Ancient Ayurvedic Skin Care Remedies For Acne, Rosacea & Eczema
A core philosophy in Ayurveda is that a healthy inside is necessary for a healthy outside. The difference in the Ayurvedic approach (compared to traditional medical treatments) is in pacifying the internal aggravating factors while simultaneously addressing topical issues. Ayurveda, of course, has been around for a very long time; however, modern western research hasn't studied the teachings to confirm any benefit, yet. Regardless, many of the princes—good nutrition, tempering inflammation, and approaching skin care from a holistic lens—are backed by studies, time and again. With that in mind, here are some time-tested Ayurvedic practiced for dealing with three complex skin problems: rosacea, eczema, and adult acne.
Ayurvedic skin care basics:
While you should treat different skin conditions with specificity and nuance, there are some core principles in Ayurvedic skin care that everyone can follow.
1. Include more turmeric and iron in your diet.
A staple of Ayurvedic cooking and medicine, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse and can also help with hyperpigmentation, scarring, and other skin damage. Ayurvedic doctors recommend consuming nearly a teaspoon of turmeric every day (you can also use it topically!), and luckily, there are many ways to get your fill: cook with it, drink it in your favorite green juice, pop an organic turmeric capsule.
2. Use less soap and the right water temperature.
Because of its tendency to dry out the skin, harsh soaps and sulfates generally shouldn’t be used on your face on a daily basis. (Find more gentle, natural cleansers here.) The same goes for the temperature of the water you wash your face with: do not use too hot or too cold temperature.
Figuring out what your dominant dosha is can help determine the right way to cleanse your skin: Vata skin is usually thin and dry, so foaming soaps should be avoided and cool, tepid water should be used when cleansing. Pitta skin tends to be sensitive and congested, so soap and cool water can be used more frequently. Kaphas' oily skin can benefit from diligent washing with warmer water.
3. Massage your body with oil.
According to Ayurvedic principles, massaging oil over your whole body is an excellent way to promote circulation and detox, both necessary for fighting skin ailments and removing the stagnation that causes them. Vatas should use sesame oil, pittas should use sunflower oil, and kaphas should use corn or canola oil.
Rosacea is believed to emanate from a pitta imbalance, so Ayurvedic solutions focus on bringing that dosha into balance. Since Western medicine has no topical "cure" for rosacea, paying attention to the internal factors that cause the condition are crucial to help manage the symptoms.
According to Ayurvedic tradition, someone with a pitta imbalance is considered to have a hot body and internal temperature, so a diet of cool, sweet, stabilizing foods should replace those that are salty, sour, spicy, or pungent. (You can find more tips on the proper diet to treat a pitta imbalance here.)
In terms of skin care, skip your skin-aggravating morning face wash for honey. Apply a layer of honey to the face before jumping in the shower, and then remove it with a warm washcloth. A chamomile compress can also be very helpful when experiencing a flare-up, as chamomile is an excellent natural treatment for redness. Cold cucumbers applied to the skin can also provide rapid relief.
“Dry” skin conditions such as eczema are believed to emanate from vata imbalance, and addressing that imbalance is an important step in treating the condition. Dietary modifications can help in a big way: According to ayurveda, avoid dry fruits, apples, melons, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, beef, and peas, as these all aggravate vata further. Consumption of avocados, sweet fruits, cherries, and oranges will help bring your vata back into balance.
Aloe vera gel or cream may also be used to gently massage the affected areas to add extra moisture. Antioxidant- and oil-rich avocado has a number of benefits for the skin and is full of healthy fatty acids and vitamins. Mash up an avocado into a smooth paste and apply it evenly to the affected areas. Once it dries (15 minutes), rinse off with cold water. You can also massage a few drops of almond oil into the skin for relief.
As many know, acne is an unfortunate condition that doesn’t necessarily get left behind with other adolescent problems. Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom points to high amounts of pitta moving under the skin as the cause of adult breakouts. Stress, hormonal changes, exposure to chemicals and too much sunlight can be some of the many causes of high levels of pitta. A pitta-pacifying diet and yoga asanas (see above) are a great place to start.
For an effective overnight treatment, try rubbing melon on the skin at bedtime to cool and heal blemish-prone skin. For a healing mask, mix about 1 teaspoon of chickpea flour (option to add a pinch of turmeric) with water until a paste forms, then spread over the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.