Re-hydrating Your Skin Ayurvedically

In dry, windy weather, or if you are constantly in an air-conditioned environment, keeping your skin adequately hydrated is crucial, especially if your skin tends to be naturally dry (Vata). Water is considered a life-giving force in ayurveda — very important in maintaining skin health as well as overall health. Says our ayurvedic expert, Director of Research and Product Development at Maharishi Ayurveda Products, "It's not always enough to just drink eight glasses of water every day." For the body, and the skin, to realize fully the life-giving properties of water, people with different types of skin need to consume it differently.

Ayurveda is very firm on one aspect of drinking water, and, indeed, all beverages. Ice-cold drinks are not recommended because they inhibit the digestive fire and lead to imperfect digestion of food, which can show up on the skin.

One internal water therapy recommended by The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians is drinking 6-8 glasses of boiled water every day. Use pure drinking water, and boil it for five minutes. People with Vata-type skin should drink the water warm; Kapha skin types can sip it hot; and Pitta skin types should cool it to room temperature before drinking. The water should be boiled fresh each day, and should not be ingested on a completely empty stomach. This therapy helps the water flush toxins from the body and moisturize the skin from within, keeping it hydrated and lustrous.

Combining boiled water with herbs suitable for the skin type enhances the benefits. The Council suggests the following procedure:

Boil one liter of water for five minutes, then pour it into a thermos or other type of heat-retentive container. Add the recommended herbs and spices and steep. Keep the container closed. Strain and use the spice-infused water as needed. Drink at the temperature recommended above for each skin type.

Basic combination of recommended herbs and spices:

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 pinches of ground licorice root

Vata skin types can add ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds, Pitta skin types ½ teaspoon fennel seeds and Kapha skin types a one-inch slice of peeled fresh ginger root.

Externally, it is important to be diligent about applying natural moisturizers to keep the skin soft and supple. The Youthful Skin Cream and Youthful Skin Oil provide moisture balance and lipid support to the different layers of the skin on your face and hands. When cleansing your face, use a non-drying, gentle cleanser and rinse your face gently several times — the skin absorbs some of that water as you rinse. Use lukewarm water if your skin is Vata, room temperature or slightly cool (not cold) water if your skin is Pitta, and water slightly above room temperature for Kapha skin. For the body, the ayurvedic full-body oil massage (abhyanga) is excellent for lubricating the skin. You can use the traditional cured Sesame Oil or one of the herbalized or aroma massage oils. After your bath or shower, you can enhance the effect with the application of an herbal moisturizing lotion.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.