Ayurveda is an approach of creating tried and true balanced prescriptions that can be used on even the most gentle & delicate skin. It focusses on keeping the human body connected with Nature. Not simply in cellular capacity, but at primordial levels which connect human life with the larger Universe, of which it’s a microcosmic representation.
"Sensitive skin's so unpredictable. What can Ayurveda do?"
Go over all the sensitive skin triggers you can think of immediately – pollutant exposure, hormonal imbalance, stress, grooming products, textiles and fabrics, cigarettes and alcohol, coffee or tea, radiators or room heaters in overdrive. Moderate their influence, anticipate the time and amount of exposure to them. You’ll automatically be able to predict, and manifest, better control of your sensitive skin.
"All the dosha-talk is intimidating. Do they even do anything?"
Doshas are. They don’t have to ‘do’. This makes them powerful and necessary for existence, let alone for cures.
With specific reference to skin type, the doshas represent the predominant manifestation of Nature's elements in your constitution, and how their characteristics reflect on the quality of your skin. If you’re governed by Air, are 'flighty' and mobile, with cool, dry, fragile, or rough skin, you're a Vata. Governed by Fire, Pitta skin's susceptible to rashes, breakouts, and internal 'heatiness'. Kapha represents 'groundedness', anchored as it is in Water and Earth. Kapha skin tends to be pale, and thick, smooth, and radiant.
"I'm not a Pitta so I'm safe from sensitivity."
It's easy to come to this conclusion, because we associate sensitivity with redness, rashes, and inflammation. Vata and Pitta skins aren't immune to these symptoms.
Dry Vata skin, if not moisturised well, can cause clogging by dead, dry skin cells, in the same way that excessive sebum clogs oily skin. The clogging causes inflammation-driven sensitivity and breakouts. The oily nature of Kapha skin keeps it resilient to ageing that results from dehydration. But, the tendency to over-cleanse, so as to prevent excessive sebum accumulation/acne, makes it a victim like under-hydrated Vata skin!
"What if I'm a combination-dosha person? How does Ayurveda know what it's doing?"
Say you're drawn to an Ayurvedic product, because it's loaded with your favourite vitamins, sourced from antioxidant spices. If you're a Pitta or Vata, you'd be wary of the ‘heat’ from such spices. There will, however, always be anti-inflammatory, hydrating ingredients to temper their effect. For example, Kama Ayurveda's Eladi day cream, and its Rose-Jasmine face cleanser both have spices – the former has cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, and the latter has black cumin. They both also have rose/jasmine essential oil; as well as cooling, soothing vetiver.
Similarly, an Ayurvedic massage blend may have both, coconut and sesame oils. Coconut works well for Kapha, for example, but not during a time of day when it's dominant, such as evening/night time. Any 'over-enthusiasm' resulting from the presence of cooling coconut, is balanced by the relative warmth of sesame.
Since the beginning of Time, Ayurveda has stood for the ability to do more than simply moisturize, protect or hydrate. It stands on the crucial premise of self-healing, and healthy perpetuation. It helps you achieve this by reiterating the importance of balance. Every Ayurvedic recommendation painstakingly represents this. Across the board.