|The Maharishi Ayurveda Approach to Beauty and Skin Care|
The Three Pillars of Beauty
Ayurveda (MAV), the modern, consciousness-based revival of the ancient
Ayurvedic medicine tradition, considers true beauty to be supported by
three pillars; Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty and Lasting Beauty. Only by
enhancing all three can we attain the balanced state of radiant health
that makes each of us the most fulfilled and beautiful person we can be.
Outer Beauty: Roopam
outer signs of beauty - your skin, hair and nails - are more than just
superficial measures of beauty. They are direct reflections of your
overall health. These outer tissues are created by the inner
physiological processes involved in digestion, metabolism and proper
tissue development. Outer beauty depends more on the strength of your
digestion and metabolism, the quality of your diet, and the purity of
your blood, than on external cleansers and conditioners you may apply.
General Recommendations for Outer Beauty
we will discuss, the key to skin care is matching your diet and skin
care routine to the specific skin type you have. Meanwhile, there are
some valuable recommendations for lustrous skin, hair and nails that
will be helpful to everyone, regardless of skin type.
Without adequate nourishment, your collagen layer thins and a kind of
wasting takes place. Over time, your skin can shrivel up like a plant
without water from lack of nourishment. To keep your skin plump and
A. Eat fresh, whole organic foods that are freshly prepared.
packaged, canned, frozen, processed foods and leftovers. These foods
have little nutritional value and also they are often poorly digested
which creates impurities that localize in the skin. The resulting
buildup of toxins causes irritation and blocks circulation depriving the
skin of further nourishment and natural cleansing processes.
B. Favor skin nourishing foods.
Leafy green vegetables contain vitamins, minerals (especially iron and
calcium) and are high in antioxidant properties. They nourish the skin
and protect it from premature aging.
2. Sweet juicy fruits like
grapes, melons, pears, plums and stewed apples at breakfast are
excellent for the skin in almost everyone.
3. Eat a wide variety of
grains over different meals and try mixed grain servings at breakfast
and lunch. Add amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, millet and barley to the
wheat and rice you already eat.
4. Favor light, easy to digest
proteins like legume soups (especially yellow split mung dhal), whole
milk, paneer (cheese made from boiling milk, adding lemon and straining
solids) and lassi (diluted yogurt and spice drinks).
5. Oils like
ghee (clarified butter) and organic, extra virgin olive oil should be
included in the diet as they lubricate, nourish and create lustre in the
6. Use spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black
pepper to improve digestion, nourish the skin and cleanse it of
7. Avoid microwaving and boiling your vegetables. They
lose as much as 85% of their antioxidant content when cooked in this
way. Steaming and sautéing are best.
Caring for outer beauty through knowledge of skin type
these general recommendations the key to Outer Beauty is to understand
the difference in skin types so you can gain the maximum benefit from
your individualized skin care regimen. MAV identifies three different
skin types based on which of the three main metabolic principles
(doshas)- present in everyone, but to different degrees- is most
dominant in your body.
* Description: Vata is
composed of the elements of air and space. If you have a vata skin type,
your skin will be dry, thin, fine pored, delicate and cool to the
touch. When balanced, it glows with a delicate lightness and refinement
that is elegant and attractive. When vata skin is imbalanced, it will be
prone to excessive dryness and may even be rough and flaky.
Potential problems: The greatest beauty challenge for vata skin is its
predisposition to symptoms of early aging. Your skin may tend to develop
wrinkles earlier than most due to its tendency to dryness and thinness.
If your digestion is not in balance, your skin can begin to look dull
and grayish, even in your 20’s and 30’s. In addition, your skin may have
a tendency for disorders such as dry eczema and skin fungus. Mental
stress, such as worry, fear and lack of sleep, has a powerful
debilitating effect on vata skin leaving it looking tired and lifeless.
