Do you often notice dry, itchy, and flaky skin despite constantly using moisturizers? Dry skin is a common condition some experience frequently, while others suffer from it seasonally. Among the most difficult skincare problems to treat, dry skin or "Twak Rukshta" is considered to have deep-rooted causes as per the 5000-year-old science of Ayurveda.
In this article, let's explore the characteristics of dry skin, potential causes, and some Ayurvedic remedies and herbs that can help manage this condition.
Scientifically speaking, sebum (a mixture of fatty acids, waxes, and sugars that protects the skin against water evaporation) secreted from the sebaceous glands keeps the skin supple and moisturized. Skin that has naturally lower sebum levels tends to feel drier than usual. Sometimes, external conditions such as weather changes, taking hot showers, premature aging, and the use of harsh soaps can also damage the skin barrier, causing the skin to become patchy and dry.
According to Ayurveda, Twak Rukshta or dry skin is a Kshudra Kushta or a minor skin ailment. The tridosha energies that govern our life—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—directly influence our well-being. Any perturbation in Vata or Pitta may result in increased body heat, leading to skin dryness.
Governed by Vaayu (air) and Akash (ether), the Vata dosha is responsible for several diseases that affect us. When Vata is vitiated, it impairs blood circulation, which leads to the drying of the arteries. Excessive Vata also affects your hair, skin, and nails. Cracked heels that do not soften with moisturization and chronic dryness of the skin and hair are all results of an aggravated Vata. The effect of Rutus or seasons: In the winter and fall, Vaayu and Akash are the predominant elements that lead to an aggravated Vata.
READ MORE: Vata Diet: Everything You Need To Know
Governed by Agni (fire) and Jala (water), the Pitta dosha influences issues related to digestion and metabolism. It is known to be the hottest and oiliest dosha in the body. If Pitta is the predominant dosha in you, your body will be less tolerant to oily and spicy food. An aggravated Pitta can lead to inflammation, acne, rashes, sensitivity, sunburn, sunspots, and rosaceous skin.
The effect of Rutus or seasons: In the summer season, Agni and Jala are the predominant elements that lead to an aggravated Pitta.
READ MORE: Pitta Diet: Everything You Need To Know
Governed by Prithvi (earth) and Jala (water), the Kapha dosha is responsible for the material development of different types of tissues. Since an aggravated Kapha results in oily, thick, and dull-looking skin with large pores and cystic acne, it does not generally lead to dry skin in individuals. The effect of Rutus or seasons: In the spring season, Prithvi and Jala are the predominant elements that lead to an aggravated Kapha.
READ MORE: Kapha Diet: Everything You Need To Know
To prevent excessive drying of the skin, here are some of the key signs you must look out for:
From basic Ayurvedic principles, you can understand that dryness corresponds to a general lack of hydration or Jala. But on the flip side, dry skin results from an excess of ether or air. Some of the possible causes of dry skin are:
Ayurveda recommends multiple wonder herbs that help soothe dry skin. Some of them are:
Packed with antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera can help soothe tight and dry skin when applied regularly. The extract helps boost the production of collagen, imparting elasticity to the skin.
Known to be lubricating, sandalwood has a cooling effect and is loaded with clarifying properties. When used in a face pack or as an oil, it can nourish the skin, improve imbalances, and promote good sleep.
A Rasayana herb, Ashwagandha contains antioxidants that help control collagen depletion. With potent anti-inflammatory properties, it is rich in bio-actives such as withanolides, saponins, and alkaloids, which help moisturize dry skin. It can be consumed in the form of a tablet or applied as moisturizers and lotions.
A powerful Ayurvedic herb, Guduchi helps balance both Vata and Pitta doshas. Packed with antioxidants that help maintain moisture in the body and promote lustrous skin, it also has cooling properties.
To protect the skin from dryness, the first step is to change your Ahara (food habits) and Vihara (lifestyles and habits), which also includes your Dincharya (daily routine), and Rutucharya (seasonal routine). Some tips you can keep in mind are:
A well-balanced and nourishing diet can help work wonders for your skin. A diet that can help hydrate your skin includes:
Some key factors that can help you change your vihara or lifestyle are:
Dry, flaky, or patchy skin is something many of us struggle with. Negligence on your part can further aggravate this condition. Remember, eating healthy, drinking lots of fluids, keeping stress at bay, practicing yoga or mindful breathing, hydrating adequately, and implementing dosha-specific skincare routines can help you combat this skin condition.
Understanding your Prakrit or body constitution is the first step to addressing skin conditions. Knowing your skin type based on your dosha can help you choose the right herbs and routine to keep dry skin at bay.
After all, Ayurveda is about practicing healthy habits and self-love. With time, you can get results that last long!
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