Ayurveda’s approach to acne is so more comprehensive than that of western medicine. It doesn’t mask the issue with topical medication and internal antibiotics. Instead it targets the imbalanced doshas, eliminating the root cause.
The Ayurvedic lowdown on acne
Acne can manifest in many different ways. Here are a few Ayurvedic remedies for acne!
Vata-type: Acne that tends to be in the form of smaller, dry, and painful blemishes.
Pitta-type: Acne is more red and pus-filled.
Kapha-type: Acne is more cystic.
All doshas are involved in acne, which is why treatment can’t be generalized. However, there are some common treatment principles used in all types of acne. Eliminating toxins and preventing their buildup is imperative. Pitta needs to be kept in check as pitta is closely related to the health of your skin.
Yoga can be used to heal acne by stimulating digestion and encouraging elimination. When your digestive power is strong and you’re able to eliminate waste in a timely manner, the body digests and expels that unwanted toxins or aama.
It’s best to practice asanas that target the mid-abdominal region and pitta, as its seat is in the stomach. As anyone with acne has likely experienced, stress tends to show up on the skin. Any pose that compresses, twists, or stretches the abdomen such as Bow pose or Cobra pose, helps the digestive organs to better function.
When it comes to acne, pranayama is used to reduce stress. With your face naturally being exposed to others, acne can make you feel self-conscious and extremely frustrated. Unfortunately, aggravated emotions don’t help acne in the slightest. But pranayama practiced daily helps to soothe the mind and emotions.
Practices such as sama vritti pranayama (square breathing), bhramari pranayama (honeybee breathing), ujjayi pranayama (victorious breath), and nadi shodhana or anuloma viloma (alternate nostril breathing) can all be used for this purpose.
Bhastrika pranayama (bellows breath) or kapalabhati (shining skull breath) are good morning time practices, as they target the abdominal organs and encourage a good day of digestion.
Having a good daily bowel movement is also necessary for eliminating aama and keeping your skin clear, as aama clogs the channels of the body. Sometimes correcting this issue requires herbal support, but home remedies can also be effective. Soaking a handful of raisins in water overnight then blending and drinking them when you first wake up helps move things downward.
How you treat your skin externally is just as important which means the cleansers you use should be gentle. Many of the over-the-counter acne soaps are too harsh and have a tendency to irritate the skin. Neem is one of the best Ayurvedic herbs for skin conditions. You can find soap bars with neem at your local health food stores. If you have a difficult time finding neem, you can try using milk or rosewater to cleanse the skin.
Many people with acne respond well to a weekly mask made from a tablespoon of yogurt, a teaspoon of chickpea flour, and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. This can be left on the skin for 10 minutes and then rinsed off. It may temporarily stain the skin slightly yellow, so it’s best done before bed.
Despite the type of acne, the diet should always support the elimination and prevention of aama buildup. An aama-reducing diet includes a lot of fresh vegetables that are lightly steamed or sautéed, making them easier to digest. It excludes food that tends to clog the body channels, such as yogurt, red meat, cheese, fried food, processed food, and leftovers. Certain spices can actually digest aama and should be used regularly, such as fresh ginger, cumin, and turmeric.
Along with specific foods, digestion is supported with regular mealtimes: breakfast in the morning, lunch around midday, and dinner between six and seven. It’s amazing what this seemingly small shift can have on the way you digest, and ultimately, the way it shows up in your skin. While all of theses Ayurvedic remedies for acne are supportive measures, it’s best to have acne assessed by an Ayurvedic practitioner for a customized treatment program.