An occasional attack of dry skin, rash or pimples – although frustrating – is a normal part of the flux of life. As the temperatures change, so does our skin’s constitution. As hormone levels rise and fall in the course of a month and as our diet and activity vary from day to day, the subtle balance of the body chemistry naturally shifts as well, creating shifts in our mood and even changes in our physical appearance.
Ayurveda recognizes these subtle imbalances and gives us the tools to correct them before they are out of control or turn into a full-blown disease. To be sure, imbalance does not necessarily mean disease, we can be quite healthy and still experience symptoms of imbalance. However, perpetual imbalance can lead to disease if it is not corrected in its early stages.
Ayurveda supports the belief that skin and health problems are affected or caused by our behavior. “Undigested” emotions, tension, and stress, can create hormonal imbalance and weaken the immune system. We now know common stressors are leading factors of body toxins and of skin disease. For example, psoriasis is exacerbated by worry and anxiety; acne/ rosacea, by anger and frustration; eczema, by a variety of stresses, depending upon the person’s constitution; and cystic acne, by depression, “holding on” to upsets, and emotional attachments in general. Other significant factors in skin disorders include the overconsumption of refined, canned, and processed foods like sugar, sweets, chocolate, fatty and fried foods, salt, seafood, and red meat. Consuming too many processed foods can result in digestive disorders and poor elimination (constipation). Lack of exercise and rest; and improper external cleansing and skin care will further create skin and health problems.
Of course, we all seek external remedies for the most common skin problems as soon as they develop. But please be aware, even a topical ointment or detoxification treatment is only a temporary remedy. If you continue with unhealthy lifestyle choices, new toxins will soon appear.
One of Ayurveda’s fundamental concepts is that health and disease are holistic-that is, whatever happens in one part of the body happens to the whole body. There are no isolated health problems. Any physical or psychological symptom of imbalance indicates an imbalance in the body-mind unit. Keep this holistic picture in mind as you look to remedy common skin problems with ointments and expensive treatments and try to treat the whole person you are – your emotions, your diet, your lifestyle choices – not just your face.