Acne Part Two
I published the post “Acne – the Pitta Imbalance” in 2011. Since that time, I have received numerous comments and questions asking for recommendations that are more detailed in terms of diet and lifestyle in order to conquer acne.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to consult without a meeting in person. I urge everyone to see a trained Ayurvedic practitioner in person in order to be advised on your personal concernment. Moreover, after giving you initial recommendations the doctor will follow up depending on the healing process.
I can give only general recommendations that are still helpful but up to certain limits.
The most powerful thing you can do for your overall health, including skin
and hair, is your daily routine and diet.
General recommendations on diet.
Acne is typically a Pitta imbalance.
If you are a Pitta person you cannot skip meals, otherwise your inner fire will overheat your body and mind.
Your main meal has to be lunch, taken between 11 am and 1 pm
Start with small salad (lettuce, arugula, cucumber) with no dressing but olive oil if desired. Cilantro is a specific cooling Pitta green.
Pitta’s digestive fire is so strong that you can properly digest almost everything at that time (the Sun is helping you as well). You need something really nourishing and strengthening. Those are grains and beans. Make sure you eat grains (white Basmati rice, brown rice, oats, and wheat) every day. Add steamed vegetables and steamed greens you like. Squash, cabbage (not raw), chard, spinach, okra,
cauliflower, zucchini are what I use.
Kitchari is the best choice since it is balanced with proteins and carbs. See a detailed recipe in the article “Kitchari – your body’s reset button“.
End your meal with a cup of digestive tea (equal amounts of coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds mixed together, approximately 1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water). You can fill a thermos with this tea to take to work and drink during the day. This simple tea is good for all doshas but is great for Pitta, since it cools and calms it down. It also heals the entire digestive tract.
If you eat such a lunch, it will keep you well nourished all day long. It also will not make you sleepy 40 minutes after your meal, which happens if one eats at an improper time when the Sun is not high in the sky. You will be surprised at how long you are not hungry after lunch and at how much energy you have.
Do not eat grains, including bread, at any other time; they are too hard to digest when the Sun is getting down. Eating grains and beans after three pm and before 11 am produces toxins and aggravates Pitta.
At night (try to eat before 6 pm), eat steamed vegetables. Use Ghee
(clarified butter) for cooking and olive oil if you need dressing. Ghee is
another wonder remedy for Pitta. It is the only oil that cools down and
soothes the aggravated Pitta. You can buy Ghee at Whole Foods, but it is easy to make at home. (See Ghee).
If you “have” to eat in the evening, take more steamed vegetables, some nuts, or fruit.
It is very good to have a cup of hot milk around 7 or 8 p.m. or just before bed. Taken at night, hot milk does not cause allergy and is nourishing to your body
and mind. It also calms down Pitta. The amount of milk is different for everybody. Start with one cup of hot milk with a pinch of ground cardamom and fennel and a little natural sugar. If you have mucus in your eyes and throat the next morning, have 3/4 cup, if still 1/2 and so on until you find your dose.
Right before bed, take a teaspoon of Triphala powder washed down with warm
water. Triphala balances all doshas and contains Amalaki, which rejuvenates and strengthens Pitta. (See Triphala).
For breakfast, you may have all kind of milk products taken with nuts, dried fruits, and honey. Make sure the dairy is not directly from the refrigerator. (See “Cow products”). A good breakfast tea can be made with cardamom seeds, cinnamon bark, and whole cloves taken in equal proportion.
Vata acne is located on the top third of the face: the forehead and the temples. They break out as tiny milia, or as blackheads, usually small and dry. Very often, the reason for Vata acne breakout are dehydration, constipation, and/or stress.
Pitta acne is located in the middle – the cheeks and the nose. They are usually red, inflamed and painful. It may also appear as milia around the eye or the nose and top lip. The reason for Pitta breakout is Pitta aggravating diet (too much spiced, sour, and fermented food) and lifestyle.
Kapha acne appears in the bottom – from the base of the ears and top of the lip down to the jaw and neck. They are deep, large, cystic, fluid-filled, painful and slow to resolve. The reason of Kapha imbalance is Kapha aggravating diet (too much sweet and fermented food) and lifestyle (lack of movement).
Recommendations on life style (for all dosha types):
- Try to get up before 6 am
- Take a cool shower. On the days when you do not want your hair to get wet, wear a shower cup. It is important to let the water rinse you from head to toe.
- Your biggest meal is your lunch (11 am until 1 pm). Have grains and/or
legumes for lunch. Do not worry about the size of your meal; everything you eat at this time will be digested by the power of the Sun. Since you will absorb all the nutrients form that meal, you will not feel hungry for the rest of the day.
- It is very important what you eat in the evening because the Sun is not providing the help to digest, and undigested food will become toxins. Steamed vegetables from your dosha food list is the best choice (See Food list for Pitta/Vata/Kapha). Do not use a large amount of spices at night.
- Anantamul is a specific herbal compound for high Pitta. It can be taken with your lunch. Use the instruction on the bottle.
- Turmeric is excellent both topical and inside. (See “Turmeric-the yellow wonder”).
- Have tea made of equal amounts of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds as much as you desire. This tea has a calming effect on the stomach and normalizes all stages of digestion. Eliminate all soft drinks and all iced and cold drinks.
- Yoga and cooling pranayamas (breathing exercises) are very helpful. Ask your yoga teacher about cooling pranayamas (for ex. ujjayi). Do not underestimate it. Breathing exercises are very powerful. They will also help manage the anger that Pitta dosha is prone to.
- Never wash your head with hot water. Use lukewarm water and immediately dry your hair with a towel. Rub your scalp vigorously after washing the hair. It increases blood circulation and activates the sebaceous glands. When your hair is almost dry, rub a pinch of sandalwood powder into the part. Then inhale the smell of the powder from your fingers through the left nostril. Sandalwood is one of the most potent cooling herbs, perfect for balancing Pitta.
- Always sit down to eat.
TODAY’S TIP: After defining your type of acne, make sure to take care for not only the outbreak itself but for your dosha imbalance, which is the actual root of disease.