Have you ever used a face cream which just soaks in within minutes, without leaving a film of greasiness? Did you get a deep hydrating feeling that stayed with you all day?
Let me introduce you to a traditional Ayurvedic remedy called shata-dhauta-ghrita or ‘100 times washed ghee’.
Washed ghee is made by placing ghee into a copper vessel and then mixing it with purified water. It is then washed ten times, with the water poured away after each cycle of ten washes; and it is literally washed one hundred times.
The result is an odorless cream of whipped cream consistency that penetrates all seven layers of the skin. It is an excellent anti-aging treatment that smooths wrinkles, fades sun spots, heals burns, and soothes the inflammation of rosacea, eczema and acne.
Of course, after studying it in Ayurveda school, I had to try it and the result was amazing. What I made was a beautiful, silky, odorless and oh so creamy wonderfulness that went into my skin without any oily residue. It left me with a deeply moisturized, silky feeling that stayed with me until I washed my face again.
I really wondered how this worked from a scientific basis, and found a couple of studies that looked at Shata-dhauta-ghrita.
Here is how it works. Washed ghee starts as a lipid (fatty) emulsion and with each introduction of rinsing water, as the pressure from mixing gets applied to the fat particles, it splits them and makes the emulsion more aqueous (water infused).
This ‘fat splitting is the process in which, fat is hydrolyzed in the presence of water to yield free fatty acids and glycerols’ (1). Copper acts like a catalyst to promote fat splitting, (which is why a copper pot is used) and also increases the copper content in the emulsion, and copper is known to have anti-inflammatory effect on skin (2).
A study done by the British Journal of Nutrition (3) suggests that 100 times washed ghee should become a base for pharmaceutical topical preparations. They promote the use of washed ghee instead of using inert ingredients like beeswax, stearic acid or paraffin that don’t have any therapeutic value. Also washed ghee possesses a number of healing factors in itself. Due to its small particle size, washed ghee may be able to deliver pharmaceutical ingredients deeper into the skin tissue.
Ghee is high in butyric acid which is a short chain fatty acid that is linked to an immune response that decreases inflammation. It’s the same stuff that’s added in steroid creams, you know – those that knock out acute inflammation (but have a lot of adverse effects). Well, this is butyric acid made by nature. It also explains why Ayurveda recommends it for inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and acne.
Ghee is packed with Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids. It is also high in Vitamins A, D, E and K, all good for you and your skin. It is also contains high levels of CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, when made with milk from grass fed cows. This in turn makes your skin more resilient to external factors such as stress, sun and pollutants, especially as you age (3). Ghee is also high in antioxidants and numerous other minerals which are good for your skin.
This cream is absolutely amazing, and has become part of my regular skincare routine. After a good exfoliation mask, my skin feels terrific – like I just had a facial.
Bowl & Spoon – You will need a large clean copper bowl. Why a copper bowl? Copper acts like an accelerator to promote fat splitting, and also increases the copper content in the ghee. Copper is known to have anti-inflammatory effects – which means it’s great for psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and acne. You will need a clean spoon as well.
Ghee – I used ghee that I made but you can also use store bought organic cow ghee. Most supermarkets are now carrying it.
Water – I used filtered ice cold water.
Towels – The process can be pretty messy so it is a good idea to have several large towels. I wore my old clothes as this can get messy.
Container – I transferred my washed ghee to pretty glass jars. Just make sure they are airtight so that nothing can contaminate your luxurious cream!
Pour the ghee in your bowl and add an equal amount of water. Use your hand (after washing really well) and swirl the ghee in the water 10 times. This is where a lot of splashing happens. Stir the ghee and water clockwise and then counterclockwise, then throw out the water. I make a note on a piece of paper where I am – after about 50 times, its easy to lose count!
Strain The Ghee
Once you have drained out the ghee, add more water to it and keep washing it. I generally wash at least 10 times with the same water. Then rinse and repeat and drain. It’s a several hour process to wash the ghee a hundred times.
After the last drain, transfer your washed ghee into your pretty containers. Ensure that it is airtight. I prefer to store the cream overnight in the fridge. That firmly sets it and dries off any water still in the ghee. The ghee lasts for about three months easily even in the hot humid summer. If you can store it in the refrigerator, it will have an additional cooling and soothing effect on the skin.
Seshpande.D. (2009). Shata-dhauta-ghrita A Case Study. Journal of Traditional Indian Knowledge. Found online at: http://nopr. niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/5074/1/IJTK%208(3)%20387-391.pdf
Beveridge, A.(2010). Copper and Zinc in Inflammatory and Degenerative Diseases. University of Newcastle, Australia. Found online at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-011-3963-2_9#page-
Daichi Oikawa et al. (2005). British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 2. Modification of skin composition by conjugated linoleic acid alone or with combination of other fatty acids in mice.
(c) Can Stock Photo / vm2002