Find part one in the Ayurvedic Skincare series here.
Wherever pure knowledge and happiness is, there lies beauty.
sattyam. shivam. sundaram.
Paying attention to your needs holistically and using the tools of ayurveda pave the way to vibrant, beautiful skin.
Skincare Products and Services Resources
Ayurvedic lifestyle consultations, pulse assessments, ayurvedic body treatments and therapies, and Shankara skincare products assist and support the needs of your unique being from the inside and out!
A Guide to the Properties of Oils and Vitamins for Skin
First, remember that all aspects of your well-being, including your skin, are predicated upon the health of your digestion. Oils are a mainstay of skincare and used ubiquitously in ayurveda.
Sesame, olive, and apricot kernel oils soothe the skin and provide vitamin a.
In addition to aloe and jojoba’s moisturizing and smoothing properties, almond oil is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and avocado oil is high in vitamins a and c.
- Seaweed oil has trace elements to optimize the health of the tissue
- Almond oil has trace elements and protein
- Avocado is high in oleic acid (omega 3)
Both sesame and almond oil are antibacterial and antiviral.
- Avocado and aloe combined
- Vitamin E
- Rose hip oil reduces scarring
- Ghee is excellent for cuts/wounds, digestion, and more.
Tone & Firm
- Sea algae (kelp, kombu, arame, wakame) contains iodine which helps in skin repair and regeneration.
- Aloe and jojoba can reduce wrinkles.
Moisturizing and Nourishing the Body
Check out these guidelines for choosing oils the right for oils.
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Base Oils for the Body
Vata Black sesame, sesame, avocado, olive, almond, walnut, peanut, castor, ghee
Pitta Almond, coconut, sunflower, apricot kernel, olive, ghee
Kapha Corn, safflower, mustard, almond, apricot kernel
Base oils for the Body
Add 10 drops pure essential oil (see list below) to 1 oz. base oil. to use, apply to wet skin. Store oils in dark bottles.
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Essential Oils
A note about essential oils: avoid during pregnancy unless under the supervision of a health care provider. Always shop for high-quality pure essential oils. Generally, the more expensive the oil, the less the manufacturer has diluted it.
Vata Nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, saffron, champa, jasmine, geranium, red rose, red sandalwood, lemon, neroli, vanilla
Pitta Rosewhite, sandalwood, vetiver, coriander, cumin, mint, ylang-ylang, camphor
Kapha Patchouli, eucalyptus, camphor, clove, lavender, bergamot
Cleansing, Nourishing, and Moisturizing Recipes for the Face
Base Oils for the Face
Add 20 drops of pure essential oil to 1 ounce of base oil. To use, mix 2–3 drops of face oil mixture with 4–6 drops of water and apply to wet skin. Store oils in dark glass bottles with droppers.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of almond meal, ½ teaspoon of dry milk, and 1 pinch of sugar. Store in a glass jar.
- In the palm of your hand, make a paste using ¼ teaspoon of the cleanser mixture and warm water.
- Gently massage into the skin for about 1 minute; don’t scrub.
- Rinse well with warm water. Do not dry.
*If your skin is very dry, do not follow the cleansing routine. Instead, wash with a mixture of one tablespoon of heavy cream and two drops of lemon juice.
- Mix 1 ounce of sesame oil, 10 drops of geranium oil, and 5 drops each of neroli and lemon oil. Store in a glass bottle.
- In the palm of your hand, mix 3 drops of the oil mixture and 6 drops of water.
- Gently massage into wet skin for about 1 minute or until all oil is absorbed.
- 1 melt 1.5 ounces of cocoa butter in a double boiler.
- Add 4 ounces of avocado oil.
- Remove from heat.
- Using a dropper, add 1 ounce of orange tea 1 drop at a time, while stirring the mixture.
- Allow to cool, and then add 3–4 drops each of geranium and rose oil.
- Apply gently. Reapply as needed throughout the day.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of almond meal, ½ teaspoon of ground orange peel, and ½ teaspoon of dry milk. Store in a glass jar.
- In the palm of your hand, make a paste using ¼ teaspoon of the mixture and rosewater.
- Gently massage into skin for about 1 minute.
- Rinse with cool (not cold) water; do not dry.
If your skin is very sensitive, use this cleanser only once a day at bedtime. In the morning, wash only with plain heavy cream, rinse thoroughly with cool water, then continue with the next steps.
- Mix 1 ounce of almond oil with 10 drops each of rose and sandalwood oil. Store in a glass jar.
- In the palm of your hand, mix 2–3 drops of the oil mixture with 4-6 drops of water.
- Gently massage the mixture into wet skin for about 1 minute.
- Melt 1 ounce of cocoa butter in a double boiler.
- Add 3 ounces of sunflower oil.
- Remove from heat, and using a dropper, add 2 ounces of rose tea 1 drop at a time while stirring the mixture.
- Allow to cool, and then add 5–6 drops of sandalwood oil.
- Gently apply to the skin, reapplying as needed throughout the day.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of barley meal, 1 teaspoon of lemon peel, and ½ teaspoon of dry milk. Store in a glass jar.
