By Samantha Case
We tend to place a lot of value on skin appearance in our society. There are endless solutions, products, and facemask recipes available to combat various challenges like acne, oily skin, and inflammation.
But do you continue to struggle with a skin condition despite trying every product and remedy in the store? We can invest so much of our money and time into having healthy skin once and for all, but a lot of the time the solution lies in the last place we look: our inner health.
Skin Care From The Inside Out
Skin health is important in Ayurveda, a holistic system of health, because it tells us what’s going on within the body. Like Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda promotes the concept that beauty comes from within.
Skin is a manifestation of inner health. Whatever you put into the body expresses itself through the skin. For example, skin conditions like inflammation or psoriasis tend to be the result of too much heat (or Pitta energy) in the body. In this case, the skin points to a Pitta imbalance, which must be balanced with particular diet and lifestyle changes that counteract the heat. The result would be reduced inflammation, redness, and/or blotchiness.
Individual doshas are responsible for the wide ranging skin conditions we might experience: eczema, flakiness, dryness, psoriasis, inflammation, acne, excess oiliness, and more.
Thankfully, Ayurveda offers a roadmap for internal wellness, which in turn positively impacts the skin. If we want healthy, glowing skin, we must dig beneath the surface to discover the root cause of our conditions.
Skin Types By Dosha
Ayurveda teaches that we’re each a microcosm of the macrocosm (universe) and are built of the same elements that form the world around us: air, fire, water, space, and earth. These elements combine in different ways to form doshas, or energies within the body.
We’re each made up of all three doshas, but we typically have one or two that are dominant. Our unique energetic makeup forms our dosha constitution. Take our quiz to discover yours. Whichever dosha is primary in your body will affect your skin type.
Keep in mind that even if your dominant dosha is, say, Vata, you can still experience symptoms associated with Pitta if you have a Pitta imbalance. But knowing your dosha type makes you more aware that you’ll be more likely to experience an imbalance with that particular dosha.
Vata Dosha Skin (air + space elements)
Vata dosha types have a tendency toward dry and flaky skin and benefit from warmth, nourishment, and hydration. Vata imbalance manifests on the skin as dehydration, flakiness, and wrinkles. A few qualities of Vata skin include:
Patches of very dry skin
Doesn’t usually experience breakouts
Dark circles under the eyes
Prone to allergy-related rashes
Poor skin tone
Early wrinkles, especially around eyes
Pitta Dosha Skin (fire + water elements)
Those with a dominant Pitta dosha are more likely to experience inflamed and irritated skin due to excess heat. Pitta skin is best treated with relaxing, soothing, and cooling remedies. Pitta imbalance manifests on the skin as sensitivity, blotchy redness, and dry patches. A few qualities of Pitta skin include:
Peachy or coppery tone
Oilier in the “T” zone
Tendency for whiteheads
Tendency for dermatitis
Kapha Dosha Skin (earth + water elements)
The earth and water elements of Kapha dosha contribute to oily and smooth skin. Those with Kapha skin tend to have a nice complexion, but too much Kapha can lead to serious acne. Kapha imbalance manifests on the skin as excessive oiliness, blackheads, and acne. Kapha-type skin qualities include:
Thick and full skin
Great skin tone
Cool and moist
Tendency for blackheads
Puffiness under the eyes
Tendency for cystic acne
Making Changes For Healthy Skin
The health of each person is incredibly unique, and therefore treatment must also be individually addressed. That’s why we always encourage finding an Ayurvedic Practitioner for specific health advice.
That being said, there are general guidelines for each dosha that can help bring the body into balance. Always keep in mind that to really understand your needs, it’s important to first know your dosha constitution and your current state of balance. By identifying the symptoms of each dosha imbalance, you’ll be able to see what’s going on within your body.
From there, you can make the necessary adjustments in your personal life that will bring you back into balance. The result will be internal and external health. For glowing skin and overall well-being, you must get to the root cause of your skin conditions and make necessary lifestyle and diet adjustments to manifest change.
Supporting Your Skin Type
Your state of balance depends on a number of things, including: what kind of food you eat, the quality of that food, your exercise and sleep routines, and your daily habits. Below are a few suggestions to care for your skin depending on your dosha.
