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Your skin, much like the temperate Mediterranean climate, is balanced in dryness, oiliness, heat, coolness, and sensitivity
Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: Csb
Your skin, much like the temperate Mediterranean climate, is perfectly balanced in dryness, oiliness, heat, coolness, and sensitivity. The Mediterranean, given its cool, rainy winters and warm, dry summers, is considered the perfectly balanced climate. The temperatures are moderate year-round, and winters are typically mild. This climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Sea, as it is commonly found in the greater Mediterranean Basin. This weather can also be found on western coasts of some continents, such as Los Angeles, California; Tel Aviv, Israel; Rome, Italy; and Madrid, Spain.
Similarly, your skin embodies the wet/oily, cool, dry, sensitive, and warm tendencies without any imbalances. This means, your skin is moist without being overly oily and is less sensitive to cold and warm temperatures. Furthermore, you are naturally less prone to skin conditions like acne, which is associated with excess oil and heat, or cracked skin from excess dryness.
Products And Ingredients
Balancing products and ingredients
The Mediterranean skin type is lucky because most skin products will work wonderfully without causing problems. People with this skin type can usually tolerate a wide range of products and ingredients. For example, some skin products offer anti-aging benefits due to active ingredients including retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids, and while these ingredients are too harsh for many skin types, the Mediterranean skin type can reap many of their potential benefits. On the other hand, the fewer skin care products used the better since this skin type is able to effectively balance itself. As this skin type does not need as much external balancing, it is best to use skin products in moderation. Examples of products and ingredients that are balancing and well tolerated by the Mediterranean skin type include:
- Jojoba oil – closely matches the natural sebum and therefore wonderfully complements the self-balancing properties of the Mediterranean skin type.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) – AHAs are ingredients that act as chemical exfoliators to help refresh and slough away the outermost layer of dead skin cells. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are examples of AHAs found in many skin care products, especially serums and nighttime treatments, that are well-tolerated by the Mediterranean skin type when used a few times per week.
- Basic facial cleanser – the Mediterranean skin type should choose a basic cleanser. Since this skin type is already balanced, a harsh cleanser may disrupt the naturally balanced oils.
- Toner – toners are used as the step immediately after cleansing to help bring the skin’s outer barrier pH back into balance.
- Topical retinoids – retinoids are family of compounds that are cousins to vitamin A and can effectively stimulate collagen production, reduce skin darkening, and even improve acne. Many people with sensitive skin are unable to tolerate regular use of topical retinoids, but the Mediterranean skin type can comfortably use them in moderation for added skin rejuvenation.
Aggravating products and ingredients
Although this skin type may be naturally perfectly balanced, it is important to avoid extremes in your skin care regime! Overusing any product type may eventually cause an imbalance in this naturally balanced skin type. Avoid over-using any one product family - moisturizers, astringents, exfoliants, etc. - in order to keep your skin in a balanced state. For example, although your skin type may be able to tolerate and benefit from occasional exfoliation with your favorite facial scrub, daily aggressive use could eventually lead to disruption, inflammation, and loss of your natural balance. You are lucky to have skin that requires minimal maintenance, so remember that less is more!
Bathing and Washing
Balancing bathing and washing habits
The Mediterranean skin type can balance itself quite well with any bathing and washing habits. If you are a once a day bather, twice a day bather, or every other day bather, your skin will adjust just fine! Choose a facial cleanser that is basic without any added harsh or abrasive ingredients. If you wear makeup, be sure to clean it completely off each night so that you naturally balanced skin can breathe easily overnight.
Aggravating bathing and washing habits
Although most bathing habits will be just fine, avoid bathing in very hot showers for long durations of time. Going to extremes in temperature or frequency may disrupt your naturally balanced skin, so moderation is key. Over cleansing your face with strong chemicals or using abrasive exfoliating products every day should also be avoided.
Balancing foods and beverages
People with the Mediterranean skin type should strive to eat a balanced diet and do their best to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season. All food groups and foods are on the menu! You are able to enjoy all food groups without too much worry about disrupting your skin’s natural balance. Take advantage of all the wonderful produce that is in season and incorporate it into as many meals as possible. People with the Mediterranean skin type can enjoy warming foods, cooling foods, moist foods, and drying foods.
- During warmer months, eat more cooling foods. Examples of cooling foods are fruit smoothies, melons, berries, mushrooms, cool beverages, and spices like cumin, neem, saffron, and turmeric.
- During cooler months, eat warmer foods. Examples of warming foods are hot cereals like old-fashioned oats and cream of wheat, warm teas, soups, cooked vegetables and grains, and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Eat moist foods in drier months and climates: berries, melons, summer squash, yogurt, avocados, nuts, and seeds during the drier months.
- Eat drying foods during wet months and climates: cruciferous vegetables like kale, collard greens, broccoli, other vegetables like cauliflower and cabbages, pomegranates, beans, lentils, apples, and dried fruits.
Aggravating foods and beverages
The balanced Mediterranean skin type does best when eating in a balanced manner; therefore, strictly avoiding food groups and eating fruits and vegetables that are not in season can lead to unbalance. Here are some tips for eating with the seasons and the weather:
- During warmer months, reduce your intake of hot and spicy foods like chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, radishes, pepper, and hot soups and beverages.
- In dry climates, reduce drying foods like popcorn, crackers, chips, rye, white potatoes, beans, cabbage, and dried fruits.
- During wet months, reduce heavy and oily foods like red meat, milk, nuts, seeds, avocados, and fried foods.
- During cold seasons and climates, reduce cold foods like smoothies and cold beverages.
- Stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and hard alcohol should be reduced and consumed in moderation.
