Decoding Ayurvedic Skincare

 Bridging the Gap

ayurveda and earthyalchemist blog on skincare

Most often we shy away from learning the wisdom of old cultures who have deciphered the mysteries long before some method we embrace today and newly discovered. It is essential to look back and learn from our predecessors all that we can before we approach wide-eyed toward the cutting edge that was trademarked by some big brand. If we do that it is impossible to ignore how much of what we consider the new is indeed very old.

Ayurveda is the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. I understand Ayurvedic principles use some long and somewhat complicated to pronounce words and some of these words have a complex learning curve. In this blog, I am going to attempt to bridge that gap and bring Ayurveda to mainstream and in the process take away some of that complexity that surrounds it. 

The first step in Ayurvedic skincare like with any skincare is knowing your skin type.

ayurveda and skin types

Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are ayurvedic mind-body principles. Before you tune me out, let me explain this is not complicated. For the purpose of this blog these three exotic words will only refer to your specific skin type. See? That is easy.

Vata as V.  Pitta as P.  Kapha as K

The practice of Ayurveda believes we are all connected to the elements of the earth in an intangible yet undeniable way. And yes our skin is a part of that wheel.

These three principles are combinations of the five elements.

Vata is mostly air and space

Pitta is mainly fire and water

Kapha is primarily earth and water

 

A person's ayurvedic skin type, therefore, can be Vata, Pitta or Kapha, or sometimes a combination of two of these elements otherwise known as doshas. 

Over the years, our skin type may change because of external factors such as climate we live in, the food we eat, age, chemical changes in the body, health-related factors and lifestyle choices or environmental pollution.These free radicals should also be taken into account when choosing a skin-care regiment.

The V-type (per Ayurveda) related to air and space is the skin type identified as dry, thin and cool to the touch, easily dehydrated, and very vulnerable to the influence of dry, windy weather. Generally but not always this type is most often aging skin. 

The P-type is fire, prone to breakouts, photosensitivity, less tolerance to spicy food. This skin is warm to the touch and tends to be more inclined to freckles and moles than the other skin types.

The K -type is water and earth, this skin tends to have all those qualities — it can be greasy, thick, pigmented and more tolerant of the sun, will be less likely to age quickly and wrinkle due to its consistency and more likely to blemish.

Understanding the Many Spaces and Faces

Many skin types and Ayurveda helps create that a balanced skincare regiment

Our skin types were predetermined by our environment and climate in the regions our races were born into. Tropical, glacial, etc. But over time this predetermination evolved and produced a skin type that wasn't so starkly one or the other.

As we evolve climatically and travel and take up residence in different regions, these subtle changes affect our skin type. Our skin along with the rest of us adapts to survive. And so other types were born of this change. We in the west most often use the term "Combination" skin which is a mixture of two skin types.  

This adaptation can be a combination of skin types V and P (dry and sensitive) or V and K (oily and dry in areas).

The Ayurvedic approach to caring for combination skin takes into account environmental and seasonal factors. For example, a person with V-P skin type would follow the recommendations for P skin in summer and V skin in winter.

Why? Because the summer heat and humidity will activate the oil-producing glands and make the skin greasy and will need remedies with extra-cleansing designed for oily zones and a less emollient moisturizer, so it does not exasperate the issue. 

What You Eat, You Wear

Caring for V (dry and aging) Skin. For this skin type to stay youthful, it's best to use skin-care products that are very nurturing. These should include some essential oils or herbs in combination which can nourish the skin and rehydrate it; otherwise, it may be susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging. 

Our Earthy Collection recommendations are that you use our Mystic Sun which is made with calendula infused oils and other nutritive oils butter and additives which will cleanse but not strip your skin of the much-needed moisture. Or Mapleberry also an excellent stripping soap. We also recommend you use one of our sugar based hydrating scrub and the best for this skin type is our Citrus Cooler made with a custom blend of oils, and vitamin E or the Mellow N' Mystic Sugar Scrub made with organic sugar and rosemary with several nutritive oils.

A balanced V lifestyle type is getting enough sleep time, eating three regular balanced meals, and following a proper daily skin care routine. Our skin reflects what is happening inside of us. If we are in crisis internally whether it be emotional or nutritious, this becomes evident in our skin.

It is a myth that an expensive and miraculous skin care product can fix what is inherently wrong on the inside. Don't buy into that lie.

Here are some nutrition based recommendations for caring for your V (dry and aging skin type):

  • Add Organic whole milk, whole grain-based foods, and green leafy vegetables to your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water every day for internal hydration.
  • Eat plenty of sweet, juicy fruits; they help cleanse the body from within and provide hydration as well. (also seek medical advice should you see a conflict in this diet plan based on pre-existing medical conditions)
  • Include a little healthy fat such as ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil in your diet for added lubrication.
  • A warm-oil self-massage (in Ayurveda this is known as abhyanga) with a vitamin and nutrition rich massage oil is essential for this skin type to keep skin hydrated and also to stimulate blood circulation to the body which will kick-start a sluggish cell regeneration process which is most often found in aging body and skin. We recommend Maya Rose Body Oil as a source of hydration which also doubles as a massage oil.
  • Use a gentle, all-natural moisturizer for the whole body. Our recommendation is to use Pristine or Coco Rose Body Mousse. These are both great sources of emollient moisture vital for dry skin. You will notice these creams soak into your parched skin and give it instant vitality.
  • Get plenty of rest, so your mind and your body have the opportunity to recharge this applies to all skin types.