Vata Skin Support
Vata skin types tend toward dryness because of the air element and need to be treated with nourishment and rehydration in mind. Follow these tips to balance Vata dosha:
Eat a Vata-pacifying diet.
Practice yoga styles that are grounding.
Add nourishment to your diet with organic milk, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.
Drink plenty of warm water or hot tea throughout the day for hydration.
Add ghee or olive oil to your meals.
Practice regular abhyanga (self massage). See below for more info.
Get plenty of rest, at least 7-8 hours each night.
Pitta Skin Support
Pitta skin types tend toward inflammation due to the fire element and therefore need to be treated with cooling and nurturing remedies. Follow these tips to balance Pitta dosha:
Avoid harsh and synthetic skin products and cosmetics.
Avoid spicy and fried foods.
Eat lots of sweet, juicy fruits.
Eat a Pitta-pacifying diet.
Bring in cooling spices into your meals, like fennel and coriander.
Practice a cooling yoga sequence.
Apply cooling oils to the skin, like neem oil or coconut oil.
Kapha Skin Support
Kapha skin types tend toward too much oiliness and therefore need to be treated with opposite qualities to cut through the stickiness of the earth & water elements. Follow these tips to balance Kapha dosha:
Avoid sweet foods and fried foods.
Exercise daily to the point of sweating.
Eat a kapha-pacifying diet.
Cook with warming spices like ginger and black pepper.
Avoid over-sleeping or napping. Wake with or before the sunrise.
Avoid snacking in between meals.
Regularly exfoliate the skin to clear away toxins (ama) that can accumulate with excess oil.
External Skin Care
Skin health is the result of well-being within, but there are still things we can do externally to improve the complexion and condition of our skin. In particular, we can apply specific oil and herbal remedies to the skin depending on our particular dosha. In general, abhyanga (self massage) is a great self care practice that’s also a wonderful skin treatment.
Abhyanga (Self Massage)
Abhyanga is the ancient practice of using natural, organic oil to massage the entire body. It’s beneficial for all doshas, but can be particularly soothing for Vata and Pitta doshas. Abhyanga nourishes the skin, calms the body, and promotes the removal of toxins from the tissues. Read more about how to practice abhyanga, including which oil is best for your skin type.
Your body and its unique needs can especially benefit from using an herbal, dosha-specific body oil.
For Pitta dosha, zCHILL Ayurvedic CBD Body Oil is best. With sunflower oil, brahmi, guduchi, neem and more, this oil was formulated to treat excess Pitta and nourish sensitive skin.
With sesame oil, dashmoola, bhringaraj, and more, zBLISS Ayurvedic CBD Body Oil is a great option for Vata dosha. The thickness of the sesame oil calms excess Vata while the selected herbs protect and nourish dry skin.
Finally, zLIFT Ayurvedic CBD Body Oil is the best choice for Kapha dosha. zLIFT is a combination of warming, cleansing herbs and oils formulated to restore balance to Kapha constitutions.
Apply Triphala Honey Mask
This face mask is great for alleviating inflamed skin and reducing the effects of Pitta dosha on the skin. Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic formula made from the three Indian fruits known as Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki.
This face mask can relieve acne and breakouts, soothe irritated skin, and illuminate your complexion.
about 3 masks
1 tablespoon Triphala powder
2 tablespoons honey *Can substitute coconut oil for Vata constitution.
Place the Triphala and honey in a small bowl.
Stir them together until the powder has completely blended with the honey and formed a thick paste.
Wash and dry your face thoroughly.
Massage a medium layer of the paste onto the face and neck. Cover all areas except for the eyes.
Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes.
Gently wash off the mask using warm water or rinse it off in a warm shower.
Pat the skin dry and feel the nourishing and refreshing effects of the mask.
Healthy skin must be brought about from the inside out. By deepening our understanding of our unique body constitutions, noticing our symptoms, and then making choices for balance, we take our health into our own hands. Step away from the product overwhelm and tune inward. What’s going on inside your body? The answer will tell you what your body needs to be healthy, both inwardly and outwardly.