Sometimes you can get everything right about your skincare, from choosing the best products suited to your specific skin type to the correct ways to apply them.
And when all is said and done, you might still end up needing that extra support in fighting the havoc that environment and age have wreaked on your skin...an accelerator that can push you to get healthy skin from the inside out!
And that’s where EATING RIGHT for your specific skin type comes in.
Our body constantly sheds older cells and replaces them with new ones. To support this process, our body, especially our skin, needs healthy nutrition to encourage a rapid cell regeneration process.
A lack of proper nourishment slows down this natural phenomenon, especially after our 30s, which culminates in appearances that make your skin look dull, uneven textured and prematurely mature including the look of lines, crepiness and wrinkles.
Imagine this: You are using an intensely hydrating cream and eat salads every day, yet your skin looks dull and patchy with the appearance of worry lines on your forehead and crinkles around your eyes. Why’s that?
What if you are eating healthy and have your lifestyle, diet and supplements all in place...
...but perhaps NOT what your unique skin type needs the most, a little extra support uniquely tailored to JUST YOUR SKIN TYPE?
We spoke to our in-house Ayurvedic expert (introduced below) whose tips on eating right for your specific skin type can help nourish your skin from the inside.
Heather B., Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Yoga Teacher, Licensed Massage Therapist
Heather will soon complete her Ayurvedic Practitioner certification and plans to continue to become a Doctor of Ayurveda. She's interested in all kinds of therapeutic/healing modalities and is one of The Ayurveda Experience's in-house Ayurvedic Health Counselors. She lives in Albuquerque with her two cats and loves to cook!
But before we go into the conclusive tips, let us walk you through an in-depth, researched explanation for it.
In case you already know your skin dosha, tap on the relevant icon below to read what foods you MUST eat and avoid.
Ayurveda has a kinder theory when it comes to eating right for your skin type.
You may already be familiar with the 3 Doshas or Bio-Elements in Ayurveda, namely, Kapha, Pitta and Vata.
Kapha being associated with oiliness, Pitta with heat, acne and sensitivity and Vata with dry, rough, aging and sagging skin.
Every living being is made up of a unique ratio of these 3 bio-elements. Ayurveda maintains that an imbalance (caused due to age, environmental stressors and other external factors) causes symptoms to manifest in the body, especially on the skin.
Imagine, you’re applying cooling skincare like coconut oil to calm the heat that imbalanced Pitta dosha causes, and yet see flare-ups and acne on your skin. This could mean that there are other factors at play that are influencing and misbalancing the Doshas in the body.
But what are the factors that cause this imbalance?
While Elements are the 5 forces of nature, Ayurvedic sages have described Gunas as the Qualities or Traits that make up matter or life form. Understanding the Elements present in each Dosha along with the Gunas or Qualities gives us a manageable way to mitigate skin concerns.
Vata – associated with Air and Ether/Space
Pitta – associated with Fire and Water
Kapha – associated with Earth and Water
Now that you have understood the forces of nature that influence your unique body type (yes, unique! Ayurveda believes that every individual’s make is unique!), it would make it even easier to understand what your skin needs if we take Gunas or Qualities of these Doshas into consideration.
These 20 traits are classified into the 3 Doshas in which each of them manifest.
Vata is Dry, Light, Cold, Rough, Subtle, Mobile and Clear.
Pitta is Hot, Sharp, Light, Liquid, Spreading and Oily.
Kapha is Heavy, Slow/Dull, Cold, Oily, Liquid, Slimy/Smooth, Dense, Soft, Static, Cloudy, Hard and Tangible.
The equation is simple from here onwards.
Every living being is made up of these 5 elements and 20 gunas and have specific Dosha characteristics. Our skin and the foods we consume are no different.
And if your skin shows a specific characteristic in abundance, one that you want to get in control, eating the opposite kinds of food will balance or reduce an aggravation.
Say, for instance, if you have extremely dry or rough skin, you’d want to introduce food with qualities that are oily and smooth to soften the skin.
There’s a reason why the trite-but-true Ayurvedic saying goes “You are what you eat”.
