Your skin is imbalanced in dryness, oiliness, heat, coolness, and sensitivity, which means it reacts to stimuli in an unpredictable manner, much like the Karst landscape

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: Dwa

Profile: Karst

Your skin is imbalanced in dryness, oiliness, heat, coolness, and sensitivity, which means it reacts to stimuli in an unpredictable manner, much like the unpredictable climate of Fargo, North Dakota. In Fargo, the temperature in January might be 0 °C (32 °F) or just as easily -24 °C (-12 °F). It tends to be snowy and windy and prone to epic, unexpected winter storms. Fargo has surprise thunderstorms about 25% of days during the summer months, which is more than the national average. Other cities with unpredictable climates include Great Falls, Montana; Grand Island, Nebraska; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Houghton, Michigan.

Similarly, your skin embodies wet, cool, dry, sensitive, and warm tendencies. All of these tendencies are prone to imbalance. This suggests one week you may experience an acne breakout from excess oil and heat, and the next you might experience dry, flaky skin from lack of moisture. In other words, your skin tends to react in an erratic manner.

Products And Ingredients

Balancing products and ingredients

The best way to summarize the Karst skin type is sensitive and unpredictable. Your skin type is can be imbalanced in several ways: sometimes very oily, sometimes very dry, sensitive, warm, cool, and sometimes everything at once. Products can easily irritate your skin and your skin is highly reactive to harsh or irritating chemicals. Your skin type is prone to inflammatory skin conditions like acne, while also prone to flaking, irritation, and eczema breakouts. Overall, your skin care routine should emphasize mild and gentle products that are not too harsh, drying, or heavy. In general, most products will irritate your skin so the age-old adage of “less is more” holds true for the Karst skin type.

  • Jojoba oil - this oil closely matches the skin’s natural sebum and can be used in small amounts to help soothe, cool, and moisturize the skin. Jojoba oil can also be used to help you remove your makeup prior to cleansing.
  • Moisturizer - a daily moisturizer is essential to help protect your skin barrier and maintain hydration. Choose a moisturizer that is gentle and light, so as not to promote clogged pores while providing sufficient moisture. Simple moisturizers are best and should be free of fragrances or drying emulsifiers.
  • Gentle cleanser - choose a soap-free cleanser that is ideally designed to be hydrating. Choose a cleanser that is creamy, rather than one that lathers, in order to avoid potentially irritating chemicals. If you skipped the makeup, it’s ok to skip the soap as well and just wash your face with water. In some cases, a sulfur-based wash may be soothing for your skin.
  • Sunscreen - your skin is especially prone to inflammation and redness, which can be worsened by sun exposure. It is essential to wear a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen on all sun-exposed areas.

Aggravating products and ingredients

The Karst skin type is easily prone to oiliness and oily and heavy skin care and makeup products should be avoided entirely. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the harsh ingredients and ingredients that can be irritating or drying could lead to scaling, flaking, and redness. Your skin is very sensitive and easily irritated by many chemicals and ingredients, leading to inflammation and redness. Examples of products and ingredients that should be avoided in your skin type include:

  • Heavy products that may clog your pores - petrolatum containing products, shea butter, and heavy creams are examples of products that are too heavy for your skin type and will increase your chance for developing clogged pores and pimples.
  • Chemical fragrances and harsh exfoliants tend to easily irritate your skin, leading to inflammation and disruption of your skin’s protective outer barrier.
  • Astringents - examples of these are toners containing alcohols and witch hazel, which may be too harsh on your skin type.
  • Essential oils - many essential oils, such as ginger and cinnamon, are too irritating to your skin type.
  • Chemical sunscreens - chemical sunscreens can be irritating and better to stick to physical based sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Bathing and Washing

Balancing bathing and washing habits

The Karst skin type will best benefit from washing with a gentle cleanser in order to rid your skin of grime and makeup residues. Take lukewarm showers and baths, as very hot or cold temperatures can easily through your skin out of balance.

Aggravating bathing and washing habits

Avoid over washing your face, since this can disrupt your skin barrier and lead to irritation and inflammation. Due to your skin’s sensitivity, harsh soaps are too irritating so choose gentle cleansers free from harsh chemicals. Cleaning oils may be a better choice as they are not as drying on the face. Additionally, do not use facial brushes or cleansers with little beads or gritty materials, as these will all irritate your sensitive skin. Lastly, do not take prolonged or very hot showers or baths, since this could easily make your skin red.


Balancing foods and beverages

The Karst skin type tends to be quite erratic, going from oily and acne-prone one week to scaly and dry the next week. Your goal should be to consume a well-balanced diet with meals consisting of produce that is in season. You should aim to eat according to the law of opposites to best balance your skin type. For instance, in warm months aims to eat cooling foods and in cooler months eat warming foods. Visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store to find out what fruits and vegetables are in season. Eating local can reduce the amount of preservatives that may be in your foods.

