Ayurveda is the science of dynamic equilibrium. In fact, the entire science of Ayurveda revolves around different equilibriums within the body and without. Health is in balancing this equilibrium. Can anyone provide a simpler explanation of health? This is the beauty of Ayurveda. The unified theory of Western science is yet to find a comprehensive explanation, whereas Ayurveda has, a long time ago, reduced everything within the unified theory of Tridoshas, the all-pervading functional units of the body.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the radical etiological factors for the skin diseases too. Wrong diet and lifestyle which go against the seasons and one’s nature or prakruti are the two important factors that derange doshic balance in the body. Among them, Bhrajaka-pitta, situated in their skin, is the prime vitiating factor in the skin disease.
Pitta and Rakta together form different kinds of skin diseases in the seven layers of the skin involving the dermis and other internal tissues. The skin is the largest constituent in the body hence skin care is of utmost importance. Skin is the barrier which prevents the harmful organisms from entering the body from the external influences of heat, cold and wind. To protect one’s skin means to protect one’s life.
Abhyanga, Vyayama and Udvartana are the three important preventive and health-promoting activities in daily life which keep the skin healthy and shining.
Abhyanga is the application of medicated oils all over the body in a systemic way. It is the most common treatment form in pre panchakarma, popularly called the Ayurvedic massage. It is used for a very wide range of disease conditions from pain to paralysis – and also to rejuvenate the body.
Vyayama or exercise & physical activity delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues and helps the cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Vyayama pacifies the doshas in the body and cures some diseases. It also increases the potential of the digestive fire. Vyayama retards the process of ageing and is very effective in regulating cholesterol and obesity. It gives the body good shape and brings about alertness of body and mind.
Udvartana is the gentle rubbing of medicated powders over the skin to rubbing medicated powder over the skin as a mild scrub to cleanse this major sense organ. It is beneficial for obesity and similar conditions.
Timely eating, timely evacuation and timely sleep are the three important lifestyle factors which improve skin health.
Ahara: The most desirable foods for the skin are madhurarasa–pradhana (sweet dominant) foods. Foods that cause early shrinkage and roughness of the skin are salty, sour and bitter foods, whereas astringents and pungent foods (Kashaya and katu) are neutral to the skin especially if ingested with madhurarasa-pradhana foods. Fruits like pomegranates, raisins, dates, and vegetables like tender cucumber and white pumpkin are good for the skin. Vegetables like bitter gourd, ridge gourd and small beans are not healthy for the skin even though they are nutritious and good for obese people and for those who have a frequent bowel movement.
Malashodhana: During the process of digestion at macro and micro levels certain bi-products are formed as excretory waste and should be regularly disposed of. If these products are not excreted on a regular basis they can prove harmful for the body. They are stools or purisha, mutra or urine, Sweda or sweat, tears (eye), mucous (tongue), oily secretions (skin) mucoid secretions (mucus membranes). This malashodhana helps the functioning of the organs.
Nidra: Timely sleep is very important. It is important not to sleep during the daytime. Sleep rejuvenates the skin. It gets back its natural status by optimum physiological activity during sleep. The above practices are for holistic skincare.
The following are very useful in skin applications to improve skin texture and glow.
• Kumkumaadi tailam for dry skin. Apply on the face in small quantity and gently rub for a few minutes, leave on for one hour for better penetration. Or apply at night and wash the next day
• Paste of Chandana with milk for dry is helpful in treating dark skin
• Bark of Lodhra with milk for oily skin
• Red sandalwood paste with rose water for ordinary skin with blemishes
This article was originally published by Prof (Dr.) G G Gangadharan, Ramaiah Indic Specialty Ayurveda. The copyright of this article is owned by Ramaiah Indic Specialty Ayurveda, Bangalore.