Taking out time to look after ourselves is justified. Pampering our skin and scalp wisely and with love should be part of our daily routine. A crucial point to remember is that skin health is built externally as well as internally by what we feed on.
Knowing your skin type is the first important step. Here’s a brief overview:
Dermatologists categorise skin into five types -
- Normal – feels neither tight nor oily.
- Dry – feels tight.
- Oily/acne prone – feels oily all over.
- Combination Skin – oily T- zone and normal/dry cheeks.
- Sensitive Skin – Red, patchy, dry and irritated
How can you tell what’s your type? The following simple home test could help you.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser wait for an hour without having applied anything on your face.
- Pat your T-zone with a tissue paper. Use another one for your cheeks. If the tissue seems oily on patting the T-zone and the cheeks’ tissue has none, you have a combination skin. If both tissues feel oily, you have oily skin. If the tissues have no residue and your skin feels taut/tight it is dry.
- Pinch the cheek; if it wrinkles under pressure then you have dry or combination skin. Oily skin will feel smooth and will not crinkle up.
Pore size test
- Normal skin will show pores but they won’t be large.
- Oily skin/Combination skin – take a few steps back from a mirror and you’ll still be able to see the pores; on T-zone for combination skin.
- Dry skin –close up you can see the pores but take a few steps back from the mirror and you won’t be able to see them at all.
If you are still in doubt, consult an expert.
Genetics, physiological (hormonal) changes along with ageing and external conditions are the four factors that contribute to skin type and skin health. External conditions can be various:
Irregular or incorrect skin care
Now that you have a general background on skin, let’s understand what ayurveda has to say about it.
Ayurveda believes that all of us are governed by doshas i.e. our constitution is regulated by biological energies. Doshas determine our optimal diet, mentality, lifestyle, body & skin care, and just about everything that involves body, mind and soul.
There are three types of doshas which are a combination of the five elements:
- Vata (wind and ether/space)
- Pitta (fire and water)
- Kapha (Earth and water)
You could be a pure dosha or have a dominant dosha in combination with a less dominant dosha. Ayurveda advices us to factor in the influences of weather/season, age and food on our skin.
Ayurveda & Skin Type:
Vata skin – has a tendency to be dry and rough, cool to touch with a thin outer layer of the dermis which can cause premature wrinkles and aging. This skin type is sensitive to mental stress. Avoid cold, dry and processed food as well as aerated drinks. Include whole grains, green leafy vegetables and juicy fruits in your diet. Incorporate ginger, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon and cloves in food particularly in cooler seasons. Include a healthy fat like organic coconut oil or olive oil. As far as possible, drink warm/lukewarm water. Vata dosha people need more restful sleep.
A gentle massage with a nourishing (warm) oil, like Pavitra body oil, can keep skin youthful and glowing.
Pitta skin - can burn easily because heat and sun affect it more. Soft to the touch pitta skin can also be oily and prone to acne and inflammation making it sensitive. Generally light/fair, this skin type has a tendency for moles/freckles. Avoid oily, sour, acidic and overly spicy food. Include whole foods, fresh cooling fruits like watermelon/melons, pomegranate juice and juices rich in Vit C, coconut water; cooling vegetables/herbs like cucumber, gourds, mint; add fennel to your food.
A light massage with warmed Pavitra body oil can help detoxify and cleanse the skin making it clear, smooth and blemish free.
Kapha skin – Generally smooth, hydrated and thick, this skin type ages well. However, when out of balance, it can be oily, have large pores, white/blackheads and acne. Avoid desserts, salty and oily food. Include plenty of organic vegetables and fruits in your diet. Use ginger and black pepper frequently in cooked food. Exfoliate your skin at least twice a week.
Use Pavitra body oil (warm) to gently massage to restore balance and glow.
Hope that has brought some clarity into identifying and taking care , inside and out, of your particular skin type.
As a bonus, try these gentle home-made exfoliating scrubs at least twice a week:
For Vata skin: Combine 1 tsp of almond powder with enough coconut milk/water to make a drippy paste. Apply all over face and neck and gently massage (do not scrub) and wash off with warm water as it begins to dry.
For Pitta skin: Combine 1 tsp of lentil flour + ½ tsp of neem powder if available (neem soaked water will also do) with cucumber juice or rose water to form a drippy paste. Apply all over face and neck and wash off with cool water before it dries.
For Kapha skin: Combine ½ tsp of pure honey with ½ tsp of lemon juice or cucumber juice. Apply on face and leave for about 4 mins and wash off with cool water.
Pavitra wishes you a great and healthy skin. Love yourself and be kind to your skin.