In Ayurveda, there are three basic types of energy, known as the doshas. The doshas—vata, pitta and kapha—are considered as the building blocks of the world. All of them can be found in everyone in different proportions. The ratio of vata, pitta and kapha within each of us has a significant influence on our individual physical, mental and emotional character traits.
Vata (Wind Energy)
Vata is mainly composed of air elements. It’s the subtle energy and is often linked with wind. Vata is associated to creativity and flexibility; it governs all movement—the flow of breath, cellular mobility, all muscle contractions, the pulsation of the heart, tissue movements and communication throughout the mind and nervous system.
Pitta (Fire Energy)
Pitta is mostly made up of fire & water elements. It’s an amalgamation of hot, light, sharp, oily and subtle qualities. Pitta is closely related to intelligence, understanding, digestion, and transformation; it governs nutrition and metabolism, body temperature, and the light of understanding.
Kapha (Water Energy)
Kapha is composed primarily of earth and water elements. It is heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, soft, dense, stable, gross, and cloudy. Kapha lends structure and solidity to all things. It also hydrates all cells and systems. Kapha is often associated with water energy and with love and compassion.
Hair & Skin problems
List of aging conditions related to skin and hair are as follows:
a. Structural Changes Associated with Ageing Skin
Wrinkles are depressions in the skin’s surface that may be coarse or fine, depending on their depth. Wrinkle depth may extend from a few micrometers to several millimeters. Coarse wrinkles, often referred to as expression lines, appear on the forehead, outer corners of the eyes (crow’s feet) and as vertical lines on either side of the mouth (laugh lines). Fine wrinkles are the shallower network of lines or indentations that appear on our skin, especially in areas of facial movement (such as the eyes, mouth, upper lip, etc.)
. Wrinkles occur as a result of:
This results in visible wrinkles on the surface of the skin and a loss of mechanical strength and elasticity.
As per Ayurveda, this can be related to VALI, which is mentioned in Charak Samhita Vimansthan chapter 8 as pitta prakruti characteristic.
Changes in skin color are often associated with aging. Skin color is a composite of red, blue, yellow and brown coloration. This is the result of red oxygenated hemoglobin, yellow carotenoids and flavins and the brown melanin pigment of our skin. Hyperpigmentation spots are due to erratic melanocyte activity that is the result of cumulative Ultraviolet (UV) exposure. This is often associated with hypopigmentation (white spots), which also accompanies aging. The result is a mottled, older skin appearance made up of darker and depigmented areas. When we see an increase in yellow coloration in aged skin, it is the result of a decrease in brown melanin pigment along with a decline in red and blue-colored capillaries. In the case of cigarette smokers, the toxins cause a breakdown of elastin that also contributes to the yellow color of skin. This overall skin discoloration is often accompanied by an increase in broken veins.
While hyperpigmentation is most often associated with skin aging, we also see hypopigmentation due to a reduction in the number of melanocytes; there is a decline of 6-8% per decade after age 30, which accounts for the lighter skin color. This not only leads to a reduction in melanin (hypopigmentation), but it also accounts for a diminished protective capacity against UV exposure. Along with the decline in melanocytes, there is a reduction in both the number and functionality of the other dendritic cells of the epidermis (the Langerhans cells), which creates a lowered immune response for the skin. This results in decreased immune surveillance, which may account for the heightened incidence of premalignant and malignant lesions in aging skin.
This can be associated with VYANGA and NEELIKA mentioned in Sushrut Samhita nidaan sthan chapter 13 under Kshudra rog. Both are caused by vitiation of Vata and Pitta doshas affecting rakta and maana dhatus and resulting in hyper pigmented patches.
Breakdown of Collagen and Elastin
The majority of age-dependent changes that occur in our skin happen in the dermis, which can lose from 20-80% of its thickness during the aging process. This is the result of changes in the fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) biosynthesis. Not only is the collagen and elastin produced at a slower rate, which impacts the skin’s inability to repair itself, but the organization of the protein also changes, affecting the skin’s structure. The breakdown of collagen and elastin is controlled by the activity of Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes known as collagenase and elastase, respectively. Studies have shown that UV radiation activates these enzymes within hours of UVB exposure. Long-term elevation of the MMPs, which is typically found in people with prolonged exposure to sunlight, results in disorganized and clumped collagen and elastin that is characteristic of photodamaged skin. Changes in elastin fibers are so characteristic in photoaged skin that the condition known as elastosis is considered a hallmark of photoaged skin. This is characterized by an accumulation of amorphous elastin protein and a breakdown in the typical structural layout, which results in decreased skin elasticity and tensile strength. This phenomenon accounts for why more mature skin takes longer to assume its original position when extended or pulled.
