An Ayurvedic Approach to Skincare

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One of my favorite things to do when I am in India is to visit Ayurveda skincare stores – which I did on my recent trip. There has been a boom in them over the years. You have your basic Patanjali Ayurveda products to high-end, organic, Ayurvedic skincare brands like Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, and several others. There are Ayurvedic spas nestled in small towns, mountains, as well as big cities where they use fruits, veggies, essential oils, herbs, and other natural ingredients in all their offerings. Looking at the list of ingredients, evaluating their combinations, and assessing which skin type they match with is pure joy.

In case you are wondering, Ayurvedic skin care can include facials, face masks, and herbal formulations. Think the turmeric-gram flour scrub or homemade exfoliants made from rose petals or orange peel or a neem-based face mask. Some of these remedies may help in the treatment of skin issues, like acne, eczema, dryness, redness, and rosacea.

Basic Principles

Ayurveda reminds us that skincare requires a holistic approach. Both the resilience and glow of a person’s skin is considered a reflection of their health and digestion. Acne and blemishes or burning sensation on the face tells us a lot about what’s happening inside the gut. They are also an insight into our digestive and elimination issues. It’s important to make sure that your digestion is functioning properly so that ama (toxins) don’t build up. It’s equally important to eat foods that won’t increase inflammation.

Doshas for the Skin

In Ayurveda, we look at skin on a deeper level. It’s beyond “dry,” “oily,” or “combination.” That is why surface treatments and remedies won’t eradicate skin issues. Be it redness or inflammation or scaliness or oily or breakouts or blackheads, we can rely on Ayurvedic doshas to explain these conditions. The skin is one of the primary places where bhrajak pitta (One of the five subtypes of pitta) resides in the body. Since skin is the seat of bhrajaka pitta, it is responsible for imparting color, texture, and complexion to the skin. That’s why skin is especially vulnerable to pitta imbalance and an active outlet for it.

Understanding Your Skin Type

Ayurveda classifies skin based on the dominant dosha. The skin types include:

Vata: Dry, cracked, cool to touch, and ages quickly. It is likely to have a thin texture with fine pores. This skin type is likely to show early signs of aging as it tends to get dry, dehydrated, and flaky when vata dosha is imbalanced. For vata skin to stay youthful, skin care products that can nourish and rehydrate the skin should be used, otherwise it may be susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging. Warm oil self-massage may help.

Pitta: This type of skin is extremely sensitive and prone to getting tanned. Often, pitta skin is of medium thickness, soft, fair to pale with a warm complexion. It has a tendency toward acne, moles, and freckles when out of balance. It ages moderately fast and doesn’t do well with hot and spicy foods. For pitta skin, the recommendation is a daily use of good sunscreens for protection from the sun and good facial skin oils. Pitta skin doesn’t handle excess heat well.

Kapha: This skin type is normal or oily, clear, smooth, firm, and ages slowly. Kapha skin tends to show enlarged pores, blackheads, and water retention in times of imbalance. People with kapha skin should deeply cleanse their face and exfoliate to maintain skin health.

Tips for Glowing Skin

One of my Ayurveda teachers would often say, “Anything you won’t eat, don’t apply to your skin.” Skin is the largest organ in our body. Whatever we smear it with, it eventually gets absorbed by our organs. Do you see why chemical-laden skin products can be harmful to you?

Ayurvedic protocols address common causes of skincare issues like stress, underlying health conditions, hormonal imbalances, environmental toxins, and improper diet, digestion, and lifestyle.

  • Detoxifying the body with yoga asanas gives both inner and outer glow. This is a natural way of improving skin health.
  • Implementing good dietary practices by eating doshically appropriate meals, avoiding junk food, cutting down on mindless snacking or erratic eating all help reduce toxin build up in the body.
  • Hydrating diligently — preferably by sipping on warm water — will help keep the skin supple.
  • Getting good quality sleep and rest is imperative to improving immunity, reducing puffiness around the eyes or fine lines, lowering skin aging, and enhancing the quality of your skin.
  • Meditation, mind, pranayama, and stress have a strong relationship. Calming the mind and lowering stress affects how you eat, live, and navigate the world. Those choices impact your skin.
  • Following a wholesome skincare regimen and personalized Ayurvedic therapies can be beneficial.
  • Exercise can improve blood circulation and tone your skin.

Looking for a personalized protocol for your skincare regimen? Curious which carrier oils and essential oils are best suited for your skin? Ever wonder what foods aggravate your skin? Should you apply oil or not? If you want to embark on a journey to achieving healthy, younger, and radiant skin, consider booking an Ayurvedic consultation.

“A good digestion turneth all to health.” ~ George Herbert

For more of The Balanced Life on SEEMA.com, check out Time We Addressed Mental Health