Why fall is skin-freak-out season, according to Ayurveda

Women Hiding Face acne breakout

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Got some dry patches and breakouts with the dip in temperature?

The cause of your contradictory complexion is par for the course, says Dr. Pratima Raichur, an Ayurvedic physician and owner of Pratima Spa in Soho. It’s Vata season.

The Ayurvedic calendar says October through February is a time when our bodies—and skin—are plagued by imbalances and change, says Dr. Raichur, who has made skin health her specialty.

Her Rx? Nourishment, a few more yoga classes, and a smattering of healthy skin-care oils to bring your beauty goals into balance.

Want to conquer Vata season’s beauty vices? We asked Dr. Raichur to explain how in layman’s terms:

Pratima Raichur
Dr. Pratima Raichur, a radiant beauty in her 70s

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old healing science. What is its take on skin, particularly this time of year?

Vata is both a season, and one of three Ayurvedic constitutions called doshas that apply to people.

Vata-dominant people will typically have dry skin and hair, be prone to premature wrinkles, and lack skin luster. This time of year, it can worsen and so can health symptoms like insomnia, constipation, and mental blockages.

Even if Vata is not your primary dosha, all of us are prone to these right now.

What diet or lifestyle changes help fend off Vata season’s effects?

I always recommend doing a detox but dietary changes help. Try to avoid cold or raw food, and opt for steamed or stir-fried dishes. Organic soups and grains like quinoa, basmati rice, seitan, and amaranth are excellent, and adding ghee to your meals helps nourish skin cells.

To keep digestion in check, add spices such as ginger, fennel, cumin, and coriander to your meals.

And most importantly, drink six to seven glasses of room temperature water or herbal tea each day to stay hydrated.

Pratima herbs and spices
Adding herbs and spices to meals help digestion and skin

Suppose my skin has already been affected by Vata season and it’s a disaster. What do you recommend?

Start with an oil combined with herbs. Since oil is what the skin produces (and ultimately loses), this is exactly what it needs for genuine and lasting replenishment.

Oil is more compatible with the skin’s makeup than cream, so it can penetrate and address the issues where they begin.

Full-body self-massage with a nourishing oil such as sesame or avocado will rejuvenate the skin and ground the nervous system and senses.

If you’re in a time crunch, massage your head and feet before bed to calm the mind and body for a deeper sleep.

Pratima skin-care products
Pratima’s line of seasonally appropriate skin-care products

Should everyone use a facial oil or richer cream this time of year? Or does it matter what your skin type is?

The most popular products this time of year are my Vata Herbal Cleanser, Vata Essential Oil, Rejuvenating Essential Oil, Rejuvenating Pearl Cream, and Age Delay Serum.

You also might need something healing for blemishes that isn’t too drying. You can find specific products based on your skin condition and concerns, if you take our quiz. The key is to bring your skin into balance. —Larkin Clark

Pratima Spa, 110 Green St, Suite 101, Soho, 212-581-8136, www.pratimaspa.com or www.pratimaskincare.com

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