The skin is a very important organ for protection as well as for cosmetic
purposes. It is the most exposed organ of our body, which undergoes constant
wear and tear due to exposure to sunlight, air pollutants, irregular diet
habits and an inconsistent life style, and is subject to the process of
aging. Cosmetically, the most important aspect of skin is its texture, which
differs from person to person. Still, everyone wishes to have lustrous and
healthy skin. The ancient Ayurvedic scholars have mentioned many formulae
for the maintenance of lustrous skin, as well as medicinal remedies for
various skin diseases, both pathological as well as cosmetic.
Skin Types and Dosha Dominance
Vata Dosha Dominance
The skin of such persons is thin, fine pored, of darker complexion with
a whitish or grayish shade, cool to touch, especially in the extremities
(hands and feet) and rough and flaky. It is sensitive to the climatic
changes. When this skin type gets corrupted by vitiated Vata Dosha, it
shows the signs of lack of tone or luster, increased roughness and dryness,
cracking, dry rashes. It often suffers from corns and calluses and dry
Pitta Dosha Dominance
The skin is usually fair, of freckled complexion, soft, lustrous and warm,
and sensitive to chemicals. When the vitiated Pitta Dosha affects skin,
it gets afflicted with rashes, inflammation, itching, premature wrinkling,
yellowish tinge, pustular acne, blackheads, whiteheads, excessive oiliness,
The skin is thick, moist, pale, generally soft and cool to touch, and well
toned. When affected with vitiated Kapha Dosha, the skin shows the signs
of dullness, sluggishness, enlarged pores, blackheads, large, white pustules,
with repeated cyst formations that have thick, oily secretion.
Ayurveda has advised seven types of therapeutic measures for skin care.
Massage with oils
Herbal steam or compress
Out of these, cleansing, toning and moisturizing should be followed as
a daily routine.
Ayurveda suggests the use of herbal powders called Ubtans to cleanse the
skin. A paste of ingredients like turmeric, and licorice can be used for
this purpose. Perspiration and accompanying waste products are continually
excreted from the pores of the skin,, attracting dirt and bacteria. Initial
cleansing removes this dirt, making the skin surface fresh and ready to
receive facial massage.
Mild massaging should be done to the face by using oils medicated with
herbal ingredients like sandalwood, licorice or vetiver grass. Massaging
also tightens the skin and erases fine wrinkles.
The warmth, moisture and fragrance of the infusion used for steam helps
dissipate muscular and mental tension, boost circulation and activate
the pores and glands. The frequency of this procedure should be moderated
by observing condition of skin. For dry skin, steam should be applied
once in two weeks. For this purpose, mixture of Dashamoola (the group
of ten herbs), rose or sandalwood powder should be mixed with water, and
boiled. For normal skin, infusion of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
and sandalwood should be used, while for oily skin, infusion of lemon
grass and rose powder is recommended.
Scrubbing should be done with a very light hand, otherwise it damages
the skin, which is especially delicate in the facial area. This stimulates
circulation and rejuvenates the skin.
Dirt accumulated in the deeper layers of skin is extracted by using a
facial mask. It also prevents the formation of acne and blackheads. Clay
is the best base for a mask (Gopichandan or Multani Mitti) and is a rich
source of minerals. Aloe Vera, lemon juice or spring/rose water is mixed
to prepare the mask. Various face packs, containing the powders of medicinal
herbs, and gels of fruits and vegetables are also used to improve circulation,
to cleanse and tighten the facial skin. Face packs and masks should be
applied and kept till they dry. These should be removed using warm water
and a clean cloth or cotton.
These are used to tighten the skin and prevent dirt and dust from settling
on its surface. Pastes of Rubia cordifolia (Manjishtha), licorice and
embelic myrobalan are the herbs, which tighten the skin by exerting an
All skin types need moisturizing in order to protect from drying and bacterial
infection. Aloe Vera with glycerin and ghee can be used as a simple homemade
moisturizer. Moisturizers should preferably be applied at night, to make
skin smooth and lustrous.