Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to skincare and beauty rooted in the ancient Indian system of medicine. It emphasizes the balance between mind, body, and spirit to achieve overall well-being, and its philosophy extends to beauty practices.
The holistic approach of Ayurveda makes it an ideal route for addressing sensitive skin and healing the root issues of your skin imbalances. Ayurvedic skin care treatments incorporate natural ingredients, herbs, and oils to cleanse, nourish, and rejuvenate the skin. This article explores the specific practices for your summer skin care regimen.
Ayurvedic skin types
The principles of the elements and Doshas are the science behind Ayurvedic skin typing. Everything in the universe is made up of the five elements – Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether (or Space). The three Doshas are made up of combinations of these five elements – Vata Dosha (Air + Ether), Pitta Dosha (Fire + Water) and Kapha Dosha (Earth + Water).
Doshas manifest throughout our universe in various forms, as everything is made up of the Elements and Doshas. They manifest in our atmosphere seasons. In our bodies and minds, they manifest as physiological and psychological functions. Depending on how much of each Doshas is present, a season or an individual will be predominant in that Dosha, and have more of its elemental qualities.
Using the Tridosha theory, Ayurveda takes into account an individual’s unique constitution or balance of Doshas to recommend personalized skincare routines, dietary and other lifestyle guidelines. Outer beauty is considered a reflection of inner health in Ayurveda, so the benefits of its practices are more than skin-deep.
Depending on how much Vata, Pitta and Kapha you have in your unique mind-body system, you will have a Vata, Pitta or Kapha skin type. This represents the dominant Dosha in your system.
The summer’s impact on skin
According to Ayurveda, the summer season is associated with the Pitta Dosha, which is made up of mostly the fire element, with some water. Elementally, summer is fiery and a little watery, hot and intense.
Summertime can be a reprieve for individuals with Vata or Kapha skin. The heat will warm their otherwise cool skin, and the water will help them with hydration. However, too much of these elements can cause an imbalance.
Signs of summertime imbalance in your skin may include:
- Heat imbalances such as rashes, inflammation, breakouts and red/inflamed skin
- Sunburn and hyperpigmentation
- Increased oil
Summer skin care should uniquely address the season’s elements as well as the needs of your unique skin type.
Lifestyle practices for Ayurvedic skin care
Before reaching for herbs and topical solutions, Ayurvedic skin care begins with your daily habits. You’re unique, and all of your needs will shift throughout the seasons.
Pitta season is an intense time, which means rest and rejuvenation is important during this time. Having a regular sleep schedule with an “early to bed, early to rise” motto is generally the best sleep practice year-round. It’s important to honor this practice even in the summer months when you have more hours of sun. During intense periods of heat in the afternoon, it may be helpful to take a short nap (20 minutes or less) to calm excess Pitta Dosha.
Since Pitta Dosha is fiery in nature, it is advisable to engage in moderate exercise to avoid overheating in summer. Swimming, walking, water sports or yoga are best. Try to get your exercise in during the cooler parts of the day. A hot yoga class at noon might be fine during the winter, but it would be better to practice on the beach in the morning or evening.
Pitta aggravation in the skin is intrinsically connected to the stress and emotions you experience. Incorporating relaxation into your daily routines can help your mood and your skin. Meditation, listening to music, gardening, painting or any activity that soothes you is just as important for your summer skincare routine as cleansing.
Lifestyle practices for summer skin care
Foods for summertime skin
The increased heat of Pitta Dosha in summertime can cause digestive imbalances. Ayurveda suggests adopting a lighter diet during the season to soothe Pitta. While Ayurveda generally recommends sipping hot water and eating warm, cooked foods because cold foods dampen digestive fire, summertime demands a modified approach.
You may need to limit hot water to the cooler times of day and opt for room temperature water during the afternoon. Adding cucumber to your water can increase its cooling ability without dampening digestive fire. Coconut water is a refreshing and cooling alternative. Increasing your fluid intake overall can also help balance the summer’s Pitta fire.
It is advisable to avoid or minimize foods with high levels of Pitta Dosha, such as spicy, oily, salty and fried foods. Instead, opt for lighter cooking methods such as steaming and grilling. Lighter foods and meals including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables are perfect for the summer. Your summer skincare routine can include the bounty of nature, which provides essential nutrients and hydration.
Ayurvedic skin care tips during Pitta season
Oils and hydration
Depending on your unique skin type, you may experience less dryness in Pitta season as a positive side effect. For some, the heat of the summer aggravates their moisture and hydration balance. Hydrating internally with water, fresh fruits and moist foods is the first priority to keep your skin lubricated. Topical oils such as coconut oil, Kerala Ayurveda’s Kumkamdi Oil and Organic Soothing Oil can also help soothe dryness and Pitta Dosha.
Herbs to soothe Pitta Dosha
You can use herbal ingredients internally and externally in your summertime skin care routine. Some of our favorites include:
Amalaki is made from the amla fruit. It is renowned for its anti-aging benefits. Excess Pitta Dosha can lead to aging, which makes Amalaki perfect for Pitta detox.
Neem supports healthy liver function and immunity with benefits for your skin as well as your hair. It’s especially beneficial for individuals with more Pitta and Kapha in their constitutions and skin type.
Aloe is an excellent soother and hydrator for angry, Pitta-aggravated skin like breakouts and sunburn. It also soothes your insides if you drink the juice or aloe gel.
Rose is calming and cooling for Pitta Dosha. You can drink rose-infused water or tea, fragrance your food with rose oil. Throughout the hot days, misting your skin with rose can keep your skin moist and your mind centered. Heat can collect in the feet, especially at the end of the day, which is the perfect time for a rose-infused foot bath.
Masks for Pitta season
Special treatments during the Pitta season can keep your skin calm. If you’re motivated to make one at home, try our 4-ingredient turmeric and neem face pack.
Our Swarnamukhi face pack is an Ayurvedic skin care staple for all skin types and seasons. It has a naturally cooling sensation and helps cleanse and soothe pores.
Remember, these recommendations are general guidelines, and it’s important to consider your unique constitution and any specific health conditions you may have. Consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner can provide personalized advice based on your individual skin needs.