  • Eat cooling foods during warmer months: fruit smoothies, popsicles, melons, cucumbers, mushrooms, zucchini, chilled soups, cool beverages, and cooling spices like neem.
  • Eat warming foods during cooler months: hot cereals, warm soups, warm teas and other warm beverages, cooked vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat drying foods during rainy months: cruciferous vegetables (eg. kale, collard greens, broccoli), cauliflower, beans, lentils, apples, raw vegetables, salads, pomegranates.
  • Eat moist foods during drier months: berries, melons, watermelon, cucumber, coconuts, nuts, and seeds.
  • Spices to be eaten year round: cumin, saffron, and turmeric

Aggravating foods and beverages

Karst skin types should avoid eating too many foods from one specific food group and should avoid eating foods that are not in season. Foods that are extreme in temperature or spice can also aggravate this skin type.

  • Hot, pungent, or spicy foods should be avoided in warmer months: chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, radishes, pepper, hot cereals, and hot soups and beverages.
  • Heavy, oily, and sweet foods: milk (especially skim milk), refined grains such as white bread, fried foods, pastries, ice cream, and candy should be avoided to prevent increased inflammation. Nuts and seeds can be eaten in moderation with careful attention to portion size.
  • Sour foods: highly-fermented yogurt, tomatoes, vinegar, hard cheeses
  • Salty foods: soy sauce, tamari, seafood, added salts or high sodium food items
  • Alcohol should be avoided
  • Stimulants like caffeine should be consumed in careful moderation.

Activities And Excercise

Balancing activities and exercise

Karst skin types should opt for methods of exercise that consist of a wide range of activities and listen carefully to your body. You can also follow the seasons and try to do cooling activities (such as swimming) during warmer months, and more heat-generating activities (eg. running) during the cooler months. If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of activity ideas that are balancing for Karst skin types:

  • Yoga - non-heated varieties are best
  • Pilates - year round
  • Tai Chi
  • Meditation
  • Speed walking and jogging
  • Swimming - best during warmer months
  • Rowing
  • Hiking (avoid midday heat)
  • Cycling, aerobics, dancing, and other moderate-intensity cardiovascular activities

Aggravating activities and exercise

The Karst skin type tends to fluctuate rapidly based on climate and lifestyle factors. Highly heating activities, such as intense sprints, and long distance running should be reduced. Heated yoga should be avoided altogether. Additionally, swimming in a freezing pool or running in cold weather can also be aggravating. Always wash your face and body after exercise and avoid exercising with makeup on to avoid clogged pores and breakouts. Activities that should be avoided include:

  • Heated yoga
  • Steam rooms
  • Saunas
  • Intense running or sprints during warm or hot weather

Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.


Balancing climates

Temperate climates such as those found in Mediterranean climates can help restore balance to your skin. Your skin type is easily influenced by climate extremes, which is why moderate climates such as those found in Perth, Australia or Nice, France can keep your skin type as balanced as possible.

Aggravating Climates

This skin type is easily affected by many different climates, which can keep your skin out of balance. Varying temperatures and humidity levels can easily influence your skin. Cold, dry weather of tundra climates can increase dryness. Hot and wet weather of tropical savanna climates can increase sensitivity and inflammation. The cold and wet weather of oceanic climates can increase oil formation and blackheads. While less is more in this skin type, it doesn’t hurt to keep your skincare regimen filled with all the essentials so that you can choose what works best for you depending on how you will be affected at the time.


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

The Karst Skin type is imbalanced 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.

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

Imbalances in the doshas create different issues in the skin and body as discussed below.

How are the doshas influenced?

Each dosha is exacerbated when it’s elemental qualities are in excess.


Qualities that Affect the Dosha









Slightly Oily






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. When Pitta is in excess, your skin may be prone to inflamed acne, redness, increased sensitivity and rosacea. Sun exposure, spicy food, hot weather, and increased stress or anger are all considered heating and can contribute to skin sensitivity and acne seen with 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.

What the skin says about the rest of your body

In Ayurveda, the entire body is connected and what is reflected on the skin is often an indication of a deeper underlying issue. Vata imbalances can cause anxiety, picking at the hair and nails, and constipation. Individuals who have more Pitta in their constitution can often experience rashes, impatience, anger, reflux, and indigestion when Pitta is out of balance. Fatigue, lack of motivation and depression can be due to a Kapha imbalance. Obesity and diabetes are also signs of a Kapha imbalance. Xanthelasmas and acanthosis nigricans are also indicative of high levels of cholesterol and sugar in the body, which are due to Kapha excess.


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. 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 key for this skin type is to eat different types of foods and tastes in moderation in order to not imbalance another dosha. 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 Karst skin type have all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) out of balance in approximately equal fashion. Each of the 5 elements that make up these doshas (space, air, fire, water, earth) are also imbalanced in the individual. Karst skin types benefit most from maintaining a healthy lifestyle with balanced diet, stress management, rest and routine. It is important to maintain balance in all aspects of our lives to achieve wellness.


Those with the Karst skin type are diverse and multidimensional. These individuals can be very influential and creative, all while being very down-to-earth at the same time. They can also be hard to read and predict because of all of these unique aspects of their personality.

While it is important for everyone to put themselves first, those with the Karst skin type benefit most from doing this. If they do not maintain a routine they can lose focus and experience increased anxiety. They can also fluctuate between having high levels of ambition to experiencing burnout and lacking motivation.