Often referred to as “the science of life” and “the mother of all healing,” Ayurveda looks at the whole being (body, mind, and spirit) to find the underlying sources of imbalance and disease, as opposed to simply treating symptoms. This holistic approach provides a practical, intuitive way of looking at skin and the care you provide it.
From increasing your digestive fire to detox your skin from impurities to eating foods that feed your skin and hair, Ayurveda can greatly enhance your overall appearance and wellness factor. The first step? Determining your dominant dosha.
Dosha is a Sanskrit word used in Ayurveda to describe one’s unique body-mind constitution. There’s no one-size-fits-all, even when it comes to a so-called healthy lifestyle because what may be beneficial for one dosha could potentially be detrimental to another. For example, if you’re primarily a vata dosha (the air and space type), then eating a raw food diet may be too cooling for an already cold and airy system, weakening your digestion and potentially causing excess dryness ... even constipation.
It’s important to know your dosha so you can implement traditional balancing practices to enhance your positive attributes and also lessen or reverse the more negative aspects of your physiology and even character. Here's a very simplified way of understanding the three main doshas (keep in mind that this is a very general guide and it is possible to be a combination of two or more doshas):
Vata: This is the air and space type. An agile, thin frame with dry skin and hair are all common physical traits. It’s said that most people in the West need balancing in this dosha as it’s often associated with an overactive mind. Vatas desperately need stillness, a regular meditation practice, and silence for balance.
Pitta: This is the dosha associated with fire and transformation. Pitta skin tends to be warm or hot to the touch with a red or pink undertone. Their hair may have a reddish tint with a tendency toward thinning hair or balding. Pittas often suffer from inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
Kapha: The skin of someone who is primarily Kapha tends toward oily and moist. The Water-Earth elements make up the Kapha dosha. They typically have a thicker bone structure with full, oily, and wavy or curly hair. Because Kapha holds a tendency toward stagnation it’s important to use herbs and oils that are invigorating and non-comedogenic.
Here are four steps to incorporate Ayurveda into your new radiant skin care routine:
1. Garshana (dry brushing)
Dry brushing is great for lymphatic drainage, circulation, detoxification, and exfoliation. Here's how to do it: