Skin Disorders

<< Treatments | Skin Disorders

Skin is the biggest organ of the human body. 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.

Modern skin treatments depend on external applications of creams or oils. They may help symptoms disappear temporarily as they never reach the deeper layers of the skin. Whereas, Ayurvedic treatments are not mere ‘skin deep’, it goes to the roots of the problem. Ayurveda always tries to root out the disease by treating it specifically according to the causes of each disease. Ayurvedic skin treatments may take a few weeks to show up signs of cure, but you can be sure about its permanent solutions.

Acne Vulgaris, Psoriasis, eczema and urticaria are the major skin diseases that are seen. They are considered to be caused by outside disruptions, though these external factors do cause some aggravation in pita and vata.
1. Acne vulgaris / Pimples

1. Acne vulgaris / Pimples

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 collectively named as ‘acne’.

The pores are congested 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.

Ayurveda treats acne at the root of the problem and not at the surface.

Causes of Acne

1. Consumption of fatty and fried food and excess starch intake
2. Inadequate water intake
3. Unbalanced eating hours
4. Heredity
5. Nutritional deficiencies
6. Irritant cosmetics
7. Use of steroids
8. Hormonal imbalance
9. Chronic constipation
10. Inactivity
11. Improper skin cleansing
12. Stress
13. Inadequate sleep
14. Alcoholism
15. Tobacco intake
16. Intake of caffeine.

Treatment

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 cure 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.

Raktamokshana (Blood letting): Is a well-accepted treatment for Vitiated Raktha Dosha. The circulating blood acts as a carrier of all vitiated doshas and responsible for the pathological changes resulting in diseases. The process of removing this stagnated blood i.e. Raktamokshana is useful in this condition.Leech application, Prachaana and Sira vyadha are the Para surgical methods for Rakthamokshana described by Sushruta. The affected tissue remains congested with the stasis of blood and blood letting improves microcirculation to tissues by removing this stagnated and vitiated blood.

Do’s and Don’ts with Acne


Do’s
  • 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

Don’ts
  • 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

2. Psoriasis

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a non-infectious, inflammatory disease of the skin. It is characterized by well-defined erythematous (reddish) plaques with large adherent silvery scales. The main abnormality in psoriasis is an increased proliferation of the skin layers due to excessive division of the cell in the basal layers of the skin. Severe itching may associate with the plaques. Dryness of the skin and silvery scaling are characteristics of this condition. 1% to 3% of the most population has Psoriasis.  It is often seen between 15 to 40 yrs of age.
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known. It is believed that a combination of several factors contributes to the development of this disease.

Some common causes of psoriasis are the following:
  • Psoriasis occur when the immune system overreacts, causing inflammation and flaking of skin.
  • Abnormality in the mechanism in which the skin grows and replaces itself causes psoriasis.
  • Heredity also plays a role in the development of psoriasis
  • Environmental factors such as trauma, sunlight, infection, emotional stress, climatic changes etc
  • Streptococcal infection of the upper respiratory tract may exacerbate the condition.

Symptoms:
  • Raised, red patches of skin topped with loose, silvery scales, usually on the knees or elbows
  • Thick, red patches known as plaques, and dry, silvery scales appearing on the scalp, face, elbows, knees, palms, and soles of the feet.
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Joint swelling, tenderness, and pain
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
  • Many may develop zero- negative inflammatory arthritis, which is characterized by multiple involvements of joints and pitting on nails.

Psoriasis Treatment:
By treatment, Ayurveda aims at the detoxification of the body or elimination of toxins from the body fluids.
  • Snehana - Consumption of medicated ghee, considering the Dosha type of the Psoriasis and the person, for 5 to 7 days.
  • Detoxifying, by inducing vomiting (Vamana) and purgation (Virechana). This is followed by medicated buttermilk dripping overhead (Thakradhara) and pasting the entire body with a paste of medicines.
  • Basthies (medicated enemas) are being done for 8 days and internal medicines like herbal concoctions; medicated ghee has to be consumed for at least 90 days.

