Your skin has a strong tendency toward heat and oiliness and a minor tendency toward dryness, much like the Savanna climate
Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: As, Aw
Your skin has a strong tendency toward heat, a tendency toward dryness much like the savanna climate. Savanna climates are most commonly found in Africa, Asia, and northern South America, as well as in parts of Central America, northern Australia, and southern North America. Cities with savanna climates include Kingston, Jamaica; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Savanna climates are warm to hot throughout the year with a temperature range of 20° - 30° C (68° - 86° F) and an annual rainfall of about 10 - 30 inches. Savannas typically feature wet summer months and dry winters.
Similarly, your skin tends to be consistently hot or warm throughout the year and is prone to both oiliness and some dryness. Like the savanna climate, which is susceptible to extreme changes in plant and animal life during its wet and dry seasons, your sensitive skin is susceptible to its own extremes in the form of breakouts, inflammation, and irritation.
The Savanna type skin has a tendency for irritation and inflammation. It also has a slight tendency toward dryness. This type of skin is sensitive and may experience burning and stinging sensations when irritated. People with this type of skin are particularly prone to sunburns if they have light skin.
Products and Ingredients
Balancing products and ingredients
The Savanna skin type is particularly prone to irritation, inflammation, and redness. Your skin is very sensitive and tends toward warmth and redness, which can be heightened by using the wrong products. People with your skin type need to focus on choosing skin care products that are calming, cooling, and they also need to provide sufficient hydration. The best products for you are cooling, mild, and calming skin care products that most closely match your own skin’s oils will promote optimal balance. Examples of products and ingredients that are balancing and well tolerated by the Savanna skin type include:
Jojoba oil – jojoba oil is cooling and closely matches the skin’s natural sebum (facial oil) and therefore can be wonderfully soothing to the Savanna skin type’s sensitive and hot qualities
Gentle facial cleansers – the Savanna skin type should choose a very gentle cleanser because soaps can dry out the skin and lead to irritation
Gentle and light moisturizers – choose a light moisturizing lotion or gel free of drying and irritating agents such as alcohols. Alpha hydroxy acids may irritate and sting when placed on the skin. Bonus tip - keep your moisturizer in the fridge for a refreshing burst of coolness that will calm your natural heat!
Sunscreen – everyone of all skin types should wear sunscreen daily, but it is important to know that your skin is especially sensitive to increased inflammation with sun exposure. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and reapply often throughout the day. Chemical-based sunscreens may irritate the skin while physical-based sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are better tolerated.
Aggravating products and ingredients
The Savanna skin type is extremely sensitive with a tendency toward dryness, so products that are too warming or drying can easily irritate your skin. Although you are usually drier, changes in climate can lead you to quickly have oily patches of skin. Because your skin can easily transition into being overly dry, avoiding products that are too drying or high in chemicals is a must. Avoid any product that makes your skin feel hot or appear extra red. Examples of products and ingredients that should be avoided in your skin type include:
Products containing chemical fragrances - these will usually aggravate your skin.
Harsh exfoliants – chemical exfoliants containing alpha-hydroxy acids and mechanical exfoliants containing abrasive beads or gritty materials can be exceptionally irritating to your skin type, leading to inflammation, and further imbalance.
Astringent toners or alcohol-based products will cause your skin to become too dry.
Bathing and Washing
Balancing bathing and washing habits
The Savanna skin type is naturally on the sensitive side. Your skin will best benefit from daily bathing with a gentle cleanser. If your skin is becoming too irritated, it may be time to start skipping the soap for a day or two since soaps and cleansers can aggravate the Savanna skin type. Cleansing oils may be gentler on the skin. You should also try turning down the temperature in the shower to keep the water from aggravating the skin too much. Another strategy that can be used is to wipe down your face with a gentle oil to break up any dirt before and then wash after a couple minutes. Pre-application of oils can moisturize and loosen up grime from the skin at the same time.
Aggravating bathing and washing habits
Since your skin is already sensitive, you should never take hot showers and baths. Soap should only be limited to milder cleanser and standard bar soaps are a no-no as they are typically too harsh on the skin. Prolonged hot showers will make your sensitive skin even warmer and inflamed. You should also avoid ingredients that can strip the skin like salicylic acid since they are likely much too harsh for your skin type.
Balancing foods and beverages
People with the Savanna skin type should strive to eat a cooling diet to balance out their naturally heated skin type. Eating overall cooling meals and beverages throughout the day will help bring your skin into balance. You will also benefit from eating nutritious complex carbohydrates throughout the day to help maintain balance and prevent spikes of inflammation. Certain drying foods like green vegetables can be enjoyed throughout the year but should be limited when eaten in drying or colder climates. Examples of balancing foods and beverages for the Savanna skin type include:
Hearty complex carbohydrates, raw nuts, and seeds - root vegetables (eg. butternut squash and yams), cooked grains (eg. quinoa and brown rice), raw nuts (eg. walnuts), mangoes, and pasta
Eat cooling foods daily unless you are in a cold or dry environment. Examples of cooling foods are: fruit smoothies, melons, sweet berries, mushrooms, and cool beverages.
