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  5. How To Treat Skin Inflammation With Ayurveda?

Does your skin keep flaring up? Do you frequently experience skin rashes? You may be facing a condition of skin inflammation.

Skin inflammation usually indicates your body’s natural response to any pathogen attack or an injury. But there can be other reasons too. Thus, it’s important to determine the actual cause behind it to prevent its frequent occurrence.

Thankfully, the time tested science of Ayurveda recommends natural anti-inflammatory herbs that can help you manage the condition with no harmful side effects. Read on to know the best Ayurvedic remedies to reduce it.

What Is Skin Inflammation?

An inflammation is an immune reaction of your body, triggered in case of an injury or infection. When your body detects a foreign invasion or a tissue damage, certain inflammatory mediators [1] such as histamine, serotonin, prostaglandins and leukotrienes are released by your inflammatory cells. These mediators stimulate skin inflammation.

Skin inflammation acts like a fire alarm for your body’s defense system for directing WBCs (white blood cells) and other antibodies to the site of inflammation for the healing process to begin.

All three doshas are involved in developing inflammation. Kapha causes tumor swelling, Pitta causes redness and increased temperature while Vata is responsible for the pain on the inflamed site,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

What Causes Skin Inflammation?

A number of external and internal factors that stimulate your immune system can cause skin inflammation.

1. Tissue Damage

When there is a damage of tissue from an external injury, the wound healing process begins. After the haemostasis phase, which causes blood clotting, the inflammatory stage begins. During this phase the damaged blood vessels discharge a liquid called transudate that causes swelling in the surrounding areas.

2. Bacterial, Viral And Fungal Skin Infections

When your body senses an attack, it increases the flow of fluid to infected parts to send more WBCs and other defense proteins to fight the infection resulting in inflammation. Common bacterial infections include cellulitis, folliculitis. Shingles, warts are infections caused by virus and seborrhoeic dermatitis [2] or dandruff is believed to be a fungal infection caused by malassezia yeast.

3. Skin Diseases Like Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea

Chronic skin conditions are often a result of immune system disorders. In conditions like Psoriasis, hyperactive T helper cells can trigger an inflammatory response with an excess production of cytokines.

4. Acne

Skin inflammation from acne conditions occur when there is a bacterial infection in your pores caused by trapped P. acnes bacteria.

5. Allergic reactions

Any new food or skincare product can cause an allergic reaction. Your body treats the ingredients as allergens and sees them as a possible threat, thus initiating a defense response causing skin inflammation.

6. Insect Bites

The saliva or sting of an insect can inject a foreign protein into your bloodstream, causing an inflammatory response. The common inflammatory mediator in case of insect bites is histamine.

7. Excessive Sun Exposure

Excessive sun exposure can stimulate skin inflammation due to photodamage suffered by your skin from harsh UV radiation of the sun.

8. Hyperactive Immune System

As for autoimmune diseases, a hyperactive immune system begins to attack its own healthy cells. Such conditions can give rise to skin inflammation.

9. Stress

Recent medical research shows a connection between stress and skin inflammation. High cortisol levels in the body can trigger inflammation.

Skin inflammation is an important step in the wound healing process. It regulates blood flow to the site of injury, maintains optimum environment for the wound to heal and prevents infection.

What Does Inflamed Skin Look Like?

dermatitis eczema skin of patient

Skin inflammation can be visually detected by certain common indications such as skin rash, small red or skin toned bumps/ blisters on your skin, redness or patches of swollen skin, etc. Skin affected by inflammation may be hot to touch due to increased blood flow to those areas. The degree of inflammation may depend on the medical condition stimulating it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Inflammation?

The common symptoms of skin inflammation are as follows:

1. Raised patches of skin

2. Red pimple like blisters

3. Small, skin toned bumps on the skin

4. Erythema

5. Itchiness

6. Affected areas may be warm or hot to touch

7. Burning or smarting sensations

8. Tenderness

9. Dry, scaly or tender skin

Does Skin Inflammation Go Away?

Inflammation is an immune response that initiates the healing process. Thus the inflammation should naturally subside once the infection is cured or the injury heals. For underlying medical or skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, the inflammation may persist as long as a month or more. Such conditions lead to chronic skin inflammation that may keep recurring whenever the condition flares up.

How To Reduce Skin Inflammation?