3. Ezcema

3. Ezcema

Eczema is a common skin disease globally. Exact cause is unknown. But over reaction of immune system to irritants is considered to cause the symptoms. It is defined as a superficial inflammatory skin disease presented with redness, itching, and may be with papules and vesicles. Common type is atopic eczema. Prevalence is around 10% in infants and 3% in adult population. Hereditary and environmental factors play a key role in the cause of the disease. Pesticides and preservatives of the food, incompatible food combinations, environmental pollution causes failure of body mechanism of detoxification. Toxins thus accumulated in the system express itself as eczema. Stress is not a cause, but still an aggravating factor. If any family member has a history of allergies or asthma then there is an increased chance for eczema. Severe itching and scratching with nail etc can cause injury and can result in bacterial infection. Vicharchika explained by Ayurveda is a comparable clinical condition to eczema.

Causes
  • Hereditary factors
  • Exposure to
  • Very cold and hot environments
  • Soap and detergent
  • Upper respiratory tract infections

Signs and symptoms
  • In infants (below 2 years) – Extreme itching and rashes on scalp and cheeks
  • In children (from 2 years to puberty) – Rashes behind creases of elbow or knees, neck, wrist and ankles. Rashes may become lighten or darken in color and it may become thickened.
  • In adults – Rashes appear in the creases of elbows, knees. Skin becomes permanently itchy, scaly and dry.

Early symptoms
  • Lack or decreased sweating
  • Rough skin
  • Discoloration and itching
  • Numbness
  • Fatigue

Signs and Symptoms
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Blackish discoloration
  • Oozing
  • Pain
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Ulceration

Treatment protocol
Since this is a chronic disease, detoxification procedures are required to remove the root cause. Thus oral medicines for detoxification or purification are necessary in the beginning. In the next stage medicines for external application are used. In the final stage of the treatment Rasayanas or rejuvenatives will be given to nourish the skin.

Oral medications
  • Snehana
After analyzing Dosha predominance, medicated ghee or sesame oil is administered orally. This is done for continuous seven days.
  • Sweating
Mild sweating is done three days after oleation or snehana procedure. Since this is a chronic skin disease, Ayurvedic classics insists that only mild sweating should be applied in this condition.
  • Vamana
If the patient present Kapha predominant symptoms such as cold, swelling, oozing and itching, Vamana or medicated vomiting is useful.
  • Mridu virechana
In general mridu virechana or medicated laxatives are given. This procedure is specifically useful in Pitha predominant conditions, where burning sensation, fever; irritability, puss formation etc are predominant.
  • Raktha sodhana (Bloodletting) and Blood purification
If signs and symptoms are not relieved by the above procedures the bloodletting by leeches or other tools and techniques are used.
  • Rasayana for revitalization of skin
After attaining detoxification of the system skin which is damaged by this chronic disease deserve revitalization. Classically mentioned rasayana or nourishing drugs are employed here.

External medications
All external medications are applied only after proper detoxification procedures and relief of the signs and symptoms by internal medicines.
  • Lepa (Herbal Paste)
Paste made of herbal powder suitable for the patient is applied over affected area.
  • Parisheka ( Cleaning with herbal decoction)
Here suitable herbal decoctions are poured continuously for specified time.
  • Udvarthana ( Rubbing with herbal powder)
In the case of rough and thick skin (lichenified) rubbing with suitable herbal powder is effective.
  • Avagaha ( Dipping in herbal decoction)
Sitting in big vessel filled with herbal decoction for specified time is useful where big areas of body are affected.
  • Dhupana (Medicated fumigation)
Fumigation with suitable herbs is useful in Vatha and Kapha predominant conditions.

Dos and Don’ts

Dos
  • Warm bath
  • Moisturizer, mild soap
  • Cotton fabrics
  • Easily digestible food
  • Bitter vegetables
  • Green gram

Don’ts
  • Tight fitting clothes
  • Heavy to digest food
  • Dairy products
  • Sour food
  • Fish
  • Jaggery
  • Black gram
  • Spicy and fried food
  • Excess salt intake
  • Pickles, Curd, Egg & Nuts

At Amulya we have got a very good success rate in treating Skin diseases.


Note:  As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.