We have been doing the Krya Ayurvedic skin care series all this month. In the series we are covering various aspects of skin cleansing, care, and healthy habits and of course the right food, how it is to be prepared and how it should be eaten as per prakriti. We have so far discussed the role of sweat & sebum, why skin develops clogged and open pores and also gone into the proper techniques of eating and ayurvedic perspectives on the right diet for good skin. In case you missed those posts, do read using the links given above.
In today’s post, we look at Pitta prakriti skin, how it should be looked after, and what Ayurveda recommends to cleanse, care for and nourish this kind of skin.
What is pitta prakriti skin?
This skin is described as normal – oily with high oil secretion in summer and humid weather. The skin appears flushed and the person is said to “blush easily”. It is prone to breakouts when pitta aggravating food (like curd, and sour, spicy food) and pore clogging food (baked goods, sweets) is eaten. Pitta prakriti is extremely sun-sensitive, burning easily in the sun or developing a tan.
Pitta prakriti skin goes with an overall pitta prakriti (constitution) – you tend to be decisive, slightly aggressive, have temper control issues, and blow up easily but also cool down quickly. You tend to like things going according to plan and love organising things, events and people around you.
In situations of stress, your stomach tends to collapse with diarrhoea. You are very sensitive to hunger pangs and tend to lose your temper if not fed on time. This makes sense as the seat of Pitta is the stomach and the agni from Pitta helps digest food. So Agni when not fed properly, tends to go on a roaring rampage.
Pitta prakriti skin cleansing:
Because of the oily and liquid nature of pitta dosha, pitta prakriti skin tends to be prone to high oil secretions. If the skin is not cleansed properly, the srotas tend to clog easily with sebum, dead cells and pollutants – and this is aggravated if you commute or even live in a crowded urban city.
However, if pitta prone skin is cleansed aggressively with harsh cleansers designed to remove oil alone, the skin will react aggressively to over stimulate sebum production – so you are essentially in a lose-lose situation.
Pitta prone skin must be cleansed with pitta balancing substances. This balances sebum production, cools skin and keeps pitta from going into overdrive. Because pitta skin is governed by Agni, it is very quick to react to any kind of irritant substance. So the cleanser must be effective, but must continue to be very soothing and cleanse delicately without aggravating skin.
Herbs & grains best suited for Pitta prakriti skin:
Mung bean, adzuki bean and Navrangi bean (basically varieties of Vigna radiata) are especially good for Pitta prone skin. Grains like Cicer arietinum (chick pea), Lens culinaris (red lentil), etc and other varieties of grain are very harsh and irritating to Pitta prakriti skin.
Ayurvedic skin care formulations for Pitta prakriti skin usually use a mix of several herb groups. We use Pitta balancing Sheetya herbs that soothe aggravated Pitta. This would include herbs like Indian liquorice (Mulethi), Rose flowers, Cassia flowers, Sandalwood, that are excellent pitta balancing herbs.
In addition we would use anti bacterial, bitter herbs that cleanse skin of bacterial infections which are common in Pitta prone skin because the excess sebum and dead skin can be a feast for unnecessary micro organisms. These herbs include Azadirachta indica (Neem), Triphala (the mixture of the 3 myrobalans), Turmeric, etc.
In addition, Pitta prakriti skin requires Kantivardhaka herbs or complexion enhancing and evening herbs. This is critical to deal with the uneven skin tone, tanning brought on by pitta reaction to heat and to look after the blemishes and scars that arise out of old acne outbreaks. Some Kantivardhaka herbs include Manjishta (Indian madder), Ela (Indian cardamom), Daruharidra (Berberis arista), etc .
In addition, depending upon the formulation and condition being treated, we could use itch reducing herbs like Kushta (Saussurea lappa), and Skin regenerative herbs like Ashwagandha (Indian winter cherry).
Skin moisturising for Pitta prakriti skin:
Pitta prakriti skin also requires additional nourishment in the form of healing masks and nutrient rich skin oils. However these products must be carefully formulated with the right skin oils and herbs that prevent any further skin clogging and support the skin’s functions and heal and nourish skin.
Most base oils are too rich for pitta prakriti skin, despite their overall skin benefits. We therefore recommend only an Ayurvedic skin oil that has been processed with pitta pacifying herbs. This Ayurvedic manufacturing process changes the nature of the oil, makes it less dense, decreases the particle size and improves the oil’s penetrative ability. You can read more about the Ayurvedic oil manufacturing technique in our earlier posts.
Krya regimen suggested for Pitta prakriti skin:
- Cleansing only twice a day – once in the morning and once at night; Liberal use of plain cold water during the day if required to remove excess oiliness from the skin. Hot water / cleansing wipes / alcohol based products should not be used on pitta prakriti skin as this will superficially dry out the top layer of skin and stimulate aggressive sebum production
- Avoid touching your skin with dirty fingers or nails- or simply avoid touching your face. (Your keyboard and phone are potential germ traps). Touching your skin with dirty fingers transfers more micro-organisms onto your oil rich skin, leading to more pore clogging.
- Night cleansing to be done religiously before sleeping. This is to remove grime, pollutants that have accumulated during the day. For skin exposed to high level of pollutants, we advise double cleansing: oil cleansing with the Krya classic skin oil followed by the Krya Classic face wash. Plain warm water is to be used to remove the oil and dirt during the round of oil cleansing. The skin is to be cleansed until no more trace of dirt remains.
- The Krya Classic skin oil is to be used on damp, freshly cleansed skin at night. 2 – 3 drops of the skin oil are to be massaged lightly, but firmly onto skin using upward strokes. If you have any active pimples, these should not be massaged, pressed or squeezed. Avoid oil application on them. We have done a much more detailed post here on how teh Krya Classic Skin oil has been formulated and manufactured.
- Once a week the Krya Classic Skin balancing Mask should be applied on well cleansed skin, preferably in the daytime. The mask should be removed when it is semi dry and should not be allowed to fully dry out on skin. After the mask, apply 2 – 3 drops of the Krya Classic skin oil on clean, damp skin.
- A glass of comfortably hot water is to be drunk 30 minutes before sleeping. This helps the elimination of toxins from your skin better.
- Rinse your mouth out with plain cool water after every meal or drink.
- Eat your meals strictly on time – delaying meals can aggravate Pitta and therefore cause break-outs and pore clogging
Krya Products suggested for Pitta prakriti Skin:
- Krya Classic face wash with Green Tea & Chamomile – gently but thoroughly cleanses Pitta prakriti skin
- Krya Classic Skin Oil with Manjishta & Chandana – nourishes and balances Pitta prakriti skin
- Krya Classic face mask with Bael fruit & Guava – to cool, and balance Pitta skin
- Krya Classic Skin balancing system – face (Face wash, Skin Oil + Face mask at a slightly reduced price)
- Krya Classic Bodywash with Rosemary & Cassia flower – recommended for pitta prakriti to cleanse skin thoroughly, balance Pitta and reduce body odour