A. Home Remedies For Treating Skin Inflammation

1. Herbal Ice Rub Or Cold Compress

An ice rub or a cold compress gives immediate relief for skin inflammation occurring on your face and other parts from chronic skin conditions to insect bites and infections. It decreases the blood flow to the area thus reducing burning sensations. It also relieves symptoms like itchiness and pain. A cold compress numbs the area and can also subside inflammation from allergic reactions.

How To Use

    • Herbal Cold Compress

Soak neem leaves overnight in water. Dip a towel in it and leave it in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Now gently apply on the affected skin. You can also use green tea instead of neem leaves to reduce skin inflammation and redness.

    • Herbal Ice Rub

Soak neem leaves overnight or brew some green tea. Strain the neem soaked water or green tea into an ice tray and let it freeze. Now take these ice cubes in a sanitized cotton cloth towel and gently rub on the affected skin.

2. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is one of the oft-used remedies for a number of skin problems. Being anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature, it works great on skin rashes, redness, skin inflammation and minor, superficial tissue damages.

How To Use Aloe Vera Gel

To use aloe vera for skin inflammation simply break off a leaf from the aloe vera plant and apply the gel all over the affected area. It is usually considered safe for an overnight treatment.

3. Potassium Alum

If you've ever accompanied your grandpa for a shaving trip to the salon, you'll know what a potassium alum is. Alum blocks are made from the minerals aluminium and potassium. Their astringent, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make them amazing after shaves. These blocks can be applied on affected areas to reduce skin inflammation, redness and minor injuries.

How To Use Potassium Alum

Just sprinkle some water on the alum block and gently rub it on the affected skin.

4. Camphor Oil

Oil extracted from camphor trees is known for its exceptional anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties. Camphor oil is best used in combination with coconut oil or any other carrier oil.

How To Use Camphor Oil

Mix a few drops of camphor oil with coconut oil and apply over the affected area to reduce skin inflammation and sensitivity.

5. Marigold, Turmeric And Ginger Pack

Marigold (leaves and petals), turmeric and ginger put together make a power packed home remedy for skin inflammation on your face and other affected areas. Marigold and turmeric are both antiseptic in nature. Curcumin contained in turmeric is a rage in skincare products and supplements for its anti-inflammatory abilities. Adding ginger further enhances the anti-inflammatory nature of the pack.

How To Use

Prepare the pack by blending all ingredients to make a paste and apply on the affected skin. Wash off after 20 minutes.

6. Avocado And Honey Pack

Avocados are filled with antioxidants and essential fats that have the ability to reduce inflammatory responses of your body. They have amazing hydrating potentials that soothe skin irritations. Vitamin E in avocados help strengthen your epithelial layer and prevent sun damages which often aggravates inflamed skin. Honey helps fend off bacterial infections, hydrates and further helps in calming skin inflammations.

How To Use Avocado And Honey Pack

Mash a ripe avocado and add a tablespoon of honey to it. Apply this on the affected areas and wash off after 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Tea Tree Oil

Terpinene, a natural anti-inflammatory compound found in tea tree oil, makes it a highly effective remedy for skin inflammation. It calms inflamed skin and can reduce various symptoms of skin inflammation such as redness, itch and sensitivity.

How To Use Tea Tree Oil

Regularly apply it on inflamed skin for 20 minutes and wash off.

8. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a highly effective skin inflammation treatment. Its cooling nature soothes pain and burning sensations and its antibacterial properties help prevent bacterial infections.

How To Use Eucalyptus Oil

Apply eucalyptus oil all over the affected skin and wash off after 20 to 30 minutes.

B. Ayurvedic Treatments To Cure Skin Inflammation

According to Ayurvedic principles, the three Doshas or bodily humours - Vata, Pitta and Kapha, regulate all our body functions. An imbalance of these life energies can put your body into a state of disease.

Ayurvedic treatment for a disease is administered based on one’s Prakriti and Vikruti. Prakriti is your unique body constitution and a test of your Vikruti helps reveal Dosha imbalances that may be affecting the balance of your body.

Skin inflammation is often caused by an increase in Pitta Dosha, vitiation of the Rakta Dhatu (blood tissue) and an accumulation of harmful toxins in your body.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Herbs

medicinal herb ashwagandha

A. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a time- tested remedy for inflammatory skin disorders. It balances all three Doshas. Ashwagandha’s antioxidant nature further helps in healing your wound and strengthens the skin barrier with its regular application. It is available in both powdered form and as an oil.

