According to Ayurveda, the skin has six layers that extend deep into the layers of the body. When a skin disease occurs, it is rooted in the various dhatus or tissues like fat, muscles or blood. Most skin treatments that are available through conventional medicine are generally external applications like creams or oils. These, however, never reach the deeper layers of the skin and only treats the ailment temporarily.
Why Skin Diseases Occur According To Ayurveda?
Wrong diet and lifestyle are cited as the two main causes of disease in Ayurveda. Following a diet or life style that is against the season or the prakriti (nature) of a person, creates an imbalance in bodily energies, thus contaminating the body tissues to produce a skin disease.
Although imbalances in the three doshas are also the cause of skin diseases, pitta dosha is specifically noted for causing many skin diseases. Pitta symbolizes heat or fire. People who have serious skin diseases or recurring skin ailments should ideally eliminate food and activities that increase pitta in the body. These would include hot, spicy, fried, oily and greasy foods. Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, yogurt and vinegar should also be avoided. Exposure to heat and sun, drinking too much tea, coffee, alcohol, and smoking also aggravate the pitta.
Small, gradual adjustments in your daily life can make you happier and healthier. Try the following ayurvedic regimen for a few months while following the dietary changes listed above and notice how you feel.
Ayurvedic Summer Skin Regimen
1. Understand your skin type: Your Ayurvedic constitution also points to your skin type, look at our first article in this Ayurveda Skin Care series to understand What your skin type is?
2. Seasonal approach: Let the seasons dictate your skin care. In Ayurveda, food and every other treatment is seasonal. Even if someone has a Vata constitution, they will have to balance Pitta during the heat of the summer. Our climate is a significant energetic input. All approaches to summer beauty from an Ayurvedic standpoint are about balancing Pitta dosha, or bringing in the opposite qualities of Pitta.
3. Exfoliate: Use a raw silk gharshana glove or natural bristle dry brush on your body. It’s key to tone and firm skin and great for places that retain fluid or form cellulite. For Vata and Pitta skin types (dry or sensitive skin), use a raw silk gharshana glove for an effective but less abrasive form of exfoliation. For Kapha skin type (thicker, oily skin), use a natural bristle brush.
4. Practice oil pulling: Swishing coconut oil before brushing your teeth is a beneficial technique not just for stronger gums and teeth but also for overall detoxification including better skin health.
5. Practice abhyanga: Massage is important for boosting radiance as it is to helping manage stress. Abhyanga, an Ayurvedic massage done with warm massage oil deeply moisturizes into all the layers of the skin.
6. Use toner: Use rosewater as a toner. Roses are cooling and support soft and supple skin.
7. Spot treatments: Neem oil is great to use as a spot treatment. Use a cotton-swab to apply it directly on pimples or spots of minor inflammation. It’s drying and similar to tea tree oil but more cooling and better suited for the summer.
8. Use aloe: It is not just for treating sunburns. Aloe vera can make the skin smooth, supple and younger looking. Use fresh aloe gel for best results either to apply topically or to add them in your juices.
9. Moisturize: Add coconut oil in your facial regimen as it is cooling in nature. It may be heavy for some skins, but experiment with it. Ghee or clarified butter is also great as a moisturizer. Organic castor oil can be soothing for irritated skin. If you have excessively oily skin, use chickpea flour as a mask. You can check how to make ubtans or natural skin moisturizers in our second part Ayurveda Skin Care Series here.
10. Sugar for skin: While you may be giving up on sugar because it is been linked with addiction, use it for your skin. Sugar helps boost cell turnover and retains moisture, and it’s considered cooling. Combine sugar with rose petals, slippery elm, and bhringraj, for a facial scrub.
11. Swab with milk: Use full-fat raw milk as a face wash or to soothe dry and irritated skin. Due to the milk’s lactic acid and natural fats it has tremendous moisturizing, softening properties. Adding milk or cream to your bath will also soothe and nourish your skin. Of course, you can use coconut, rice or almond milk too!