(Skin that appears Thin, Dry, Rough, Prone to Lines and Wrinkles)
If there’s any Dosha that needs to really pay attention to their water intake, it is people with Vata aggravation, because this particular Dosha is innately dry and rough. While hydration is important for all body types, Vata skin types are most likely to show signs of dehydration, look parched, crepey and saggyand prone to (premature) aging.
When it comes to mitigating Vata aggravating conditions, Ayurveda goes beyond external moisturization and extends its scope to internal oleation as well through the means of world’s most healthy fat, one that is considered Ayurveda’s superfood – GHEE, or clarified butter rich in Vitamins A, D, E and K and is also lactose-free!
Ghee is highly revered in classical Ayurvedic texts as a substance that nurtures and lubricates all 7 tissues in the body. Adding Ghee to your food, be that your morning toasts or buttering the pan to roast veggies in, increases the flavor of the preparation along with the nutritious quality of the food manifold.
Along with Ghee, you can also choose to consume other forms of healthy fats such as Avocado that can help restore moisture, glow, plumpness, firmness and luster while softening and smoothing the dry and rough Gunas of Vata Dosha on the skin.
Another way to combat skin dryness through foods is to choose fruits and vegetables that are hydrophilic in nature – foods that attract and absorb water, plus they are full of nutrients!
Fresh fruits such as cucumbers, grapes and watermelon give your skin and body that much-needed almost-calorie-free hydration and make it look plumper and glow-ier. For people with dry skin, fresh fruits are always preferred rather than dried fruits due to their lack of water.
Additionally, cooked vegetables are favored over raw vegetables in mitigating Vata -aggravating symptoms because the quality of raw vegetables are usually rough and dry. Since Vata-predominant people are also known to suffer from indigestion, bloating and acidity, cooking food properly and enhancing their flavor by adding Vata-balancing spices and herbs like cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and mustard seeds can prove helpful.
Fret not salad lovers! A nice compromise is eating a warm salad with spinach or greens that are slightly cooked and adding a warm grain like Quinoa or Farro.
Adding seeds to salads is also a great idea because Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds have natural oils in them, and they are packed with nutrients.
Don’t go looking for crackers and biscuits when you crave crunch as those are dry in nature and can show on your skin as airy, dry patches.
Because of the light and dry qualities of Vata, another general rule is to eat cooked root vegetables because they are heavy and grounding.
A quick and easy meal for balancing Vata is a cooked sweet potato with nut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
As far as beverages go, alcohol and caffeine can aggravate Vata dosha, so it's best to keep those in moderation.
Additionally, cold and iced drinks are not recommended for any dosha because they dampen Agni (digestive fire). Warm drinks like Turmeric milk, Ashwagandha latte, Fennel or Licorice teas are very nourishing for Vata.
If you're waiting for an easy, tried-and-tested Vata-Balancing recipe from our in-house Ayurvedic expert, here is a delicious Breakfast recipe:
Sweet Potato with Nuts, Seeds, Ghee and Maple Syrup
1 pc sweet potato, small, roasted, steamed or boiled
2 tbsp ground nuts and seeds
1 tbsp ghee or walnut oil
1-3 tsp maple syrup
1. Cut sweet potato in half
2. Melt ghee over the sweet potato
3. Sprinkle with ground nuts and seeds
4. Drizzle maple syrup all over
5. Serve and enjoy!
A final general rule for Vata Dosha: Foods that are sweet, sour and salty will balance this constitution and foods that are pungent, bitter and astringent will aggravate this constitution.
|Warm and Cooked Foods||Raw Food|
|Warm grains like Quinoa or Farro||Cold, Dry foods like toasted bread|
|Seeds like Sunflower seeds and Pumpkin Seeds||Caffeine|
|Ghee and Avocado||Biscuits and Crackers|
(Skin prone to Eczema or Rosacea-like appearance, look of acne)
If your skin has a temperament, is unpredictable and acts up at the slightest provocation, it is possible that the Pitta Dosha in your body is out of balance.
And if you have this skin type, chances are that most of your skincare is soothing, cooling and heat-balancing in nature.