How To Use Ashwagandha

Make a paste by adding honey or aloe vera gel to Ashwagandha powder and apply it on inflamed skin. Wash off after 15 to 20 mins of application.

B. Gotu Kola

As per medical research, Centella Asiatica [3] or Gotu Kola’s anti-inflammatory properties help relieve various skin conditions that cause chronic inflammation such as eczema, psoriasis. Its medicinal abilities are largely dependent on the presence of Triterpenoid saponins and other skin benefitting agents such as flavonoids, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Gotu Kola is also known for speeding up wound healing.

How To Use Gotu Kola

Make a paste with water/ honey/ ghee and apply on the affected area for 20 minutes and wash off.

C. Sariva

Sariva or Anantamul extracts are known to show significant anti-inflammatory properties when used in treating inflammatory disorders. Sariva extracts are also good scavengers of free radicals that cause oxidative stress. It also has certain amounts of anti-bacterial abilities and is often used against minor bacterial infections that cause skin inflammation. Sariva is an amazing blood purifier and effectively removes toxins from your body that can cause skin inflammation.

How To Use Sariva

Sariva is available in Ayurvedic medical stores in powdered forms. Make a paste using water or honey and apply on areas affected by inflammation and wash off after 20 minutes.

D. Guggulu

Guggulu is a potent anti-inflammatory herb used in various Ayurvedic medicines to cure chronic skin inflammations, non-healing wounds and infections. Guggulu extracts can give quick relief from inflammation symptoms like redness, tenderness and burning sensations. Its anti-ageing properties make your skin healthier and your epidermal barrier stronger.

How To Use Guggulu

You can consume 1 to 2 tsp of guggulu powder with honey or ghee or apply the same applied on the affected areas. Wash it after 20 minutes.

E. Chandanam

Both sweta chandanam and rakta chandanam have excellent inflammation healing abilities. They can pacify the Pitta Dosha and calm the irritated, inflamed skin. Sandalwood paste can relieve burning sensations and cure minor infections.

How To Use Chandanam

Make a paste with either red or white sandalwood powder using water or milk and apply to the inflamed areas of your skin. Wash off after 15 minutes.

F. Shatavari

The ancient Ayurvedic herb Shatavari’s [4] cooling nature makes it an active Pitta pacifier. When applied to skin affected by inflammation, shatavari can ease pain, itchy and burning sensations. As per research, shatavari possesses various skin rejuvenating nutrients such as flavonoids, essential fatty acids, saponins and a special furan compound racemofuran known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

How To Use Shatavari

Shatavari powder can be mixed with honey or aloe vera gel and applied to affected areas. Wash off after 15- 20 minutes.

G. Lavangam

Lavangam contains eugenol, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Regular application of clove oil or powder can quickly heal skin inflammation and reduce skin sensitivity.

How To Use Lavangam

You can directly apply clove oil on the affected areas and leave it for 30 minutes before washing off. Also, you can apply Lavangam powder with honey and wash it after 20 minutes.

2. Skin Healing Herbs For Skin Inflammation From Tissue Damage

A. Manjistha

Being an excellent blood purifier, Manjistha prevents the accumulation of toxins in your body. It is known for its wound healing and antibacterial abilities. Regular application of manjistha lepa can help quicken cell regeneration and tissue recovery.

How To Use Manjistha

Make a paste by adding water or honey to manjistha powder and apply on the areas regularly. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off.

B. Triphala

Triphala is packed with antioxidants and skin rejuvenating nutrients. It is a multi-beneficial Ayurvedic herb that aids tissue healing, prevents skin inflammation, skin rashes and infections.

How To Use Triphala

Add a few drops of coconut oil to Triphala churna and apply on the affected areas. Wash off after 20 minutes.

C. Guduchi

This immunity boosting herb is used in treating several skin diseases. It is highly effective in removing toxins from the body that is considered one of the major reasons behind skin inflammation. Rich in antioxidants like alkaloids, tinosporic acid and others, it prevents skin inflammation from conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

How To Use Guduchi

Make a paste with Guduchi powder using water or honey and apply it on the affected areas.

