In ayurveda there are many modes of assessment when determining dis-ease in the body. One that I really like discussing is the Skin. So many people struggle with eczema or acne that it's worth looking at this large organ in depth to determine what exactly we can do to protect it since it works so hard to protect us!
As practitioners, we look at how and where the skin sweats, the undertone and color of the skin, the temperature, pigmentation, veins, irritations, moles, and even thickness.
Traditionally, for healthy skin, we want to stay out of the wind, dress appropriately for the weather, get the right amount of sunshine, and of course what we choose to eat will help determine whether our skin is dull or greasy.
Treatments for skin can be both internal and external. Since the skin is related to the Liver, we will often treat the liver to get to the skin, since our skin is created from the inside out. But also, topical treatments are used quite often in ayurveda. Let’s look at some of these easy and practical ways of keeping our skin healthy.
Abhyanga, Self Oil Massage - The word oil in Sanskrit (Sneyha) is the same word for love. When we oil our bodies, we love ourselves. This is a very appreciated practice in ayurveda, especially as we move into the fall and winter seasons because it works well to combat dryness and ensure immunity. Try to make sure you're using high quality, organic oils. The key areas to pay attention to are the head, hands and feet but if you have some time, start at the right foot and work your way around the body to the left foot. Massage joints and smaller areas in circular motions and limbs in long strokes.
- Pitta: Use coconut oil, with herbs of Jasmine or Lemon balm and/Or essential oils of Thyme or Coriander
- Vata: Use sesame oil, with herbs of Chamomile or Spikenard and/ Or essential oils of Palmarosa or Vetiver
- Kapha: Use mustard oil, with herbs of Yarrow or Ginger and/ Or essential oils of Petitgrain or Cardamom
- Don’t know your dosha (check this blog), or don’t have these oils on hand? You can just use extra virgin olive oil.
Ayurvedic Face Masks - Occasionally it’s nice to have some at home spa treatments like face masks but oftentimes the ones we buy at retailers are full of junk we don’t need or want on our skin. Here are a few recipes I personally use and enjoy.
Mix triphala powder with enough purified water to make a comfortable paste. Apply to skin and allow to dry before rinsing off with warm water.
1 tbsp chickpea flour
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp sandalwood powder
Mix with milk of choice and create a paste, apply paste, once dry rinse away with warm water.
Mix the flesh of aloe vera with macerated fresh cherries until it is a pulp, apply pulp to face and neck for 15 mins and rinse away to rejuvenate and freshen skin.
1 tsp amalaki powder
2-3 vitamin E oil capsules
1 tbsp aloe vera
½ tsp castor oil
Add Rose water to thin to desired consistency, apply to face and neck, let set for 15-20 mins and rise away with warm water.
Herbs and spices for glowing skin
- Turmeric - want that healthy glow? Turmeric will help you get it. Turmeric is stellar for this and we use it in our Totally Turmeric ginger shots found here. Fun fact, ayurveda teaches that if you take turmeric while pregnant, your child will have glowing skin.
- Neem - neem oil or powder removes the heat and impurities from skin. It’s my go to for helping to remove benign moles or clearing redness from the skin. It’s safe for all doshas but is especially helpful to pittas.
- Aloe vera - hydrates the skin, making it soft, supple, younger looking and feeling.
- Goji berry - this adaptogen helps you to have a youthful complexion by containing more vitamin C than oranges and increasing circulation. We love this one so much, it’s in our Radical Beauty shot. Fun fact, goji’s brazilian cousin is the famous Acai!
- Collagen - helps to lubricate and plump the skin providing elasticity and resilience. We spoke a lot about collagen on this blog here if you’d like to learn more about it.
Baths: temperature and essential oils - Baths are a great way to relax and renew the skin. Soaking in some salts and oils can benefit not only the skin but the mind too!
- Vata - hot with oils of melissa, spikenard, or sandalwood
- Pitta - cool with oils of rose, geranium, or ylang-ylang
- Kapha - warm with oils of frankincense, cedarwood, or juniper
Favorite Essential oils for the face and neck
- Tea tree
- Carrot seed
- Blue lotus
Always dilute pure essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to skin.
So grab your oils and herbal powders and have yourself a spa night, because skin love, is self love.
In good health,