Dry skin, chapped lips, flakey scalp – all symptoms of what in Ayurveda is considered to be vata imbalances. These imbalances are most common during the vata season – fall and winter.
In Ayurveda we always look to the root of the problem instead of only addressing the symptoms. And then addressing the symptoms is a simple formula of adding the opposite quality to create balance. Pretty easy right?
If the qualities we're experiencing are dry, rough, chapped, and cold we can look around and notice that the environment is reflecting these qualities. We're a product of our environment after all.
The solution is to add the opposite: oily, smooth, warm, moist. We can do that with how we nourish ourselves from the inside out and the outside in.
To counter dry skin, eat warm, soupy, stew-y, spicy, oily, heavy foods. Incorporate lots of good fats like avocado on EVERYTHING, soaked nuts and seeds, ghee, and coconut oil. If you're drinking coffee or matcha which both exasperate dryness (they're astringent - drying) and a diuretic - purges water and salt from the body) make it bulletproof by adding grass fed butter and MCT oil (in coconut oil) and put in a blender for 30 seconds.
Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic practice of warm oil-massage. Sesame oil is the most warming and heavy, while almond oil or sunflower are more neutral. Choose a high-quality oil and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and lovingly massage your skin before showering or after having a bath. Use long strokes on your limbs, circular movements on your joints, and big clockwise circles on your abdomen (which supports digestion). Abhyanga is the number one practice to help balance vata – so not only will your skin feeling amazing but you'll feel more grounded, calm and nourished on all levels.
Smooth it out:
Exfoliate your skin with baking soda if you're prone to oily skin and breakouts, and almond meal for dryer skin. Mix with a little water or yogurt and massage in circular motions. I keep a box of baking soda in my bathroom and shake a little in my hand while I'm in the shower. I also dry brush before my oil massage to keep my skin soft all year long.
Sip hot water and herbal teas throughout the day, drink bone broth (or veggie broth) and soups for dinner. My water routine is:
- 2 cups of hot water with a squeeze of lemon upon arising
- 1 cup of hot water or herbal tea 15 minutes before meals (aids in digestion)
- 1 cup of hot water or herbal tea 1 hour after meals (aids in digestion)
Total 8 cups per day (aim for ½ your body weight in ounces