Healthy skin is the glowing signature of balance and health. In fact, the classical Ayurvedic texts describe clear and glowing skin just as such. Yet in the western and modern world, we have relegated clear, happy skin uniquely to the regular use of expensive and complicated chemical formulas and treatments, assuming that a skin condition must require treatment at the level of the skin only. Here in the west, blemish-free, well-balanced skin is marketed as an external achievement typically purchased at the drug or cosmetics store.
But Ayurveda takes an entirely different approach. Ayurveda intends first, to look internally to uncover the hidden, underlying cause of the imbalanced appearance of the skin, rather than to aggressively apply band-aid, topical solutions.
Skin imbalances can be a result of both an imbalance in the Doshas and an accumulation of Ama (toxic waste, the by-product of poor digestion and exposure to toxic inputs), or a lack of Ojas (vitality, the by-product of healthy digestion), due to imbalanced Agni (digestive fire). Therefore a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner or Ayurvedic doctor will look to these areas first before recommending any practices or products.
Thus, glowing, vibrant skin is an internal job. It is not a quick fix. It is not something that can be bought. Happy, healthy and radiating skin is the by-product, the aftermath of living in alignment with nature’s intention for us in these bodies. It is the natural end result of living Ayurvedically.
But, this doesn’t mean that it has to be complicated! In fact, with just a few tweaks in the ways in which you meet life as medicine; in your lifestyle (Vihara), diet (Ahara) and lastly, internal and external herbal treatments (Aushadhi), you can finally uncover the facial complexion that you have always dreamed of, plus, your body and life will transform in ways that you could never have imagined.
Join our founder, Tiffany, on Saturday July 31, 2021 from 10am - 4pm EST for a full immersioninto discovering potentially radical shifts in your understanding of the true sources of imbalanced skin and simple adjustments that you can begin to make now so that gorgeous skin becomes a natural and effortless side-effect of the way you live this life.
Ayurvedic Skin Types
In our one-size-fits-all culture, the skin-care industry is of course, not immune to this limited mentality. But in Ayurveda, there are 4 clear skin type classifications, according to the associated Dosha.
Predominating Elements (Mahabhutas): Air (Vayu) + Ether (Akasha)
This skin type, when out of balance, will tend towards dryness, itchiness, thinness and wrinkles and pre-mature aging. Vata-predominant individuals will require more heavy and nourishing energy in their lifestyle, diet, herbal recommendations and skin-care routine in order to keep their skin from drying out and becoming more fragile.
Vata skin requires hydration, nourishment and extra protection compared to the other Doshas. They may struggle the most in Vata season (late summer to early winter) and will need to give extra care at that time in order to retain the porcelain-type skin that they are famous for.
Predominating Elements (Mahabhutas): Fire (Tejas/Agni) + Water (Apas)
This skin type, when out of balance, will lean towards sensitivity, redness, burning, oiliness, excessive sweating, acne, and other inflammatory conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and dermatitis. They will require more cooling and soothing energy in order to remain balanced and harmonious and to avoid inflammatory eruptions and irritations.
Pitta skin requires great care, and this is especially true during Pitta season (summer), when Agni actually spreads from the digestive tract into the blood in order to keep the core temperature cooler. This light, heat, intensity and sharpness can then diffuse through the skin as redness and flare-ups.
Predominating Elements (Mahabhutas): Earth (Prithvi) + Water (Apas)
This skin type will be naturally thicker, plumper and oilier with enlarged pores. But when out of balance, they will experience over-production of oil, cystic acne, blackheads and whiteheads. They will need to focus on bringing in energies that are lighter and drying in order to cut back on some of the oil production that can get out of hand.
Their skin appears full, well-hydrated and soft when in balance and they will be able to maintain youthful-looking skin for longer, even as they age.
Tridoshic skin is characterized by skin that reflects a combination of the all or some of these characteristics listed above. For simplicity’s sake, we can call this combination skin.
Vihara Chikitsa: Lifestyle Medicine for Healthy Skin
When it comes to the medicine of the ways in which you live your life, we recommend that you implement and follow a daily Dinacharya practice–the Ayurvedic daily routine–starting as soon as possible!
Dinacharya is both balancing for the Doshas as well as cleansing, drawing out and releasing Ama from the body and mind.
For a step-by-step guide to our recommended Dinacharya practices, click here.
Abhyanga is a daily practice that is part of our recommended Dinacharya regimen, but it is so impactful on the health of the skin that we felt compelled to name it here.
Abhyanga is the act of rubbing medicated oils into skin every morning, preferably before exercising and/or before the morning shower.
According to Vagbhata, a celebrated Ayurvedic scholar, daily Abhyanga reaps these benefits:
“Oil massage should be used daily, to ward off old age, exhaustion and diseases of Vata. It bestows good vision, nourishment of the body, long life, good sleep, and healthy skin. It should be done especially to the head, ears and feet.”
Through Abhyanga, oil saturates the muscles, and loosens and liquefies the Kapha–the inertia that accumulates during sleep–and Ama that is stored there so it can be released through sweat during an energetic exercise practice (Vyayama) that is meant to follow.
It simulates the movement of the lymphatic fluids, awakening the body, and draws toxicity out, for release during a warm shower. And, as a Rasayana–a rejuvenating therapy–Abhyanga nourishes and increases Ojas; particularly beneficial for restoring youthfulness in Vata-predominant individuals.
By drawing out Ama, and promoting Ojas, Abhyanga is a wonderfully-effective treatment for healthier, balanced skin, all over the body that you can do in as little as 10 minutes. And, oil in itself is a highly effective solvent, meaning that it cleanses dirt and grime that can then be washed away in the shower.
And to learn the step-by-step process for Abhyanga oil application, watch the video below!
Exfoliate - Udvartanam
The use of clays, flours, herbs and bean powders as a facial or body scrub and cleanser is a well-practiced ritual in Ayurveda. These natural ingredients offer a gentle and natural exfoliating effect due to their slight abrasiveness, without stripping away the delicate acid mantle of the face, and damaging its healthy bacterial ecology.
Beans themselves, have drying and astringent properties, and thus help to reduce Kapha Dosha. Kapha is responsible for the production of healthy amounts of oil on the skin, thus ingredients such as beans serve to regulate and control oil levels.
You can experiment with making your own formula at home, or try one of our 3 Dosha-Specific Ayurvedic Ubtans (Ayurvedic facial cleansers/masks) as well as our Tridoshic option for those who have combination skin. Mix a small amount with a little warm water, aloe vera juice, coconut water or organic Rose Water (for Pitta), honey (for Kapha), or coconut milk (for Vata.) Rub in circular motions all across the face and then rinse off with warm water or leave on for 30 minutes as a mask.
Another excellent way to wake up Kapha Dosha and move its characteristic stagnancy out of the body is to practice dry-brushing a few times a week, or daily, depending on the degree of Kapha imbalance.
To learn exactly how to dry-brush effectively, watch this short video below.
It is also of the utmost importance to make sure that you are practicing emotional hygiene, just as you practice dedicated facial hygiene. This means, that you must make a daily practice of emotional cleansing and release. Choose a practice that feels appropriate and effective for you, such as creative release, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), meditation and self-inquiry, and more.
Aushadhi Chikitsa: Herbal Medicine for Healthy Skin
The following herbal recommendations are a powerful ally to your skin-care practices.
Taking any of our Ayurvedic Spice Mix formulas on a daily basis will help to harmonize any Doshic-imbalances while also improving and balancing Agni. Choose the Spice Mix that is appropriate for your constitution (Prakruti) or your current imbalance (Vikruti). Mix 1/2 tsp into 1 cup of warm or hot water and drink 10 minutes before each meal.
Triphala is a tri-doshic formula of three fruits–Haritaki, Amalaki and Bibhitaki–which each respectively target and balance one of the 3 Doshas. Triphala is an excellent yet gentle colon cleanser and intestinal tonifier, allowing for the removal of Ama and…better poops!
add 1/4 tsp Triphala to a cup
pour 1 cup of hot water over it
add honey (optional) once water has cooled slightly
let steep overnight
in the morning, drink before ingesting anything else
leave the remaining Triphala residue in the cup
pour hot water over it
leave to steep for the day
drink the remaining tea at night before bed
increase in increments of 1/2 tsp if no elimination effect is observed
Skin Purge Potion
Our SKIN PURGE POTIONis a powerful potion packed full of Vitamin C and so excellent for clearing skin disorders caused by stress and excess Pitta in the system as well as to clean out Ama from the bloodstream.
Ubtan: these facial cleansers and masks are an entirely natural and classically Ayurvedic method to cleanse away dirt and grime, without subjecting the skin to harsh chemicals.
Botanical Toner: our beautiful botanical toners offer a soothing way to refresh and brighten after cleansing. Made entirely of nothing but plants, these toners are medicine for your skin and for your energetic vibration.
Facial Elixir: these luscious oil elixirs are the serum that seals in all the benefits from the previous 2 steps and and paints a layer of lightweight protection from the elements and external energetic inputs.
While these previous suggestions may not be the overnight, quick-fix solutions that the rest of the skincare industry likes to promote and parade, we are so very confident in their long-term effectiveness and success.