Kulreet Chaudhary, MD., an Ayurvedic expert, was invited onto the Dr. Oz show to discuss the ancient Indian healing process she specializes in. Ayurvedic medicine essentially revitalizes the skin through internal methods, rather than topical, to make it look younger. Dr. Chaudhary explained to Dr. Oz that Western medicine looks at skin disorders as a topical issue, when Ayurvedic medicine bases all treatment on an individual skin type, so treatments are personalized regimens that deal with the underlying causes. It more specifically looks at what is happening with the digestive system, and the skin is actually considered to be part of this system.
There are three main types of skin Dosha in Ayurvedic medicine: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Once you know what your skin type is, you can not only deal with the current imbalance, but also prevent future skin disorders. For instance, if you are at risk for early-aging, you can start to take precautions now. There is a quiz that you can take, on the Dr. Oz show website, to figure out your skin type here.
The skin types are described below:
You’re a Vata skin type if your skin has mostly these characteristics:
Skin color is pale and whitish, with a rough texture and a tendency towards scratches, bruises, and lines. Skin problems are triggered by stress and anxiety and are most problematic during cold, windy weather.
The rough skin is indicative of a lack of nutrients and hydration. The scratches, bruises and lines show that the skin is very vulnerable and when something happens to the skin, it is difficult for it to recover quickly. Stress, in this instance, is classed as a mental event, and is common in people who have a lot on the go all the time, with a constant list of things to do. Cold, dry, windy weather (like is found in Chicago) tends to make you feel vulnerable, so it actually ends up making the skin feel vulnerable as well.
Vata’s need to eat very nourishing foods like whole-grains, cooked vegetables, and warm milk on a daily basis, to bring back luster and vitality to their skin. Ginger is also helpful because Vata’s tend to run cold on their digestion, so adding spices warms them up and increases metabolism. Raw vegetables are to be avoided as their digestion is not strong enough.
Ayurvedic herb recommended: Ashwagandha (500mg twice a day)
You’re a Pitta skin type if your skin has mostly these characteristics:
The soft skin is indicative of good digestion and collagen production. Pink breakouts are basically typical pimples or slight surface inflammations. Traumatic events, in this instance, are classed as emotional events, rather than mental (like stress). When people have made the comment, “I had a fight with my husband/wife and then broke out in hives”, they are referring to this type of event triggering a skin problem. Pitta’s already retain a lot of heat in their bodies, so heat in their environment increases their level of inflammation.
Pitta’s need to focus on cooling, so should eat sweet, watery fruits like melons, pears, and mangoes. Coconut oil, fennel seeds, tumeric, and rose jam are also helpful. Spicy foods should be avoided, as they are toxic to their skin and will trigger eruptions when eaten.
Ayurvedic herb recommended: Amla Berry (250mg per day)
You’re a Kapha skin type if your skin has mostly these characteristics:
Skin color is darker than is normal for your ethnic type, skin is plump, and suffers from eruptions and oiliness. Skin problems are triggered by not washing enough, and are most problematic in cool, damp weather.
For all ethnic types, the skin color becomes darker because of everything that is happening within the body. Plump skin (all over the body) means that fat production is working well; which for skin is a good thing because those with more fat in their skin age less. Eruptions aren’t like normal pimples, but are clusters of cystic pimples and are actually a sign that there are toxins being released to the surface. Dr. Chaudhary points out that it is not uncommon to see people on an Ayurvedic cleanse getting these types of eruptions because of the toxins being released from the bodies. Kapha’s feel like their skin is crawling in cool, damp weather because their bodies are already feeling the same sensation.
Kapha’s can eat the exact opposite of what Pitta’s can eat, so are able to eat all the spicy foods, hot peppers, garlic, and black pepper. This breaks down the toxins in the digestive system and heats them up. Oily and heavy food should be avoided, as the skin already has those tendencies.
Ayurvedic herb recommended: Guggul (75mg-150mg per day)
The Super Herb For Every Skin Type: Neem
Every skin Dosha has a specific Ayurvedic herb that is recommended to help balance out their bodies, but Neem is a wonder-herb that actually works for all skin types. Neem grows in the tropics, and is an evergreen tree that has the rare ability to treat problems topically, as well as internally. Neem is anti-microbial and kills bacteria on the skin, as well as in the liver, gut, and blood. Unlike antibiotics, the body does not build a resistance to it. It is also an anti-inflammatory and it helps reduce the acne that a lot of skin types have a tendency towards.
The original way of using Neem was to simply use the leaves and make them into a skin pack. Now, Neem is available in many different forms — like face packs (which Vata’s should use once a week, Pitta’s should use twice a week, and Kapha’s should usually virtually every day). Also available are: face washes, facial lotions, toothpastes, and bath teas.