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Human skin has its own microbiome—this is information that only recently has come to light in western science. As science unfolds before us, we are seeing more and more that the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda may have, in a sense, already “been there and done that!”
Our skin is home to more than 40 different staphylococcal species. One such species, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is found on healthy human skin of the body and has been shown to cleanse, beautify, and correct the appearance of the skin. (1)
Research shows that S. epidermidis produces a chemical, 6-n-hydroxyaminopurine (6-hap), which may responsible for these effects on the skin. (1)
We all want radiant, glowing, gorgeous skin. So… how do we make this skin-beautifying species thrive?
The answer is abhyanga—the ancient practice of daily self-massage with sesame oil! >>> Watch a video demo now
Sesame Oil: Ayurveda’s Oil of Choice
The ancient texts of Ayurveda revealed many uses for sesame oil. (2) Here are a few of them:
- Karna purana, where warmed sesame oil (often infused with herbs) is slowly dripped into the ears, followed by a thorough, but gentle massage of the ears.
- Basti, a sesame oil enema for a healthy and supple colon.
- Gandusha, commonly known as oil pulling, for healthy detox of the oral cavity.
- Nasya, a powerful therapeutic technique to cleanse the sinuses.
- Abhyanga, the nourishing and nurturing practice of daily self-massage.
Each of these lifestyle practices are aimed at areas of the body where beneficial microbes concentrate: the mouth, ears, nose, mouth, rectum and skin of the body.
The practice of applying sesame oil to these areas cleanses and alters the appearance of the skin. This is why they became part of the traditional Ayurvedic daily routine.
Traditionally, daily abhyanga starts at birth and is commonly practiced every day of one’s life until death.
Now, we have science to help explain this time-tested tradition!
In one study, the healthy skin bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis was isolated from sesame oil – the traditional and most commonly used oil for all of the Ayurvedic oil techniques described above! (3)
This finding suggests that the daily application of sesame oil on the skin may support the healthy proliferation of S. epidermidis.
The microbes that live on the skin feed on a triglyceride-rich fatty acid, called sebum, which is naturally produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin.
Studies evaluating the constituents of sesame oil found that it is very rich in triglyceride fatty acids, suggesting that the daily application of sesame oil may actually be feeding the skin’s microbiome. (8)
Basically, the oil on our skin acts as a source of nourishment for the skin’s microbiome. (9)
The active constituent in sesame oil is a vitamin E-rich compound called sesamol. Sesamol has also been shown to support the beautification and cleansing of the skin. (4,5,6)
S. epidermidis that has been isolated from sesame oil makes a compound called Fatty Acid Modifying Enzyme (FAME). FAME allows S. epidermidis to continue to thrive on the skin and produce 6-hap to support the appearance of glowing, beautiful, clean skin. (7)