Damaged, itchy and flaky skin is also very common during winter. It’s mostly because of the harsh weather.
Especially in India, this is the time when one can see big crowds in skin clinics.
A simple knowledge of Ayurveda can help prevent and even treat painful skin disorders.
MAIN SKIN DISEASES AND THEIR SYMPTOMS.
Eczema, Dermatitis, Acne, etc. Skin diseases are common in rainy season also.
A) ACNE :
Acne is a skin condition in which there is excess production of oil from the sebaceous glands leading to the blockage of hair follicles. It is the most common problem of adolescents, and is therefore known as Yauvanpidika in Ayurveda; yauvan means ‘adolescence’ and pidika means ‘pustules or papules’. Acne usually affects the face, back and shoulders and other areas that are densely populated with sebaceous glands. Acne presents either as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or nodules.
The primary cause is impairment of all the three doshas, predominantly the pitta dosha, which further vitiates the rakta and meda dhatus (blood and fat tissues). Vitiated doshas produce toxins that block the energy channels of the face leading to pimple formation. The condition of acne can also be aggravated by excessive intake of oily, spicy, salty and sour foods.
Symptoms : · Whiteheads
Ayurvedic View :
Ayurveda has a singular approach to all forms of acne as this problem appears due to imbalance of the three doshas — vata, pitta and kapha. However, the main cause is the aggravation of the pitta dosha, an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes heat or fire. Pitta dosha manifests in the skin and causes accumulation of heating toxins. These heating toxins accumulate in deep tissues like rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta, (blood), mamsa (muscles) and lasika (lymphatic). These toxins cause contamination of deeper tissues, leading to the condition of Yauvanpidika. Because acne is deep-rooted, use of local creams, antibiotics and lotions only masks the symptoms. Thus, specific Ayurvedic treatment is advised which includes right diet, lifestyle and some specialized herbal combinations that tackle the disease from its root cause.
B) LEUCODERMA :
Leucoderma is the gradual loss of skin pigment, called melanin, from layers of the skin. White patches occur all over the body including face, scalp and genitals.
Excessive stress or worry, chronic gastric problems or improper liver functions, excessive consumption of opposite food items (e.g. milk and fish together), worms/parasites in the digestive system, burns and injuries and heredity may be responsible for causing leucoderma.
· White patches (de-pigmentation) on skin
· Premature graying of scalp hair, eyelashes
Ayurvedic View :
According to Ayurveda, Leucoderma is caused due to the aggravation of Pitta Dosha. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor which symbolizes heat or fire, and is manifested in the skin. Aggravated Pitta leads to accumulation of ama (toxins) in deep layers of the skin, leading to the condition of Leucoderma.
Pitta is of five types; one of them is Bhrajak Pitta that gives coloration to skin. In the case of Leucoderma, Bhrajak Pitta is in an imbalanced state, and therefore, the skin starts losing its color and white patches appear. Along with Pitta Dosha, deeper body tissues like Rasa Dhatu (nutrient plasma), Rakta (blood), Mansa (muscles), Lasika (lymph) are also involved in the disease.
Treatment consists of pacifying imbalanced body energies, cleansing the blood and administrating herbs that restore skin color. Poor digestion is the root cause of this disease, as it causes the build-up of toxins in the tissues. An essential part of treatment, therefore, is restoring digestion. The patient will also be advised on the correct diet and lifestyle adjustments to prevent recurrence of the disorder.
C) DANDRUFF :
Excessive shedding of dead skin from the scalp is known as Dandruff. Skin cells die and flake off, so a small amount of flaking is normal. Usually, the scalp skin dies and flakes off in a month, while in those suffering from Dandruff, this happens every 2-7 days. Apart from being a physical condition, dandruff is also associated with social and self-esteem problems in many individuals.
