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5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance


Dry skin.


It's something most of us will deal with at some point in our lives.


Why do we need home remedies for aging dry skin and creating radiance?


According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, almost everyone has dry skin by the age of 60 years. They go on to tell us that the amount of sebum, the natural oil in the skin that keeps it soft and supple, drops at around the age of 40 and continues to drop as we age.


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance; woman standing amidst flowers with eyes closed

The Ayurvedic view of dry skin


Ayurveda, an ancient science that comes to us from India, has an explanation for why we dry out over time and offers us home remedies to transform dry skin into radiant skin.


To understand the Ayurvedic view, let's first look briefly at the three doshas, the five elements, and the 20 qualities (gunas).


The three doshas and five elements

According to Ayurveda, there are 3 doshas (constitutions or humors). When talking about the doshas, you may hear people say that the doshas are "out of balance" which can also usually be referred to as "increased," "aggravated," or "excess." In rare cases, there may be depletion of any of the three doshas, but this doesn't come up as much.


The three doshas are

  1. vata

  2. pitta

  3. kapha.


Ayurveda tells us that there are five elements which make up the three doshas. All of the doshas have all of the five elements, but each has a predominance of two of the elements.


  • vata dosha is composed of air and ether

  • pitta dosha is composed of fire and water

  • kapha dosha is composed of water and earth


If you look at these elements, you can see that vata dosha is much lighter than the other doshas because it is composed of air and ether elements which are rather light compared to fire, water, and earth. Because of this, vata is the dosha that leads to dry skin.


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance; woman working outside at her computer and writing with a pen

Vata dosha dominates the time of life from 50 or 60 years of age (or menopause) onward, so most people in this age range will experience dry skin. Everyone during this time of life will benefit from pacifying vata dosha through diet and lifestyle practices because dry skin is just one of the many vata complaints that plague the vata time of life. Vata imbalances also lead to anxiety, worry, fear, insecurity, loneliness, constipation, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis, just to name a few common vata imbalance issues.


In addition, those with a predominance of vata dosha in their constitution tend toward dryness more than those who have a predominance of pitta or kapha in their constitution. Those who have a vata dosha imbalance, no matter their constitution, are also prone to dry skin. Anyone who is living in a vata climate (dry environment), may also experience more dryness.


In all of these scenarios, the person would benefit from working to pacify vata dosha to help reduce aging dry skin and create radiance.


You can read more about Vata Dosha Characteristics here.



The 20 qualities (gunas)

Each of the three doshas is also described as having specific qualities (gunas). These gunas come in ten pairs of opposites. The general rule of Ayurveda surrounding these qualities is that like increases like, and opposites decrease.


For example one of the pairs of opposites is dry/oily. If you are feeling too dry, then adding oily foods, lifestyle practices, activities, and emotions into your life can help to decrease that feeling of excess dryness. If you are feeling too oily, then adding drier foods, lifestyle practices, activities, and emotions into your life can help to decrease the feeling of excess oiliness.


Note that the opposite of dry is not water or liquid, but oil.


For someone with a dry mouth, getting more beneficial oils in the diet and even doing oil pulling, swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for 2-3 minutes every morning, will help to lubricate the mouth. The Charaka Samhita tells us, "Oil-gargling imparts strength to the jaws, strength to the voice and excellent plumpness/flabbiness to the face, excellent gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One does not suffer from the dryness of the throat, or from the fear of the lips getting chafed." (CS Sū 5/78-79)


If you would like to try swishing with oil, Athreya Herbals has this oil infused with herbs made especially for oil pulling.



5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: Athreya Swish oil


Vata dosha is the only dosha that is dry in and of itself. Both pitta dosha and kapha dosha are oily. However, the heat of pitta dosha can ultimately increase dryness (Lad 165) by drying out vata, but pitta dosha itself is oily.


Here is a list of the qualities of vata dosha and the opposite qualities that can be used to help pacify vata dosha.


Qualities of Vata

Opposite Qualities to Help Pacify Vata

dry

oily

light

heavy

rough

smooth

cold

hot

subtle

gross

mobile

static

clear

cloudy/sticky

The qualities in the right column can be incorporated into your life through foods, lifestyle practices, environmental changes, and relations to other people.