The P skin type needs extreme care. Use skin-care products with SPF protection and elements that help enhance resistance to the sun. Avoid getting a  tan, or being out in the sun for extended periods of time and activities that expose your delicate and sensitive skin to steam, hot water, and extremes of any kind. 

Those with this skin type need to be extremely discerning with their choices as far as what they put on it and be aware of what to stay away from while shopping for products. Ask a lot of questions and determine what works.

Our recommendations are based as a general rule of thumb nonallergic skin types who can use our clarifying soap bars like Cup-a-Josephine which is made with nourishing oils and butters and coffee grounds which perk up the skin as well and clarifying it and removing odor and impurities without stripping of moisture. Or Cleopatra a soothing soap made with sensitive skin in mind with honey, goats milk and oatmeal.

  • Stay away from synthetic based cosmetics; they can damage your sensitive skin and make you prone to breakouts.
  • Avoid spicy foods and an excess of deep-fried foods; they add heat to an already fiery makeup of your skin.
  • Eat lots of cool, sweet, juicy fruits. Rose based products are considered cooling for mind, body, and emotions. Our Roses in Bloom Scrub is perfect for this skin type.
  • Use a cooling salve, such as the Roses N' Herb Salve for additional relief to dry itchy skin.
  • We highly recommend a regular weekly soak to relax and unwind with our famous Salt and herb bath tea Date Night 
  • We also have a wide assortment of rose based products for you to try HERE.

Care for those with K type skin is a little bit more intense. People with this skin type have options but also more in the form of options.

Because of its thickness and oiliness, the K-typers are more prone to accumulate lymphatic (toxins) under the skin. People with K skin should detoxify on a regular basis — both internal and external detoxification to flush toxins from the surface. Garshana a Dry brushing practice is highly recommended for ALL skin types but is essential for this one. Find the details on this method in our previous blog HERE.

K typers sweat oils and always have to wipe off the light sheen across the forehead and around the nose and mouth areas. If not kept clean regularly a breakout is imminent and lest just say messy. Not only that, this type of skin doesn't hold makeup well with all the constant sweating and wiping. To eliminate these issues a consistent and robust care regiment is necessary.

Scrubbing the skin with a gentle exfoliating clay mask like our famous D-ToX Facial Mask can help with a massive, oily day for external cleansing. Be cautious in using this one it is very potent and must be used once a week or at the most twice - not more. For more sensitive skin use the PURE Facial Mask. The Kleanse Facial Mask is specially created for the K type skin for prolonged and regular use. Twice a week is recommended for this skin type. Use a good skin scrub; I recommend a salt scrub like Roses in Bloom, which works as an antiseptic.

We also have some excellent sugar soap scrubs which will be gentle yet cleansing. We recommend Aquamarine which is made with organic sugar and soy scrubs. Pink Puddin is also a superb Sugar soap scrub with a delicious blend meant to leave you clean, hydrated and fragrant. To fill a K type skin's moisturizing needs just use a lotion bar like Melting Gold or Banana Cream which will leave skin hydrated but is not excessively emollient.

K skin types may also indulge in different herbal tea based formulations specially designed for their make up. See an Ayurvedic Practioner for help with this. We do not recommend you self-diagnose or make your own based on information found online which is often open to the wrong interpretation and can be dangerous.

Some suggestions for caring for K type skin:

  • Avoid overindulging in sugary foods or deep-fried oily foods — they add to the oiliness of the skin.
  • A daily warm-oil massage can also help circulation.
  • Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruits to help cleanse the body from within which will balance the exterior.
  • Cleanse your skin twice every day, and exfoliate with a clay mask at least once a week.

I have a K-V skin type. So combination skin types will have to adapt their regimen mixing two or more kinds depending on what traits they find their skin emulates from each product.

 skin care and dry oily combination skin earthyalchemist blog posts

This was a lot to take in at once, I know. But as you can see skin type is determined by what we eat and where we live and who we are. Crafting a lifestyle and a solid care regiment around our skin types is a wholesome way to live. No, you won't go up in flames if you don't follow these rules, however, the aging process will accelerate and rather than maintaining healthy skin you will be battling for it back.

 


4 comments

  • Wow! This is cool. I just grabbed your mask Im excited to try it out.

    Preeya
  • Love this! I am a V type skin since we are talking about it. I noticed you have some stuff in your store, I emailed you about it, I want to grab some from you as soon as you tell me which will work for me. Thanks in advance.

    Amiee
  • Excellent information. Can’t say I’ve ever heard it put this way. But I am happy you did because this is definitely easier to figure out than reading some of the other articles. Got to shop your line next.

    Vicky
  • This is an excellent breakdown of something I have always been confused about. Thanks for making this so easy to understand. I’m totally taking this to heart. And I am skin type K BTW. I now know what to look for.

    Anita

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