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Summer Skin Care With Ayurveda

Jul/23/2023 / by Sweta Vikram

An easy guide to a problem-free complexion

Close up of South Asian woman applying facial scrub
Photo via Shutterstock

Did you know that our skin is considered the largest organ? Ayurveda explains that whatever we smear our skin with, it eventually gets absorbed by our organs.

Our skin also reflects our digestive health. The process of digestion is carried out by agni. Therefore, an unhealthy diet and lifestyle will result in the doshas becoming imbalanced and the imbalanced doshas impair agni. This can lead to toxins accumulating in your body and impacting the health of your skin.

If the agni is working at par, the skin looks radiant. But if an individual has ama (mental, emotional, environmental, or physical toxins), their skin won’t be healthy. It will lack luster, and they may even have acne, despite using the best skincare products.

An Ayurvedic vaidya I once worked with said, “If you can’t eat it, don’t apply it to your skin.” That’s a powerful reminder about the skincare products you choose to buy.

The Ayurvedic Approach to Skin Care

The Ayurvedic approach to health and skincare embraces all aspects of a person’s diet and lifestyle. This encompasses what they eat, their sleep patterns, their emotional wellbeing, their exercise schedule, and even the environment where an individual lives—you get the picture. 

The prescribed regimen is also customized and based on the individual’s skin type, which is influenced by their dosha, since the quality of the skin depends on many factors, including the three doshas.

Ayurveda and Summer

Summer is considered pitta season in Ayurveda. Pitta is made up of fire and water. Even though pitta types are most affected by the summer season (highest levels of heat and therefore fire), you don’t have to be predominantly pitta to experience the doshic imbalance. The gunas or qualities of pitta are hot, light, sharp, spreading, pungent, liquid, and oily.

Since Ayurvedic philosophy reminds us that like increases like, a diet or lifestyle with excessive pitta-like qualities will aggravate your pitta dosha. For instance, drinking wine under the sun when it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or eating spicy chicken wings on a hot day will aggravate pitta dosha. Getting into an argument over sports or politics or guzzling a dozen cups of chai or coffee while eating pakodas will have a similar effect.

Ayurvedic Tips for Good Skin Health in Summer

Stay Hydrated

This sounds simple, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Water nourishes the skin and flushes out toxins. According to Ayurveda, iced cold water kills your agni, so choose room temperature or warm water.

Avoid Alcohol

Wine, beer, or any other alcoholic beverage is sharp, acidic, sour, and heating. These can vitiate pitta dosha. Have you ever seen an intoxicated person turn red? That’s pitta showing its anger.

Eat a Summer-Friendly Diet

Ahara (diet) is one of the pillars of health in Ayurveda. Favor the tastes that nourish pitta dosha and choose a pitta balancing diet. Avoid animal meats and fried foods, or anything too spicy or sour.

Exfoliate and Cleanse

A regular facial exfoliating, cleansing, toning, and nourishing ritual is essential to unclogging your skin pores and eliminating dirt and grime that accumulate over time. 

Apply Sandalwood

Choose an herbal face pack which has soothing ingredients like sandalwood. It can be very calming for the skin. 

Heal with Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an Ayurvedic favorite for when you have sunburn. I apply aloe vera gel all over my face and let it soothe, cool, and heal the skin.

Practice Cooling Pranayama

Our mental health affects the health of our skin. Sitali and sitkari are two pranayama techniques which are cooling for the mind and body, and also help reduce stress. You can also practice yoga asanas to release heat from the body.

Sleep Well

Getting good quality sleep and rest is imperative to reducing the puffiness around the eyes and minimizing skin aging.

Move Your Body

Movement releases toxins and lowers stress. But exercising outdoors when the sun is at its peak or in a hot studio can aggravate pitta. It can also cause breakouts and clog pores. In summer, pick an exercise that’s not going to create doshic imbalances. Moon salutations, nature walks, swimming, and other mindful movements can do wonders for skin health.

“Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.”

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of any of these herbs. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic practitionercontact the author here.