Ayurvedic Skin Health related to Ayurvedic Body Types

Ayurvedic Skin Health related to Ayurvedic Body Types

Collagen, along with Keratin and Elastin are proteins which are found in skin and hair, all give the skin it’s firmness, youth, strength and elasticity.

Herbs that boost collagen used in ayurvedic skin care, include Aloe Vera, Bilberry, Calendula, Eucommia, Gotu Kola, Hawthorn and Horsetail. Aloe Vera is said to have a high content of collagen protein. Animal studies show that Aloe helps to heal wounds by increasing collagen production. When using Aloe, collagen production may increase by up to 90%.

Other names for Bilberry may be Sara Roga ,nivarini, Indian lilac, heal all and village pharmacy. Marigolds were originally flowers of the Calendula family.S anskrit/Indian name for calendula include zergul or Genda. Eucommia has Chinese name du Zhong and is most effective for kidney and liver diseases. Gotu kola is also known by other names, including Brahmi, centella, Indian pennywort, marsh penny, thick leaved Pennywort, Marsh penny, thick leaved pennywort, white rot, hydrocotyle, Indian water navelwort and talepetrako. Gotu kola has been used in European countries to promote healing of burns and other skin wounds. Gotu kola herbs are also known as Centella asiatica, Indian pennywort, Brahmi (possibly like your Brahmi oil) or spade leaf. It is an anti-inflammatory, anti tumor, anti rheumatic type of herb among other medical uses. Hawthorn is also known by many other names including acacia, azalea, buttercup, camellia, daffodil, dahlia, jasmine, sweet pea, wisteria and water lily. Hawthorn is a source of antioxidants, and has been used to treat cardiac insufficiency. Horsetail is a plant. It is used for kidney and bladder problems, weak bones, brittle hair, skin and fingernails among other medical uses. Horsetail has silica in it, and can have antioxidant properties.

Most doctors believe taking collagen supplements is not effective because the collagen molecule is too large for the skin and parts of the body to absorb. Collagen has a high molecular weight of about 300,000 Dalton’s. Hydrolyzed collagen molecules are however, small enough (average 5000 Dalton’s) to be absorbed by the skin and intestines and then into the blood stream. The skin is made up of about 80% type 1, collagen so a supplement rich in type 1 collagen, or a supplement like a herb that encourages the brain and body to produce its own collagen, is best to use.

According to Ayurveda, a number of factors determine skin health and youthfulness. These factors include proper moisture balance (Kapha in balance), effective functioning of the metabolic mechanisms that coordinate all the various chemical and hormonal reactions of the skin (Pitta in balance), and efficient circulation of blood and nutrients to the different layers of the skin (Vata in balance).

Kapha type people can be cold, have a slower metabolism and can have oily skin and hair and have excessive moisture particularly if there are dominant or excess out of balance Kapha. Therefore proper moisture balance and Kapha in balance would require opposite qualities to Kapha qualities like dry, light and warm diet, Ayurvedic products, lifestyle and environment. When moisture in the skin is suitably balanced between not too wet and not too dry, the skin may look it’s best. It should be remembered that Kapha people are made from more Earth and water than other elements. Pitta people have more fire and water elements and to some extent fire and water qualities balance each other. Heat is both a by product of metabolism and a form of energy that influences the speed at which metabolism works. Pitta has the heat of the fire element in it, and as stated above heat can influence the metabolism. Higher body temperatures do speed up metabolism. Cooler core body temperatures appear to lower metabolic rate. When Pitta is in balance the metabolism is more effective and efficient and the various chemical and hormonal reactions of the skin are better coordinated leading to better looking skin. Predominantly Vata people have more qualities of the air and space elements in them and are responsible for movement in the body just as the air element that Vata is made out of, is responsible for movement. The atoms and molecules that make up the gas air, move about more in the atmosphere than the atoms and molecules that make up liquid, water and solid earth. Movement in the body includes the movement of air in and out of the lungs and blood as in respiration. Blood circulation is movement of the blood through the body. Blood circulation, transportation of food nutrients to various parts of the body including cells, gases and waste products are associated with blood movement and hence are a Vata activity. Dry skin can be associated with excess or dominant Vata Dosha, as can uneven skin tone, pigmentation and blemishes on the skin and hair loss which are also associated with poor blood circulation. When Vata is out of balance there is poor blood circulation resulting in cold extremities such as skin, hands fingers and feet even on warm days, swelling in the body, Oedema, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. When Vata is out of balance nutrients and hormones do not reach target cells in the mind and body,like the skin,and wastes accumulate in the tissue. Vata is to some extent responsible for the pulsation of the heart and the circulation of the blood, along with the nutrients absorbed  from the gut. Vata is also supposed to govern all circulation, transportation and communication in the physiology, including breathing and  the flow of nerve impulses from the brain. Good balanced metabolism, moisture etc. leads to overall better health and skin and hair is better when the doshas are balanced. Thus the efficient circulation of the blood and nutrients to the different layers of the skin requires Vata to be in balance. Respiration involves air moving in and out of lungs and such movement is part of Vata activity.

