In Ayurveda, Acne is referred to as Youvana pidaka (skin eruptions or Pidaka that occur in youth or youvana), Mukha dooshika (imperfections on the face) or Padmini kantaka (thorn like eruptions on the face). Ayurveda says that atleast 2 doshas are vitiated in youvana pidaka, sometimes all 3. Vitiation of pitta dosha increases the oiliness, and greasiness of skin. Pitta vitiation also leads to irritation in certain localised areas like the face, chest, back, etc which result in small localised eruptions. This vitiation affects both Rakta dhatu (blood) and Mamsa dhatu (muscle) and intake of improper food is one of the key causes of acne.
When this improper eating persists and the acne is not terraced properly, or harsh products are used or it is picked apart, it can get further infected leading to pus oozing, cystic acne.
Common causes of acne:
Eating improper and difficult to digest food: Deep fried food, Maida based food (pizza / bread / burgers), sour food (chaat – sour and fried), excessive intake of curd, especially at night – all these foods vitiate pitta and kapha as well. They cause ama (toxins) in the body when they are eaten frequently, and are not assimilated properly. These waste products are distributed in the body through Rakta dhatu and cause Acne.
Improper and unhealthy sleep patterns: Staying up late and eating in an untimely manner causes great stress on the body. Vata dosha is excited leading to skin darkening and dullness in the complexion. Pitta dosha is put under severe strain as the body is fed when it is not supposed to be fed. This combination not only triggers acne, it also triggers hair loss and premature greying.
Stress and Anxiety: The stress and anxiety around good grades, competitive exams and choosing the right career can severely affect the delicate hormonal balance and the way the body metabolises the food. During this time, even a healthy diet can be ill absorbed. However, in times of stress, we often react by choosing deep fried food and sweets. The stress, anxiety, poor diet all affect hormonal imbalance triggering acne.
Hormonal imbalances in general: Any change in our hormone levels can also trigger acne. The onset of puberty can imbalance this delicate system in the body. This is also why pregnant women sometimes see an acne outbreak, and why some of us see an acne outbreak a few days before the onset of our periods. In many cases, the hormonal imbalance is a self limiting cycle (like the monthly periods), so the acne usually disappears once balance has been restored. In other longer term cases like puberty or even pregnancy, we must control the imbalance by keeping our ahara (food), regimen and manas (mind) in balance.
How does western cosmetic science view acne? Why do these products worsen the problem?
Western science treats acne as a skin disorder where the hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oily secretions from the skin (sebum). Depending upon how often this acne is picked, and the dust and pollution around the sufferer, the skin will have blackheads, whiteheads, be greasy, and may have scarring as well.
Western cosmetics have also evolved to support this theory: so people are classified by the oil production on their face as those with oily skin, normal skin and dry skin. As the pimples are filled by sebum and dead cells, all external synthetic anti acne cosmetics focus on only 3 goals:
Dry up the oil secretions on the surface so that the pimple is drained using alcohol based toners, and surfactant based washes
Aggressively sanitise the skin so that there is no bacterial contamination of the skin
Use highly astringent substances to give the skin a feeling of being “cool and non greasy”
The problem with cosmetic approaches to acne Benzoyl peroxide is a common chemical used in anti-acne products. It is a known skin, eye and respiratory irritant. There are also a few concerns about its eco toxicity and its effect on other important organ systems within the body.
Triclosan is another common ingredient used in anti acne products for its anti bacterial effect. There is growing research to suggest that the increased use of Triclosan is giving rise to the growth of superbugs – bacteria resistant to antibiotics. A few studies also indicate that Triclosan could be a thyroid and hormone disruptor. Oral contraceptives have also been used widely to treat acne. This has been linked to semi permanent and permanent changes in hormone secretion and birth defects if wrongly used in pregnant or lactating women.
The use of alcohol extracts in the toners sold for acne prone skin is also extremely troubling – besides being an environmental and respiratory hazard, this substrate is extremely drying and aging on skin. With constant use it upsets the natural sebaceous secretions on the skin, and dries out permanently areas of the skin where sebaceous secretions are fewer causing the early appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Similar effects are seen in the use of salicylic acid based anti acne products – topical application typically results in dry skin and skin darkening especially when used by people with a darker skin type.
Krya’s approach to Acne:
We have seen how Ayurveda diagnoses and treats acne, so you should expect a different approach from Krya’s anti acne products as well. We have seen how western cosmetics superficially attack acne. The focus there is on removing excess oil through surfactants and alcohol, controlling sebaceous production and the use of anti bacterial agents to control the spread of bacteria.
We have seen the environmental and personal dangers behind the ingredients used on these products. Apart from these, most acne sufferers find that their skin becomes patchy, dull, unbalanced and loses its radiance with these solutions. Faster aging of skin is also a common complaint with the rapid appearance of wrinkles and fine lines with constant product use.
The most differentiated aspect of a Krya anti acne face wash is that it is one of our most gentle face wash products among a range which is already very gentle.This is very different from how western cosmetics are formulated – a synthetic anti acne face wash will usually be very drying and stripping on skin.
Why does Krya treat acne prone skin extremely gently?
Krya follows the Ayurvedic rule of opposites when treating acne which is a Pitta prone disorder. Pitta is strong, intense, sharp and rapid. We formulate our acne products to be cool, gentle, mild and soft on skin.
So you will find that the Krya anti acne face wash is very soft textured, very gentle on skin, cleanses very mildly and does not provoke any intense or adverse reaction. Among all our products it is the most gentle and healing.
Natural herbs to combat acne and reducing scarring
The Krya anti acne skin products use our special patent-pending production process and herbs recommended by Ayurveda to work on acne prone skin. Manjishta (Indian madder) is one of the herbs we use extensively in Krya’s anti acne products. Manjishta is a gentle, bitter herb that is renowned for enhancing complexion and radiance. It is a famous Rakta Shodaka herb (blood purifying herb) in Ayurveda and Siddha. When used in our products, Manjishta improves micro circulation of the skin, cleanses well, draws out toxins and evens out scarring and complexion with regular use.
Lodhra (Symplocus racemosa) is another famous Ayurvedic skin repair herb that we use in the Krya Anti acne products. Lodhra is astringent, cooling and a tonic Ayurvedic herb. It helps gives firmness to skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and helps reduce pitta in skin.
These are just a small sample of the 31 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya Anti acne face mask and the 19 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya anti acne face wash. To understand how you can use each product effectively, what herbs it contains and the provenance of these herbs, please read the individual product page.
Great skin is strongly linked to what you eat and how you live:
Good skin that functions well is linked very strongly to what we eat and how we live. Skin and hair are sensitive systems that usually show our stresses and our junky eating very fast. Please read the Krya blog for suggestions on a good diet to follow for Acne and good health giving practices that can help balance your doshas.