Integumentary System

The integumentary system is the outermost part of the body and consists of skin, hair, nails, and exocrine glands. It is the first line of defense against bacteria and infections and it also regulates body temperature etc. According to Ayurveda, the skin is a mirror of an individual’s psyche and it mirrors the condition and disorders of the inner physiology of the body. Ayurveda also mentions the existence of sweat channels which are referred to as swedovaha strotas. Ayurveda suggests the maintenance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle coupled with external therapies like njavarkizhi, and abhyanga udvarthanam which can assist in detoxifying and nourishing the skin.

Acne is a skin condition where excess oils block the pores of the skin and leads to blackheads, whiteheads nodules, or pimples. According to Ayurveda, excessive Agni leads to imbalances of the doshas, and vitiated pitha dosha is particularly important in this skin condition. Therefore the initial part of the treatment is focused on balancing pitha dosha through avoidance of pitha aggravating foods which are oily and spicy, sour, or fermented, followed by external therapies such as lepam, thalam, mukhavarnyakam.

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition most commonly observed in children that can cause severe itching swelling and cracking of the skin. Children who suffer from this condition can go on contract other diseases like asthma.  Ayurveda refers to dermatitis as vicharchika, which is caused by an imbalance of Kapha dosh. Change in dietary habits and inclusion of a good skincare routine along with purifying therapies like panchakarma, kashayadhara, takradhara, ksheeradhara, etc are recommended course of treatment.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin cells to multiply ten times faster than usual, causing a rash with itchy, scaly patches. For most people, it affects just a few areas. However, it can be painful, interfere with sleep and make it hard to concentrate. 

There are six types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Guttate psoriasis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Inverse psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis

A well-balanced diet and a multimodal ayurvedic treatment including therapies like lepam, takradhara, ksheeradhara, kashayadhara, etc are recommended to lead to speedy and substantial recovery from a chronic case of psoriasis.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition where the skin patches become inflamed, itchy, cracked, and rough. Eczema damages the skin barrier function, and this loss makes your skin more sensitive and prone to infection and dryness. 

There are seven types of eczema:

  1. Atopic dermatitis
  2. Contact dermatitis
  3. Dyshidrotic eczema
  4. Neurodermatitis
  5. Nummular eczema
  6. Seborrheic dermatitis
  7. Stasis dermatitis

According to Ayurveda, eczema is thought to occur when your doshas are out of balance. Therefore, the primary objective of Ayurveda is to balance them through natural treatments such as panchkarma, vasty, etc.

Sunburn is a condition in which the skin is inflamed and feels hot to the touch. It sometimes appears with swelling, small fluid filled blisters which may break.

There are two types of sunburn are:

  • First-degree sunburn: damages your skin’s outer layer.
  • Second-degree sunburn: damages the inner layer of your skin, causing blistering.

According to Ayurveda, imbalances in the pitha (fire) dosha cause burns and inflammation. Therefore, Ayurveda treats sunburn by balancing it with a cool and sweet paste of sandalwood, coconut water, and raw honey. Turmeric paste is also used for its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Nail psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes a yellow-red patch on the nail bed. It alters the shape of your toenails and fingernails, thickens them, and develops pinprick holes. They also can feel tender and hurt.

In Ayurveda, nails are considered the malas (a waste product) of asthi dhatu (bone). The primary Ayurveda treatment used to treat psoriasis is panchkarma therapy. Panchakarma treatments involve plant-based remedies and dietary changes to detox and purify the body along with hasthasekam and paadapaalanam are recommended.

The nails on our fingers and toes can become subjected to a wide variety of nail infections. Pitted, discolored, flaky, ridged, and peeling nails are the most common symptoms of brittle nails on the fingers and toes. The problem of dry, brittle nails or soft, brittle nails can result from a lack of or excessive moisture, often due to the disproportionate cleaning and drying of fingers.

According to Ayurveda, one or more doshas may irritate thin, brittle nails. Ayurveda recommends reducing foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate them along with specialized techniques like hasthasekam and kashayadhara.

Nail fungus is a common condition where white or yellow spots develop under the tip of your finger or toenail. It causes your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble around the edges. 

Infections of the nails are caused due to an imbalance of Kapha and pitha in the body. Ayurveda plays a significant role in managing nail fungus by practicing a combination of corrective ahar (diet), vihar (exercise) aushadhi (medicines), and therapies like lepam and hasthaseka among many others.

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