HomeSelf-careSkin health

DR. PRASAD VELUTHANAR shares some simple Ayurvedic tips for beautiful skin, focusing on the oils and herbs Ayurveda uses to promote healthy skin.

Oils for the skin

In general, coconut and olive oils are considered better for the skin than sesame oil for regular application. Coconut oil can be used for all skin types. “Keram” refers to those preparations with a coconut oil base and “tailam” refers to those with a sesame oil base.

Kumkumadi tailam: Contains saffron, improves the fairness and glow of the skin. This oil can be used for all skin types, especially kapha and vata types.

Eradi tailam and keram: Contains a mixture of herbs that aid in curing skin discoloration, allergies, blemishes, fungal infections, and other skin diseases. Not advised for general daily use as it can make the skin dry.

Nalpamaradi tailam and keram: Nalpamaradi means “four ficus,” the sacred Peepal and Banyan trees, known for their skin cleansing and clarifying properties. Application of this oil is also effective in sunburn, hyper-pigmentation, discoloration of the skin, and eczema. Can be used for regular application and for babies as well. 

Dinesavallyadi tailam and keram: Contains a red creeper found across India. The bark is used to create the oil. It is used to heal wounds, improve skin color and complexion, cure minor skin eruptions, allergies, herpes, abscesses, psoriasis and eczema, and control itching from bites.

Durvadi tailam and keram:  Contains Durva or Bermuda Grass, which helps to cure minor cuts, burns and wounds. It improves skin color and cures burning sensation and itching. It can be used to regain skin color from wound scars. It is cool in nature and thus suitable for pitta-type skin.

Herbs for the skin

Turmeric (Curcuma longa): An anti-toxic, anti-allergenic, and anti-oxidant spice. It has a direct effect on the skin in preventing and curing diseases, and improving skin color and luster when applied externally. It can also be taken internally. 

Turmeric can be added to food or taken as capsules. Recent studies have shown that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-cancerous property. It can be applied externally by making a paste with cream or rose water for improving fairness and removing blemishes. Turmeric is a “warm” herb. So people with pitta-type skin should be careful while applying it externally.



Neem (Azadirachta indica): A powerful anti-microbial and anti-toxic used for both external and internal application. It purifies the blood and is an anti-oxidant. It cures skin diseases, fungal infections, and allergies. It can also heal cuts and wounds. Turmeric and neem can be used together internally and as a paste for external application in many skin conditions.


Aloe vera: A cooling and cleansing plant that alleviates pitta and can be used for many conditions like pimples, menstrual problems, cuts, burns, etc. Aloe is beneficial for both internal use and external application. Externally, aloe is beneficial for burning sensations, burns, cuts, skin blemishes, skin dryness, and more. Internally, it serves as an anti-oxidant, anti-toxic, and a mild laxative.


Saffron: Can be used externally with milk, sandal powder, or rose water to improve skin color and glow. Internally, its benefits range from being an aphrodisiac to improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and repairing tissue damage.


Sandal (Santalum album): A cooling plant that alleviates pitta. It enhances skin complexion, is anti-toxic, and relieves inflammatory reactions when used both internally and externally. It purifies the blood, is nourishing, cures fatigue, induces sleep, and relieves stress and anxiety. Sandal can be applied externally as a perfume, while also providing a cooling sensation.


Illustrations by LAKSHMI GADDAM 



Prasad Veluthanar

Prasad Veluthanar

Dr. Prasad did his Ayurvedacharya medical degree in Kerala. During his 22 years of professional practice, he has worked in India, Mauritius, Malaysia, Russia, and Egypt. He was the first Indian Ayurvedic doctor to practice and propagate ... Read More