I've always been really interested in holistic practices—skincare, facials, body treatments, energy work—you name it! As a Reiki master practitioner myself, I've seen firsthand the incredible shifts in health that can take place when we make simple lifestyle adjustments and incorporate energy work into our daily practices. I've also dealt with acne pretty much my entire life, and this love for holistic medicine led me to seek out less aggressive ways to clear it up. I've tried every other harsh acne-fighter and drug on the market with no lasting luck—that's how I knew there was something more going on. If you're in the same boat, then listen up. There are holistic medicine practices like Ayurveda that can help bring your body back into balance.
With the right skincare routine, a few diet changes I discovered from an Ayurvedic practitioner, and energy work, I started to see some massive improvements in my skin. It did take some time and commitment, but I'm so glad I didn't give up and found what works for me. If you're curious to learn a few of these tips from a board-certified dermatologist and integrative medicine and Ayurvedic practitioner, keep scrolling! I'm sharing them all below.
How Can Ayurvedic Medicine Help Clear Up Your Skin?
Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic forms of medicine, and it focuses on whole-body healing rather than just putting a Band-Aid on certain symptoms. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on three doshas, Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. Doshas are kind of like sun signs in astrology—they're based on physical, emotional, and behavioral characteristics of a person and can be used to identify triggers or imbalances within the body. I could write an entirely separate article on doshas alone, but if you're struggling with acne, board-certified dermatologist and Ayurvedic and integrative medicine practitioner Raja Sivamani, MD, MS, AP, says there are a few specific dosha imbalances you need to know about.
"From an Ayurvedic perspective, the root issue with acne is an imbalance in the Kapha and Pitta dosha," he says. "Kapha represents structure and in the imbalanced state; it can represent stagnation such as build up and overproduction of oils on the skin. Therefore, anything that increases Kapha can aggravate acne including foods like dairy, very sweet foods, or fatty foods. Some treatments should focus on reducing the effects of Kapha, and this can [mean consuming] lighter foods with more fiber, skincare routines that are cleansing and do not clog the pores, and [using] ingredients that are more astringent such as neem or guggul."
Three Ayurvedic Hacks That Helped Clear My Acne
The first hack I put into practice from Sivamani is cutting dairy. I've heard other aestheticians and skincare professionals say that dairy can aggravate breakouts. Not only did cutting dairy lead to fewer pimples for me, but it also stopped the bloating I was dealing with on a daily basis. I was so relieved, TBH. Sivamani recommends making these kinds of lifestyle changes to see if they help you. "Anything that allows less inflammation (balances Pitta in the body) or less congestion/constipation/stagnation (less Kapha) would be helpful," he shares. "Some dietary changes that are recommended in Ayurveda include reduction or elimination of dairy, high-glycemic-index foods, or fried fatty foods." I know completely cutting dairy is unrealistic—trust me, I love a good pizza or pasta moment, so you're not alone. But I realized that eating dairy almost every day caused a lot of issues for me. I still have it once in a while, but cutting it out of the majority of my diet made huge changes.
Second, Sivamani says to focus on the gut-skin axis. This definitely means taking care of your gut health and finding the right probiotic for you. This can involve a bit of trial and error, but trust me, it's worth it.
Last, Sivamani also recommends incorporating skincare products with Ayurvedic ingredients or that follow the Ayurvedic philosophy. He recently partnered with Codex Labs on the Shaant Collection. "Codex Labs is a company that focuses on bridging ancient wisdom with science, and their Shaant Collection incorporates the essence of Ayurveda as part of their philosophy. [They incorporated] a probiotic and de-stress supplement powder that is part of their approach along with the skincare line."
Basically, treating your skin topically in combination with a probiotic or healthy digestion-supporting supplement can make a huge difference. I use a skin microbiome-adjusting formula from Phyla along with a gut-repair supplement from Happy Mammoth. It's been around three months, and both of these things have already made a huge difference in my skin. My hormonal breakouts have reduced immensely, and I'm hoping to keep seeing improvements over time.
More of the Best Ayurveda-Based Products
Ranavat's brightening oil serum targets dark spots and uneven tone with celebrated ingredients like licorice root, turmeric, and saffron.
This multi-correctional cream from Sachi addresses fine lines, breakouts, sun damage, and dark spots in one. It's formulated to be gentle on sensitive skin but utilizes a blend of retinaldehyde, ursolic acid, an Ayurvedic botanical blend, bakuchiol, and niacinamide to deliver some serious results.
This exfoliant is based on a traditional Ayurvedic treatment called an Ubtan. It's a cleansing exfoliant that's gentle enough for daily use and can be applied as a mask. It's made up of raw, nutrient-rich ingredients like herbal powders and grains that can help remove toxins from the skin and improve circulation.