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Ayurvedic skin care is based on ancient Indian medicine. The practice includes Ayurvedic facials, treatments for skin diseases, and herbal formulations for the skin.

There are many Ayurvedic skin care formulations on the market today, but it’s important to know the quality and ingredients of your products for the best results.

Ayurvedic home remedies for skin care are believed to target specific skin types and needs.

Whether it’s a tried-and-true skin care regimen, how often you wash your hair, or the cosmetics you’re curious about, beauty is personal.

That’s why we rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on everything from the way product application varies to the best sheet mask for your individual needs.

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Ayurvedic skin care treatments are based on skin type.

According to Ayurveda, a person’s skin type is based on the three doshas. These are bioenergetic or life forces that make up the constitution of the body and mind. They are:

  • vata (wind)
  • pitta (fire)
  • kapha (water and earth)


According to the Ayurvedic tradition, a vata-dominant person has dry and rough skin that tends to wrinkle if not moisturized regularly.

“Vata-type skin has fewer fat deposits and needs more moisturizing, both externally and internally,” says Varalakshmi Yanamandra, Ayurvedic health coach and director of Ayur Wellness & Pain Centre.

She recommends using oil-based moisturizers on the skin and consuming warm spices like ginger. She also suggests that ashwagandha, an ancient Indian herb, may reduce skin dryness when added to a face mask.


People with high pitta tend to have oily skin that may be prone to acne and rosacea.

“This type of skin needs more cooling elements like aloe vera, turmeric (which is anti-inflammatory), and sandalwood (which reduces pimples and redness),” says Yanamandra.


Kapha skin tends to be cold and oily, and it may be prone to pimples, whiteheads, and water retention. Yanamandra recommends dry brushing to remove obstructions, stimulate the lymphatic system, and exfoliate.

She also suggests avoiding oil-based creams and applying face masks regularly.

Ayurvedic facials are herbal treatments administered to treat skin-related issues.

Certain brands may offer Ayurvedic facial kits for specific skin types.

These can be used for a general skin care routine. However, you should consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for medicated products.

Aarushi Singhal, skin care formulator and founder of Blend It Raw Apothecary, recommends a simple at-home facial with a basic massage.

According to Singhal, sesame oil is recommended for all doshas, and almond oil is recommended for vata and pitta skin types. Simply massage the oil into the skin in a circular motion.

Manjistha (rubia cordifolia) oil or kumkumadi oil are commonly used in Ayurveda with facial massages. According to some an older review of research from 2011, manjistha oil may help treat acne because it is:

In most Indian households, like the one I grew up in, you’ll likely find the kitchen ingredients necessary for a traditional face mask.

Chickpea, or Bengal gram, flour is the most common. You can add a pinch of turmeric and milk, lime juice, or rose water to turn it into a paste for a classic Indian skin care recipe.

It’s important to remember that, according to Ayurveda, different skin types require different kinds of skin care. And if you have any concerns with the ingredients in a DIY face mask, it’s important to consult a medical professional for their advice.

Our experts recommend separate face masks and specific routines for vata, pitta, and kapha skin.

Vata face mask


  • 1 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup rose water, yogurt, or cold milk


  1. Mix together the ingredients to make a paste.
  2. Apply to the face and leave on for 10–15 minutes, or just before it dries.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  4. Apply an oil-based moisturizer. Sesame oil can also be used.

Pitta face mask


  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel (make sure there are no other ingredients or additives)
  • a few drops of rose water
  • 1–3 cotton balls


  1. Soak a cotton ball in rose water and dab on skin to cleanse.
  2. Apply aloe vera gel and leave on skin for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  4. Apply a gentle moisturizer, such as products containing geranium oil.
  5. Repeat 2–3 times a week.

Kapha face mask version 1


  • 1 tsp. honey
  • a pinch of turmeric powder


  1. Mix honey and turmeric powder.
  2. Apply to skin and leave on for 10 minutes.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.

Kapha face mask version 2



  1. Mix Multani mitti with water.
  2. Apply to skin and leave on for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.

