Spots, pimples and breakouts are a gentle sign of imbalance in the body.
Pimples and breakouts are usually the work of a pitta dosha imbalance in my experience, as well as build up of toxicity (ama) in the system. Pitta is made up of fire and water element. Its qualities are heat, oiliness, penetrating sharpness and transformation – and I tell you this as it gives us clues into things going on inside you that have lead to pimples popping out on your skin.
Some root causes of pimples and spots in the eyes of Ayurveda:
- Agni and Ama: the first thing to look at is the state of your digestion (your agni / digestive fire) is it working well? If not, then there could be a build up of toxicity in your gut and channels. This is a huge culprit for zits, malaise and gentle blockages in the system. Check your tongue see if there is a layer of white at the back, another way of surveying ama is how energetic you feel when you wake up, how good your digestion is and how you feel after eating (if the answer is sluggish to these three things, you probably have some ama). I would suggest a cleanse if you do – feel free to get in touch for further info on this…
- Bowel movements: How are your bowel movements? Is there a norm for you, and in the lead up to getting spots, does your digestion seem to change? If you are verging on constipation, I would suggest going lightly on the food and eating kichiri for a day or two, while drinking lots of warm water with a little powdered ginger in it. I would also suggest cutting out sugar and processed food and anything too heavy or raw, these are difficult to digest, and if your system is lagging, you want to give it a chance to catch up. A light meal like mung dahl will also give your system the break it needs. If your evacuations are on the looser side, then there is excess heat in your body, and you want to cut down on heating foods, and excess oils and fat. Again a simple diet such as kichiri or mung dahl will help this get back in balance.
- Have you changed environments? I remember once spending 6 weeks in India, and as someone who is not prone to break outs, my whole face turned into a pizza. The reason for it was environmental on every level: the air was different to that which my body was used to, it was way hotter and more polluted than my home, and there was a lot more oil and chilli in the food I was eating than I was used to. This also meant my agni and digestion was affected, so it was like a perfect storm that broke out on my face (hiya!)
- Stress: aah what a buzzword, what does it mean? I see it as the opposite to feeling rooted and at ease in yourself. Rather, you are on high alert with a feeling of impending danger, meaning your nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode. It is also the thing that occurs when on some level (conscious or subconscious) we don’t think we have the tools to cope with the situation at hand. So things bubble to the surface -and in very material terms- spots can occur. As I relate spots more often than not to excess heat, in emotional terms this is: frustration and deep-seated or latent anger, that wants to be listened to.
- Transforming factors and hormones: pitta dosha (and the fire element) relates to any transformation in the body, so the endocrine system and its enzyme-like-mini-fires-of hormones need to be considered. Hormones working optimally or not, can relate to my points above. Are you able to digest your food and thoughts properly right now? When the system is working normally so are the hormones. We also often get pimples just before we bleed in our menstrual cycle. It is the heating and transformative phase of pitta in our cycles, this is also why we can become frustrated or sad (PMS). Things are coming to the surface that might have been latent, and we might not be fully supporting our needs during this time. This is an area I am super interested in: how we as women can support ourselves throughout our cycle to stay in balance and tune with ourselves. The way the world works today often throws us off. More of that another time if you’re interested…
- Changing Seasons: the turn turn turn of the seasons. I see you are in Australia which means you are in summer season right now which is governed by pitta dosha. This means there is heat around you and inside you. Heat plus heat equals more heat leading to imbalance. In Ayurveda, throughout a season, the doshas and their qualities build up. Picture a cup with sunshine and heat being poured into it each day of the summer, by the end of it, the cup is either full or over-flowing. And when the cup starts overflowing things begin to go awry.
- This is a main reason we recommend doing seasonal cleanses, to empty the full cup, get it back on a level playing field, ready for a new set of qualities (i.e. the different aspects of the coming season) to start nourishing it.
Do Different areas of the Face Equate to Different Areas of the Body?
In answer to your question about the face and its zones, loosely speaking: the cheeks relate to the lungs and gut, and digestion or lack of it (the lungs and gut are where we transform the energy of the outside world into vital energy for our interior world – namely prana – think how lungs transform oxygen and gut transforms food). The forehead can relate to bladder, intestines, sun and sweat, the chin is the stomach and excess heat in the body, the jaw can relate to hormones and menstrual cycle.
What to do with it all?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take a moment, give yourself a mini spa break inside and outside, to get your body and skin clear, simplify your foods – giving your digestive system a break and perhaps cut out sugar and processed foods for a bit. Get your breathing on, I think pranayama is the most potent medicine for the nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system and general mind-body well-being. Let me know if you need further clarification on anything I’ve laid out here.
By Selina Van Orden