A variety of factors can cause dandruff in hair, e.g. increased intake of dry, cold, oily, spicy, and penetrating foods, hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands such as sweat glands, environmental allergens such as dust, cobwebs, sunlight, certain fabrics, soaps, shampoos and even certain types of food are sometimes responsible for dandruff. Some people have skins that are sensitive to seasonal changes. These people are also very vulnerable to dandruff. Stress is directly related to dandruff. People who live in a constant state of anxiety are prone to dandruff. Excessive cosmetic hair treatments such as hair-conditioning and hair-coloring, using hair curlers, perms and hair-bonding often result in a weak skin and eventually lead to dandruff.
· Appearance of white flakes on scalp
· Dryness of scalp
· Redness and irritation on the scalp
· Softness of the scalp skin
· Continuous itchy feeling on the scalp
Ayurvedic View :
Ayurveda places the problem of dandruff in the category of Shudra Roga, which appears due to an imbalance of all three doshas (Ayurvedic humor). The primary doshas involved are Pitta and Vata. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor which symbolizes heat or fire and Vata is dry and rough in nature. In an aggravated state, both doshas cause production of specific impurities, called ama, which are dry and heating in nature. These impurities accumulate in the deep tissues of scalp and contaminate them. Contamination of the deep tissues and aggravated Vata-Pitta Dosha cause itching and patches on scalp. Due to these factors, the scalp sheds larger than normal amounts of dead epidermal cells, which leads to the problem of dandruff.
The Ayurvedic line of treatment is to generally pacify Pitta and Vata through herbal medicines, as well as a tailor-made diet and lifestyle plan. Also, special herbs are administered to cleanse the body of accumulated digestive impurities.
D) PSORIASIS :
Psoriasis is a non-contagious common skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin. The dry flakes and skin scales are thought to result from the rapid buildup of skin cells. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.
Psoriasis can be caused by a variety of reasons. Heredity can be crucial. If one parent is affected, then there is 15% of chances for the child to suffer from psoriasis. If both the parents are affected then the possibility of child getting the psoriasis is 60%. Consumption of opposite foods (such as fish and milk together), trauma on skin like cuts, bruises or burns, some medicines or skin irritants, excessive smoking, alcohol consumption and mental stress or psychological trauma can also be responsible for causing it.
· Loose silvery scales
· Itching or burning skin
· Raised pus-filled skin bumps
· Skin redness around pustules
· Restricted joint motion
· Emotional distress
· Skin pain and inflammation
· Skin blisters
· Dry skin patches
· Bleeding skin patches
Ayurvedic View :
According to Ayurveda, Psoriasis appears due to imbalance of two doshas – Vata and Kapha . Vata and Kapha doshas manifest in the skin and cause accumulation of toxins. These toxins accumulate in deep tissues like rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mansa (muscles), and lasika (lymphatic). These toxins cause contamination of deeper tissues, leading to Psoriasis.
Purification of blood and tissues is the primary aim of Ayurvedic treatment in cases of Psoriasis. Toxins are cleansed from the body and the digestion restored to prevent further accumulation. Nourishing herbs are then administered to strengthen and tone the tissues to promote complete healing of the skin.
E) ECZEMA :
Eczema is a disease characterized by skin rashes that have redness, swelling, itching, dryness, and flaking. The skin itches and when scratched, results in a rash. In Ayurveda, this disease is known as Vicharchika. It occurs when the immune system becomes unbalanced, so the condition is often associated with other allergic conditions like allergic asthma, hay fever, etc. Genetic factors, debility, climate, and psychological factors can dispose one to the condition.
Excessive consumption of foods that are dry, stale, cold, salty, spicy, sour, fermented or fried, late night work schedules, regular late night dinners, excessive physical, mental, and sexual activities; and stress can be responsible for causing eczema. Excessive intake of tea, coffee, aerated drinks, alcoholic beverages, indigestion, acidity, constipation and/or flatulence too can contribute to eczema.
