I've tied a bunch but a castor oil base has been the only thing that keeps my skin really clear, removes makeup, and leaves skin hydrated. The problem with the other oils is that, for me at least, they're not as penetrating. They sort of stay on the surface of my dry skin and I wipe the oil off and it looks a little better, but definitely not the supple skin I was hoping for. Plus the thinner oils have a way of moving back into the hairline, which is really irritating, especially for those of us who work really hard to not wash their hair every day. I love washing my hair, but it's just not the best thing to strip the oils daily.
Here's what you'll need for the cleansing oil:
Note: I really didn't measure the herbs at all. I do use a 2:1 of castor oil to apricot oil, which is the really important part. The herbs are more flexible.
- 2 tablespoons of castor oil
- 1 tablespoon of apricot oil
- 2 teaspoons of dried rose buds
- 2 teaspoons of lavender flowers
- Shake up your oil before using it.
- I really just dab my finger into the jar 3-4 times and dab a small amount on my face a little goes a long way. You want to make sure your hands and face are completely dry.
- Massage off any eye make up first. You can wipe a bit of it off before you keep going so you don't rub it into your skin too much. Same with lipstick.
- For massaging I usually start at my forehead and with my index and middle finger drag my fingers from the center down to the temple, repeating this down to my eyebrows. Then to around my eyes. I take the same fingers and massage starting from the inner corner of my eyes (underneath) and moving outward up towards the eyebrow. Repeat this 3-5 times.
- Then for the eyebrows, start from close to the nose and drag your fingers along the inside of you eyebrows 3-5 times.
- Now for where I really need it, puffy under eyes and sinus area. Around her you can use more pressure than the area right around the eyes. Start about and inch under the eye and with bit more oil if needed take your index and middle finger and roll over the cheeks starting at the edge of the nose working slightly upwards towards the ears. I make sort of a crescent moon shape. I pay special attention to under the apples of my cheeks. It tends to get congested there.
- You can do a similar thing for around the mouth and jaw, drawing the fingers out and up slightly starting about an inch out from your lips to the side of the face. Follow this down to the jaw.
- For around my mouth. I usually take my two middle fingers and place them about half an inch above the upper lip and drag them out to the edges several times. I do the same on the lower lip, fingertips facing upward.
- To encourage drainage around my neck area I take my head up a little bit and with the tips of all of my fingers apply broad pressure starting under the chin, then going around and to the sides of the neck towards the collarbone, 3-5 times.
- To get the oil off you're going to want to use a clean cloth every time you do this, run it under very warm water. You want it to be producing steam. You can also do this in the shower. Anyways, get your wash cloth hot enough to produce steam and bring it close your face letting the steam cool. Once the cloth is cool enough you can put it all the way on your face. Repeat this and then make sure to use the same cloth to wipe off any extra oil.
- I do the acupressure afterwards. It's funny ever after all that I still find the muscles in my face are sometimes really reactive to the pressure points. As in, the muscles still aren't completely relaxed. I follow through the 26 points shown here in the Do It Gorgeously, a book I never get tired of. Just follow the alphabet. You can used your fingers or the end of a make up brush applying pressure to each point for about 5 seconds. I do both sides at the same time. You're not supposed to but I just do mirror image. My favorite spots are H and G, J and I, V and U, and Y and Z. That's where I tend to get the most tense.