Skin, according to Ayurveda, has seven layers. It is located not merely peripherally but extends itself to the deeper levels of the body. For this reason skin diseases have deep rooted causes; therefore its remedies also have to be penetrative. That is, most skin diseases are, rooted deeply into various dhatus or tissues like fat, muscles, blood etc.
Acne vulgaris is a skin problem, very widespread among teenagers and youngsters. When a person attains puberty, his or her sebaceous glands or oil glands become proactive, secreting excess sebum or oil that clogs skin pores and inflames hair follicles, resulting in a series of skin problems named as ‘acne’.
The pores are congest not only by sebum, but also by dry skin and dirt and a buildup of bacteria that worsen acne conditions. Acne lesions appear on the skin of the face, neck, shoulders and chest, and may be a cause of embarrassment because the age-group prone to acne break-outs are usually very conscious about their looks. If it is chronic in nature, it may lead to severe scarring.
Acne may be of the following types: black heads, white heads, pus-filled yellowish bumps or pustules, firm large swellings underneath the skin or nodules and cystic acne. Acne is called “Yuvana Pitaka” in Ayurveda, which means boils affecting the youth.
Disturbed “Kapha”, “Pitha” and “Rakhta” (blood) together produce boils, mostly on the face. As the Ayurvedic name suggests, these are present mostly in the age group of 15 – 25 years, and in some, may extend till 35 years of age. Some physicians believe that disturbed “meda” or fat dhathu is also involved in the production of acne.
Ayurveda treats acne at the root of the problem and not at the surface.
Causes of Acne
Consumption of fatty and fried food and excess starch intake
Inadequate water intake
Unbalanced eating hours
Use of steroids
Improper skin cleansing
Intake of caffeine.
Ayurvedic approach to acne
According to Ayurvedic concepts, bad food habits are the main cause of Yuvana Pidaka or Acne vulgaris.
Adhyashana – Consuming food at short intervals, due to which new food enters the body when the previous food is not digested
Virudhashana – Consuming incompatible foods together such as fish and milk together, curds and milk together etc
Vishamashana – Consuming food with disregard to the bodily cravings, such as eating when not hungry or fasting when hungry
On analysis of dosha involvement of yuvana pitaka, Vatha and Kapha dosha are found to be the causes. A pathological increase of raktha or blood and meda or fat dhatu can also cause yuvana pitaka.
Ayurveda believes that yuvana pitaka is a disease that is cause due to improper diet and other internal factors. Treatment Doshas involved are Kapha and Vatha. Vitiated Kapha blocks the normal excretory function of skin and the waste material stagnates inside, producing symptoms like itching, pustules and nodules formation.
Vitiated Raktha also gets stagnated and produces multiple eruptions, redness, raised local temperature, thick bloody discharge from the boils and abscess formation. Irritation, blackish discoloration and ugly scar formation are later contributed by Vitiated Vatha. Here the vitiated Doshas gets stagnated in the Srothas or Subtle channels of the body.
The etiopathology of the disease is due to vitiated Blood (Raktha Dushti) along with vitiated subtle channels to produce various symptoms of the disease. Thus to get permanent heal of the situation, this pathophysiology of the disease should be broken down. Treatment procedures are designed keeping in this mind.
Steaming and other heating procedures: This procedure is not advised during inflammatory stages. It is useful in removal of blockage of subtle channels or srothas.
Vamana or medicated vomiting: Suitable medicines are orally given to induce vomiting. This procedure is very useful in removing blockage of subtle channels or Srothas of facial skin and whole body.
Virechana or medicated purgation: It is a cleansing method, performed by giving bitter, astringent and sweet herbal purgatives which bring down abnormally increased Pitha principle and Raktha or blood dhathu. This procedure is beneficial in stages of inflammatory changes.
Nasya: Nasal administration of suitable medicine is beneficial in chronic clinical conditions of Acne.
Do’s and Don’ts with Acne
Unsweetened lemon or plain water, either hot or cold, should be drunk
Measures should be adopted to eradicate constipation.
Emphasis should be on raw foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, raw nuts and whole grain cereals, especially millet and brown rice
Yoga and proper personal hygiene.
Wash your face often (plain water splashes)
Steam your face at least twice a week
Use a separate face towel and soap
Eat a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Inform your doctor if you are taking any other oral medications like oral contraceptive pills, hormones etc
Ask your doctor for any clarification regarding your medications
Do not pinch / pluck at your pimples or even touch them. They can scar
Do not stop your medications abruptly without consulting your doctor
Do not use any strong medicated soap
Do not use oily cosmetics
Restrict starchy, protein and fatty foods
Avoid meats, sugar, strong tea or coffee, pickles, refined and processed foods
Citrus fruits, bananas, dried, stewed or tinned fruits should not be taken
Avoid soft drinks, candies, ice cream and products made with sugar and white flour
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