While general notion revolves around applying cooling skincare if you have inflamed, redness prone skin, the same does not apply to foods and beverages, as per Ayurvedic practice. Frequent iced or frozen drinks are not recommended for any Dosha because the cold will affect your Agni or Digestive Fire.
So when Ayurveda recommends eating cooling foods for Pitta-aggravation, it does not mean that you have to eat chilled foods, but instead foods that are coolness-imparting in nature like Aloe or Cucumber. Both of these contain a gel-like substance that is soft, slow/dull, and cool to counter the hot, sharp and spreading qualities of Pitta dosha as well as the conditions associated with it.
If your skin has been showing signs of Pitta aggravation, it is strongly suggested that you avoid foods that are spicy and pungent in nature such as pepper, onion and strong spices that add extra heat to the food like cayenne, ghost pepper, crushed red pepper etc.
Another kind of food that can irritate Pitta skin type is fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut. In fact, if your skin is too prone to inflammation, Ayurveda also suggests avoiding nightshades such as tomatoes, eggplants, white potatoes and tobacco. Modern science suggests that it is because of an alkaloid called Solanine found in these vegetables that aggravates inflammation.
However, food sensitivities may vary from person to person. We recommend that if you suspect a reaction, experiment with eliminating them for a month and see if that makes a difference.
Other than nightshades, most sweet and bitter vegetables are favorable for Pitta. Since one of the qualities of Pitta dosha is oily, it is best to avoid fatty, fried and oily foods, especially if you are prone to acne.
Although this sounds like having Pitta aggravation is all about what NOT to eat, Pitta type people are also lucky in some aspects – their Dosha is more likely to tolerate ice cream (in moderation) without being concerned about its cold quality. They can also enjoy plant-based or dairy milk more regularly than the other doshas as well as soft cheese and homemade yogurt!
As far as beverages are concerned, Pitta-aggravated people can consume coconut water, pomegranate, cranberry, aloe juices as well as teas like rose, tulsi, mint, dandelion and licorice.
The general rule of thumb that dictates food choices around Pitta-aggravation is –Go for foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent. DO NOT consume foods that are sour, salty and pungent.
|Cool and warm foods||Hot foods|
|Salads and vegetables||Salty, excessively oily, fatty, fried and spicy foods|
|Aloe Vera, Cucumber||Sour food like pickles, cheese, vinegar|
|Sweet and bitter vegetables||Red meat|
|Dairy||Coffee and alcohol|
|Coconut water||Onion and pepper|
|Pomegranate, Cranberry||Fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut|
|Herbal teas||Nightshades such as tomatoes, eggplants, white potatoes and tobacco|
Pitta-Balancing Easy Lunch Recipe from our Ayurvedic expert
Zucchini Pancakes With Quinoa & Kale
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 pc egg
1 tbsp flour
½ cup zucchini, grated and squeezed
½ cup fennel, grated
½ cup sweet potato, grated
1 dash salt or other spices
1-2 tsp butter, olive oil, or ghee
1 cup kale
1 cup quinoa
Kale and Quinoa:
1. Sauté the kale in ghee.
2. Add sunflower seeds to the top. Keep aside.
3. Rinse quinoa until water the runs clear.
4. Bring 2 cups water to boil.
5. Add quinoa.
6. Cook 20 minutes until quinoa is well-cooked.
1. Stir all the grated vegetables together in a bowl.
2. Beat an egg gently and add it to the vegetables and stir. You can use only the egg white if you prefer that.
3. Add a tablespoon of flour (two tablespoons if you only used the egg white).
4. Heat a skillet to sizzling and melt butter, ghee or olive oil on the skillet.
5. Scoop ¼ cup of batter for each pancake and place them on the skillet in the shape of a small pancake.
6. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the underside is well-cooked and brown, turn them, and let cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Serve with sautéed kale and quinoa.
(Skin prone to Excessive Oil, Enlarged Pores and Cystic Acne)
Kapha Dosha being heavy, slow/dull, cold, oily, liquid, slimy/smooth, dense, soft, static, cloudy, hard and tangible, it’s best to eat food with the opposite qualities to balance out Kapha aggravation in the body – light, dry, warm and sharp/spicy, but not salty or sugary.
