Ayurveda – what is it and how can it help our skin? We hear from the experts on how we can change our diet and daily routine to experience the benefits
‘Ayurveda means ‘life knowledge’ or ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit.
It is a system of holistic wellness and healing that has evolved and been perfected continuously over 5,000 years,’ states Abida Halstenberg, the founder of SAMAYA skin care – an ayurvedic skin care line.
Ayurveda’s fundamental idea is that the body, mind and soul need to be in balance in order for an individual’s wellbeing to be in balance in coordinance with your specific dosha.
the body, mind and soul need to be in balance in order for an individual’s wellbeing to be in balance
While we are all wonderfully unique, and there are as many different constitutions as there are people, Ayurveda divides us into three main constitutional types; vata, pitta and kapha, otherwise known as doshas.
The dosha explains what works for us and what doesn’t. They are qualities that influence all of the body’s functions, from biological processes to thoughts and feelings.
We all contain vata, pitta and kapha but it is their particular combination that makes us who we are.
Dry, rough skin with small pores and a dry dehydrated complexion. Vatta are prone to eczema due to their dry skin.
Smooth balanced skin with few visible pores and a rosy complexion. Pitta are prone to psoriasis and rosacea due to the common imbalance in the liver and digestive tract.
Soft and smooth skin with large open pores and an oily complexion.
Good skin health comes from the inside out
Keeping the skin in tip-top condition is not just about looking after the surface.
Glowing skin needs a healthy digestion, nutritious diet, regular cleansing and a good circulation.
‘Ayurveda considers skin to be a mirror of one’s inner health. When our doshas are balanced we are healthy. This is manifested in healthy, radiant skin. When we are not in balance, we can suffer from a variety of disorders and this ultimately shows on our skin in a variety of ways,’ explains Halstenberg.
Here are ways that we can implement ayurvedic techniques in our everyday life depending on what skin problems you are trying to target.
Author of Pukka Life and founder of Pukka Herbs, Sebastian Pole reveals eight tips on how to incorporate Ayurveda into the routines we already have.
#1 Thoroughly cleanse your face before bed
This goes for all doshas, make sure to get all of the days toxins off of your face before bed.
Castor oil is extremely emolliating and great for removing all of the day’s dirt and grime.
Watch the temperature of the water though, as hot water can easily dry out the skin leaving it vulnerable for toxins.
Also be careful of the amount of soap used. Soap can also dry out your skin very quickly.
#2 Add more iron and turmeric to your diet
Iron and turmeric are both foundational ingredients in the Ayurvedic practice.
Iron will help to combat sallow, itchy skin. While turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and liver cleanser that will protect the skin from the inside out.
#3 Eat healthy fats to combat dryness
Getting enough healthy fats in your diet will help to keep your skin hydrated. Nuts and avocados are great foods that have healthy fats in them.
Vatta skin is prone to dryness so padding your diet with healthy fats could help to rejuvenate your skin and bring it back to life.
#4 Eat cooling foods to counteract redness
Foods such as watermelon and cucumber are known to combat redness when applied to the face yet Ayurveda goes one step further by claiming that when ingesting cooling foods this also has the ability to combat redness.
Pitta is the dosha that will struggle with redness more than the others because they are more susceptible to heat, that’s why eating cooling foods and drinking cold water will help to keep the whole body calm.
Use Aloe Vera as a skin tonic, it is the ultimate anti-redness cooling product.
#5 Cleanse your liver and digestive system to help fight acne
Our skin is a good indicator of how well our body is getting rid of toxins.
Skin blemishes, such as acne or spots can be a sign that the liver, kidneys and bowels are not removing waste properly, forcing the body to remove them via the skin.
Dandelion and Burdock Root are great liver cleansers that work well together. Fennel is also a great digestive system detoxifier.
Shatavari will balance hormonal fluctuations that can influence hormonal skin breakouts. It is also a naturally cooling anti-inflammatory.
#6 To fight rosacea focus on stabilisation
The pitta is the main dosha associated with rosacea. Rosacea is typically thought to be an internal imbalance.
Focusing on bringing the body into balance is the best way to treat rosacea since western medicine doesn’t have a topical treatment.
When experiencing a flare up cool cucumbers applied to the skin can help reduce rapid relief as well as applying chamomile to reduce redness.
#7 To fight eczema eat hydrating foods
Vatta is mainly associated with eczema due to the intense dryness in the skin when imbalanced. Foods such as avocados, sweet fruits, cherries and oranges will help to bring the dosha back into balance.
For immediate relief rub an aloe vera gel or cream onto the affected area for intense hydration. Foods to avoid would be dry fruits such as apples, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and melons.
#8 To fight psoriasis eat detoxing foods
Psoriasis is an autoimmune reaction that requires medical help; however, Ayurveda does have some tips on how to calm it.
Avoid overly salty, sour or acidic foods as it can inflame flare ups.
Use yellow dock to clear the digestive tract of toxins, quassia bark which will also clear the digestive tract of toxins and fennel to detoxify the liver.
In cases of a flare up use a soaked banana leaf as a topical treatment to add extra nutrients to the lesion.