As the largest organ in the body, the functions of the skin reach well beyond serving as a sac for the contents of our physiology.
Nutrients reach the skin by diffusing through fluid from the blood vessels embedded in the deeper layers of the skin.
In Ayurveda, there are seven layers of the skin and each layer is associated with one of the seven tissues of the body.
The structure of the integumentary system receives very little praise, but its layered architecture is quite a marvel. It works to protect against infection and extreme temperatures, maintain a balance of bodily fluids, synthesize Vitamin D, and clear toxins from the body.
The top layer of the skin is related to the rasa dhatu or the plasma tissue and the second layer associated with rakta dhatu or the blood tissue all the way down to the seventh tissue relating to the reproductive fluid. (Note: the seven tissues in sequence are: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, and reproductive fluid)
Because we can directly observe the top layer of the skin, the state of the skin can tell us about the state of our rasa dhatu. This is the most logical place to start. Rasa dhatu is responsible for providing the body and mind with sustenance; it is the juice that gives us energy and life.
A person with a superior quality of rasa dhatu not only has glowing skin with uniform color and complexion, free from moles and pimples, but also has clear perception, clarity, faith, love, and trust. Rasa dhatu is the bodyâ€™s nectar. It is the first product of digestion, meaning that when food is properly digested, nutrients go directly to nourish the tissue.
To heal skin disorders, look to heal from the inside out. Soothe digestive problems associated with improper digestion of rasa dhatu and uncover the deeper imbalance that is associated with a skin flare up. As you uncover imbalance, itâ€™s likely more toxic waste will come out via the skin before it fully clears out. Practice patience and do not get discouraged. Remember that there are seven layers of the skin and each layer associated with a different tissue. As we begin to improve the health of the first tissue, the body will have the juice to improve the second . . . Â all the way down to the seventh.
Start by following an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle; consume whole, fresh, organic foods during proper mealtimes. Undigested food turns into toxic material and can be dumped into the skin as the body attempts to eliminate it.
Here are some of Ayurvedaâ€™s most celebrated herbs and spices that Â enhance the health of the skin.
Boil 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds with 4 cups of water and strain. This mixture of spices will help It works simultaneously to burn toxins while strengthening metabolism. It also helps to ward of snacking when sipped in between meals.
*Note that snacking is not supportive for healing skin conditions. We must allow for proper time for digestion between meals so that food can be fully digested.
- Cumin, coriander, fennel tea soothe digestive issues associated with all three doshas.
Turmeric not only works to reduce inflammation (seen as pain, swelling, redness, and heat) but also enhances skin complexion. Turmericâ€™s strong affinity for the digestive system, the liver, and the blood all directly relate to the overall health of the skin.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
It is a bitter and cooling plant. It purifies the blood, removes excess heat, and destroys toxins. Neem can be too bitter and cooling for some constitutions, so consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner before taking this herb.
Whether you have dry, inflamed, or oily skin . . . it is just another piece to the puzzle in understanding your overall health. Remember that like increases like and opposites balance. When the skin is inflamed (hot), look to cool. When the skin is dry, look to oil. When the skin is oily, look to dry.
Treating skin conditions can be frustrating because most of the time your symptoms are a combination of dry, oily, and inflamed! What to do?! Start with the basics and remember that too much is no good.
Itâ€™s also important to note that emotions like anger and frustration increase the fire element of the body and can aggravate further aggravated inflamed skin. Tune into your uniqueness and as you begin to understand your Ayurvedic type, you will uncover the tools that most nourish you.
Neem is one of Ayurvedaâ€™s most praised herbs for skin breakouts.