DIY Ayurvedic Skin Care

DIY Ayurvedic Skin Care

One of the main tenets of Ayurvedic medicine is that you should not apply anything topically that you would not also ingest. That being said, I am very particular about what I include in my Ayurvedic skin care routine.

Though I have carefully selected a few Ayurveda-approved products, I prefer to create my own cosmetic treatments in the kitchen! A number of common kitchen ingredients are actually highly beneficial for your skin. Because these ingredients are free of chemical additives, they usually out-perform processed alternatives, especially on sensitive or irritated skin.

Below are a few of my favorite Ayurvedic skin care “recipes.”

Tropical Exfoliating and Moisturizing Mask for Sensitive, Dull Skin


  • Half a medium banana.
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey.
  • 2 Tablespoons of cooked oatmeal.

Try to actually put this one on your face instead of eating it! In all seriousness, this Ayurvedic skin care mask is incredibly soothing and balancing. It’s suitable for most skin types, and the benefits of each ingredient work in tandem to restore your skin’s supple brilliance.

Bananas are rich in potassium, which hydrates and moisturizes skin. Vitamins C and E work to brighten and exfoliate the skin, vitamin A evens skin tone and zinc kills acne-causing bacteria.

Honey provides an additional anti-bacterial punch, making this a great mask for acne-prone skin. Like bananas, honey also moisturizes and soothes the skin to tame redness and inflammation, and both are excellent sources of skin-protecting, anti-aging antioxidants. Finally, honey helps to open your pores, allowing the exfoliating components of banana to penetrate and clear them out.

Oatmeal provides a nourishing boost to this mask, as it is a powerful moisturizer and anti-inflammatory. Oatmeal also contains acne-fighting zinc and pore-clearing saponins.  Finally, oatmeal works to absorb excess oil and restore the pH of the skin.

There’s very little this mask doesn’t do! It hydrates and moisturizes to treat dryness without leaving skin oily; it clears pores, exfoliates, and fights acne without drying or irritation; and it firms and brightens skin without leaving skin taught. There are few women I know that wouldn’t benefit from this one!

Skin-Brightening Apple Cider Vinegar Toner for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin


  • 1 Tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 Cup of organic green tea.
  • A handful of mint.

This skin brightening toner is best for oily or acne prone skin. Though soothing green tea and mint offset the drying and acidic qualities of the vinegar, this toner may be too harsh for dry or sensitive skin.

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for oily, acne-prone skin because it dissolves dirt and oil and tightens pores without over-drying. Beta-carotene in apple cider vinegar also brightens the skin and protects against future damage.

Steep green tea with crushed mint leaves, allow it to cool, and strain the mint. Then add your tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Creating a tonic with detoxifying, anti-inflammatory green tea and soothing mint combats any redness and tingling from the vinegar. If your skin is sensitive but you still want to give this one a try, add two tablespoons of Aloe Vera to soothe inflammation and moisturize the skin.

Yogurt and Tea Tree Oil Mask for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin


  • ¼ Cup of plain, full-fat yogurt.
  • 2 Drops of tea tree oil.

Yogurt is incredibly moisturizing and healing. That being said, it does contain certain exfoliating acids that may make it irritating to extremely dry, sensitive skin. However, it is suitable for the majority of acne-prone skin types.

Yogurt is full of lactic and alpha hydroxyl acids, which exfoliate, unclog pores, and brighten skin. These acids work in tandem with anti-bacterial tea tree oil to fight and prevent inflammatory acne. High levels of zinc in yogurt further boost the acne-fighting effects of this soothing mask.

Yogurt is incredibly moisturizing, and tea tree oil is cooling and soothing. The two together are great for soothing redness and irritation. They further improve complexion by evening skin tone and minimizing lines.

If your skin is particularly oily and acne-prone, try adding a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to the mask. Lemon, like yogurt and tea tree, is anti-bacterial and exfoliating. Lemon juice curbs oil production, and its high levels of vitamin C protect against oxidative damage. Be advised that the acidity of lemon may be too irritating for drier skin.

Nourishing Avocado Matcha Mask for Dry or Irritated Skin


  • Half a medium avocado.
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Matcha powder.

If you’re skin is extremely dry, or if you suffer from an inflammatory skin condition like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, this is the mask for you! That’s because avocadoes are full of nourishing, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

The addition of coconut oil deeply moisturizes and heals dry skin. Coconut oil also contains medium chain fatty acids that kill acne-causing bacteria, making it one of the few effective treatments for skin that is both acne-prone and extremely dry.

