Ayurveda is a 5000 year old medicinal system which focuses on improving the health by harmonizing the body and mind! Today, the benefits of Ayurveda in reducing stress, weight loss, balancing hormones, detoxifying the body, etc. are well established. However, Ayurveda’s benefits for skincare are lesser known; so much so that it is referred to as the ‘Beauty world’s best kept secret’.
Ayurveda in Skincare: Going Back to the Herbal Roots
Beautiful, lustrous and attractive skin is sought after by everyone. However, hereditary factors, pollutants, hormones play a role in deciding the skin quality as we grow up. Today, people are more dependent on cosmetics, most of which cause more harm than good. Many cosmetic products contain ingredients which could cause allergies or which might be carcinogenic in nature. So, there is an immediate need for a safe and effective, natural, herbal skincare remedy for spotless skin. Ayurvedic medicines are best-suited for treating acute and chronic skin diseases.
While a number of lifestyle factors can affect your skin, here are some of the most common causes of skin diseases:
Apart from these factors, forcibly withholding the natural body urges for a long time; immediately taking a hot water bath after exposure to sunlight or exercise and regularly sleeping during the daytime can also result in skin diseases. The vitiated dosha (bodily factors) and ‘Ama’ lead to the formation of various skin diseases.
The improperly digested food essence ‘Ama’ (metabolic toxins) is put into circulation and gets associated with the dhatus i.e. tissues, including the rasa dhatu (nutritional fluid). When this rasa, associated with the ‘Ama’ reaches the skin, it causes various skin disorders.
Discoloration of the skin is the main feature in many skin diseases. Burning sensation of the affected area, itching with or without watery discharge, reddishness of the skin are the other usually found features. Some of the more visible manifestations of imbalances in the body are pimples, marks, blemishes and dark spots on face.
Ayurveda describes various types of treatments depending on the condition of the skin disease. It ranges from external application of medicine, internal medication to ‘Panchakarma’ therapy. Equal importance has been given for the indication and contraindication of different type of food and lifestyle habits.
One or more herbs are taken in fresh form and grounded to form a paste. If the part of the plant is dry, small amount of liquid like water, milk can be added and grounded to paste form. Based upon the action, Ayurveda has explained three types of lepa preparations i.e Doshagna (which pacifies the vitiated dosha), Vishagna (which pacifies the poisonous effect) and Varnya (which improves the complexion of the skin).
Today’s busy lifestyle may leave you with very little time to prepare a paste based in Ayurveda, so alternately you could apply an Ayurvedic cream, like Bajaj Nomarks, on your face. Make sure to avoid using the cosmetic creams available in the market.
These are the Ayurvedic medicines in decoction form. Ayurvedic herbs having bitter and astringent taste are usually used to prepare such type of formulations which detoxifies the impure blood and pacifies the vitiated dosha in the body. A decoction of the herbs Manjishta, Nimba, Haridra, Sariva, Kadira, Draksha make an excellent blood purifier.
In this method, the medication is either in the form of a paste which is used for external application or decoction/cold infusion of cold natured herbs. Herbs like Sariva (Indian sarsaparilla), Kumkuma (Saffron), Kumari (Aloe vera), Ela (Cardamomo), Yashtimadhu (Indian liquorice) are used according to Ayurvedic science to improve the skin’s glow.
These are special procedures where the body of the affected individual is subjected to controlled emesis, purgation, enema, nasal drops or blood-letting under the supervision and guidance of an experienced Ayurvedic physician.
According to Ayurveda, there are three types of doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Out of these, people with Vata and Kapha are susceptible to acne and pimples. This is because Kapha (one of the tridoshas) is dominant in meda (the oil produced by oil glands are called as medas i.e. body fat). Thus the skin of people with Kaphadosha tends to be oily. Vatadosha is dominant in skin. This dosha gets aggravated due to unhealthy diet and life styles. When this happens, it activates the oil glands of skin to secrete more sticky oil or sebum. Thus the sticky oil or sebum oozes out to clog skin pores, leading to pimples.
Ayurveda recommends following a healthy lifestyle which includes a daily bath, proper sleep, intake of proper quantity of water and avoiding harmful substances such as alcohol, cigarettes for a healthy skin. This is a good way to balance your doshas which will help you achieve the beautiful, healthy skin you want.