Ayurveda and Acne
In Part 1 of this blog, I explained how the overgrowth of bacteria is only an effect of underlying imbalances in the body, but not the ultimate cause of acne. Read Part 1 to understand the underlying causes of acne from an ayurvedic perspective, which can include impaired digestion and accumulation of toxins, and why traditional methods of combatting acne may not be working for you.
Since pimples typically come in 2-, 3-, and 4-week cycles, you will need to follow this program for 3-6 months to get permanent results.
Step 1: Change your Diet
The health of your skin is directly related to your diet. In fact, one of the reasons that stress can cause sudden and severe outbreaks is because of the immediate impact that stress has on your digestive system. To help improve your digestion, follow the general dietary guidelines listed below. Remember, this is a long-term commitment and you have to keep these recommendations in mind for the long haul.
- Eat warm, soft, cooked foods.
- Avoid raw vegetables and salads.
- Drink beverages at room temperature or warm.
- Avoid cold drinks and frozen desserts (such as ice cream, popsicles, frozen yogurt, etc.)
- Reduce light, dry, crunchy food.
- Reduce spicy, sour, fried, and fermented foods.
- Reduce yogurt, alcohol, coffee, vinegar, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cheese.
Step 2: Strengthen Your Digestion
Many of the steps above will improve your digestion, but there is also an ayurvedic secret that really boosts your digestion and removes toxins. It is a special tea that is inexpensive and simple to make. If you drink this tea regularly for 3-6 months, you are going to notice many other health benefits in addition to beautiful skin.
Boil 4-5 cups of water in the morning.
Add a half-teaspoon of the following seeds to the boiled water and continue to let steep for at least 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Whole cumin seeds
- Whole coriander seeds
- Whole fennel seeds
Strain out the seeds and pour the liquid into a thermos. Sip the liquid throughout the day. Start fresh with a new batch of tea each morning.
If the tea is too strong or if you experience some initial discomfort, reduce the amount of the seeds to a quarter-teaspoon of each for two weeks and then increase it back to a half-teaspoon of each.
Step 3: Keep Your Pores Clean
Keeping your pores clear is important to preventing bacterial overgrowth. Pores get clogged with dead skin and sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that helps to keep skin healthy when made in normal amounts. Over-production of sebum clogs the pores and creates the perfect environment for bacterial overgrowth. To keep the your pores clean, follow these three rules:
- Wear oil-free make-up or don’t wear any make-up at all during this program.
- Wash your face twice a day and never sleep with make-up.
- Use a clay mask regularly to help keep pores open. In the first month, you will need to use a clay facemask daily. After the acne begins to improve, you can do it every other day. As maintenance, you should use it 1-2 times a week.
Step 4: Detox Your Liver and Blood
Toxins accumulate in the liver and blood to cause chronic acne. Here are some simple ayurvedic methods for detoxing the liver and blood:
- Drink ¼ cup of organic aloe vera juice in the morning on an empty stomach. Aloe vera juice is a natural way to remove toxins from your body, especially the liver and blood. If you have cystic acne, drink this twice a day, in the morning and bedtime, for 3 months. Remember to drink all liquids no colder than room temperature, so add a little bit of warm water to make the refrigerated aloe vera juice the right temperature. If you can’t tolerate the taste of aloe vera juice, add ¼ cup of pomegranate juice, which is also a great way to detox the liver and blood.
- Take the ayurvedic herb guggul, 75-150mg a day. Guggul is a widely used ayurvedic herb that helps to remove toxins from the body and improve digestion.
- Use turmeric in your cooking or as a supplement. Turmeric powder is a spice that is commonly used in Indian foods. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. The easiest way to take turmeric is to add a pinch of it your food, but you can also take one tablet with meals.
- Do aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week. The increased circulation and sweating that occurs with aerobic exercise naturally removes toxins from your body.
Step 5: Reduce Your Stress
Let’s face it, when you are under stress, all of your good habits go out the window – you eat bad food, you stop exercising, you skip your supplements, and you generally stop taking care of yourself. Having a stress-management program in place before something happens will help you have the resilience to bounce back quickly – mentally, emotionally, and physically. There are several tools like meditation, yoga, exercise, and breathing exercises that will help you keep daily stress under control. Just choose one that resonates with you.
A sudden stressful experience was definitely the underlying cause of my bout with adult acne. If I didn’t already have a long-standing meditation practice, the stress would have caused much more than just acne. I continued my meditation practice and incorporated all the other steps that I mentioned above, and within one month, the acne was under control and my skin was healing from the outbreak.
I remember how vulnerable I felt when I developed acne. The world could literally read my emotional state on my face. When you are already feeling overwhelmed, having something that shows your stress to the world can really feel like the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But, there are natural ways to treat acne quickly that don’t require oral medications or chemicals. Additionally, all of these recommendations will only improve your state of mind and general health, which, ultimately, is the goal.