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How to Survive Pitta Season

Dealing with the Fires of Summer

While summer is a welcome reprieve from the long, still cold of winter, it comes with its own set of challenges, one of them being maintaining your Ayurvedic balance. Ayurveda is the belief that we each contain a unique combination of three energies or “doshas”: Kapha (earth), Vata (air) + Pitta (fire). Pitta (the fire element in our body) is activated most strongly during the hot months of summer and needs to be balanced through changes in diet, lifestyle, climate and stress.

People with a dominant Pitta dosha have an excess of internal heat and are especially susceptible to sun exposure. Whatever your skin type, this season’s extra heat can increase Pitta dosha and affect your skin, making it tired and irritable, resulting in redness + puffiness, often accompanied with acne. Other factors like stress or an aggressive lifestyle and diet can also contribute to the excess of internal heat that imbalances Pitta.  The good thing is that you can still beat the heat and keep a cool balance inside and out with a few useful tips:

Cleanse from the inside

  1. You can keep your Pitta in check by adding cool and alkaline foods to your diet. Switch to water-rich fruits and veggies like cucumber, melons and bitter greens. Substitute cooling fats like coconut oil for your salad oil. Favour lean light proteins like white fish and avoid fatty meats, fried, barbecued and sour foods.

  2. Dehydration is your skin’s worst enemy so stay hydrated by drinking 8-10 cups of water every day and avoiding excess alcohol and caffeine.

  3. Heated emotions can also heat the skin. Try relaxing exercises like Yoga, meditation or Tai Chi to decrease stress and calm your senses.

Cool from the outside

Visual signs of redness and puffiness can also be reduced by balancing your Pitta. Redness signals impaired circulation, while puffiness indicates accumulation of fluids or waste. To prevent this and soothe your skin:

  1. Change in weather calls for a seasonally adjusted daily skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, hydration and protection. Consult a knowledgeable skincare expert to help you create a healthy daily routine. Products with ingredients like Aloe, Collagen, Bhringraj, Neem, Chamomile and Lavender are best suited for soothing skin.

  2. Facial treatments are always the best option to help quickly reverse dehydration and redness. Treatments that include hydrating elements like face masks, oxygen treatments or Aquabrasion help calm and hydrate skin. This has a direct effect on your circulation and leads to reduced redness/puffiness and fewer breakouts.

  3. In addition to feeding your skin, it is also important to protect it. A good sunscreen with at least SPF30 is your first line of defense against the sun. Opt for a natural or mineral sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and chemicals.

Great skin and a healthy lifestyle is possible with Ayurveda. Above all, take care of yourself by reducing stress in your life, getting enough sleep, drinking clean water, and exercising properly -- your skin will thank you!

Jean Eng is an Ayurvedic skincare specialist and the co-founder of Pure+Simple, a Canadian spa chain and retailer of natural beauty products.