* Recommendations for care
a little knowledge, you can preserve and protect the delicate beauty of
your vata type skin. Since your skin does not contain much moisture,
preventing it from drying is the major consideration. Eat a warm,
unctuous diet (ghee and olive oil are best) and favor sour, salty and
sweet tastes (naturally sweet like fruits, not refined sugar) as they
balance vata. Avoid drying foods like crackers. Drink 6-8 glasses of
warm (not cold for vata types!) water throughout the day and eat plenty
of sweet, juicy fruits. Going to bed early (before 10 PM) is very
soothing to vata and will have a tremendously positive influence on your
skin. Avoid cleansing products that dry the skin (like alcohol-based
cleansers) and perform Ayurvedic oil massage to your whole body
(abhyanga) in the morning before you shower.
Description: Pitta dosha is composed of the elements of fire and water.
If you have a pitta skin type your skin is fair, soft, warm and of
medium thickness. When balanced, your skin has a beautiful, slightly
rosy or golden glow, as if illuminated from within. Your hair typically
is fine and straight, and is usually red, sandy or blonde in color. Your
complexion tends toward the pink or reddish, and there is often a
copious amount of freckles or moles.
* Potential problems: Among
the many beauty challenges of pitta skin types is your tendency to
develop rashes, rosacea, acne, liver spots or pigment disorders. Because
of the large proportion of the fire element in your constitution, your
skin does not tolerate heat or sun very well. Of all the three skin
types, pitta skin has the least tolerance for the sun, is
photosensitive, and most likely to accumulate sun damage over the years.
Pitta skin is aggravated by emotional stress, especially suppressed
anger, frustration, or resentment.
* Recommendations for care
excessive sunlight, tanning treatments and highly heating therapies
like facial or whole body steams. Avoid hot, spicy foods and favor
astringent, bitter and sweet foods which balance pitta. (Again,
naturally sweet, not chocolate and refined sugar!) Sweet juicy fruits
(especially melons and pears), cooked greens and rose petal preserves
are especially good. Drinking plenty of water helps wash impurities from
sensitive pitta skin. Reduce external or internal contact with
synthetic chemicals, to which your skin is especially prone to react,
even in a delayed fashion after years of seemingly uneventful use. Avoid
skin products that are abrasive, heating or contain artificial colors
or preservatives. Most commercial make-up brands should be avoided in
favor of strictly 100% natural ingredient cosmetics. And be sure to get
your emotional stress under control through plenty of outdoor exercise,
yoga and meditation.
* Description: Kapha dosha
is composed of the elements of earth and water. If you have a kapha skin
type your skin is thick, oily, soft and cool to the touch. Your
complexion is a glowing porcelain whitish color, like the moon, and hair
characteristically thick, wavy, oily and dark. Kapha skin types, with
their more generous collagen and connective tissue, are fortunate to
develop wrinkles much later in life than vata or pitta types.
problems If your skin becomes imbalanced, it can show up as enlarged
pores, excessively oily skin, moist types of eczema, blackheads, acne or
pimples, and water retention. Kapha skin is also more prone to fungal
* Recommendations for care
Kapha skin is more
prone to clogging and needs more cleansing than other skin types. Be
careful to avoid greasy, clogging creams. Likewise, avoid heavy, hard to
digest foods like fried foods, fatty meats, cheeses and rich desserts.
Eat more light, easy to digest, astringent, bitter and pungent
(well-spiced) foods as they balance kapha. Olive oil is the best cooking
oil and a little ginger and lime juice can be taken before meals to
increase your characteristically sluggish digestive fire. Take warm
baths often and use gentle cleansers to open the skin pores. Avoid
getting constipated and try to get some exercise every day to increase
circulation and help purify the skin through the sweating process.
Inner Beauty: Gunam.
positive, loving, caring individuals have a special beauty that is far
more than skin deep. Conversely we all experience the quick and
deleterious effect on our skin from fatigue and stress.
beauty is authentic beauty, not the kind that shows on a made-up face,
but the kind that shines through from your soul, your consciousness or
inner state of being. Inner beauty comes from a mind and heart that are
in harmony, not at odds with each other, causing emotional confusion,
loss of confidence, stress and worry. Inner peace is the foundation of
Maintain your self-confidence and a warm, loving
personality by paying attention to your lifestyle and daily routine and
effective management of stress (I highly recommend the TM technique for
its scientifically-verified benefits on mental and physical health and
reduced aging.) You will also be healthier and feel better through the
day if you eat your main meal at midday and make a habit of going to bed
early (by 10 PM is ideal.)
