I don’t like to take too much of your time with lengthy blog posts. I mean, who has the time?! For those who are wondering why this post is titled Skincare II, I recommend looking at this post where I talk about my three main skincare rules, as well as some supplements I use and swear by. You can also have a look at this one for more info on supplements, superfoods, and even a skin-friendly meal delivery service that I like.
For less specific, but more Ayurvedic, skincare products that I like, check out this post. If you are new here and do not know (about) me, maybe you would like to come and say hello on Instagram, where I share plant-based, skin-friendly, hormone-friendly, and sometimes even toddler-friendly, recipes. Finally, you can try this Instagram-worthy;) easy-to-make “anti-aging” skin food/smoothie at home.
Okay, now a few words about Ayurveda and Ayurvedic skincare. You can TOTALLY skip this part if you are only interested in the dry/mature skin products that I list below.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of medicine. It literally means “the Science of Life”. It is based on the idea that the world, along with humans in it, is made up of five elements — Aakash (space/ether), Jala (water), Prithvi (earth), Teja (fire), and Vayu (air). A combination of these elements makes different doshas, and these are vata (air+ether), kapha (earth+water), and pitta (fire +water). We ALL have all of these elements- we cannot survive without either of them; but most of us naturally will have one or two of these elements predominantly. Therefore, most of us will have one or two Doshas as their constitution. For example, I am predominantly Pitta, which means that I mostly have fire and water elements. To stay healthy, I need to follow a diet, herbal treatments, yogic breathing techniques, and, a lifestyle, that will prevent fire and water elements from being provoked.
HOWEVER, because of environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and so on, it IS possible to have other elements to get overwhelmingly dominant. For example, if I don’t have enough healthy fats or grounding root vegetables; if I follow an imbalanced raw food diet with lots of raw kale and dandelions, 🙂 if I am under constant stress that is causing anxiety; and on top of all this, if I am living in an extremely cold climate, I might end up with a Vata imbalance.
What is more, it IS possible to be predominantly one dosha, while having another doshas skin qualities, especially that other dosha is strong enough in your constitution. In fact, after Pitta, Vata is my strongest dosha (P3 V2 K1, in Ayurveda language) and I do have Vata skin qualities such as dryness. Besides, as I age, my vata increases, too (see below). Finally, please don’t hate me to say this, but there are even subdoshas in Ayurveda- every dosha has 5 subdoshas, responsible for different parts of the mind-body system. Don’t worry, we won’t get into all that, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Let’s now look at what Ayurveda suggests regarding the dosha- skin relationship.
Doshas and Skin types
Vata’s main qualities are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, and mobile. Vata folks tend to complain about wrinkles and dry skin, especially during late-Fall and winter months. Their thin skin doesn’t do as well in cold weather. Pay attention to keeping your skin warm and moist. Seriously, if an oil massage can save a life, it will be a Vata life! Oil yourself daily to strengthen your joints, tissues; to keep your skin hydrated. Make sure you eat enough healthy fats (check out my post here for inspiration); warm soups, grounding root veggies, and grains. Consume herbs and spices that will increase your metabolic fire (and your body temperature!). You tend to be flexible, but don’t overdo your workouts. Be gentle with yourself. Try easier yoga poses, if you are able; make meditation a habit. Have a look at AloMoves for yoga, fitness, and meditation combined (Type SMT15 for 15% off annual membership). Look into calming plants and herbs like ashwagandha.
You and I both. We do better in cooler months, though I am perfectly fine in the summer, as long as I spend my days on the beach! Pitta, when imbalanced, tends to make one angry, jealous, competitive. To keep it in balance, try to limit your coffee, alcohol, spicy food intake. Also limit salty foods. Pitta folks have a pretty good metabolic system/ digestive system, so we tend to abuse this gift! Focus instead more on calming, cooling, fresh vegetables and fruits. Among all the fatty foods, coconut is a great choice for us Pitta folk. Pitta skin tends to be sensitive, and prone to redness. We generally don’t have problems with premature aging, sagging, or wrinkles – but it is common to lose hair prematurely! One other problem is that, again, when imbalanced, Pitta folks have eye problems. I have amazing eyesight (still no glasses!!) but every time I fall off the Pitta diet wagon, my eyes get extremely dry, hot, and very much sensitive to light. That is my clue to go back to a Pitta-calming diet and lifestyle.
