One of the wonderful aspects of Ayurveda is that this ancient system addresses the whole individual. If you are looking for the best Ayurvedic herbs for skin care, it may be helpful to approach the question from multiple angles. One questions to consider is, what is the nature of the individual and the nature of the imbalance or concern?
Also, skin health comes from the inside out. So, if you are searching for the best Ayurvedic herbs for skin health, here are some herbal options to consider. The following herbs address the liver, digestion, and moisture balance for skin.
Keep It Clean With Turmeric and Neem
If you want to support proper liver function, skin health, and reduce inflammation, turmeric is a great choice. Turmeric supports your body in so many ways. From liver care to gut health to an all-around anti-inflammatory, turmeric is your friend! Turmeric is slightly heating so if you are a Pitta type you may want to be cautious about overdoing turmeric. However, this brightly colored spice is often helpful for acne-prone skin types. Consider cooking with the fresh or powdered herb and adding fresh turmeric to smoothies. Or, make golden milk with powdered turmeric. Add a spoonful of ghruta to your golden milk for additional moisture and ojas building.
Neem is a cool, bitter herb with a strong purifying action. Due to its bitter nature and purifying energy, this Ayurvedic herb for skin is better suited to Pitta and Kapha types. Its bitter nature will tend to be too drying and purifying for Vata types. However, it can be used for acute situations for Vata types. Consider neem for skin outbreaks and inflammation. You can take neem internally or use externally as a soap or oil. In fact, neem soap and other neem skin products are widely available in herb, drug, and cosmetic shops throughout India.
Ayurvedic Herbs For Skin: Consider Digestion
If you experience outbreaks, rashes, or skin irritation and inflammation, taking a closer look at your digestion is a good place to start. Diet and lifestyle are key factors, and stress can be major player in skin issues. There are many Ayurvedic herbs that can support healthy skin from the inside out, and digestive herbs are a great place to start. If your digestion runs on the hot side, consider cooling digestives such as fennel, peppermint, coriander, and cilantro. In fact, cilantro juice is a wonderful Ayurvedic herb for Pitta-type skin issues! For Vata and Kapha types, some helpful warming digestive herbs include ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Moisture From the Inside Out
If you are looking to boost skin moisture shatavari is your friend. This rejuvenating root is a well-known rasayana in Ayurveda. Shatavari is sweet, cooling, and nourishing. It is generally best for Vata and Pitta types due to its sweet, heavy nature. Consider shatavari if your skin runs on the dry side. It is helpful herb for building moisture and providing overall nourishment and rejuvenation. You can take shatavari as a powder, capsule, or infused ghee. Also, shatavari is a key ingredient in the famous herbal jam, Chyawanprash.
Lastly, if you want to infuse your skin with moisture from the inside out (which may be of particular concern during winter or if you live in a dry climate), including good quality fats in your diet is key. Ghruta is an excellent way to infuse moisture and healthy fats deep into your cells. When you have adequate moisture in your diet, your skin will beautifully reflect that deep level of nourishment.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.