Ayurvedic Skincare

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What is Ayurvedic Skincare you might wonder? Well, let’s first start off with the basics of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a practice spanning thousands of years originating in India. The premise is that our system functions as a whole, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. If any of these areas are imbalanced, it will affect the health of all other areas as well. Our starting point is that of health and the goal is always to prevent disease from arising in the first place.
In Ayurveda, there are 3 doshas; Vata, Kapha, & Pitta. The doshas are biological energies that occur throughout the human body and mind. Each person carries each of these doshas in themselves, but will generally have a primary and possibly a secondary dosha. Each dosha also corresponds with certain elements, properties and seasons and can trigger temporary imbalances in the person. I will attach a questionnaire for you to go through at the end, to help you discover what your primary dosha is.
Vata is composed of space and air. A person with a dominant Vata will have qualities that reflect these elements. They are generally intelligent, fast, thin, cold, dry.
Kapha is composed of water and earth. Dominant Kapha types are generally slow, calm, comforting, a solid build.  Pitta is composed of fire and water. With dominant Pitta, the person will be oily, hot, mobile, strong stamina.
So, determining your doshic make-up can provide valuable insight into the specific foods, exercises and lifestyle choices that will bring balance to your body and which ones to try to avoid. In terms of skincare, a certain skin condition could be because of your predominant dosha, or it could be because one of the other doshas is imbalanced. For example, if you have very oily skin in general, you probably have strong Pitta. If your skin is excessively dry, you are most likely a Vata. If your skin is generally dry, but you are having a mass breakout or inflammation on your skin of some sort, you are probably primarily a Vata, with a Pitta imbalance (causing the breakout or inflammation). To balance this, you would need cooling products and masques to counteract this (think cucumber, coconut oil or sandalwood). If you are Pitta dominant, these same products should be used in your daily skincare regimen as Pitta runs hot and you will be more prone to flare-ups in the skin.
During our OM Fresh Facial, we will do a skin analysis to gain insight into what your main dosha might be (your skin type) and check to see if there are any imbalances (skin conditions). From there we will decide which masques will be appropriate and which should be avoided. We hand prepare all of our masques for this facial, using ingredients such as turmeric, sandalwood, neem, roses, coconut, cucumber, cocoa, Multani clay, tea leaves, tea tree, orange blossom, chickpea flour, and others. We follow traditional Ayurvedic recipes from India that have been used effectively for many, many years and we include marma points in our facial massage, which help direct the flow of energy to keep you in a balanced, harmonic state.
I encourage you to complete the dosha quiz attached, taken from the book Eat, Taste, Heal. It will give you a rough scope of your primary and secondary doshas. For more info, I highly recommend visiting a professional Ayurvedic practitioner. This is not a one size fits all practice and it really is a practice that you can adjust and play with over the course of your life to find your perfect fit for optimal health and vibrancy.  The beauty of Ayurveda is that it truly works on a very individual level to find out what will work best for you, evolving with you as you continually grow.  There are many great books and online articles you can find to give you detailed lists of what works best for each dosha. You can apply this information to all aspects of your life, including diet, activities, career, climate, furnishings, colours and of course skincare!

“To help determine your constitution, we’ve provided a brief questionnaire below. We recommend printing the questionnaire out and circling the answers. For each statement listed below Vata, Pitta and Kapha, circle the number that most closely indicates how much it applies to you. Then, add up the numbers to get a total score for each dosha.
We recommend first answering the questions in accordance with general trends throughout your life. This will give you a better understanding of your underlying birth constitution, or prakruti. Then answer the questions in accordance with how you look, feel, and behave today. For example, if you’ve slept well throughout your life, but just started having sleeping problems, the second set of answers will reflect this current imbalance, or vikruti. It’s also important to remember that most individuals have one primary dosha, followed by a prominent secondary dosha.”