3. Anti-Microbial Herbs To Treat Skin Inflammation From Infections

A. Neem

Neem has been an age old solution for most microbial skin conditions. Its antiseptic abilities protect your skin from pathogen invasions and help your wounds to heal faster.

B. Dhanyaka

This might come as a surprise, but regular coriander is a prized herb used in a number of Ayurvedic medicines for its antimicrobial properties. Dhanyaka contains folate and antioxidants, making it a great skin rejuvenator.

How To Use Dhanyaka

Use a blender to make a paste of coriander leaves and stems. Apply this on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off.

C. Tulsi

Tulsi [5] as an antimicrobial herb needs no introduction. It has amazing healing powers and can give quick relief to skin suffering from inflammation. Regular application of Tulsi prevents bacterial growth and helps in the regeneration of your skin cells.

How To Use Tulsi

Make a paste with tulsi leaves, seeds and water and apply on the affected area. You can use neem and tulsi together for better benefits. Wash off the paste after 20 mins.

Vedix Tip: Ghrita (ghee) as per Ayurveda is an excellent Pitta Dosha pacifier. Consuming a mixture of Ashwagandha, Ginger and Raw Turmeric with ghee once everyday can help calm skin inflammation.

C. Topical Treatments For Reducing Skin Inflammations

The most recommended topical treatments for skin inflammations are hydrocortisone creams. These provide quick relief from skin rashes, erythema, insect bites, itch and swelling. Other skin soothing creams containing zinc acetate, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, calamine may also be prescribed to treat inflammatory symptoms.

Apart from administering anti-inflammatory creams and ointments, your doctor is most likely to diagnose the underlying medical cause behind your skin inflammation. In case of bacterial infections leading to skin inflammation, topical antibiotics are often a good solution.

D. Ayurvedic Foods For Skin Inflammation

healthy vegan food with herbs rich in proteins and vitamins

Ayurvedic texts have always laid emphasis on a wholesome, Dosha balancing diet to achieve holistic health improvement. Thus, it recommends a list of foods that naturally help reduce skin inflammatory conditions.

1. Turmeric

2. Ginger

3. Avocado

4. Berries

5. Tomatoes

6. Fish Oil

7. Olive Oil

8. Green Leafy Vegetables

9. Green Tea

10. Figs

11. Flax Seeds

12. Moringa

How To Prevent Skin Inflammation?

woman drinking a fresh glass of water at home

1. Keep yourself hydrated. Dry, damaged skin is often prone to inflammation, itch and sensitivity.

2. Apply moisturizers that contain Vitamin E to improve your skin barrier.

3. Limit your exposure to the sun. Photodamage is a known cause for skin inflammation. Apply sunscreen with minimum SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

4. Use herbal skincare products that are gentle on your skin. Do a patch test before trying a new product to prevent skin inflammation from allergic reactions.

5. Consume a wholesome diet that is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. Include vitamins like Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K that help build your skin immunity and promote quick healing.

6. Keep your stress levels low. Recent research shows a connection between anxiety and skin inflammation. Higher levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) can affect inflammatory responses of your body.

How Is Skin Inflammation Diagnosed?

Skin inflammation can be visually diagnosed from its symptoms such as red patches of raised skin, bumps, rash, etc. To determine the cause of inflammation your doctor may need to look into you past medical records, recent exposure to allergens and others. A skin biopsy may be advised for bacterial or fungal skin infections.

How Long Does Skin Inflammation Last?

Skin inflammations that are chronic can last up to 4 - 6 weeks depending on the condition causing it. For inflammation from minor wounds, insect bites or infection, it can last around a week and reduce as the injury/ infection heals.

The Last Word

Skin inflammation can be a temporary problem or a longstanding skin condition depending on the factors stimulating it. Thus, for the right treatment to be administered it is important to diagnose the real cause of inflammation. Certain topical anti-inflammatory medicines can provide immediate relief, but may not be able to completely heal the condition. This is where Ayurvedic therapies come in. Ayurveda delves into the root of the problem and gradually cures it through a holistic approach.

A stress free lifestyle, an Ayurvedic diet, prescribed Ayurvedic treatments, and a good herbal skincare can improve your overall skin condition and prevent the recurrence of factors that can cause skin inflammation in your body.

Know Your Dosha Now

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