Fall is known as the season of transition and change. Everything from the color of the trees, the weather, our diets, and even our beauty and skincare routines all undergo a natural shift toward a focus on warmth and relaxation. We need this time to transition from the extreme heat of summer to the chilly winter months. Ayurvedic skincare solutions are both localized and systemic. They are natural and holistic, attending to the root cause of imbalances. For someone with dry skin, consistently using cosmetics as moisturizers can only go so far. Ayurveda addresses internal imbalance to provide lasting, therapeutic relief.
As a unique life-science, Ayurveda honors the changing seasons with the practice of rtucharya, or a seasonal routine. The Ayurvedic skincare regimen is personalized based on your personal constitution.
You might already be familiar with the doshas, the trio of energies which govern all functions of the body, described as a vata, pitta, and kapha. While each of us are fundamentally composed of all three, there is usually one dosha which best describes our prakriti, or the unique physical and metaphysical traits and tendencies we are born with. If you are curious about your prakriti, take a moment to take our Dosha Quiz!
Ayurveda encourages us to trust our intuition when it comes to our own idiosyncrasies, which is especially important when it comes to skincare. What we know about our prakriti has everything to do with the type of skin we have and the imbalances which can affect us—which is key when it comes to creating a seasonal skincare routine.
1. Find out your skin type!
Ayurveda encourages you to know yourself; specifically, what Doshas (energy principals) dominate in your Ayurvedic constitution. When Doshas are in balance, Kapha lends proper moisture balance, Pitta aids skin, and hormonal metabolism, and Vata, efficient circulation of blood and nutrients to the skin.
Find your constitution through this indicative quiz. Be mindful that if you have an imbalance your skin type may be different from your constitution (Pitta with Vata imbalance would have Vata skin). Aging also leads to the Vata phase of life and skin type could change.
Dry, thin, cool, easily dehydrated. Imbalances include dark circles, chapped skin, premature wrinkles, and greyish pallor.
Sensitive, photosensitive, looks ruddy, warm, prone to freckles and moles. Can have rashes, acne, discolorations, and inflammation as imbalances.
Moist, radiant, thick, oily, more tolerant of the sun. Can be clammy or excessively oily with edema, blackheads, and pimples.
Dry and sensitive
Oily and Sensitive
Dry with Oily zones
2. Personalize your regimen!
Vata skin benefits from a regular, nourishing, rehydrating routine, oleation, and full-body massages with warm oil. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturize daily. Hydrate enough and focus on balancing Vata.
Pitta skin needs a calming, cooling, and nurturing regimen with gentle cleansing and moisturizing. Avoid tanning, harsh cosmetics, and exposure to the sun or excess heat. Focus on ways to balance Pitta.
Kapha skin is oily and accumulates toxins; cleanse with a gentle exfoliant or try a light warm-oil massage. Try a dry scrub and detox the body and skin both. Find ways to balance Kapha. For Vata-Kapha skin follow Vata guidelines with extra cleansing of oily zones.
3. Incorporate skincare in your daily routine (Dinacharya): Start your day by splashing water on your face. Include cleansing, exfoliation, repair, rejuvenation, protection, and moisturizing of your skin daily (read about these steps here).
4. Pamper yourself with a self-massage: Snehana is the Sanskrit word for love and oil-application; try a daily full-body Abhyanga or self-massage which pacifies Doshas, enhances glow, hydrates, nourishes, detoxifies, and rejuvenates the skin. For oily Kapha skin, try Udvartana or an herbal-powder massage.
5. Make seasonal modifications (Ritucharya): Vata is prone to imbalances in fall and early winter when you need to moisturize extra, during spring Kapha season focus on cleansing and follow a Pitta-pacifying protocol in the summer. For Vata-Pitta skin, attend to winter dryness and Pitta sensitivity in summer; follow a similar protocol for other combination skin types.
6. Try do-it-yourself recipes: From cleansers (chickpea or mung flour with milk), scrubs (lemon, sugar scrub), toners (rose water), to moisturizers and natural treatments (neem oil for inflammation, honey for wounds), there are many Ayurvedic recipes you can make at home. Be mindful about allergies (and test ingredients in your inside elbow).
Face Pack recipe: In 4 tablespoons of mung, chickpea flour, or Fuller’s Earth as a base add ½ tsp Triphala, ¼ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp dried neem, 2 tsp’s rosewater; mix into a paste. For Vata skin add milk or ripe avocado, cucumber or aloe vera for Pitta, and ripe papaya or honey for Kapha to make your own face pack!
7. Break a sweat: Exercise improves blood circulation and toning (be careful if you have a skin condition that flares with sweating). Remember to flex those facial muscles as well; your smile adds beauty to the world!
8. Do yoga regularly: Yoga lends serenity, has numerous health benefits, aids detoxification of the body and skin, and gives you an inner – and outer glow. Try our friends at Evolve yoga or do a simple 7-minute Sukshma Yoga for relaxation.
9. Attend to your diet and hydrate: Ayurveda believes that skin health depends on nutrient fluid, blood, muscles, and - proper digestion. Follow Ayurvedic dietary principles; eat at regular mealtimes and favor fresh, easy-to-digest foods while avoiding junk and overeating that can cause toxins to build up. Be sure to hydrate enough so the skin stays moisturized and supple.
10. Don’t neglect that beauty sleep: This is one of the pillars of health in Ayurveda and no wonder; sleep deficits can cause inflammation, reduced immunity, puffy eyes, fine lines, impact skin aging, and (research indicates) reduce perceived attractiveness!
11. Explore Ayurvedic cosmetology and treatments: Herbs like Turmeric, Neem, Amalaki, Sandalwood, Manjistha, GotuKola, and Aloe Vera are great for the skin as are Ayurvedic therapies like Abhyanga, Nasya, Udvartana, Garshana (dry skin brushing), Marma, Shirodhara, Swedana (herbal steaming) and cleansing therapies like Panchakarma. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for a personalized protocol.