When it comes to the wellbeing of our skin, there are many factors to take in consideration which can have an effect on it. First our diet and what we eat on a daily basis; wholesome, nourishing food vs processed and tamastic food. Then our environment, because living in a crowded, busy city vs in the country side or a remote island (like myself) can make a huge difference due to pollution and other aspects. It is important to also consider our stress levels. This can have a big impact on our skin; the more stressed we are, the more negative impact this can have on our skin and overall well-being. Of course there are many others, such as hormonal imbalances, specific skin conditions etc. I am not a dermatologist and this blog post is not intended to cure any type of skin conditions . But as an Ayurvedic practitioner and having done the below practices myself, I can say they worked wonders for my Pitta skin.
* If you any specific skin conditions or concerns, it is best to check with a dermatologist or doctor.
There are so many products on the market and we must find what works best for our skin. In general, I would always advise to use something as close as possible with natural and organic ingredients. But this is a personal choice and everybody can experiment with different products and what suits their budget also.
Ayurveda however has some specific practices for skin maintenance which are natural and inexpensive.
When we consider skin irritations, particularly on the face, such as acne, flare ups or any kind of reaction, this is usually an indication of Pitta dosha imbalance. Being the fire element, when this is too high, then generally the skin can be affected. Therefore, because there is too much heat, we can explore ways to create balance by bringing some cooling to the skin.
The following are some of my favourites which I have been practicing for years. Being a Pita predominant dosha myself, my skin reacts very quickly: especially in summer, when it is hot or when I am tired. And when I am stressed I tend to get breakouts or small spots on my face. This is usually my indication that there is too much fire and I need to cool it.
Aloe vera is an amazing plant with many benefits. The natural gel provides a deep moisturising effect to the skin. It is also antibacterial which means that it can help cleanse, protect and nourish the skin. Aloe vera has cooling properties and soothes any excess heat. We can use it externally on the skin or internally, which sometimes I do in my smoothies. The most effective way I have found is applying it directly to my skin. After I clean my face, I cut part of the aloe vera plant stem and split it in half. Then I apply the gel on my skin directly from the plant, in circular motion. Not only this is cooling and soothes the skin, but it also helps to reduce puffiness and tired looking skin. It is no wonder why so many skin products make aloe vera one of their main ingredients.
Cucumber is another cooling quality food which I often use on my face. Most of us are probably familiar with and know that to reduce puffiness of the skin around the eyes, we can place a cucumber slice and let it work its magic. Why is this helpful? Because cucumber is highly hydrating and refreshes the skin. When the skin is puffy and fatigued, it can be a sign of dehydration, so this is a quick way is to give our skin a boost of hydration (and to drink plenty of water obviously). Due to its cooling properties, cucumber may also tighten the skin which helps to make the skin fresh and glowy. I usually cut a few pieces of cucumber, and rub them on my face. The liquid is quickly absorbed and the skin gets an instant boost. I also place two slices on my eyes every other day. I also keep a small jar in the fridge with cucumber slices in water, especially in summer.
This is by far one of my favourite teas. Aside from providing the skin with a healthy glow, it is also great for digestion. Rose bud/petal tea contains antioxidants and Vitamin C, both being important for skin health and anti ageing. Rosebud/petal tea may help with inflammation which is why it is often a great choice for Pita dosha predominant individuals. A delicious cup of this beautiful looking and aromatic tea, is also said to nourish the heart, and balance emotions.
If there is one wellbeing practice that Ayurveda is strong on it is definitely Abhyanga, the traditional Ayurvedic massage method. Whilst it is definitely an amazing experience to get this done at an Ayurvedic clinic, we can also experience a small sample of this everyday by giving ourselves a daily mini Abhyanga massage. This relaxing Ayurvedic style massage helps to nourish the skin, improve circulation, calms the nervous system, lubricates the joints/bones and has many other amazing benefits. It can be done in the morning or in the evening time. Traditionally, it is done with sesame oil or coconut oil. Sesame oil is a heating oil and it detoxifies the skin. In Ayurveda, it is often referred to as “the golden oil” and it definitely improves the skin health and leaves a beautiful and natural glow. Coconut oil is cooling, moisturising and has antibacterial properties. For the winter time & Vata predominat dosha persons, I suggest using sesame oil. For the summer time and a Pitta predominant dosha person, I suggest coconut oil.
I cannot leave out some of the more obvious practices for happy skin. The amount and quality of our sleep can have a big impact on our skin. The general sleep time advised in Ayurveda is 10pm, which is the end of Kapha time and the beginning of Pitta time.
Drinking water and ensuring we keep hydrated should be at the top of the list. There are different indications as per the daily recommended amount, however as with everything in Ayurveda, listen to your body. For example, if you are very active and sweat a lot, it is normal to drink more water. A general Ayurvedic practice is to have a big glass of room temperature or slightly warmer glass of water upon waking up. Lemon can also be added which has Vitamin C and this will help our skin to glow and be healthy.