Ayurvedic beauty is based on self care and balance. Since skin is the largest organ and covers our entire body, lets start there. Ayurvedic skincare consists of mainly getting the skin to balance, and to protect it from the elements. There are different Doshas, or Ayurvedic skin types. Knowing your unique type is helpful for learning how to balance it and treat it.
Vata skin is cool to the touch, dry, thin, with delicate pores, and is usually easily dehydrated. Pitta, which is a fiery type, is prone to rashes and irritation, and breaks out easily. It’s warm to the touch and may have a reddish appearance. The Kapha Dosha is usually naturally radiant and slow to age. It is thicker and warm to the touch, but it can be prone to greasiness. Combination skin is a combination of either of these dosha types, for example, Vata-Pitta. Treatment of combination skin is often done according to seasons. Someone with Vata-Pitta skin should follow Pitta treatments in the summer and Vata treatments in the winter, when the Vata dryness is likely to be exasperated.
Vata skin is drier and can be prone to wrinkles and premature aging. The way to treat Vata skin is to drink lots of water to hydrate internally, include healthy fats like ghee or olive oil in your diet, and add nourishment by consuming leafy greens and whole milk. Use all natural, thick moisturerizers.
To treat Pitta skin, one needs to both nurture and cool. Avoid spicy, hot, deep fried foods, as these add heat to fire. Stay away from chemicals and harsh ingredients, since these can cause breakouts and irritate skin. Use fennel and licorice in your diet and take care to protect yourself from sun exposure. Eat sweet, watery fruits like watermelon, and think ‘cooling’ when it comes to diet. Turmeric is an excellent spice to treat Pitta skin. Try making a paste with turmeric power and water. Leave on the skin for about 10-15 minutes and wash off. Turmeric will brighten the skin and leave it feeling refreshed and clean, but be careful not to stain surfaces or fabric bright yellow with the easily staining turmeric powder!
Kappa skin when out of balance can lead to greasiness and a grayish looking complexion. The focus for treating Kapha skin is on removing toxins and buildup. Eating spicy foods should add the heat necessary to activate the digestive system and a diet heavy in antioxidants is vital to remove toxins and flush the system. Foods to avoid are overly greasy and oily foods that slow digestion and increase oily buildup.
You may have noticed that the treatments for skincare described above are more diet based than topical treatments. While there are many Ayurvedic skin treatments and masks, like the turmeric paste mask, Ayurvedic treatments believe in treating beauty from the inside out. Nourishing our bodies internally will produce external radiance and enhance our natural beauty. While creams and facials work, they are meant to enhance radiance, not create it from scratch. If you treat your body well from the inside, it will shine brightly from the outside.