Ayurveda For Healthy Fabulous Youthful Skin
People are always trying to look younger, and glowing, youthful skin plays a large part. There are a host of creams and other skin products on the market for this purpose, but traditional Indian medicine offers an entirely different slant – treating the skin from the inside out.
Also known as Ayurveda – traditional Indian medicine is the oldest method of healing in the world. Established about 5000 years ago, Ayurveda is derived from “ayu,” meaning “life,” and “veda,” meaning “knowledge” and is founded on three core beliefs:
- Food is medicine.
- An individual can prevent and eliminate disease through a healthy lifestyle.
- Healing recommendations are based on a person’s emotional, mental and physical disposition, identified as one’s “dosha.”
Because skin conditions are thought to stem from a dosha imbalance, understanding one’s dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) can prevent problems. Each dosha possesses different characteristics when it comes to the skin:
Vata – This type of skin has a tendency to be thin, dry and cracked. It is very translucent, and lips and fingernails can also be pale. People with vata skin need nourishment and hydration. Ayurveda suggests that vata types eat cooked vegetables which are easier to digest than raw forms, and they should consume more whole grains and warm milk.
Suggested spice: Ginger is recommended to enhance digestion and metabolism. Suggested herb: Ashwagandha is recommended to help relax a busy mind, therefore causing better absorption of nutrients which helps the skin look younger.
Pitta – This skin is often more sensitive to the sun and predisposed to burning. An imbalance in this skin type can cause acne, psoriasis, rashes and other kinds of inflammatory conditions. Ayurveda recommends sweet, hydrating fruits like melons and pears and other cooling foods like coconut oil and rose petal jam. Because pitta skin needs to stay cool, ayurveda recommends avoiding spicy foods like chilies, pepper and jalapeños.
Suggested spices: Turmeric is recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties, and fennel helps the digestion of pitta types. Suggested herb: Amla berry is a great cooling herb which can also be found in the form of jam.
Kapha – Because it has a tendency to be plump and filled with moisture, kapha skin typically ages very well. When there is an imbalance, the skin builds up toxins which can cause large pores, skin growths or eruptions, and a gray tint. Kapha types need spicy foods to enhance the digestion and stimulate metabolism – which is the slowest in people with kapha skin. Kapha types should avoid heavy, oily foods.
Suggested spices: Black pepper and garlic help boost metabolism and remove toxins – a concern for kapha types – making the skin look more youthful.
Suggested herb: Guggul is an herb that also helps remove toxins and regulate metabolism of fats in the body. Note: Do not consume guggul if taking supplementary estrogen or if at risk for estrogen-sensitive cancer. Also, if you are undergoing chemotherapy, you should discuss consumption of guggul with your doctor.
While creams, lotions and good, daily hydration can make the skin feel dewy and fresh, ayurveda is also worth a try. Any medicine that is still being used after 5000 years might offer just what your skin needs to stay youthful.