Skin in Ayurveda

In classical texts of Ayurveda, Skin has explained in detail with its thickness, different layers and the diseases with their signs and symptoms which arise in different layers. It has also explained about the various treatments for the diseases as well. Acharya Sushruta explained beautifully about the formation of skin from the time of conception.

The formation of skin has been explained with a beautiful simile like the formation of the creamy layer on the surface of the boiling milk. In a similar way, Rasa, Raktha etc… processed by their respective biological fire (agni) forms the skin or through the Dhatwagni paka the skin formation takes place.

Acharya Vagbhata also called skin as Rakta Santanika because the skin is formed by the process of dhatwagni paka where Rakta becomes Skin like the creamy layer formed over boiled milk.

Acharya Sushruta says that during the formation of skin it receives the qualities of Panchmahabootas from Rakta dhatu.

  • Prithvi Mahaboota gives the structure and the smell to the skin
  • Jala Mahaboota gives the circulatory elements
  • Agni Mahaboota gives the colour element
  • Vayu Mahaboota gives the sensation
  • Akasha Mahaboota gives the space for transportation

so any changes visible in skin anatomically or physiologically has the direct relation with the Pancha Mahabootas.

Though skin is divided into external (epidermis) and internal (dermis), it has very minute and thin structural layers. Acharya Charaka has mentioned about six layers and Sushruta has considered seven layers. The diseases related to different layers of the skin are also detailed said by Acharya’s. All these seven layers in combination form the physical appearance of skin.

1st Skin layer: Avabhasini:

This is the uppermost and thinnest layer of the skin. This determines the luster of the skin. It’s also known as Udakadhara because it holds or does the Dharana of lasika, rakta etc..substances. It has a thickness of 1/18 of rice grain. Diseases like Sidma, Padmakantaka etc… are related to this layer.

2nd Skin layer: Lohita:

This layer called is Lohita, and also known as Asrukdhara because it predominantly consists of blood vessels and Rakta dhatu. Charaka has named it as Asrug dhara twak. It has a thickness of 1/16 of rice grain. Diseases like Tilakalaka, Nyacccha, Vyanga etc…are related to this layer.

3rd Skin layer: Shweta:

This layer looks white in colour. It has a thickness of 1/12 of rice grain. Diseases like Charmadala, Ajagallika, Mashaka etc…are related to this layer.

4th Skin layer: Tamra:

This layer has copper colour and thickness of 1/8 of rice grain.Diseases like different types of Kilasa, kusta are related to this layer.

5th  Skin layer: Vedini:

This layer has plenty of nerves which is responsible for the perception of sensation. It has a thickness of 1/5 of rice grain. Diseases like Kushta and Visarpa…are related to this layer.

6th Skin layer: Rohini:

This is the sixth layer. It gives nourishment to skin and consists of blood vessels, lasika and vata nadi’s. It has a thickness of a rice grain. Diseases like Granthi, Apachi, Arbuda, Shleepada, Galaganda etc…are related to this layer.

7th  Skin layer: Mamsadhara

This is the last and innermost layer adhering to the muscles. It has double the thickness of rice grain. Diseases like Bhagandhara, Vidrudi, Arshas etc…are related to this layer.

All the measurements are applicable only on the place which is predominant with muscle tissues and not in the forehead, little finger etc….

In skin diseases, we have to understand that skin problems not only involve external skin but also it is related with the whole body. The food we take and the production of Rasa dhatu along with other internal functions of the body should be observed during treatment of any skin disease.

Skin has three layers:

  • The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.

The epidermis contains 5 layers. From bottom to top the layers are named:

  • stratum basale
  • stratum spinosum
  • stratum granulosum
  • stratum licidum
  • stratum corneum
  • The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  • The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.

N.B :

  • Food and lifestyle are the key factors responsible for healthy skin.