0-1 Doesn’t apply
2-3 Sometimes applies
4-5 Applies most of the time
Vata
Physical Characteristics
1. I am slender and don’t gain weight easily. 0 1 2 3 4 5
2. I am taller or shorter than average. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. “Thin” describes many of my bodily features 0 1 2 3 4 5
(such as my hair, neck, fingers and lips).
4. My energy fluctuates and often comes in bursts. 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. My appetite is variable (ie. high one day and low 0 1 2 3 4 5
the next).
6. I have a tendency to become bloaty, gassy, or 0 1 2 3 4 5
constipated.
7. My skin frequently becomes dry. 0 1 2 3 4 5
8. I tend to have cold hands and feet. 0 1 2 3 4 5
9. I am a light sleeper and often have difficulty 0 1 2 3 4 5
falling asleep.
10. I prefer warm. moist weather to cold, dry 0 1 2 3 4 5
weather.
Psychological Characteristics
1. I am creative and imaginative. 0 1 2 3 4 5
2. I enjoy artistic forms of expression. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. My mind is active and often restless. 0 1 2 3 4 5
4. I learn quickly but also forget quickly. 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. I become “spaced out” quite easily. 0 1 2 3 4 5
6. I have a tendency to feel anxious, nervous 0 1 2 3 4 5
and insecure.
7. I speak quickly and use hand gestures. 0 1 2 3 4 5
8. I am always on the go. 0 1 2 3 4 5
9. My lifestyle and daily routine are irregular. 0 1 2 3 4 5
10. My dreams are active and colourful. 0 1 2 3 4 5
Pitta
Physical Characteristics
1. I have a medium build and gain or lose weight 0 1 2 3 4 5
easily.
2. My height is average. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. My physical features are sharp or pointed 0 1 2 3 4 5
(such as my nose, chin, and teeth).
4. My energy and activity levels are high. 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. My appetite is strong; I can eat large 0 1 2 3 4 5
quantities of food.
6. My bowel movements are regular; I 0 1 2 3 4 5
occasionally have diarrhea.
7. I perspire quite easily. 0 1 2 3 4 5
8. My skin is oily and has a reddish tone. 0 1 2 3 4 5
9. My eyes are penetrating and light in colour. 0 1 2 3 4 5
10. I prefer cooler weather and become irritable 0 1 2 3 4 5
in hot weather.
Psychological Characteristics
1. I am goal-oriented and achieve anything to 0 1 2 3 4 5
which I put my mind.
2. I have a good sense of humour. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. I have a strong intellect and enjoy learning 0 1 2 3 4 5
new things.
4. I have a natural ability to lead others. 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. I am a perfectionist. 0 1 2 3 4 5
6. I tend to become irritable, impatient and angry. 0 1 2 3 4 5
7. I am critical of myself and others. 0 1 2 3 4 5
8. Many people think I am stubborn. 0 1 2 3 4 5
9. I become irritable if I skip a meal. 0 1 2 3 4 5
10. I enjoy competition. 0 1 2 3 4 5
Kapha
Physical Characteristics
1. I gain weight easily and lose weight with 0 1 2 3 4 5
great difficulty.
2. I am short and stocky or tall and sturdy. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. “Thick” describes many of my bodily features 0 1 2 3 4 5
(such as my hair, neck, fingers, and lips).
4. I have abundant strength and stamina. 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. My digestion is weak and I often feel heavy 0 1 2 3 4 5
after eating.
6. My bowel movements are highly regular. 0 1 2 3 4 5
7. My skin is smooth and oily and tends to be 0 1 2 3 4 5
pale.
8. I sleep deeply and soundly. 0 1 2 3 4 5
9. I catch colds quite frequently. 0 1 2 3 4 5
10. I prefer hot weather over cold or damp 0 1 2 3 4 5
weather.
Psychological Characteristics
1. I have a big heart and prefer to focus on 0 1 2 3 4 5
the good in the world.
2. I am calm in nature and not easily angered. 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. I prefer a slow, relaxed lifestyle. 0 1 2 3 4 5
4. I don’t learn as quickly as others, but my 0 1 2 3 4 5
longterm memory is excellent.
5. I become sentimental quite easily; I often 0 1 2 3 4 5
think about the past.
6. I am methodical in my actions. 0 1 2 3 4 5
7. I am highly protective of myself and my 0 1 2 3 4 5
family.
8. I let negative emotions build up rather 0 1 2 3 4 5
than addressing them.
9. I usually let others take the lead. 0 1 2 3 4 5
10. I am a natural listener and frequently 0 1 2 3 4 5
help others with their problems.

~Written by Gabrielle Zoppa~                                                                                         ~Photo Credit: Ruth Bonneville~

 

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