Activities and Exercise
Balancing activities and exercise
Just like you can use most skin care products and ingredients, the Mediterranean skin type can also enjoy a broad range of activities and exercises without pushing themselves out of balance. Luckily for you, the options are endless for finding an enjoyable method of exercise that you can carry out on a regular basis. Strive to do a range of activities and listen to your body. You can also follow the seasons, favoring cooling activities during the warmer months (e.g. swimming) and warming/invigorating activities during the cooler months (e.g. jogging). If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of ideas:
- Tai chi
- Yoga (there are so many types to choose from!)
- Jogging or running
Aggravating activities and exercise
Too much of anything can be bad for the Mediterranean skin type. Overdoing an exercise to the point that it begins to wear you down is extremely disruptive to your skin type and overall well-being. Listen to your body to avoid the effects of overtraining on your skin and enjoy a wide range of exercises while remembering to give yourself a rest day every so often when you needed.
Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.
Temperate climates like the Mediterranean climate, tend to maintain the natural balance in your skin. This skin type does best when exposed to balanced climates in order to keep the skin’s natural balance in order.
Extreme climates (e.g. Dry humid continental) may throw your naturally balanced skin out of balance. In addition, an environment that is always hot, cold, wet, or dry, could eventually lead to an imbalance. Hot environments can make the skin more sensitive. Cold and dry environments can dry out the skin. Cold and wet environments may cause more oil and blackhead formation. Be careful with skin care when exposed to aggravating climates to keep your skin at it’s best.
Ayurveda is a health system that is from India and is over 5000 years old. The basic concept in Ayurveda is that each person can either be in balance or have imbalances. Everyone has the potential to balance their body and their skin if they can pay attention to their imbalances and their skin’s natural tendencies. Imbalances are described by the Ayurvedic concepts of the doshas which describe three unique physiological building blocks for the body and skin. These doshas are known as vata, pitta, and kapha. Ayurveda is a practical approach to skin care. Learn more about how Ayurveda works and what makes up the doshas.
Imbalances in the doshas
Each dosha is made up of 2 of the 5 elements (air, space, fire, water, and earth.)
Air and Space
Fire and Water
Water and Earth
The Mediterranean skin type is balanced in all 3 doshas; Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata governs movement and thinking and controls sensation, pliability and the movement of water in the skin. Pitta represents transformation and metabolism in the body. Heat, vitamin D production, and skin radiance are all thought to be mediated by Pitta. Kapha represents structure in the body as seen with collagen and oil production in the skin. This skin type is generally balanced and the skin does not have an inherent tendency to swing out of balance.
How are the doshas influenced?
The doshas are affected by their elemental imbalances. Cold and dry qualities exacerbate Vata as can happen with cold, dry climates and raw vegetables, leading to dry, scaly, easily aging skin. Fire is hot and water is wet, and this is represented in the inflammation and slight oiliness in the skin for excess Pitta. Kapha is also made up of the elements, water, and earth, which represent structure and water in the skin, respectively. Excess water accounts for increased oiliness of the skin and excess earth can lead to hypertrophic and keloid scarring.
You are in luck with the Mediterranean skin type as the doshas do not go out of balance easily. However, minor imbalances in the doshas can occur from time to time. For example, visiting a dry and hot climate can move the skin toward an imbalance in the vata dosha. While the imbalance will not form as quickly as someone with the Desert skin type, the imbalance can still occur to a lesser degree.
What the skin says about the rest of your body
In Ayurveda, the entire body is connected. The skin is not different from the gut or the brain in terms of dosha imbalances. In the Mediterranean skin type, the natural tendency for balance in the skin is reflected in a generally balanced gut or state of mind.
In Ayurveda, foods have different effects on the body and skin as they can affect how the doshas are in or out of balance. Vata imbalance can occur with cold and raw foods, as well as those with astringent, spicy and bitter tastes. Heavier foods are very grounding for a Vata imbalance. Adequate water intake is extremely important to ensure your body and skin are well hydrated. One way to balance Pitta is to avoid spicy, sour, and pungent foods. Spicy and hot foods, in particular, can increase flushing in the skin and worsen rosacea and cause stomach upset. Kapha excess can occur from foods that are cold, oily, processed, sweet, salty and sour. Light, warm cooked foods are ideal for balancing Kapha. The good news for Mediterranean skin types is that food does not affect you so easily as long as foods are eaten in a balanced way and in moderation so that any one dosha is not pushed out of balance. Learn more about Vata, Pitta and Kapha balancing foods.
Take care of your skin, body, and mind from an Ayurvedic perspective
From an Ayurvedic perspective, imbalances in the doshas, or the physiologic mind-body constitution types, lead to different issues in both mental and physical well-being. The mind-body connection is well recognized in many different healing traditions and is now being recognized more in conventional medicine.
Those with the Mediterranean skin type have all three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in balance. Each of the 5 elements that make up these doshas (space, air, fire, water, earth) are also balanced in the individual. Individual’s with this skin type likely maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and adequate stress-relieving activities. It is important to maintain balance in all aspects of our lives to achieve wellness.
The skin and the mind can influence each other. Imbalances in emotion and stress can show up on the skin. Skin related issues can have profound psychological impact and affect your state of mind and how you interact with the world around you.
The good news is that the Mediterranean skin type is not easily shifted out of balance. The Mediterranean skin type enjoys the luxury of having skin that naturally tends toward balance. There are less psychological effects that could affect the personality as much as the other skin types.
Mediterranean skin types are able to channel their creativity with passion without getting stressed or burned out easily. They also tend to be resilient during challenges, have a consistent routine, and sleep well throughout the night.