- In the palm of your hand, make a paste using ¼ teaspoon of the mixture and warm water.
- Gently massage into skin for about 1 minute.
- Rinse well with warm water; do not dry.
*Do not use soaps or astringents containing alcohol to reduce oils.
If you have whiteheads, wash first with a paste made of ¼ teaspoon of neem powder, 1 pinch of sugar, and water. Gently massage into the skin and then cleanse.
- Mix 1 ounce of sunflower oil with 10 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops each of bergamot and clary sage oil. Store in a glass jar with a dropper.
- In the palm of your hand, mix 2 drops of the oil mixture with 4 drops of water.
- Gently massage into wet skin for about 1 minute.
- Melt 1 ounce of cocoa butter in a double boiler.
- Add 3 ounces of almond or safflower oil.
- Remove from heat, and using a dropper, add two ounces of rosemary or basil tea, one drop at a time, while stirring the mixture.
- Allow to cool, then add 1 drop of camphor oil, 2 drops of bergamot oil, and 3 drops of lavender oil.
- Gently apply a small amount to the skin. Use once in the morning and once in the evening, or as needed.
CLEANSING THE BODY
Applying soap to the entire body is drying and can strip the body of healthy microbes. Unless you have dirt, paint, etc., on your body, it is only necessary to apply soap to your “strategic areas.”
If you need to cleanse and/or exfoliate your body, mix equal parts chickpea flour and dry milk powder. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture in the palm of your hand with enough water to make a thin paste. Exfoliate lightly. You may also do this with just the chickpea flour and water.
Dry brushing the body or massaging the skin with garshana gloves (raw silk gloves) is also a great way to cleanse and exfoliate.
Pancha Amrit Snana—5 Nectar Bath
- Combine the pulp of one banana with 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of ghee, 1 teaspoon of yogurt, and 1 teaspoon of raw honey.
- Massage the mixture onto the body and then soak for 10–20 minutes in a warm bath to nourish, soften, soothe, and revitalize skin.
Peels, Toners, and Moisturizers
Glycolic acid is found in some fruit juices, but cosmetic companies use a chemical process to extract it, which strips it of its natural intelligence (the body does not recognize it because it is no longer full spectrum) and it is concentrated, making it harsh for the skin. Examples of these commercial products are Retin A, alpha hydroxy, and synthetic glycolic acid.
Instead, try apple juice and lemon juice with a few drops of water. For oily and/or sensitive skin, use apple and papaya juice diluted with a few drops of water.
Toners are alcohol and water or witch hazel. They are only necessary when you use soap that upsets the ph balance.
Moisturizers are made of oil and water held together with emulsifiers. The oil is the active ingredient! Moisturizers are usually too thick to penetrate the skin properly. The chemicals and preservatives clog pores, not the oil.
Avoid dry saunas as they are very dehydrating; occasional steam baths/showers are ok.
- Dry skin—ghee or sesame oil
Oily and/or sensitive skin—sunflower or safflower oil
Use a cotton ball dipped in ghee to remove eye makeup.
Beware of Chemicals
The following harmful ingredients are commonly found in cosmetic products: fd&c colors, d&c colors, hc colors (peroxide dyes), “fragrance” means synthetic fragrance, ndela (nitrosodiethanolamine), sodium lauryl sulfate, paraffin, mineral oil, hydroquinone, phenols, peg-8 (polyethylene glycol), polysorbate 80, preservatives, bha (butylated hydroxyanisole, bht (butylated hydroxytoluene), lanolin, alcohol, formaldehyde, propyl alcohol, toluene2, 4 diamine, edta (ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid).
Many of these ingredients found in popular cleansers and moisturizers are known carcinogens. The FDA has put them on the list of suspected or known carcinogens causing adverse reactions: asthma, dizziness, headache, rashes, eczema, anemia, jaundice, central nervous system problems, kidney and liver damage, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, severe eye damage, and severe upper digestive tract damage if ingested, adverse reactions in people sensitive to petrochemicals, skin eruptions, peeling, swelling, pimples, hives, burning, numbness, cold sweats, interference with vitamin absorption in the body, metabolic stress, baldness, fetal abnormalities, clog pores, cause blackheads, numbness and tingling in fingers, vertigo, and congestion. Just to name a few.
Be sure to read the ingredients of any products you put on your skin. Would you eat it?
Exfoliating Fruit Face Mask
- Dry skin: banana or avocado
- Sensitive skin: banana or pineapple
- Oily skin: strawberry or papaya
*Apply any of these masks, lie down with legs up for 15 minutes to encourage circulation to the face, and then rinse with warm water and moisturize.
*Quick exfoliation: chickpea flour mixed with water in the palm of your hand. Massage gently on the face and rinse.
Last But Not Least, Lip Care
For dry/cracked/line lips, apply ghee or vitamin e oil. Apply ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil for healing, nourishment, moisture, and glow!
Stay tuned for the third and final part of the skin care series coming next month!