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Skin Care in Ayurveda

Skin is the seat of a sense organ. The senses of touch, pain, temperature, pressure are felt by it. It is a Matruj Avyava i.e. derived from mother or having maternal origin.It gives external covering to the whole body.
The seven layers of skin get their nutrition from Mansa Dhatu {muscle tissue}. It is known as an UpDhatu (secondary tissue product) of the Raktadhatu (blood) because it only mimics the Dhatu's in beholding the body. It does not do Poshan Karma i.e. do not give nutrition to the other Dhatus.
As skin is an Upadhatu of the Raktadhatu , it is a mirror that reflects the qualities of the Raktadhatu (blood) and the Rasadhatu (body's plasma tissue).Hence it is a common saying that 'glowing skin is the result of good quality Rasa and Rakta'.
No amount of bleaching and facial massage or application of make-up through dexterity of a skilled beautician can hide the shallow look if the skin is unhealthy. Conversely, a healthy skin will always look attractive even when devoid of make-up.

Characteristics of a person with ideal skin(Twak Sar /Ras Sar)

  • People with ideal skin have soft, oily, thin, smooth and lustrous skin.
  • They have soft, thin, scanty, oily, black and deep-rooted hair.
  • Eye - brows and eyelashes are black and smooth.
  • They have good eye - sight.
  • In their eyes, pupils, cornea and sclera are very well differentiated.
  • Mouth, Lips, Palate and Tongue are unctuous and oily.
  • These persons do not suffer from skin diseases and their wounds heal quickly.
  • They are intelligent and learned and have the necessary means and wealth to beget worldly pleasures.
  • They like music.
  • They love their family, nation, estate, and property.
  • They enjoy a long, healthy and happy life.

Know Your Ayurvedic Skin Type

The first step in the holistic Ayurvedic approach to skin care is finding out your ayurvedic skin type.

Vata skin is in generally dry, thin,delicate and cool to the touch, easily gets dehydrated, and is very vulnerable to the influence of dry windy weather. Vata skin may age faster, and tends to be dry, rough and flaky when out of balance.

Pitta skin type tends to be fair, sensitive, soft, warm, and of medium thickness. less tolerance to hot food, less tolerance to fieriness in temperament. Pitta skin types tend to be more prone to freckles and moles than the other skin types. When out of balance, Pitta skin can flare up in rashes, rosacea, acne, or sunspots.

Kapha skin tends to have all the qualities of water and earth -- it can be oily, thick, pale, soft, cool and more tolerant of the sun. Kapha skin tends to age slower and form less wrinkles than the other two types. Kapha skin types may struggle with dull complexion, enlarged pores, excessive oil, blackheads, pimples, moist types of eczema and water retention.

Combination-skin can be Vata-Pitta, skin that is both dry and sensitive, Kapha-Pitta-skin is oily and sensitive , and Vata-Kapha- skin that is generally dry with some oily zones.

The ayurvedic approach to caring for combination skin takes into account environmental and seasonal factors. For example, a person with Vata-Pitta skin would follow the recommendations for Pitta skin in summer and Vata skin in winter. The Kapha-Pitta type would follow Pitta recommendations in summer and Kapha recommendations in winter. The Vata-Kapha type would be best served by generally following Vata guidelines, with extra cleansing of the oily zones.

Vata Skin Care

For Vata skin to stay youthful, skin care products used should be very nurturing. They must include some essential oils or herbs in combination, which can nourish the skin and rehydrate it, otherwise it may be susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging.

Going to bed on time, eating regular meals, and following a regular daily routine are essential components of a holistic approach to Vata skin care, as are eating foods that help balance Vata and nourish the Vata skin.

Suggestions for caring for Vata skin:

Vata skin types, for instance, will want to eat more warm, unctuous foods and favor the sweet, sour and salty tastes to balance the dry, rough, moving Vata dosha. Provide added nourishment to your skin by including organic milk, whole grains and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Drink lots of lukewarm water everyday for internal hydration. Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits, they help cleanse the body from within and provide hydration as well. Include a little healthy fat such as Ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil in your diet for added lubrication. A warm oil self-massage is excellent for keeping skin lubricated. Use a gentle, all-natural moisturizer to keep facial skin hydrated. Provide added deep lipid support with facial oil. Get plenty of rest so your mind as well as your body have the opportunity to recharge. Use a gentle, moisture-balancing cleanser and splash your face with water several times when you cleanse.

Pitta Skin Care

The Pitta skin type needs both cooling and nurturing. Use skin care products that help enhance resistance to the sun. Avoid tanning treatments and therapies that expose your delicate, sensitive skin to steam for extended periods of time.

The Ayurvedic herb Flame of Forest can help protect Pitta skin from photo sensitivity. But like other Ayurvedic herbs, it needs to be used in combination with other herbs for a balanced effect on the skin.

Suggestions for caring for Pitta skin:

If you have a Pitta skin type you will thrive on sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, as found in sweet, juicy fruits, rose petal preserve, and cooked greens. Avoid hot, spicy foods. Stay away from harsh, synthetic cosmetics; they can damage your sensitive skin and cause breakouts. Avoid hot spicy foods and an excess of deep-fried foods, they add heat to an already fiery constitution. Eat lots of sweet juicy fruits and have some rose petal jam in cool milk every day. The rose is considered cooling for mind, body and emotions. Use cooling oil, such as coconut oil, for the daily massage. Cook with cooling spices such as fennel and licorice. Take extra care to protect your skin when you go out in the sun. Use gentle, natural skin care products for cleansing and moisturizing. Provide added lipid support, such as facial skin oil, every other day.

Kapha Skin Care

Kapha skin, because of its thickness and oiliness, is more prone to accumulate ama -- toxins under the skin. People with Kapha skin need to do detoxification on a regular basis, both internal detoxification and external detoxification to flush toxins from the skin,
Scrubbing the skin with a gentle exfoliating clay can help external cleansing. Kapha skin types may also need to take herbal formulations to cleanse the skin from within.

Suggestions for caring for Kapha skin:

The oiliness of Kapha type skin calls for a diet that is warmer, lighter, less oily, and free of heavy, hard to digest foods. Eating more bitter, astringent and pungent tastes help stimulate digestion and balance Kapha skin. Avoid too many sweet foods or deep-fried foods, they add to the oiliness in the skin. Exercise everyday to improve circulation. A daily warm oil massage can also help circulation. Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruits to help cleanse the body from within. Cleanse your skin twice everyday; exfoliate with a mud-mask at least once a week. Cook with warming spices such as ginger and black pepper to stoke the digestive fire and inhibit the accumulation of Ama inside the body.

Nourishment for skin:

Besides following the diet for your skin type, following foods are terrific skin-enhancers: leafy green vegetables; easily digested proteins such as paneer, milk, tofu, sunflower seeds; foods high in zinc such as quinoa; and beta-carotene-rich foods such as carrots and sweet cherries. Almonds and walnuts support the skin with their protein and lubricating fat content. Some skin-friendly spices include turmeric to nourish the first four layers of the skin; cumin to rid the body of ama; black pepper to cleanse the channels, and fennel to balance the transformational ability of the skin. All antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as pomegranate, apple, pear, and bitter, green leafy vegetables are also excellent for the skin. Eat only fresh, whole and organic foods. Stay away from packaged, canned, frozen, processed, and packaged foods.

Effect of stress on skin:

There are three types of stress, and all three impact the skin in different ways
Mental stress starts a chain reaction that ends in a drying out the moisture in the skin. Thinning, dryness and the shrinking of the 'shrotas' (microchannels) that carry nutritive fluid to the skin result in wrinkles and stress lines.
Emotional stress also affects the skin-just notice how anger or embarrassment can turn your face red. This shows the connection between emotions and the skin. If emotional stress becomes chronic, the result is acne, sun sensitivity, and other Pitta-based problems.
Physical stress Exercising too much, working too much, or straining the body over a period of time causes physical stress. This causes the drying out of skin moisture and rough, aged skin.

To counteract mental stress, maintain a Vata-pacifying diet and daily routine. To bring emotional stress into balance, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet and routine. For physical stress, try to limit exercise or work to fifty percent of your physical stamina.

Treatment for skin disease:

The holistic management of health problems in ayurved comprises the three fold scientific approach towards diseases through diet, lifestyle and medicine.

Ayurveda has stated that skin diseases occur primarily due to sluggish liver function, which leads Pitta and Kapha Dosha dysfunction when toxins build up and the liver is overwhelmed, then the impurities show up in break-outs and other skin problems.

Another vital factor that contributes to healthy appearance is the clean bowel: hence the need for regular and complete bowel evacuation. In order to achieve this, a mild laxative like 'Trifala' and a light diet are advisable if one suffers from constipation.
Also, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to help flush out the impurities. In spring you can sip hot water to help melt the ama (digestive impurities) that have accumulated.

Scientifically treatments have been classified as Shodhana & Shamana.

Sodhan Chikitsa:

When doshas are vitated in large guantity & disease is chronic then shodhan chikitsa should apply first.
Acharyas have classified shodhana as Basti, Vaman, Virechana, Raktamokshana (Blood letting) & nasya.

Shaman Chikitsa:

When doshas are minimally imbalanced & the body is weak. Shaman Treatment is more important.
Shaman treatment can be classified as external & internal.
Administration of proper food, medicines by mouth is internal treatment & the application of medicated oil, lepa (ointment), etc is external treatment.

Ayurveda has said that for all skin diseases 'Khadira' is best as oral medicine and 'Aragwad' is best for local application.
Shirish, Lamajjak, Nagkesara and Lodhra are used for Hyperhydrosis and as an anti sweating agent.
Tejpatra, Ambu, Lodhra, Abhay {Khas} and Chandan are used as Daurghandya- har {to prevent body odour}
Charaka has mentioned a group of 10 drugs, which are promoters of complexion. They are known as the 'Varnya Dravya': Chandan (Sandalwood),Lal Nagkesar (Fragrant Poon), Padmaka(Himalayan Cherry),Ushir (Cuscus Grass) ,Madhuka(Liquorice) ,Manjishtha(Madder) ,Payasa(White Yam) ,Shita (White Scutch Grass), Lata (Black Scutch Grass) .

Shata Dhout Ghruta (100times washed ghruta) :
Traditional Ayurvedic Skin Cream - It's completely natural and chemical free. Very useful for achiving radient and glowing skin.
Shatadhout Ghruta is preapred from organic ghee (made from cow milk) by washing it repeatedly 100 times using specific method prescribed in Ayurveda. This process transforms the ghee into a soft ,cooling, nourishing, silky cream.To enhance the effect herbal churnas of Palash,Vata,Udumber,Ashwatha are added to it.
Recommended use: It is an excellent Astringent, Moisturiser, Anti-wrinkle & Cleansing cream. Can be used as a daily moisturizer on the face (or whole body) or for facial massage. Also, has calming effect on reddish or burned skin, and on eczema and rosacea.

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  • We acknowledge that while preparing this article we have taken help of an article by 'Vaidya, Rama Kant Mishra' of www.mapi.com
    Note - This information is for educational purpose and is not intended to replace standard medical treatment or advice.
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