· Redness on skin
· Dry and flaky skin
· Rough and thickened skin
· Itchy blisters
· Inflammation of skin
Ayurvedic View :
According to Ayurveda, Eczema or Vicharchika is caused due to a faulty diet and lifestyle, which leads to impairment of digestion and aggravation of Pitta Dosha (Ayurvedic humor representing Fire). Pitta manifests in the skin and causes accumulation of heating toxins known as ama. These toxins accumulate in body tissues, contaminating them at a deep level and causing Eczema. Use of local creams, antibiotics and steroids only mask the symptoms; they do not affect the root cause of this disease and that is the reason why this problem often reappears. Ayurveda recommends an individualized treatment plan for patients of Eczema, including proper diet and specialized herbal combinations. The line of treatment works on pacifying Pitta by enhancing the body’s digestion, as well as cleansing the body of accumulated toxins.
F) HAIR LOSS AND PREMATURE GRAYING :
Stress, worry, anxiety, and inadequate nutrition lead to hair loss and premature graying of hair. A certain amount of hair loss is considered normal, as old strands are replaced by new. When hair loss is excessive, care must be taken. Similarly, the graying of hair after a certain age is a normal phenomenon, but when this starts in the early years of life, one should look into for remedies.
Increased intake of fried, sour, spicy, salty, and fermented foods, as well as tea and coffee, aggravate the Pitta Dosha (Ayurvedic humor representing Fire) in the body. This Pitta accumulates in the skin of the scalp, leading to hair falling out and graying prematurely. Factors like excessive anger and stress are also responsible. Excessive consumption of alcohol and meat also aggravate Pitta.
· Loss of hair
Ayurvedic View :
Hair loss is known as Khalitya in Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, hair is a byproduct of bone formation and the tissue responsible for building bones is also responsible for the growth of hair. Early hair loss is related to body type and the balance of the mind-body constitution (doshas). People who have excess Pitta in their body are likely to lose their hair early in life, or have prematurely thin or gray hair. Excess Pitta in the sebaceous gland, at the root of the hair, or folliculitis can lead to hair loss.
Ayurvedic treatment of hair loss is aimed at pacification of Pitta through a customized diet and lifestyle regime, along with medication. A combination of diet, herbs, oil massage, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing and yoga can be beneficial in addressing the problem of hair loss and premature graying of hair.
G) URTICARIA (HIVES) :
Urticaria (Hives) are red, itchy, raised areas of the skin that appear in varying shapes and sizes. They range in size, from a few millimeters to several inches in diameter. Hives can be round, or they can form rings or large patches. They can occur anywhere on the body, such as the trunk, arms and legs. They are produced by histamine (the substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions). Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes the vessel walls abnormally permeable. It also causes fluid to leak from the local blood vessels, leading to swelling in the skin.
Combination of cold and heat, contact with excessive cold and heat, allergens in food, intestinal worms, suppressing the urge of vomiting, improper handling of Panchakarma (Vaman, especially Asamyakvaman), eating incompatible foods, insect bite, contact with herbs such as Bhilawa (Semecarpus Anacardium) or Kaunch (Mucuna Pruriens), arsenic usage in medicines, including certain painkillers, antibiotics, anti-hypertensives, codeine can cause urticaria.
· Red rashes
· Congestion of eyes
Ayurvedic View :
When a person comes in contact with cold air often, it causes aggravation of Kapha (Water) and Vata (Air). It assimilates with aggravation of Pitta Dosha (Fire) and spreads into the Rakta Dhatu (blood tissues). This leads to Sthan Sanshrya (relocation) in the skin, eventually causing Shitpitta or Urticaria.
Urticaria can also be an allergy. Allergies are an inappropriate response – either an overreaction or an inappropriate reaction – to the environment. These appear due to imbalanced immunity or aggravated body energies that lead to the formation of toxins in the body.
The line of Ayurvedic treatment consists of purification of the body of toxins with herbal preparations. Administration of digestive herbs restores the digestive fire and oils may be applied to nourish and tone the skin. Relaxation of the mind is also an important part of the treatment. Panchakarma treatment therapies such as abhyanga (massage), svedana (fomentation), vaman (induced vomiting) and virechen (induced lose motion) are known to be effective in treating Urticaria.