Kapha Dosha being associated with earth and water elements in nature tend to retain water in the body, which is why it’s best to experiment with spices instead of salt to season foods.
Because of Kapha’s innate nature to retain water, Kapha skin types should avoid consuming hydrophilic foods such as cucumber, watermelon and other sweet and juicy foods. Additionally, many fruits have high water content as well as a lot of natural sugars, both of which are Kapha aggravating, so people trying to manage Kapha should be mindful of that.
The best fruits for Kapha types are apples, cherries, peaches and pears. Vegetables such as leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower work favorably for Kapha.
Because people with Kapha skin type already produce natural oil, they are less likely to develop fine and deep likes than the other doshas, but they should be very mindful of what they eat in case they have excess oil. The best suitable oils for Kapha skin are corn oil, canola oil and sunflower oil that are less heavy than other oils but should still be used in moderation.
Heavy and dense foods such as bananas, sweet potatoes, tofu, heavy meats, most cheeses, yogurt and most nuts should also be eaten sparingly. Light, cooked foods such as asparagus soup or kale and quinoa salad are favorable for Kapha skin.
Similar to skincare for Kapha which are astringent in nature and suitable for oil control, astringent fruits like cranberries and pomegranates are helpful for balancing Kapha dosha.
Easy Kapha-Balancing Dinner Recipe from our Ayurvedic Expert
Basmati Rice, Sprouted Mung Dal, Greens, Vegetables
½ cup mung beans, sprouted 3 days
4 cups water
2 cups vegetables:
1 cup white potatoes, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup tomato, chopped
1 cup greens, chopped
1 tbsp ghee Spices:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tsp curry powder or 1 tbsp garam masala
1. To sprout mung beans: Use whole green mung beans and soak in water for 4 hours or more. Strain and discard soak water. Allow to sit, lightly covered, on counter. Each day rinse the beans and discard the water. After three days they are ready to cook. Beans should have doubled in size.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp ghee in pot over low to medium heat with 1 tsp each mustard seed and cumin
3. When seeds pop, add in onion, cook until translucent
4. Add in tomato and spices (pepper, curry or garam masala) and heat through for several minutes (5 or more)
5. Add sprouted mung beans and potatoes to the pot along with 4 cups hot water.
6. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
7. Reduce to low and simmer to cook until beans are cooked through (20-30 minutes)
8. Add in 1 cup greens and remove from heat.
9. Let sit, covered for 15 min or more to complete cooking the greens.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to balancing Kapha Dosha is: Go for foods that are bitter, pungent and astringent. Avoid foods that are heavy, salty, excessively oily, and sugary.
|Bitter, spicy and tangy foods||Hydrophilic foods – cucumber, aloe, watermelon|
|Warm food||Cold Food|
|Honey||Salt and sugar|
|Cranberries and Pomegranates||Dairy|
|Asparagus soup or kale and quinoa salad||Fried foods|
|Corn oil, canola oil and sunflower oil||Bananas, sweet potatoes, tofu, heavy meats|
|Leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower||Most cheeses, yogurt and most nuts|
The foods you eat can play a major role in both the internal as well as external look of your skin, including how your skin changes its appearance as you grow older.
While these are just general lifestyle guidelines on how you can improve the look of your skin, complementing it with 100% natural, safe and effective skincare specifically formulated keeping Doshas in mind, can make your skin achieve that youthful glow and make it feel healthy, balances and supported.
On days when your body seems to be in complete balance and you’re looking for dietary recommendations that will not hamper the Doshic balance in your body, keep this in mind: Avoid processed foods, fast foods and white sugar – these aggravate all 3 Doshas.
And if these guidelines seem complicated, it is always helpful to consume a Tridoshic food that supports all Doshas.
Ayurveda recommends an age-old recipe of Rice and Lentil Mix called Khichadi, garnished with seasonal vegetables, with the perfect balance of proteins and carbohydrates! It is known to soothe the digestive tract and help eliminate toxins.
And if you’re looking to complement your healthy eating habits with skincare that works specifically for your Doshas, we have compiled a list of skincare that works as per Ayurvedic Doshic principles: