In the traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda, nourishing yourself from the inside (with the right foods) and from the outside (with natural beauty aids) can elicit a natural radiance. Find your type below, and tap into this ancient wisdom.
Your skin is: Dry; small pores; pale and thin; prone to premature wrinkles. When vata, which represents the air element, is out of balance, it leads to dry skin, an agitated mind, and frazzled nerves.
• Creamy cleansers won’t remove moisture from already dry skin. If your skin is very dry, wash your face with organic heavy cream (the kind you put in your coffee).
• Anything with natural alpha hydroxy or lactic acids is good for vata skin. Natural sugars such as maple syrup, milk, and the extracts of oranges and lemons are high in these acids.
• Vata skin requires a rich, penetrating oil such as sesame or avocado. Apply it to slightly damp skin to seal in moisture.
• Essential oils of geranium, sandalwood, or rose for their nourishing properties; either add a few drops to sesame or avocado oil, or look for commercial moisturizers that contain them.
• Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses a day of room temperature or slightly warmer water.
• Use gentle exfoliators–such as almond meal or sugar–to avoid excessive abrading. Exfoliate daily.
Your skin is: Sensitive with medium-size pores; oily with dry cheeks; prone to redness, rashes, and rosacea. Because of its fiery nature, pitta skin is sensitive and should be treated delicately. Don’t scrub too hard, and don’t use water that is too hot or too cold.
• Orange and lemongrass are both soothing for sensitive skin.
• For very sensitive skin, wash your face with organic heavy cream mixed with finely ground almonds. Rinse well with cool water.
• Almond, coconut, or olive oils cool and won’t aggravate reddened skin.
• Essential oils of jasmine, sandalwood, and vetiver soothe skin, as their aromas calm a fiery mind.
• Neem oil is the best solution for taming eczema and evening out skin tone.
Your skin is: Oily with large pores; thick and soft; prone to acne or noticeable blackheads. When earthy kapha is out of balance, metabolism slows and the body has to secrete more toxins through the skin, making kapha skin oily.
• Mix a small amount of buttermilk or plain yogurt with a couple drops of lemon juice to absorb excess oil without stimulating the skin to produce more. Massage the mixture into your face, then rinse with lukewarm water.
• For acne-prone skin, make a paste out of water and chickpea or lentil flour, which exfoliates and removes dirt without completely stripping the skin of moisture. Rub gently onto your face, then rinse.
• Although you may think you need to avoid putting oil on oily skin, your skin still needs moisture. Sunflower or safflower oil won’t clog pores.
• Products with essential oils of rosemary, bergamot, or lavender are warming and can stimulate kapha’s sluggish constitution.
• Blend ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of white clay (available at natural products stores) with 1 teaspoon water until it becomes a paste. Let the concoction settle for two minutes, then apply a small amount to problem spots such as pimples and blackheads and let dry. Rinse with warm water. Turmeric kills bacteria and reduces inflammation, while the clay absorbs oils and toxins.
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