What Causes Skin Diseases?
An Ayurvedic Perspective
“The best foundation one can wear is a healthy glowing skin”. As the saying goes, healthy skin plays a very important role in every individual’s life. Healthy skin boosts one’s confidence and gives renewed energy to take on the world every day.
Ayurveda emphasizes skin health and also speaks about different skin types, causes and remedies for skin diseases extensively.
Let’s have a look at the characteristics of skin described by Ayurveda for each of the three Prakritis. Vata Prakriti is characterized by dry, rough, and cracked skin with a dark complexion while Pitta Prakriti is characterized by delicate skin with a reddish complexion and is warm to touch. Kapha Prakriti is characterized by thick, soft, smooth, firm, and glossy skin with a fair complexion.
When there is an imbalance among the doshas of the body, it gets expressed in the form of diseases. Usually, the vitiation of Pitta Dosha is responsible for the majority of skin diseases. Balancing the Pitta Dosha along with detoxification is the remedy for most skin diseases.
Ayurveda has a description of a wide range of skin diseases in the chapter called Kushta. The causative factors, pathogenesis, and treatment modalities have been explained in this chapter. Some of the causative factors for skin diseases are intake of mutually contradictory foods and drinks, suppression of natural urges, performing physical activities in excess heat or after a heavy meal, drinking of cold water immediately after exposure to the scorching sun, intake of food before the previous meal is digested, excessive intake of food preparations containing curd, fish, sour and salty substances, and sleeping during day time.
Mutually contradicting foods refer to certain food combinations that are harmful to the body. Foods like fish should not be taken along with milk. Milk should not be taken after intake of radish, garlic, etc. Honey and ghee or honey and water both in equal quantities is prohibited. Intake of hot water after taking honey is unwholesome. Intake of cold water immediately after exposure to the sun is prohibited. It should be taken after resting for a while.
Due to the above causative factors, there will be vitiation in the doshas due to which contamination of Twak (skin), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (flesh), Ambu (fluids) takes place. This results in various forms of skin diseases.
Ayurveda also emphasizes the concept of diet and lifestyle to maintain healthy skin. Certain food items like meat, milk, curd, horse gram, black gram, sugarcane and its products, rice flour, uncooked and slimy food are contraindicated in people suffering from skin diseases. One should abstain from day sleep and sexual activities when suffering from skin diseases.
We have had a look at the various causative factors for skin diseases and foods to be avoided when a person is suffering from skin diseases. Ayurveda suggests both internal and external therapies for the management of various skin diseases. In the further blogs, we shall look at common skin diseases and simple remedies that can be done at home for healthy and glowing skin.