Acne at any age is the most embarrassing skin issue. You try to hide those big, red bumps on your face with your hair or your concealer but nothing really works. The creams and soaps leave your face feeling dry and you cringe at the sight of that flaky face.
We have been there and we understand that feeling of insecurity and social anxiety. But have you ever considered that the problems on your skin might actually be because of your gut? Surprised?
Well, don’t be. Ayurveda established a relationship between acne and gut health thousands of years ago and now even modern medicine is moving closer.
Ayurvedic understanding of gut health and acne
Your skin is the largest organ of your body with an average surface area 21 sq. ft. It is a manifestation of your inner health according to Ayurveda.
If you have acne, are constantly bloated and have irregular bowel movements, it points to a suppressed gut health. In Ayurveda, a troubled digestive system is the root cause of all ailments.
Modern medicine has recently established a connection between gut health and acne. There’s a lot of news surrounding gut microbiome these days.
According to the research, there are nearly 100 trillion microorganisms living inside your gut which help in assimilating food and eliminating waste from your system.
If the gut microbiome is disturbed, there will be fluctuation is your health too. Experiments are now being conducted based on the information found in Ayurveda to establish connections between gut health and diseases like diabetes, depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Ayurveda, ama, and acne
When you consume food, Agni or fire in the stomach starts the process of digestion. The food then passes through the gut. Your gut is where the assimilation and elimination occurs.
When your gut microbiome is compromised, the effectiveness of digestion is compromised too. The absorption from the food becomes the food for your skin.
This results in weakness and deficiency of important micros in your body. If the nutrients are not available then your skin starts showing the signs too.
The improperly digested food remains in your gut for a long period.T he microbes decompose the food releasing gases (hence flatulence and bloating) and a lot of toxins.
The toxins produced are referred to as ama. Ama has a sticky consistency and tends to accumulate in the channels of the body, causing a variety of conditions. When this ama comes in contact with the waste, it becomes even more toxic.
The toxins enter the bloodstream and give rise to acne. Since the problem is linked to your gut, the topical solutions will give only temporary relief.
Because beauty literally begins from the inside out.
Improving gut health to eliminate acne
In order to remove ama or toxins from your body and blood, you need to detoxify your body. Detoxification has become a huge trend this year. Thanks to Ayurveda and people reaping benefits from the process.
There are several ways of detoxification in Ayurveda. One of them is Panchakarma or a five-step detoxification program.
You can do a home-based panchakarma as well. This small detoxification can be done at the comfort of your home without any guidance.
If you are planning a detox vacation, here is a list of places for every budget.
For improving gut and skin health, it is imperative to maintain a regimen of Ayurvedic practices that will heal, strengthen and restore your digestive health.
The perfect ayurvedic regimen for gut health and acne
The first step is the elimination of toxins. There are two ways of elimination in your digestive system. The first one is through your mouth. Just like you need bathing every day to cleanse your system, your body needs internal cleansing too.
In order to perform an internal cleanse, Ayurveda uses the term Vamana or induced vomiting.
The process involves drinking warm saline water and inducing vomiting. The saline water removes any infection and acid from the digestive system.
In a jug take 33.8 oz lukewarm water, add a teaspoon of salt. Squat down and using a glass, start drinking the water. It might not be very comfortable but don’t worry about the taste. It will help you throw up.
Drink as much water as you can till the time you feel like throwing up. Hold the water for a few minutes inside and then with the help of a finger, try to induce vomiting.
Since your belly is full of water already, throwing up will not be difficult. Allow the water to come out till the time you feel a bitter taste. That’s when you stop inducing it any further.
1. Squat down during the entire process.
2. Clean your finger well before starting the process.
3. Keep sitting during the entire duration.
4. Do not eat anything fresh and raw for the entire day. They contain microbes which might disturb your system.
5. Eat warm food like oatmeal with honey and nuts after the process as a soothing meal.
Note: Pregnant women and people with problems like high BP should consult an expert before trying it at home.
This process should be performed only once a week.
Aloe vera Juice
Aloe vera juice is a magic potion in Ayurveda. It has the tendency to heal your skin and organs effectively. The soothing properties of aloe vera reduce the acid in the stomach.
Drink a lukewarm glass of water mixed with aloe vera juice first thing in the morning every day. The acne will subside soon and your digestive health will improve substantially.
Laxative or Triphala
The second form of elimination is in the form of excreta. However, a lot of waste sticks to our intestinal lining and stays there for a long time. This, in turn, generates a lot of toxins.
In order to clear this waste, it is important to have proper bowel movements and regular intake of water.
For improving the bowel movement, Triphala is the most effective Ayurvedic remedy. Triphala(Tri-three, Phala-fruit) is a combination of three fruits gooseberries and two varieties of myrobalans.
Consuming Triphala every night before sleeping, in powder or capsule form will help with regular bowel movement. This will clear up the system significantly and reduce the inflammation too.
Consuming fats in your everyday diet is extremely important. Ghee or clarified butter is one such example. Eating a dollop of ghee every day will keep the inner lining of your stomach and intestine safe.
The inner lining of these two organs saves a lot of fluids from leaking into the system. Ghee or clarified butter is soothing and warm for the system.
It heals the walls and ulcers and provides lubrication for proper elimination too. If ghee or clarified butter is not easily accessible, you can also use the local, native oils and fats like olive oil. But steer clear of refined oil and ghee.
Fasting once or twice a month can give a break to your digestive system. This will also improve the efficiency of detoxification from your gut because you are not loading your system constantly with food.
Fix a date every month to make the process easier and plan for it in advance.
Buttermilk is a boon for gut health. A glass of buttermilk, with black salt and roasted cumin, is the perfect gut-friendly probiotic. It replenishes the gut microbiome and supports the removal of toxins from the body.
But, if you are allergic to dairy products, then buttermilk might not be a very good option. Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Pickles are better options for you.
A new range of gut probiotics are also available in the market today and people claim it to be equally effective.
Drink Ayurvedic herbal tea to remove toxins from your body. Herbal tea with rose or mint is great for the system.
We also recommend another great homemade tea. We wouldn’t actually call it tea. It’s more like a concoction.
Boil fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in water and drink it once or twice a day. It will soothe the acidity and remove toxins from the body too.
Cardamom for sugar cravings
When you are detoxifying your body, you might get a lot of sugar cravings. Do not give in to those cravings. This may be a sign of increased candida in your gut. In order to resist the sugar craving, pop in green cardamom. The flavor releases serotonin giving you a feeling of happiness and the cravings subside.
Eating ajwain or carom seeds with black rock salt after meals is an excellent remedy for digestion and improving gut health. The fluids released from chewing the seeds help in releasing excess flatulence and increases absorption of nutrients.
Gut health and acne are directly proportional
Now that we know how important gut health is in Ayurveda, you probably understand the link between acne and gut health. If you are struggling with acne and inflammation, stop wasting money on creams, soaps, and other topical treatments.
By following this simple Ayurvedic regimen, you can improve your skin and gut. Everyone’s gut microbiome is unique. Evaluate and eliminate what does not suit you and follow what does.
Maintain a diary of the things you eat and record if you get inflammation after eating anything in particular. This will form the basis of what you should avoid in your diet.
Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.