In India, ancient healers perfected the art and science of natural beauty millennia ago. Ayurveda is the oldest continually practiced form of medicine - holistic or otherwise - in the world, originating over 5,000 years ago. As we are exposed to seemingly endless stress, toxins and chemicals in our contemporary lives, many of us are looking to ancient beauty therapies and Ayurvedic remedies to cope.
Ayurveda sets the highest standards for the concept of "natural" skincare. In classical Ayurveda, only food-grade ingredients are used in Ayurvedic skincare. This is because the skin "eats" anything applied to the skin, which gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream in a matter of seconds.
As holistic knowledge spreads, conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out natural beauty and body care products. This is what inspired me to create Nao Ayurveda, a plant-based, non-toxic, Ayurvedic skincare line - a mission to spread this ancient wisdom in our contemporary age.
Mind, Body, and Skin Types
According to Ayurveda, the human body is a microcosm of the whole universe, or macrocosm. The 5 elements - Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth - are the building blocks of you, me, and everything else in the universe.
These 5 elements combine to form the 3 doshas in Ayurveda. Vata is composed of Air + Space; Pitta is Fire + Water; and Kapha represents Earth + Water. The 3 doshas (and 5 elements) are present in all of us - but we all have a unique combination or proportion of elements, known as our constitution, or Prakruti. This delicate balance can become disturbed because of a number of external influences: stress, diet, climate, seasons, pollution, energy vibrations. This imbalance is known at the Vikruti.
How do these doshas, or mind-body types, translate to skincare? Vata skin tends to be dry, rough and thin; Pitta skin is oily, warm and sensitive; and Kapha skin is typically thick, oily, and cool. It's as simple as that!
Using plant extracts, herbs, flowers, essential oils, and minerals, the goal of Ayurvedic skincare is to bring the skin back into harmony with nature and the Prakruti.
How to balance Vata (dry) skin:
Vata skin is dry, thin, rough, prone to aging. This skin type needs to be nurtured, and needs warming and grounding. For Vata skin to stay youthful, it must stay hydrated.
Drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
Stick to a regular daily routine.
Incorporate meditation and relaxation techniques into daily life.
Apply warm oil to the body daily in a self-massage (use sesame, almond, or avocado oil). This daily ritual protects joints, lubricates dry skin, and grounds anxiety-prone Vata types.
Consume plenty of healthy fats such as avocados, ghee, olive oil, sesame seeds, and almonds.
How to balance Pitta (sensitive) skin:
Pitta skin is sensitive and prone to inflammation, redness, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis. To balance Pitta skin, use cooling and soothing products.
Consume plenty of coconut water, cook with coconut oil, and eat cooling foods such as avocados and bananas.
Apply coconut oil to the skin daily, which calms and cools the skin, and quenches thirst.
Limit sun exposure.
Limit intake of alcohol, coffee, spicy, oily, and fried foods.
How to balance Kapha (oily) skin:
Kapha skin tends to be thick, oily, prone to cystic acne. Kapha skin needs regular detoxification, as it is the most prone to accumulating ama, or toxins, under the skin. Kapha needs skincare products that are light and stimulating.
Detoxify the body (internally + externally) on a regular basis.
Perform weekly exfoliation with clay and mud masks.
Perform regular self-massage to increase circulation and drain the lymphatic system. (Use light, heating, or warming oils such as mustard seed, grapeseed, or almond).
Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruits to cleanse the body from the inside.
Cook with warming spices such as ginger, cayenne, and black pepper, in order to stimulate the digestive fire, or agni, which cleanses ama, or toxins, from the digestive tract.