Ayurveda, known as the science of living, stems from ancient philosophy of life, health and beauty. These teaching were written more than 5,000 years ago in Sanskrit and are still practiced today. According to Ayurveda, skin is the outward sign of inner balance and health.
Ayurvedic philosophy says that we are each born with some of the characteristics three main doshas, or constituents, in different proportions. Kapha, Pitta and Vata are the three doshas that we are all born with in varying amounts. When one of these doshas is dominant, we are slightly out of balance. Since balance is equated with health and beauty, there are several techniques and daily practices in Ayurveda that focus on not letting any one dosha get too strong.
The Ayurvedic skincare philosophy is very similar to its view on internal health. Each person’s skin is unique and carries a dominant dosha. They goal is to balance all doshas, calming anything too dominant in the skin. A dosha imbalance causes skin symptoms such as breakouts, dryness, rashes, oiliness…even hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles.
Balancing your skin’s doshas is the key to unlocking your true beauty potential. Here is a fun and easy quiz to determine your dosha.
Usually your dominant dosha also corresponds to your skin’s dosha. However, this is not always the case. So just in case, we added a brief description of each skin type, or dosha:
- Vata skin: When healthy, skin is clear and soft with refined pores, and pale or olive in color. When out of balance, Vata skin tends to be thin, dry and dehydrated. In severe cases, skin can itch, crack and flake. Continued Vata imbalance can lead to premature wrinkling of the skin.
For Vata dominance, focus on: deeply hydrating facials and collagen masks treatments, nut and plant oils, and lots of vitamin E and C, as well as home care that focuses on gentle exfoliation and rich moisture.
- Pitta skin: When healthy, skin is clear, bright and rosy cheeked with medium pore size and some freckles. When out of balance, Pittas are extra sensitive, ruddy or overly freckled skin with a tendency to become irritated and break out. Usually Pitta skins show signs of classic combination type.
For Pitta dominance, focus on: calming and soothing ingredients, LED therapy and gently cleansing home care with focus on hydration and balance for combination skin types.
- Kapha skin: When healthy, skin is very moist, soft and smooth. When out of balance, skin runs thick, oily and acne prone. Pores are usually larger, especially on cheeks, nose and forehead. Kapha skin is slower to show wrinkles due to oil content, but can be prone to scarring from acne breakouts.
For Kapha dominance, focus on: stimulating and deep cleansing facials with mild acids, retinoids and clay based masks and home care that focuses on sebum and bacteria control
It is possible to have a combination of two skin doshas, so treat your skin accordingly. It is also very common to experience symptoms of each dosha depending on your environment, diet, hormones, stress level and seasonal changes. This is just a basic key to balance these symptoms and keep your skin healthy, happy and beautiful. True Ayurvedic Skin Care Practices involve diet, exercise, meditation, supplementation and Skin Treatments. If you’d like more detailed information on Ayurvedic skincare philosophy, here’s a terrific resource book: Absolute Beauty by
For more information on Ayurveda and skin care read this great article by Nancy Lonsdorf M.D., dermatologist and Ayurvedic doctor.