Dehydration of Skin
Like the collagen and elastin - proteins of the dermis, the ground substance, or intercellular glue, that holds these proteins in place also undergoes age-related changes. There is less ground substance as we age, and distribution of GAGs, such as Hyaluronic Acid, changes as well. Studies have shown that the amount of Hyaluronic Acid found in the dermis starts to diminish as early as our forties. This loss, along with a comprised barrier layer in the epidermis, is most likely the cause of dehydration and loss of turgidity, which contributes to altered elasticity in aging skin. In addition to dehydration in the dermis, studies have indicated a reduction in the moisture content of the epidermal Stratum Corneum (SC), which is most likely due to a reduction in the SC lipids, resulting in an inefficient ability to bind and retain water. This can be related to Rukshata (ruksha twacha), mentioned in Charak Samhita Sutrasthan chapter 20 as a type of Vataj nanatmaj rog.
A Slowdown of Cell Turnover
Studies indicate that the epidermal turnover rate slows from 30-50% between our thirties and eighties. Studies have demonstrated that in young adults, the Stratum Corneum transit time was as quick as 20 days, whereas in older adults it stretched to 30 days or more. This prolonged Stratum Corneum replacement rate also coincides with a subsequent slowing of the wound healing process that is typical in older people. In fact, doctors report that older patients take twice as long to re-epithelialize after dermabrasion / resurfacing procedures when compared to younger patients. The slowdown in the cell cycle is combined with a less-than-efficient desquamation process, and it accounts for the characteristic dull, rough skin surface seen in maturing skin.
ADULT ACNE -
With age, the estrogen-androgen ratio becomes unbalanced, and changes are seen in the skin. Since androgens, and in particular testosterone, are involved in skin sebum production, females may experience increased oiliness or even adult acne when hormones become unbalanced during menstruation or menopause. The effects of androgens on skin are important in both male and female clients, as both can experience effects of altered androgen levels. This can be related to YUVANPIDIKA mentioned in Sushrut Samhita Nidaan sthan chapter 13 under Kshudra roga as a disease caused due to vititation of kapha, vata and rakta.
Cracked feet: The skin on our feet is naturally dry, unlike the skin on the rest of the body. The skin on our feet has no oil glands, so it relies on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands to keep our feet moisturized. Anyone can have dry feet, but the condition becomes more common with aging. This condition can be associated with PAADDARIKA mentioned in Sushrut Samhita nidaan sthan chapter 13 under Kshudra rog, caused by vititation of vata dosha
b. Age related changes in Hair:
1- Graying of hair:
For scalp hair, graying generally begins in the temple region and it spreads to the vertex or crown and finally to the remainder of the scalp, usually affecting the occipital region last. Graying is an expression of a gradual decrease in the function of the melanocytes, the pigment producing cells located near each hair bulb in the lower region of the follicle.As per Ayurveda, this condition can be associated with PALIT mentioned in Sushrut Samhita Nidaan sthan chapter 13 under Kshudra roga as a disease caused due to vititation of pitta. It is also mentioned in Charak Samhita Vimansthan chapter 8 as pitta prakruti characteristic.
Another age-related change is hairfall. Normally, when a hair falls out, a new one grows in to replace it. As a person ages, however, hairs do not grow back in as quickly. Hair strands become finer as well. These factors combine to give the appearance of much less hair. Both men and women lose their hair as they age. About 25% of men show some signs of baldness by the age of 30. About 2/3 of men are bald or partially bald at the age of 60. Usually men will notice that they lose hair from the top and the front of the scalp. This pattern of hair loss is called male pattern baldness. It is associated with decreased levels of the male hormone, testosterone. Women will also show a typical pattern of hair loss. As they age, hair becomes less dense all over, and the scalp may become visible. This is called female pattern baldness. Finally, individuals may lose body and facial hair. Although the number of hair is fewer, each hair may become coarser. Women may lose body hair but develop coarse facial hair. This tends to appear on the chin and around the lips due to reduced estrogen and increased androgens. Men may find that eyebrow, ear, and nose hair becomes longer and coarser. As per Ayurveda, this condition can be related to INDRALUPTA mentioned in Sushrut Samhita Nidaan sthan chapter 13 under Kshudra roga as a disease caused due to vititation of vata and pitta. It is also mentioned in Charak Samhita Vimansthan chapter 8 as pitta prakruti characteristic.
3. Dandruff:In this condition flakes of skin that range from small and white to large, greasy, and yellow Itchy flaking that appears on the scalp or eyebrows; around the hairline, ears, or nose; or in the center of the chest or back. Dandruff can have several causes, including: