Ayurveda is a lifestyle practice and medical system that is over 5,000 years old. It teaches that external beauty is a natural byproduct of internal health. And, it offers beautifying rituals that align the self with nature.
Read below for Monica’s top ayurvedic tips for radiant skin, and if you would like a customized skin analysis and treatment guide book a skin assessment during our special clinic offered May 2. Read more about it here.
1. Know Your Skin Type
Ayurvedic skincare expounds on doshic theory and how they express themselves through our skin. We can learn a lot about our internal health, specifically our digestion, by observing the health of our skin.
Vata Skin tends to by light, dry, and thin with small pores. Those with vata type skin may tend toward premature wrinkling or fine lines at younger age because of dryness. When vata is in excess there may be a grey or lusterless quality to the skin. The skin will become even more dry with sensitivities toward weather changes, wind, and changes in temperature.
Pitta Skin tends to be oily, moderate in thickness with medium size pores. Those with pitta type skin tend toward acne, breakouts, and may have sensitivities to spicy foods, alcohol or caffeine. When pitta is in excess there may be symptoms such as rosacea, cystic acne, and breakouts.
Kapha Skin tends to be cold, damp, and thick with congested pores. Those with kapha skin tend to have swelling, water retention, puffy eyes and poor circulation that expresses itself through the skin. When kapha is in excess there may be edema, black heads, or eczema.
2. Give Your Skin The Right Nutrients
Once you know your skin type, you can feed it the appropriate nutrients.
Vata Skin tends to be dry and undernourished. It needs heavy moisture. Seed oils (CO2 expressed) from rosehip or pomegranate help to hydrate vata excess. Essential oils such as Jasmine, Frankincense and Carrot Seed minimize the appearance of premature aging and revitalize the skin. Buy our Vata Facial Serum here.
Pitta Skin tends to be inflamed and oily. It needs to be cooled and dried. Many of the essential oils that balance oil production will not dry out the skin. Use a lighter oil such as almond or jojoba as a base. Rosewood, coriander, and geranium essential oils work to balance oil production, are naturally anti-bacterial and reduce acne. Buy our Pitta Facial Serum here.
Kapha Skin tends to be congested and swollen. It needs warmth and dryness. A lighter oil that helps to clear congestion such as grape seed oil can be used as a base and is a natural exfoliant oil. Dilute the essential oils of turmeric, myrhh, and sandalwood at about 4% in grapeseed oil and apply morning and night. Dry skin brushing the face or using other manual lymph stimulating techniques can help counter tendencies toward swollen lids and water retention. Buy our Kapha Facial Serum here.
3. Eat The Right Foods
Ayurveda and yoga use a term called sattva to describe a state of the universe and the mind as clear, illuminated, joyous, and pure. The four most sattvic foods include: honey, ghee, water and raw organic milk taken from a happy cow.
Honey has been used in ayurveda for many years, specifically for its immune system enhancing properties, and it’s antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. Honey has several unique features that describe its medicinal affects. Honey is peroxide causing, and researchers this is responsible for many of its benefical affects. Honey inhibits MRSA, staph, micrococcus, and several other antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. Honey is peroxide causing, and many researches believe this unique feature of honey provides it with it’s unique antibacterial benefits. When honey is in contact with skin, sodium from the skin, and glucose oxide from the honey, chemically interact to produce low amounts of hydrogen peroxide. It is a natural exfoliant and powerful cleanser.
For an instant glow make a mask by taking 2 tsp of raw honey and applying it over clean, dry skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
Ghee is clarified butter made from pasture fed dairy cow butter. Therapeutic grade ghee, called desi in ayurveda, is made from raw milk that has been soured in an earthern vessel to make dahi (fermented milk) which is then churned to obtain makkhan (butter), and very gently simmered over low heat until all the water has evaporated. It has been used in India for numerous health related reasons, and to enhance flavor and the nutritive benefits of ingreadients used in cooking. Ghee is applied topically for skin irritations, added to beauty products, and as an anupana (vehicle) in ayurvedic medicine.
Uncting (ingestion of oil and fats) destroys vata, softens the body, and removes retention of excrements. The four best sources of uncting are ghee, oil, fat, and marrow. The single best uncting substance: ghee, because of the continuance of the properties of refinement. It has sukshma quality, which helps it to nourish deeper and deeper tissues. — Sushruta
Water is an important topic in the ancient vedic texts. Emphasis on proper water consumption and timing is expounded upon in great detail. Water, ideally, is consumed between meals. Large amounts of water taken at the beginning or end of a meal can interrupt the function of agni and impair digestion. Small amounts of water taken throughout the meal is also okay—as long as one is mindful of quantity. Water is the most important nutrient we can consume. Humans can go weeks and months without food; however, without water, we will be in dire straits after a day. Water is used to transport all vital nutrients in the body. It clears toxic wastes, provides joint lubrication, decreases constipation, increases energy, and improves skin luster. When a person is dehydrated, their blood looses volume, causing it to be thicker and more difficult to circulate. Increased difficulty to circulate blood leads to decreased energy, chronic fatigue, lack of nutrient absorption, and decreased waste excretion.
The ayurvedic texts taught that the best drinking water was the rain, called “gangambu,” collected before it hit the ground. Gangambu contains minerals and nutrients from nature. It is light and easy to digest. It is ambrosia. It nourishes all the vital tissues and memory of the cells.
Milk is considered the rasa, or essence, of the many medicinal plants the animal has eaten. Milk is tranquilizing, strengthening, increases ojas, and is considered sattvic. Because of its cooling nature, milk can be good for pitta imbalances such as heat-related digestive issues, hot temper, short fuse, and inflammatory conditions. Milk delays heat generated from food and drink; therefore, it is best taken alone with added spices specific to any imbalances or tendencies so that its cooling nature will not interfere with digestion. Generally, dairy products are avoided during the winter and spring kapha months when mucus can be a problem, and is best taken during the summer when digestion is stronger and the fall to build sustenance in the body for the winter ahead. Unfortunately, due to poor processing standards, animal treatment, and food sources, cow dairy quality has been hugely compromised. For this reason I caution against milk production unless high quality raw milk can be sourced.
4. Breath To Access The Life Force & Powerfully Revitalize Your Skin
Prana is the universal breath that gives respiration to all beings, and the individual breath that flows in and out of our lungs. Prana is the origin of all planetary life. It is the refined aspect of vata. It’s quality is revealed in our movement, ability to direct our energy, recollection of thought, circulation, communication, clarity, and sense of stability. Nothing could live without prana. It is the life force found within all beings and things. In the mind, prana is the ability to direct creativity in accord to our authentic will. Prana integrates all spiritual, emotional, physical and mental realms with life. Prana gives us visual clarity and action. Prana can be directed to inuce certain qualities of mind through meditation and breathing practices. Mastery of prana through pranayama (controlled breathing) extends life, youthenizes skin, and rids the body of free radicals. Prana is carried in red blood cells and infiltrates every cell, tissue and organ in the body.
Breath deep every day. Pay attention to your breath when your under stress so that you do not deprive yourself of this vital food.