Blood circulation is movement of blood and again anything due to movement in the body can be due to Vata Dosha. Blood circulation, transportation of food nutrients to cells, gases and waste products are associated with blood movement and hence are a Vata activity. Poor blood circulation is one of the results of excess,out of balance Vata or Kapha doshas. Vata is also predominantly made from the space/ether element,and spaces in the body such as spaces between cells are a Vata activity.

For Pitta skin good sunscreens for protection from the hot sun (Pitta is made from the fire and water elements and the fire element has attributes of warmth, so when the sun increases the warmth of Pitta Dosha people, Pitta becomes excess out of balance Pitta, which can have bad effects on health and condition of skin and hair),and good facial skin oils should be used daily. Tanning treatment and therapies that expose delicate sensitive skin for extended periods of time to steam/heat should be avoided.

For Kapha skin a daily warm oil massage and cleansing of skin with gentle exfoliation should be done.

For Vata skin to stay youthful, skin care products that can nourish and hydrate drier Vata skin should be used, otherwise it may be susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging. It should be remembered that most people have all of the three doshas in them, usually with one doshas higher in proportion than the other doshas. It is said a Pitta person would have a higher proportion of Pitta dosha in them, but may also have lower proportions of Vata and Kapha doshas in them. In  Ayurveda skin health two types of therapy are included for anti aging treatment, namely promotive (Urjaskara) and curative (vyadhihara).

Urjaskara or Rasayana is that which brings optimum quality of the body tissues due to which it provides both physical and mental health, prevents aging and disease and thus enables us to live for a longer period of youthfulness.

A healthy person is known by the vigorous Urja(energy) he carries in himself to sustain life, to survive the struggles of existence and ultimately coming out as the best creature of this universe. The diet regimens, practices enriching the urja or vigor of a person are known as urjaskara. Urjuskara or Rasayana means causing strength of the body, sense organs mind and soul i.e. boosting bala or rejuvenating the vitality.

Medicines which help in protection and preservation of health in an already healthy person are called Swasthasya urjaskara type of medicines. These medicines help in prevention of diseases and provide long standing immunity and strength to fight off illness and preserve health. They are predominantly preventative and partly curative in nature.

Rasayana is a branch of Ayurveda that deals with the promotion of positive health by eliminating the ill effects of old age, thereby improving the quality of life.

Whether you go to an Ayurvedic internal medicine specialist or an obstetrician, or other specialist they will take both a preventative and curative approach.

Preventative medicine approach seeks to create and maintain health and longevity within the individual. It emphasises defining each persons Prakriti (or three Dosha influenced constitution) and creating daily and periodic regimens to support that prakturi and keep it in balance.

These health routines focus on everything from Ayurvedic products, diet, exercise, herbal therapies, massage, meditation, social behaviour and positive relationships.

Curative medicine seeks to heal an illness, which may be achieved by one or more of the following approaches:

*internal measures including Shodhana (Detoxification)and shaman (methods used to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms and suffering by palliative care).Internal medicine (kaya-chikitsa) focuses on doshic balance and imbalance, metabolic function and digestion.

*external measures including Snehana (oil treatments) and svedana (steam therapy using herbal steam,which vaporises and extracts the chemicals in the herbs)and use of herbal creams and pastes.External Ayurvedic medicine includes oleation (snehanam),sudation (swedana), bath, medical gargles, application of creams or paste, powders and other physiotherapeutic measures as an adjunct or addition to internal medicine.

One of the unique, and most beneficial aspects of the Ayurvedic home cleanse is the technique of oleation-which is essentially the internal and external oiling of the body.

Sesame oil is highly recommended but if that feels too heavy or too warming sunflower, almond or coconut oil can be used. Alternatively a specific abhyanga Herbal oil like soothing oil for fire and water influenced Pitta Dosha, calming oil for air and space influenced Vata Dosha or stimulating oil for earth and water influenced lethargic Kapha Dosha. Sudation is the process of the sweat glands of the skin secreting sweat or an salty fluid. Sweating is a homeostatic process, that is it helps the body maintain an internal equilibrium or Dosha balance.

*surgical methods, including removal of tissues, organs and harmful growths.

Conventional medicine focuses more on the curative aspect of illness, rather than also preventative aspect of illness.

The health of the following three types of body tissue are especially reflected in the skin: nutritional fluid or plasma (Rasa),blood (Rakta) and muscle (mamsa). To be effective, an anti aging application has to provide support to all of these areas. Rasa supports all the body tissues, particularly keeping the skin healthy, rakta in association with liver function helps detoxify the skin of toxins, while mamsa muscle provides firmness to the skin.