Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system of medicine based on the idea that we can achieve balance in our lives through the breath, diet, and the use of certain herbal solutions. Today, it’s still used by the majority of those living in India, and is considered a form of alternative medicine in the western world.
What’s unique about Ayurveda is that it categorizes people according to three basic “types,” called doshas. These are based on the five elements (air, space, fire, earth, and water), and have to do with certain physical and mental characteristics.
When you discover your type, you gain insight into how you react to the world. You also discover where your body may be vulnerable to weakness and disease, what your mental strengths are, and even the unique ways your skin behaves.
And, it turns out, knowing your dosha can help you take care of your skin and deal with problems.
What is My Dosha?
Everyone is their own unique mixture of all three doshas. When we are born, we are in alignment with our unique doshic balance but as we get older, life events and environment bring us out of alignment. Most people have one dominate dosha with a second that is closely tied to it while the third one has a weaker influence on personality and body type.
Do you already know what your dominate dosha is? If not, don’t worry. It’s easy to find out.
Below are several online tests you can take in under five minutes that will help you find which of the three types best describes you:
Some of the questions may stump you or you may find it tough sometimes to choose between two. Just do your best and you’ll get the basic idea. It may be best to take more than one test and then compare your results.
Once you think you know your dosha, read the following descriptions and see if it still sounds right. Keep in mind that all of us have some characteristics from each dosha, but one is usually dominate. You might find that you are a fairly equal combination of two.
Vata (Air and Space)
You are active and energetic, sometimes restless. Your body type is thin or slender with little muscle development and prominent joints. Skin is dry with visible veins. You tend to do things fast—fast talker, fast learner, multi-tasker, get things done! But your energy comes in bursts and you may tire quickly. Sleep is irregular and you may suffer from insomnia. You tend to forget things quickly, and experience racing, disjointed thoughts. You are adaptable to change, but are likely to feel anxious or worried in unfamiliar environments. You can find yourself out of balance easily, so it’s important that you not overdo things and get the rest you need.
Pitta (Fire and Water)
You are of medium build, with soft, warm skin that flushes easily and may be dotted with freckles and moles. You may also struggle with rashes and oily skin. You like challenges and have a sharp intellect. Your energy tends to be consistent and you are good at concentrating and focusing in on something. You don’t do well when you skip meals, as you have a sharp hunger and thirst. You express yourself well, and may be an articulate conversationalist. When stressed out, you tend to become angry and irritable. You need time to wind down at the end of the day to slow your active mind so you can rest.
Kapha (Water and Earth)
You have a solid or powerful, large build. You tend to gain weight easily. Your skin is smooth and moist with few wrinkles, and you have thick or wavy hair. You tend to move slowly, but you have a lot of endurance. Easy-going and relaxed, you are affectionate and loving and don’t often get angry. You like to sleep and often sleep in too long. You have an excellent memory and are often the calm one in the room. You are tolerant and forgiving, and devoted to your family. You are not easily upset, but under stress, can become stubborn, lazy, and depressed. Others tend to lean on you.
Remember that you may have dominant traits of two types, in which you experience a combination of attributes. You may display qualities of both, or alternate between them.
Using Your Dosha to Get Beautiful Skin
How can you use your dosha type to care for your skin? In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s all about balance, so if your skin is dry, you balance it with moisture.
Try the following tips. If you are a combination of two doshas, use the tips from both and tailor them to your skin’s unique makeup.
Skin Care for Vata
Thin, delicate, and almost transparent. Prone to dryness, flakiness, dark spots, and premature fine lines and wrinkles. Usually does not have clogged pores. You may also have dark under eye circles.
You are normal to dry.
Tips for Vatas
- Use gentle cleansers so you don’t over dry or strip your skin.
- Moisturize immediately after cleansing to keep skin hydrated.
- Look for warming, deeply moisturizing products that will provide your skin with essential fatty acids. Think coconut, almond, sesame, and olive oils along with shea butter and honey.
- Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet—they help keep skin hydrated. Try nuts, avocados, and fatty fish.
- Eat more warm, moist foods like soups, fruits, sautéed veggies, rice, and caffeine-free teas.
- Lightly cook your veggies to make them moister. Avoid too many raw veggies as they contribute to dryness and slow down digestion. (Vatas already have slow digestion, so you want to speed it up).
- Don’t over-exercise—choose grounding activities like yoga, walking, pilates, swimming, dance, short hikes, and similar activity levels for balance.
- Protect your skin from the environment—wear scarves, hats, and gloves.
- Try to get regular sleep. Go to bed at the same time each night, and try a before-bed routine that helps you relax.
Annmarie products for Vatas
Pitta Skin Care
Clear and radiant, but can occasionally be irritated and red. Easily sunburned. May have freckles and moles. At risk for sensitive skin and oily skin. May have congested pores in the T-zone.
You have combination, sensitive skin.
Tips for Pittas
- Stay away from chemical-filled products that can irritate and inflame your skin. Choose natural and pure products made with plant-based extracts.
- You want ingredients in your skin care that calm and balance hydration. Look for coconut, sunflower, grape seed, licorice root, lavender, rose, and tea tree. You can also use soothing herbs like neem, sandalwood, and thyme.
- Always choose fragrance-free.
- This applies to everyone, but especially to you—protect from the sun!
- Look for fruits that are a combination of sweet and tart, like pineapple, cherries, kiwi, and grapes.
- Eat more cooling foods, like cucumber and zucchini, as well as cooling fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and pears.
- Keep your liver calm and cool by passing on alcohol, soda, and junk food.
- Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes and vinegar—they create too much heat. Same goes for spicy foods as they can lead to flushing.
- Enjoy your exercise, but watch out for burnout. You tend to go at it hard, and may suffer from injuries. Think moderate!
Annmarie products for Pittas
Aloe Herb Facial Cleanser; but Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser if you’re struggling with oily skin and clogged pores; you can also alternate, using the Citrus Mint in the morning and the Aloe Herb at night
Rosemary Toning Mist
Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin
Ayurvedic Facial Scrub
Citrus Stem Cell Serum (to smooth out the appearance of your skin and skin tone)
Kapha Skin Care
Few to no wrinkles for you! You have smooth, moist skin, but that means you may also have large pores and oiliness. Prone to oily skin, blocked pores, and dull or pale skin. You may also have puffy eyes, and suffer from rashes.
You are normal to oily.
Tips for Kaphas
- Make sure you thoroughly clean your skin, especially at night before bed. Never go to bed with your makeup on. Think about your pores!
- Resist the temptation to overly dry your skin, as that will cause a rebound oily effect. Instead, choose gentle cleansers and alternate for deep cleaning and exfoliation.
- Choose moisturizers that are light but nourishing. Look for invigorating herbs like rosemary, yarrow, peppermint, geranium, citrus (lemon and orange), and sesame.
- Avoid fried foods and rich desserts, and limit red meat and other fatty foods. Your skin may look better if you cut back on dairy foods.
- Enjoy spicy foods! Energize yourself and your skin with more garlic, turmeric, ginger, chili, apple cider vinegar, and fenugreek.
- You would benefit from juicing—combing veggies and fruits in a blender and have with or instead of a meal once a day. Herbal teas also work as great pick-me-ups.
- Make sure you’re getting enough exercise every day—at least 30 minutes. Look for energetic activities like running, swimming, or competitive sports. Use upbeat music to motivate yourself. Realize that you can get stuck in a rut, so maybe try something new?