Kapha skin- oily/large pores
Kapha is water and earth. Think of that combination- it is muddy, moist. Their skin tends to be oily, with large pores; but when in balance, their skin is soft, supple, cool, and moist. Kapha skin has a generous amount of collagen that prevents premature wrinkles and other signs of aging, so they look much younger than their age;) In fact, they say that people of kapha nature have skin like a china doll. These folks will thrive with a plant-based diet. Stay away from heavy foods like dairy and meat. Avoid processed sugars, oily and fried foods which will congest your skin. Combine foods with pungent herbs to kindle your agni (the digestive fire). Use herbs like cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper. Try to incorporate a light detox from time to time (here is a how-to), lots of fresh green vegetables, fruits, and liquids. Also, workout, if you are able. You have amazing stamina, so use it in any way that you can. I have been doing home workouts- it’s SO fun. I do the sculpt society a few times a month, sometimes the 45-minute classes, sometimes 20. I can almost feel the rejuvenation afterward 🙂 Use the code SHAKINGMYTOFU for a 2-week free trial, and 25% off your first month. I’m just sayin’! You might also want to look into yoga that is heating. Think of Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa Yoga with lots of rapid moves, sun salutations, and heart openers like Camel Pose and Fish Pose (asanas that would be too ‘heating’ for us pitta folks, but great for Kapha to increase heartbeat). I use Alo Moves at least a few times a week. There seems to be an endless supply of classes for every need. Highly, highly recommended. Type SMT15 at checkout for 15% off annual membership.
Clean products for dry/mature skin
Castor oil for body, face, even hair (though I’d blend it with coconut oil to use it for the hair. It can be hard to wash it off). It is surprisingly NOT greasy. I use it during Vata months of the year, like late Fall when my skin gets unusually dry.
Ritual body oil This is truly heaven. It’s a blend of coconut, almond and sesame oils- you can’t really go wrong regardless of your dosha! It is absolutely amazing on the skin and it smells wonderful.
Essential Cleansing oil This, too, is from Sahajan. I am using this oil every day. I tend to prefer oils for cleansing makeup and residues, except for the summer months when my skin is much less dry. This one does the job well. By the way, I have been loving everything I have tried from Sahajan so far. In the following weeks, I will add what I can recommend from them for sensitive skin (basically, what I have used and benefited from, for my sensitive, redness-prone skin).
Vata Toner by Paavani Ayurveda Most toners would further dry out the Vata skin. This one, with chamomile, calendula and comfrey will heal dry, damaged skin while restoring, and nourishing the lipid linings of skin cells. Paavani has a whole section for Vata friendly products. I like the minimalism on the website, too. Enjoy!
Superfood Serum by Graydon I discovered this brand last summer, thanks to Credo, my favourite place to shop for clean skin and hair care products, and since then, I have been in love. I constantly brag about the Berry Rich Face and Eye Cream on Instagram, but I think this Superfood Dry Skin Serum has become another favourite. It is hydrating but light; gives a glow without looking all dolled up, and it smells lovely but not overpowering. After typing your shipping address, add the code SMT15 for your discount.
Annmarie Citrus Stem Cell Serum I have not used this one for a while, but writing this post, I remembered how much I enjoyed Annmari Skincare products. This particular one is not only for dry skin, but it is mostly for mature skin with sun spots/age spots. It has licorice and amla in it, both of which help to brighten skin. As a matter of fact, to get rid of the sunspots on my forehead, I used to add to my oatmeals licorice, as well as the Plant Collagen mix from Yoursuper. (It really did work! ). Annmarie also has an anti-aging serum that is suitable even for sensitive skin, and anti-aging eye cream, both of which I used and liked very much in the past.
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 So this is a clean, tinted SPF 40 serum with additional skincare benefits. How is it beneficial? It is a blend of hyaluronic acids, plant-based squalane, and niacinamide, all of which are good for all skin types. Take niacinamide: It helps with large pores, so a kapha person will benefit from this as well. It evens skin tone, and gives a glowy, dewy finish. Full disclosure: I can’t do that dewy finish, I just can’t. I know it’s lovely on everyone else, but it’s not my thing. So I don’t use this otherwise wonderful product on a daily basis.
EDIT: I take it all back. Dewy or not, it saved the day for me. I woke up to an extremely dry and irritated skin (I think it’s the heat in the house). It was actually, physically painful. I put this SPF on before our daily walk, and my skin was feeling MUCH better in less than an hour. I take it back. Dewy or not, here I come.
Now, in case you are looking for a clean foundation:
Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation This is the foundation I recommend to my friends with dry skin-especially if they are after a natural look. It really looks like skin with a light to medium coverage, and I’d say a satin finish- not as dewy as the SPF 40 above.
This is it for now, to be continued with a series of products that will be helpful to my fellow Pitta folks. If you have normal/sensitive skin with a tendency to redness and sunburn/sunspots, do stay tuned!
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Editor’s note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programme.
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