Here are some examples of ways to bring the oily quality into your life:


Foods

good oils like sesame oil, ghee, or olive oil; avocados; nuts; coconut; seeds; olives

Lifestyle

self-massage with warm oil; receiving Ayurvedic treatments like abhyanga, shirodhara, kati basti

Environment

avoiding dry environments like the desert

Relationships

"sneha" a word in Sanskrit that means oil, also means love, therefore, love is considered to be oily/ Being involved in loving relationships can help pacify vata dosha and bring radiance to aging dry skin



You can read more about the 20 Gunas (Qualities) of Ayurveda.


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance; woman with radiant skin

Causes of excess dryness


According to Dr. Vasant Lad, there are several causes of dry skin (Lad 165):

  • reduced oily (sebaceous) secretions, which naturally happens in the vata time of life from 50-60 (or menopause) onward

  • not sweating enough

  • pitta being too hot and sharp

  • excess vata; the dry, light, rough, cold, mobile qualities of vata can easily lead to dry skin

  • other external causes include:

    • dry, hot air

    • wind

    • sun

    • excess washing

    • soap and dishwashing soap


Another reason for dry skin is the combination of vata and ama (toxins) (Lad 202). Ama is undigested food particles that putrefy in the gut and spread out into the tissues of the body, finding weak spots to lodge in and create problems. One way to assess if you have excess ama in your body is to look at your tongue to see if there is a white, grey, or yellow coating covering it. If you have a coating on your tongue, it is better to clear the ama before adding extra oils to your diet, or your skin, because the body will have difficulty digesting the oil when ama is present.


Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance


Ayurveda supports oiling the body to soothe aging, dry skin and create radiance.


Because aging dry skin is related to vata dosha, any practices that help to reduce vata dosha are going to help soothe aging dry skin.


1. Abhyanga

Abhyanga, self-massage with warm oil, is excellent for reducing vata and soothing aging, dry skin.



The Charaka Samhita, a traditional text of Ayurveda, says, "A person, by applying daily oil massage, becomes smooth and plump, strong and good looking, while slowing his ageing process." [Cha.Su.5/89]


Some oils are particularly good at revitalizing dry, aging skin.


Dhanwantharam oil

Dhanwnatharam oil which is good for nourishing anyone who is depleted, including women postpartum, is also excellent for soothing dry, aging skin.

Dhanwantharam oil:

  • regenerates skin cells

  • reduces stiffness, numbness, and pain

  • boosts immunity

  • balances vata dosha

  • improves the texture of the skin

  • increases circulation

  • detoxifies the skin (Purusha Ayurveda)


Two companies that I recommend for traditional Dhanwantharam oil are Athreya and Kottakkal.




5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance; bottle of Athreya dhanwantharam oil

5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: bottle of Kottakkal Dhanwantharam oil

Mahanarayan oil

Mahanarayan oil is another excellent oil for the soothing of dry, aging skin. Mahanarayan oil used during abhyanga, self-massage with warm oil, has the following benefits:

  • promotes healthy aging and skin rejuvenation

  • supports

    • joints

    • tendons

    • ligaments

    • nerves

  • improves flexibility

  • balances vata dosha (Athreya Herbs)


Two companies that I recommend for traditional Mahanarayan oil preparations are Kottakkal and Athreya.



5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: bottle of Athreya mahanarayan oil


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: bottle of Kottakkal mahanarayan oil


Castor oil

Another super nourishing oil that is often overlooked is castor oil. Castor oil can be applied to the skin to treat dry skin (Pole 153). It can be used anywhere you are experiencing dryness, such as the hands, feet, or all over the body. Just be careful with this oil as it is quite sticky and difficult to clean off of surfaces and out of clothing. Be sure to purchase castor oil that is hexane-free. Hexane is "a solvent widely used as an industrial cleaner and degreaser and is an ingredient in many consumer products. Easily inhaled or absorbed through the skin, hexane has been recognized for more than 40 years to cause long-lasting and even permanent nerve damage in feet, legs, hands, and arms."


Banyan Botanicals has a nice castor oil that you can purchase through Amazon.