Remember, kindness, friendliness and
sincerity naturally attract people to you. On the other hand, being
uptight or tense makes people want to walk the other way, regardless of
your facial structure, body weight, or other outer signs we associate
Lasting Beauty: Yayastyag
to slow the aging process and gain lasting beauty there are two
additional key considerations beyond those already discussed,
Eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body: The main deteriorating
effects of aging come as toxins and impurities (called ama in Ayurveda)
accumulate throughout the body. These toxins may begin as free radicals
in the body, or over time may become oxidized into free radicals, all of
which contribute to premature aging in the body. For lasting health and
beauty it is essential to avoid and neutralize free radicals, to
prevent impurities of all kinds from accumulating and to remove those
that have already become lodged in the body.
The most powerful
cleansing therapy in Maharishi Ayurveda is "panchakarma" therapy, a
series of natural treatments ideally performed twice yearly, that
involves 5-7 days in a row of massage, heat treatments and mild herbal
enemas. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of undergoing this cleansing
program once or twice a year to prevent impurities from accumulating,
localizing and hardening in the tissues. Just as we change the oil in
our cars regularly for optimal performance and lifespan, Ayurveda
recommends that we cleanse the "sludge” from our tissues on a regular
basis through panchakarma treatments.
Best of all, panchakarma
treatments are luxurious, blissful, and make you feel (and look)
completely rejuvenated in just a few days time. I have had many a
patient who told me that friends asked them afterwards if they had
gotten a facelift, they looked so fresh and youthful!
radical busters include: reducing mental stress, eating antioxidant
foods like leafy green vegetables, sweet, juicy fruits and cooking on a
daily basis with antioxidant, detoxifying spices like turmeric and
2. Add rejuvenative techniques to daily living:
daily activities of life in the modern world systematically wear us
down and speed up the aging process. Ayurveda maintains it is crucial to
practice daily rejuvenative regimens to counteract the stressful wear
and tear of everyday life. According to Ayurveda the most important
rejuvenative routines for your life are:
a) Going to bed by 10:00
PM. This simple habit is one of the most powerful techniques for health
and longevity, according to MAV.
b) Meditate daily. Any meditation
that does not involve concentration (which has been shown to increase
anxiety) can be very helpful. I highly recommend the twice-daily deep
rest and enlivenment of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique,
whose benefits have been verified by over 700 published research
c) Eat organic, whole fresh food that is freshly prepared.
There is an Ayurvedic saying: "Without proper diet. medicine is of no
use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need." Be sure to avoid those
leftovers, processed and microwaved foods for better nutrition and
d) Perform Ayurvedic oil massage in the morning (abhyanga).
Morning oil massage purifies the entire body, reduces anxiety and
stress, helps prevent and heal injuries and supports circulation. It is
especially helpful in creating a radiant complexion and keeping your
skin youthful. Research shows it may also help prevent skin cancers.
e) Practice yoga asanas. Maintaining flexibility and circulation is key to health.
Practice pranayama (yoga breathing) techniques. Pranayama enlivens the
mind and body. Ideally practice the following sequence twice a day.
Asanas, pranayama and meditation.
unique beauty shines forth when they have radiant health and personal
happiness. Beauty is a side effect of a balanced, fulfilled life.
Supreme personal beauty is accessible to everyone who is willing to take
more control of their health in their day-to-day life through
time-tested principles of natural living.
For most of us, beauty
is not a gift but a choice. Every woman can be radiantly beautiful
simply by beginning to lead a healthier life. You will be rewarded by
the glowing effects you will see in your mirror each day and the
powerful, bliss-producing effect your special beauty has on everyone in
About the Author
Nancy Lonsdorf M.D. received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins and did
her postgraduate training at Stanford. She is currently the Medical
Director of The Raj Ayurveda Health Center in Vedic City Iowa
http://stopklop.com , http://klopi.info , http://ep-studio.info , http://armsat.do.am , http://accounting.do.am