perspective of Skin
The Sanskrit word Twacha is derived from the root
Tvach samvarane, meaning to cover the body. The
skin is the seat of Vata dosha. Tactile sensation
is the attribute of Vata dosha. The sensory
stimuli from the skin are carried by Prana Vata
(one among the five divisions of vata) to the
brain. The sensation of touch is more on the tip
of the tongue, eyes and the tip of the little
tvacha is the subsidiary tissue (upadhatu) of
Mamsa dhatu. Susrutha has mentioned 7 types of
skin viz. Avabhasini, Lohita, Shewta, Tamra,
Vedini, Rohini and Mamsadhara, whereas Charaka has
mentioned only 6 layers.
The skin is also the seat of Pitta dosha. Bhrajaka
pitta (subtype of Pitta) located on the skin is
responsible for the metabolism of the skin and
maintenance of body temperature. Vyana Vata, sub
type of Vata dosha expresses the colour of the
skin and secretes the sweat from sweat glands. The
sweat (sweda) is the waste of medho dhatu, sebum
(majja mala) is the waste of majja dhatu and hair
and nails are wastes of Asthi dhatu.
It is also important to know, clinically, the
basic types of skin, in normalcy and in
pathological conditions, according to the
constitution of an individual.
Normal Skin in Vata type individuals - The
skin is dry, rough, thin and flaky in patches in
Vata type individuals. The skin is cold to touch
and color of the skin is dark, grayish hue. There
is very less sweating. Body hair is dry, sparse,
harsh, curly, split and grey.
Normal Skin in Pitta type individuals - The
skin is soft, smooth, and with many moles in Pitta
type individual. The skin is warm to touch and
fair, peachy, freckled, coppery blue color. There
is profuse sweating and foul body odor due to
excess sweating. Body hairs are smooth, oily and
Normal Skin in Kapa type individuals -
Skin is oily, thick, and moist in Kapha type
individuals. Skin is fair, pale with a glow, soft
and cool to touch. Sweating is less. Body hairs
are thick, black, unctuous and strong.
Abnormal skin in Vata type individuals
-There is lack of lusture and tone, rough patches
and cracking of skin. Hands and feet are rough and
dry. There is appearance of dark patches. Body
hair is harsh and excessively dry. Disorders like
corns, callouses, dry rashes, dry eczema may
Abnormal skin in Pitta type - Skin is oily
and there is discoloration of natural pigment.
There is falling of body hairs and sometimes
graying of body hairs. Disorders like acne,
furuncles, allergic rashes, wrinkles and
Abnormal skin in Kapha type - Skin is dull,
congested and very pale. Body hairs are very oily.
Disorders like itching, pustules, cystic
Daily Skin Care
• Ayurveda advises the application of slightly
warm oil as per your Prakriti (Vata – Sesame oil,
Pitta – Coconut oil, Kapha – Mustard oil) on the
whole body including face daily. This makes the
skin soft and silky, promotes strength and
sturdiness of the skin and nourishes the body.
• Then perform few warming up exercise like
suryanamaskar or yogasana for 20 – 30 minutes.
• Scrub your body with udwartana powder (mixture
of chickpea, sandalwood and many other herbs good
for the skin) or green gram powder. Scrubbing with
herbal powders renders the skin clean and smooth.
Udwartana powder wards off excess accumulation of
excessive fats in the subcutaneous tissue.
• Take warm water bath to rinse off the herbal
Face is our identity, personality and much more.
So facial care is important. Water is very cheap
yet effective cleansing agent for the face. Daily
morning, followed by face wash with water, apply a
face pack with 2 tsp of Triphala powder mixed in
water. Triphala is a combination of 3 herbs which
are good for all three doshas. Triphala is also a
Rasayana (rejuvenative). Apply the pack for 5
minutes and then rinse it off. Then apply
Yashtimadhu (licorice) pack by mixing ¼ tsp
licorice powder in water and after 5 minutes, wash
it off similarly. Licorice is a moisturizing agent
and suits all skin types.
Ayurvedic face care can be achieved by taking
steps in a sequence like initial cleansing,
oleation massage, gentle scrub, face packs and
These fine particles skin to the facial skin,
which is slightly moist and oily due to sweat and
sebum. Hence initial cleansing of face is
mandatory daily and especially before a massage.
There are numerous herbs which exert a gentle
cleansing action prepared with simple cold water
as a base. The base can be chosen according to the
constitution, eg. Milk for Pitta, honey for Kapha
and Sesame oil for Vata. Following herbs are
generally used for cleansing the face.
After cleansing, facial skin is free from grime,
sebum and other secretions. It is ready to receive
a facial massage, with enhanced herbal oil
preparations. Commonly for all skin types, plain
or medicated sesame oil / crème prepared from ghee
are used for facial massage. Specifically for Vata
type skin, sesame oil, for Pitta type coconut oil
and for Kapha type mustard oil is used for facial
Indications – Old age, Wrinkles, Debility, Dry
skin, Pigmentation, Sunburn.
Benefits – Relieves muscular fatigue and pain,
creates lightness, soothes facial skin and
improves circulation; Prevents build-up of
excessive numbers of dead surface cells.
Scrubs stimulate circulation, prevent blackheads,
cleanse skin pores and effectively cleanse deeper
layers of skin. It stimulates new skin growth and
improves complexion. The base of all scrubs is
chickpea or green gram powder. Other herbs are
added to them as per the skin type.
paste prepared from suitable herbs mixed in
suitable medium are applied on the face in a thin
layer and allowed to dry for 10 – 15 minutes, then
washed with cold water gently. Do not keep face
packs for long hours. Wash face once the face pack
is dried. Keeping face pack for prolonged time
depletes the complexion of the skin.
The base of face packs is multani mitti. For
pimples or acne, face packs prepared with
turmeric, neem powder and aloe vera is used,
because these herbs exert antiseptic, anti
inflammatory properties and promotes healing
process as well.
Benefits – It brings beauty and refreshes facial
skin. It prevents wrinkles, cures blemishes and
Ghee and herbs like Saffron, Coriander,
Cardamom, Coconut, Rose, Lotus, Fenugreek, and
Sesame have moisturizing properties. They are most
commonly used for moisturizing. They reduce
dryness of skin, by alleviating Vata dosha which
is the causative factor for dryness. They augment
the unctuousness of the skin by replacing their
own unctuous attribute to the skin, keeping them
soft, silky and moist.
In Ayurveda, inner and outer beauty is intimately
related. The more we nurture ourselves, the more
radiant we become physically and expressively –
regardless of our particular body shape or
proportions. Ayurveda has always understood beauty
to be the product of general physical health and
appropriate daily care. It is not just a cosmetic
event. To enhance beauty, one should realize the
importance of self-care in our increasingly
fast-paced and chaotic world.