I suggest adding Matcha to this mix because it is an incredibly effective way to reduce redness and inflammation. Matcha contains a powerful antioxidant called ECGC that is responsible for most of the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains tannins that shrink pores, reducing excessive oil production.

Living a Holistic Lifestyle to Manage Mood

Living a Holistic Lifestyle to Manage Mood

My last blog listed a few of my favorite herbal remedies for managing stress and anxiety. While utilizing these products is an excellent way to combat occasional bouts of anxiety, they are not permanent solutions. The key to managing stress and anxiety is living a holistic lifestyle that prevents stress in the first place. This week we will explore the most critical lifestyle interventions for supporting your mental health and managing stress: diet and exercise.


The Role of Neurotransmitters

Our bodies produce an array of neurotransmitters that support a positive mood and decrease anxiety. Exercising is part of living a holistic lifestyle that supports the production of these neurotransmitters and, by extension, prevents stress and anxiety.

Exercising increases the production of a number of neurotransmitters. Among the most critical are endorphins, endocannabinoids, and GABA.

Endorphins are what create that post-exercise sense of euphoria (what many know as the “runner’s high”). Endorphins also promote sound sleep, which can help your body recover from physical and mental stress. Endocannabinoids, too, promote sound sleep and positive mood, but they also help to control a sneaky cause of physical stress: inflammation. Finally, exercise increases the density of GABA-releasing brain cells in the hippocampus, where we process emotion. Regular exercisers, who possess more of these brain cells, have an easier time returning to homeostasis after a stressor.

The Best Types of Exercise

Not all forms of exercise are created equal, and neither are all quantities. While I recommend lifting weights for a number of reasons, it’s not exactly your best bet for managing stress and anxiety. That’s because lifting weights increases your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol can, in turn, exacerbate anxiety. Excessive amounts of cardio have a similar effect.

If you’re living a holistic lifestyle to manage your moods, try doing moderate intensity cardio for 45 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. Doing so will help manage cortisol and inflammation without over-stressing the body. Of course, if you are newer to exercise, you may want to limit your sessions to 20 or 30 minutes instead.

Exercise and Attitude

Beyond affecting physiological factors like hormone and neurotransmitter production, exercising can also have a positive impact on human psychology.

Exercising increases concentration and mental alertness, making it easier to focus on and complete important tasks. In doing so, exercising may make your life simpler and more productive, eliminating certain sources of stress.

Exercising may also improve your self-image. Feeling more confident in your body can manifest in a whole host of ways, but the general sense of empowerment is enough to brighten your general attitude and reduce the stress of self-criticism.


Consume a Balanced Diet

I have found that following an Ayurvedic diet is a critical component of living a holistic lifestyle. I love Ayurvedic medicine because it is all about establishing balance. It’s also an amazing avenue for treating stress and anxiety precisely for that reason.

Diet quality has the ability to affect immunity, impact genetic expression, and govern the stress response. Consuming a balanced diet is critical for warding off stress and anxiety, as some nutrient deficiencies are associated with psychological ailments. Deficiencies in zinc, iron, and magnesium in particular are associated with anxiety, poor concentration, and other ailments.

An inflammatory diet can exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thus, in addition to eating a balanced, varied diet, it is essential to avoid inflammatory foods. These include sugar, processed meats, hydrogenated oils, red meat, and most processed, grain-based products. Furthermore, you should steer clear of any foods you are intolerant to, as these are considered pro-inflammatory for your unique body.

Use Food as Medicine

It’s important to consume a holistic, well-rounded diet to manage stress. But you can take your stress-management game to the next level by leveraging food as medicine. Likewise, you can work to minimize stress by avoiding harmful forms of self-medication.

Depressants and stimulants affect our psychology, hormones, and stress response. And not all depressants and stimulants come in the form of illicit drugs. Caffeine, which acts as a stimulant by inhibiting the action of the neurotransmitter adenosine, is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug. Alcohol, another popular means of self-medication, is a depressant. Limiting your use of caffeine and alcohol can help reduce inflammation and regulate your stress response. By extension, it can help to stabilize your moods.

The state of your microbiome is a strong indicator of your general health. The microbiome affects every aspect of your health, from immunity and digestion to—you guessed it—mental health. If you need help managing stress and anxiety, try incorporating gut-friendly, medicinal foods into your diet. These include probiotic foods like Kim chi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, and natto. To help feed the beneficial microbes in these foods, make sure to consume prebiotic foods. These include garlic, onions, asparagus, breadfruit, cassava, artichokes, dandelion, chicory, and bananas.