Face mask for all skin types


  • 2 tbsp. fine oat flour
  • 2 tsp. almond flour
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2–5 drops oil of your choice


  1. Mix the powdered ingredients together.
  2. Add a few drops of oil.
  3. Apply a thick coat onto the skin and leave on for 15 minutes.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water.

This paste can also be used for the whole body.

Ayurvedic tradition includes treatments for skin diseases, but there isn’t much scientific evidence supporting their use. Still, Ayurveda may be a helpful complement to medical treatment for a variety of skin conditions.

Ayurveda classifies skin diseases as maha kushta or kshudra kushta.

Maha kushta includes major skin conditions, like:

Kshudra kushta includes minor skin symptoms, like:

According to Ayurveda, minor symptoms are caused by a dominance of a specific dosha. Those experiencing minor symptoms may see improvement through dietary changes and at-home skin care remedies.

Major conditions may require the expertise and supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

For instance, Yanamandra says eczema is thought to be caused by a dominance of kapha. Some people may find that herbs, like gotu kola and giloy, incorporated into their diet help soothe their eczema. She also recommends using coconut oil and camphor to provide eczema and rosacea relief.

Eczema and rosacea relief


  • 2–3 drops camphor essential oil
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil


  1. Mix the coconut oil with the camphor.
  2. Apply to the skin, focusing on dry patches.
  3. Wash off after 10–15 minutes.
Camphor warning

Never use products containing more than 11 percent camphor, and don’t apply products with camphor to broken skin or to the insides of the nose or mouth. Camphor is toxic if ingested or absorbed through the mucus membrane. Take care to keep camphor and camphor-containing products away from children.

Always do a skin patch test before using camphor on your skin. Apply a small amount to your inner forearm and wait 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs.

Care for hives

Yanamandra says hives can be caused by high pitta and may need cooling treatment. Aloe vera gel may help due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that aloe vera applied to the skin can help:

  • speed burn healing
  • improve acne
  • treat herpes simplex, lichen planus, and psoriasis

Ayurveda also recommends panchakarma, which means “five actions” in Sanskrit.

This long-term treatment is believed to help the body get rid of toxins and prevent or treat diseases, including those relating to the skin. It may not be for everyone, including those with a history of eating disorders.

Panchakarma consists of five procedures:

  • Virechan: cleansing using powders, pastes, or heated medicinal plants
  • Vaman: forced vomiting or purging through herbal medicinal treatment
  • Basti: massage or enemas using warm oils
  • Rakta moksha: detoxification of the blood, also known as bloodletting
  • Nasya: nasal clearance using herbal remedies, oils, and scents

To receive panchakarma, you will need to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner, typically in a clinical overnight setting. The full panchakarma treatment usually takes a minimum of 5 weeks.

Terms like “varnya” and “raktaprasadana” refer to skin lightening in Ayurveda. These are thought to lead to tyrosinase inhibition, the process of regulating melanin production.

According to Ayurveda, pitta is responsible for skin color. The herbs that alleviate pitta are considered varnya. They include madhuyashti and manjistha.

Cultural context

Although Ayurveda is an ancient tradition recorded as early as the 2nd century BCE, it’s important to keep in mind that the practice of Ayurvedic medicine has been heavily influenced by the lighter-skinned Indian upper-caste, known as Brahmins, as well as British colonization.

People belonging to this caste have traditionally looked down on those with darker skin, considering it something that needs to be “corrected.”

There’s a history of oppression of darker-skinned people in India, especially females. This has resulted in psychological and physical abuse due to skin color. Thus, the practice of varnya in Ayurveda is controversial.

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Ayurveda is an ancient system that bases treatment on balancing the three doshas. Ayurvedic skin care can include facials, face masks, and herbal formulations.

Some of these remedies may help in the treatment of skin issues, like acne, eczema, dryness, redness, and rosacea. However, more scientific research is needed to confirm Ayurveda’s role in the treatment of skin disease.

Ayurvedic interventions should be used alongside medical treatment, especially for serious conditions. You can take advantage of both traditional approaches and modern medical breakthroughs to achieve your best skin and best health.

Shirin Mehrotra is an independent journalist who writes about the intersection of food, travel, and culture. She’s currently pursuing an MA in the Anthropology of Food.