Ayurvedic skin care
Skin care in Ayurveda really is beauty from the inside out. It is the balance of our inner health that determines the vitality and lustre of our skin. We can pile on as much cream and oil as we like but if the inner metabolism is cock-a-hook then it all may be in vain! Whilst it is important to use external creams and oils it is also vital to remember the inside that actually makes the outside! I want to look at some of the theories behind Ayurvedic skin care and then give you some great Ayurvedic ideas for caring for your skin.
In discussing the skin we need to look at some of the Ayurvedic perspectives on skin. This includes discussing the role of the plasma tissue, blood tissue, pitta dosha and the strength of the digestive fire. The simple and beautiful theory of Ayurveda describes how you can easily take control of your skin health and keep it glowing and lustrous.
Rasa dhatu- The plasma tissue
The first tissue that is nourished by the food that we eat is rasa dhatu or the plasma tissue. Plasma tissue is the sweet, transparent, sticky liquid that flows with the blood. Along with making parts of blood, lymphatic fluid and nourishing all the mucus membranes of the body the plasma tissue also makes skin. A sign of a healthy plasma tissue is a glowing and healthy skin that is smooth, soft and beautiful without moles or pimples and it is also a uniform colour. Another function of the plasma tissue is to regulate the menstrual cycle. A healthy cycle is another sign of a healthy plasma tissue and an imbalanced cycle often presents with skin problems as well.
Pitta dosha- The Fire principle
Another important factor in skin health is the pitta dosha. This is the functional principle responsible for managing all hormonal cycles in the body. It is also responsible for managing metabolism in the body and frequently manifests through signs of heat, redness and inflammation. It is easy to see how something like eczema or acne may have a pitta component. The other feature of pitta is that it is intimately related to blood tissue and it travels in blood tissue. If pitta becomes too high then it can heat the blood and hot blood creates flushed skin, redness, pimples, inflammations as well as anger and irritability.
The digestive system
In Ayurveda the root of all disease is the digestive system. A balanced digestive fire can transform what we eat into a nutritious essence that nourishes the different tissues of the body. So, keeping your digestion healthy is key.
The best tips for keeping your digestion healthy are:
• Leave 4-6 hours between meals- no snacking!
• Don’t eat until the previous meal is digested when the breath is clean and the body feels light.
• Eating in between meals weakens the digestive fire
• Eating cold, wet, heavy foods weakens digestive fire
• Drink hot water to stimulate the digestive fire and clean away toxins- it’s a bit like washing plates, cold water just does not do the trick, whilst hot water dissolves dirty plates straight away. Ginger water is also very good for enkindling the digestive fire.
Try taking some Asafoetida formula or Trikatu before food if your digestion is feeling a bit sluggish.
• Take organic Aloe Vera every morning on an empty stomach. It is known as ‘kumari’ in Sanskrit which means ‘princess’ or ‘young maiden’ as Aloe Vera is known to keep you looking healthy and young. It helps to clear excess pitta, to nourish plasma tissue and to clean the liver.
• Take organic rose water as a most delicious drink to rejuvenate the skin. Put 1 teaspoon of organic rose water in a glass of pure mineral water- pure heaven!
• Another good idea is to wash your face in organic rose water; its mild astringency tones, cleans and strengthens the skin and you smell fantastic afterwards.
• Ayurveda recommends a daily oil massage using sesame, coconut or almond oils. The oils are lightly warmed and you massage your whole body, leave the oil on for 20 minutes and then wash it off in a warm shower. This leaves your skin feeling soft, supple and nourished. The skin actually absorbs the oil and nourishes the tissues.
• Don’t wash with soap too much, its just too drying. Soap use depends on your natural body aroma and the amount of exercise you take etc, but as a general rule, the sebaceous glands secrete protective and nourishing oils and as we all know, oil does not like soap!
• If you suffer from dry skin and have a tendency to feeling nervous use organic sesame oil as it contains calcium and it is warming, heavy and calming.
• If you suffer from a light skin prone to sunburn and rashes use organic coconut oil. This can help to clear some of the heat toxins that are building up under the skin.
• If you suffer from acne try taking 2 organic Neem capsules 3x/day. Use the leaf of the Neem tree that is very bitter and cleansing for the skin. It flushes heat and inflammatory toxins from the body.
• Avoid acidic, salty, spicy and greasy food in your diet. Include skin wonder foods such as chlorophyll rich green foods, red grapes, pomegranates, almonds and dates.
• Drink plenty of room temperature water- not necessarily 2 litres, but depending on your constitution at least 4-7 glasses of water (excluding other drinks) per day. This helps to flush the plasma tissue and literally washes the tissues clean.
• For the ultimate skin tonic take Aloe Vera with Shatavari- it is the skin herb to create a lustrous skin.
Your skin is your protective barrier between your inner world and the outer world. The quality of your skin reflects your inner vitality and health.. Look after your skin so that you are protecting yourself as well protecting your world.