Kumkumadi oil

Kumkumadi oil is a fabulous face oil that helps to rejuvenate the skin on the face erasing signs of aging, dry skin. Some specific benefits of Kumkumadi oil are:

  • promotes a youthful, radiant glow

  • hydrates and moisturizes the skin

  • protects against adverse environmental factors

  • revitalizes the face (Athreya Herbs)


Athreya and Kottakkal are two companies that I recommend for Kumkumadi oil.


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: bottle of Kottakkal kumkumadi oil


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: bottle of Athreya kumkumadi oil


2. Sweating

After oiling, Ayurveda tells us that sweating will help the oil to penetrate into the body and soothe dry, aging skin. The Ashtanga Hridayam, an ancient text of Ayurveda, tells us that sweating helps to moisten the skin. (AH Sū 11/4). A steam room is a perfect way to steam after oiling, if you have one available, to help reduce vata dosha and soothe dry skin. A sauna is second best, but if you can add steam to the sauna in some way that will also be more pacifying to vata dosha. If you don't have either of these options available, then taking a shower or bath is the next best way to create a little steam to get the oil to penetrate and soothe aging dry skin.


5 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Soothing Aging Dry Skin and Creating Radiance: woman exercising

Exercising while the oil is still on the body is another way to produce sweat before showering off the oil. Just know that your clothing will get saturated with the oil over time, so it's best to not wear your favorite exercise clothes while you have oil on your skin.


3. Consuming good quality oils

Oiling the body from the inside is another way to soothe aging dry skin and pacify vata dosha (AH Sū 13/1). According to Ayurveda, some oils that are good for internal consumption are:

  • ghee (clarified butter)

  • sesame oil

  • olive oil

You can read more about which specific oils are best for your constitution on the Ayurvedic Institute website.


4. Eating a vata pacifying diet

To pacify vata dosha and soothe aging dry skin, Ayurveda suggests eating a vata dosha pacifying diet. This means eating more foods that are sweet, sour, and salty and less foods that are pungent, bitter, and astringent. You can consult the same list from the Ayurvedic Insititute website to understand foods that are best for vata dosha. Eat more of the foods in the vata dosha favor column and less of the foods in the vata avoid column, but there's no reason to be militant about following these lists. Ayurveda follows the middle path, which means that extremes are not recommended. Also avoid foods that are dry, light, cold, rough, and crunchy, like raw veggies, ice cream, crackers, chips, pretzels, and rice cakes.


5. Oil enema

This practice takes a lot more explanation than I have time to get into in this blog, but oil enemas are one of the most effective ways to pacify vata dosha and soothe aging dry skin (AH, Sū 13/2). The colon is the main site of vata (Lad, 48), so oiling the colon directly works to pacify vata dosha.


To read more about how to give yourself an oil enema, you may want to check out Dr. Lad's The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, page 288. Or you can also consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn more.




Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1996. pp. 165-66.


Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment. The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. p. 202


Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda. 1st ed., vol. 1, The Ayurvedic Press, 2002. p. 48.


Nair S.S.R., Deole Y. S.. "Matrashiteeya Adhyaya". Charak Samhita New Edition, edited by Reddy P.S., Deole Y.S., Basisht G., eds., 1st edition, CSRTSDC, 2020, pp. 7, Doi:10.47468/CSNE.2020.e01.s01.007


"Dhanwantharam Oil." Purusha Ayurveda, 04 January 2015, https://www.purushaayurveda.com/articles/2015/7/14/dhanwantharam-oil



"Healthy Face Oil (Kumkumadi Thailam)." Athreya Herbs, Accessed 09 January 2024, https://www.athreyaherbs.com/products/healthy-face-oil-kumkumadi?sca_ref=5014424.jv9v6Z7EQU


"Toxic Chemicals: Hexane." Toxic Free Future, Accessed 09 January 2024,


Nair S.S.R., Deole Y. S.. "Matrashiteeya Adhyaya". Charak Samhita New Edition, edited by Reddy P.S., Deole Y.S., Basisht G., eds., 1st edition, CSRTSDC, 2020, pp. 7, Doi:10.47468/CSNE.2020.e01.s01.007


Vagbhata. Astanga Hrdayam. Translated by Prof. K. R. Srikantha Murthy, 7th ed., vol. 1, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, 2010. p. 182.

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