Ayurveda says that acne is just external manifestations of disturbances in the internal systems or environment of the body. According to Ayurveda, acne is the papules which appear on the face of adolescents. An increase in Kapha and Vata dosha and Rakta and Meda dhatu are the main factors in causing this disease.
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The various reasons which exacerbate and even cause acne according to Ayurveda are:
- Adhyashana: Overeating or eating again before the previous meal is completely digested.
- Virudhashana: Eating incompatible food.
- Vishamashana: Improper eating habits such as eating when not hungry or not eating when hungry, eating food more than required or lesser than required.
- Consumption of Ushna (hot), Katu (pungent) and Tikta (penetrating) food, salty foods, fried and oily food, junk food, and preserved or tinned food.
- Some psychological factors such as grief, anger or trauma leads to imbalance in dosha.
Ayurvedic Approach towards Acne Alleviation
According to Ayurveda, fulminant acne is the severe acne which should be treated under the consultation of a doctor. Ayurvedic treatment for acne is non-invasive and non-toxic and is a safe therapy for the treatment of acne. It is generally carried out in three steps:
- Cleansing the internal system
- Managing the skin in a healthy condition
- Regulation of the diet
Ayurvedic acne treatment consist of reduction in sebum production, removal of dead skin cells and killing infecting bacteria with topical drugs and oral medications. The methods of acne treatment are:
- Balancing doshas by adopting balanced diet and modified and healthy life style.
- Use of herbal tablets to expel imbalanced doshas.
- Regular massage of face by herbal oils containing madhuka, laaksha, matulunga etc.
- Application of a face pack containing masoora, kushta, kaaliyaka etc. after every massage.
Correction of diet and regular exercise along with the use of mild laxatives to treat constipation are the main approaches towards treatment.
Herbs Used In Acne Treatment
Herbs used orally for the treatment of acne are
- Tulsi (Basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum)
- Kalmegha (green chirayta, Andrographis paniculata)
- Manjishtha (Indian madder, Rubia cordifolia)
- Haridra (Curcuma longa)
- Neem (Azadirachta indica)
- Chirayata (Indian gentian)
Other herbs used for topical application, massage and cleansing of face are:
- Fuller’s earth
- Lodhra (Symplocus bark)
- Yashtimadhu (Licorice Glycyrrhiza Glabra)
- Chandana (sandalwood)
- Dhanyaka (coriander, Coriandrum sativum)
- Jeerakam (cumin seeds, Cuminum cyminum)
- Chopchini (Smilex chinensis)
- Sariva (Indian sarsaparilla, Hemidesmus indicus)
- Daruharidra (Tree turmeric, Berberis aristata)
- Jyotishmati (Black oil tree, Celastrus paniculatus)
- Kesar (Saffron, Crocus sativus)
- Tail (oil)
Ayurveda provides various herbal applications for the treatment of acne or pimples. A few of these are in the form of paste and applied on face;
- Paste of lodhra (Symplocus bark) , dhanyaka (Coriandrum sativum) , and vacha (Acorus calamus) with water
- Paste of maricha (black pepper, Piper nigrum) and gorochana
- Paste of chandana, ashwagandha (Indian ginseng, Withania somnifera), manjishtha, and yashtimadhu
- Paste of lentil (masur dal) in curd and neem oil
- Paste of haridra and chandana
- Once these pastes dry up wash them off with lukewarm water.
Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle for Acne
Pathya or Ayurvedic diet is recommended for reduction in the severity of the disease and also for the prevention of the disease. a well-balanced diet rich in fiber, zinc and raw foods, avoiding alcohol, dairy products, caffeine, tobacco, sugar, processed foods and food high in iodine such as salt.
- The food should be consumed fresh
- Snigdha or warm food should be eaten and in proper quantities.
- Incompatible foods (virudhaanna) such as fruit salad, fish and milk should not be eaten together.
- Chew the food properly before ingesting
- Avoid hot, oily, spicy, pungent food
- Avoid junk food, fast food and food cooked at unhygienic places.
- Eat lots of leafy vegetables
- Take sufficient amount of water, liquid juices and fruit juices such as grape juice, lemon etc.
- Drink tender coconut water
- Eat wheat porridge, generally at night
- Correction of diet along with a regular exercise regimen is a must for the treatment of acne.
A Few Herbal Home Remedies
Some herbal remedies for treatment or alleviation of acne or pimples are:
- Apply a mixture of lemon juice and rose water on the affected area and leave for half an hour. Continue this for 3-4 weeks to remove pimples.
- Lemon juice, ground nut oil mixed with sandalwood powder is highly beneficial for acne.
- Cinnamon mixed with lemon juice and applied on skin is a wonderful remedy for the skin.
- A paste of honey and cinnamon powder applied on pimples and left overnight is a cure for acne. This should be continued for atleast2 weeks.
- A mixture of grated apple pulp and honey is also a natural remedy for pimples.
- Garlic is a good antibiotic and if rubbed on skin daily can help the affected skin.
- Tomato pulp and cucumber pulp applied on skin are also effective remedies for acne pure skin.
- Juice of papaya is very efficient in the cure of acne and does not have any side effects.
- Applying freshly extracted juice of mint leaves on the acne is an effective cure for the treatment of pimples.
- Decoction of basil leaves applied daily on skin is also a natural remedy for the treatment of acne.
- A paste of neem leaves and turmeric made in water when applied on the pimples is a time tested treatment of acne.
- Pulp of Aloe Vera leaves is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature.
- Tea tree oil, wheat germ oil and marigold paste applied on skin is an herbal cure for acne.
- A mixture made with oatmeal and honey is very treatment for acne.
- Nutmeg powder made a paste with raw milk applied on pimples for two hours is a very effective remedy for the cure of pimples.
Ayurvedic skin care
Ayurvedic skin care distinguishes into three types of skin doshas:
- Kapha, Earth type of skin: People with such skin type are most prominent and have a strong water element.
- Vata, Air type of skin
- Pitta, Fire type of skin
Ayurvedic skin care refers to the use of healing mixtures of pure herbs, often mixed from hundreds of available and possible combinations according to individual constitutional type (doshas). In Ayurvedic aesthetics, healing mixture of skin care herbs is followed by Ayurvedic facial massage which consists of varying combinations of marma points (lymphatic massage), breathing techniques, hydrotherapy, and aromatherapy.
- Dash B, Jounious MA. Handbook of Ayurveda, Concept Publishing Company, 1997.
- Raman et al., Treatment of skin conditions, United States Patent-US 6,346,539 B1, Feb. 2002.