One of the self-breakthroughs I've had this year, in body, mind and spirit, has come from studying Ayurveda and understanding myself better through my Dosha type. Awareness of Ayurveda is becoming more common in the West and I truly believe that it's important for everyone to understand their internal composition to help keep ourselves in balance. It plays an interesting role in skincare because we reflect outside what we are on the inside and each dosha type has different skin characteristics.
Vata- Dry skin, prone to aging faster. Skin runs cold, tans easily, can be dull
Pitta- Warm, heat intolerant, sensitive to sun, burns easily. Freckles may be apparent and can have combination skin
Kapha- Cool, oily skin, larger pores but luminous
All of the things that I picked on myself for started to make sense once I understood that it's part of my unique body chemistry. I'm Vata dominant so here are some of the other characteristics of my type:
- I have moments of passionate motivation and then I collapse into the couch and can't move for a day. Vata dominant people have very sporadic energy levels.
- I'm cold all the time and I hate wind blowing on me. This has become a point of contention with my fiance who runs hot and needs air blowing on him at all times. I always try to win of course ;-)
- I run thin with delicate, thin, fine skin. My pores are not that large by nature but I wouldn't be a good candidate for hyualoranic fillers, as an example, because my skin is so fine you could see it underneath. Sort of creepy, but noted.
- Spring into summer is when I thrive. Fall is a difficult transition that throws my balance out of whack usually.
I spent hours trying to self-diagnose. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water. Maybe I'm lazy. Why am I cold all the time and why do I feel great in the spring and terrible in the Fall? Ayurveda helped me understand myself better and make peace with who I really am. Once I understood my balance I can make daily judgments and rituals to help keep harmony. The secret to a happy, youthful complexion is learning how to balance all three doshas in the body.
Here are a few things I added in to my routine to pacify my type:
- Warm, rich oils help balance my dry skin and nourish my cool skin type. I use Maya Chia's luxe oil, it's a dream! I also love Rose Hip Oil as well.
- I exfoliate daily to help remove dull skin at the surface. I love using natural exfoliators with ground brown rice and crushed flowers. French Girl Organics and Eminence both have great options
- Whenever I can find it, I get Shirodhara treatments. This ritual pours warm oil over the third eye and let's in run into the hair. It's incredibly soothing, awakening and nourishing for my dry skin and hair
- I drink lots of tea with ginger and honey to warm my body and keep it happy
- Yoga helps boost my circulation, especially inversions which is why I spend so much time on my head and hands ;-)
If you have excess Pita I would experiment with cooling sheet masks, look for cucumber or aloe vera gel as ingredients to help cool off. Farmaesthetics has a great cooling restorative mask here. Eat cool foods like salads and raw veggies and stay away from spicy foods. Also, limit overly chemically processed skin care ingredients. They usually cause more inflammation.
If you have excess Kapha, clay masks are a great way to close pores and reduce oil. I love Oxalis Apothecary's Wildflower Clay Mask. Kaphas can hold onto weight more easily because they identify with water so try yoga poses that detoxify and cleanse the body, like deep twists.
I also find witch hazel to be balancing for any ailment whether my skin is dry or extra clogged. I use May Lindstorm's Jasmine Garden and love it! I would watch for alcohol or any other drying ingredient in these toner sprays. I find they make my skin tight but very, very dry. Most toners that aren't super natural have some sort of alcoholic drying agent in them.
Hope this is helpful. Ayurveda is extremely complex and isn't as cut and dry and I think it will take years for me to fully understand it. But this provides a great guideline to start identifying with what makes us special and helps keep us in balance!
If you're interested in really diving in, I started by reading Deepak Chopra's Perfect Health. It's a great reference guide.