Cooling spices like cumin, neem, saffron, and turmeric are also very beneficial to the Savanna skin type.
Yogurt that has only been lightly fermented and has a sweet taste rather than a sour taste. Fermented coconut yogurt is a sweet and fantastic option for the Savanna subtype.
Aggravating foods and beverages
The hot and dry Savanna skin type should avoid hot and spicy foods since this can make the skin excessively warm and red.
Avoid hot and spicy foods, including chilies, cayenne, radishes, pepper, and hot soups and beverages. Onions and garlic can be heating foods as well.
Sour foods can also aggravate your skin type, so do your best to limit these foods as well. Examples of sour foods include heavily fermented sour yogurt, tomatoes, vinegars, hard cheeses, and alcohol.
Drying foods should be minimized in cold environments or should be paired with hearty foods. Examples of drying foods include cruciferous vegetables (eg. kale, collard greens, and broccoli), pomegranate, dark chocolate, beans, lentils, cauliflower, popcorn, crackers, and dried fruits.
Activities and Exercise
Balancing activities and exercise
As with all skin types, the Savanna skin type benefits greatly from regular exercise. You should opt for methods of exercise that are more on the cooling side. Since you are also easily prone to dryness, you need to be adequately hydrated before and after any exercise. When you get your heart rate up, it is normal to sweat and have a flushed face, but there are certain exercises and activities that will be more cooling and calming than others. If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of activity ideas that are balancing for Savanna skin types:
Hiking during cooler hours
Slower-paced cardiovascular activities
Other cooling and grounding activities
Aggravating activities and exercise
Any activity that makes you excessively sweaty, hot, and flushed should be avoided. Overdoing an exercise to the point that it begins to wear you down is extremely disruptive to your skin type and overall well-being. Your skin tends towards being easily irritated and inflamed, which is why very high intensity or prolonged workouts in hot environments can lead to greater imbalance. Here are examples of exercises and activities that are best avoided in your skin type:
Hiking in bright sunshine and heat
Heated styles of yoga, such as Bikram yoga
Running for long durations of time
Bicycling or skiing outdoors causing cold or dry wind to hit your face
Steam rooms and saunas
Any exercise in which you have to wear gear covering your face in a hot environment (eg. Helmet)
Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.
Temperate climates and cold and humid climates tend to bring the hot and dry tendencies in your skin into balance. You may notice less sensitivity and dryness in your skin while exploring the streets of Monaco or Paris.
The hot and wet climates of subtropical climates seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina, tend to lead to a greater imbalance in the hot and oily tendencies in your skin. This can increase the chance of breakouts and inflammation. The slight dryness you can also experience in your skin from time to time can be exacerbated by cooler and drier seasons. It is best to minimize exposure to these climates to keep your skin in its natural harmony.
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
This skin type is associated with a major imbalance in the Pitta dosha and a minor imbalance in the vata dosha. Pitta represents transformation and metabolism in the body and is made up of the Sanskrit elements fire and water. Fire represents heat and metabolism while and water represents wetness and heat absorption. These two elements are represented in the inflammation and slight oiliness in the skin for this skin type. Heat, vitamin D production, and skin radiance are all thought to be mediated by Pitta. Vata, on the other hand, is made up of the air and ether elements, which symbolize movement and space. Vata governs thinking and, in the skin, Vata controls sensation, pliability and the movement of water. When Vata is out of balance, one may feel a great deal of mind movement and not feel grounded. The elements of space and ether are cool, light and dry, and when out of balance can cause dry skin and wrinkle formation.
How are the doshas influenced?
Each dosha is exacerbated when it’s elemental qualities are in excess. Anything hot can exacerbate Pitta, whereas anything cooler and slightly dry can calm Pitta. 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. Cold and dry qualities exacerbate Vata as can happen with cold, dry climates and raw vegetables. Fire and air can exacerbate each other which is why dryness in this skin type can also be associated with inflammation, as seen with red chapped skin in the winter.
What the skin says about the rest of your body
Stress, in particular, exacerbates Pitta and can also be associated with worsening of acne, rosacea, and eczema. Stress also worsens Vata which can lead to anxiety and picking at the skin and hair. Lack of sleep which can be seen in a Vata imbalance can also lead to skin aging.
One way to balance Pitta is to avoid spicy, sour and salty foods. Spicy and hot foods, in particular, can increase flushing in the skin and worsen rosacea. Vata imbalance can occur with cold and raw foods, as well as those with astringent, spicy and bitter tastes. Adequate water intake is extremely important to ensure your skin is well hydrated. Learn more about Pitta and Vata 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.
Ayurvedic philosophy focuses heavily on prevention and advocates adequate sleep, specialized healthy diet principles, and stress management. Herbal regimens can also be of benefit. Topical aloe vera is known to be cooling for Pitta and can also help decrease redness and inflammation in the skin. Managing stress is very important for this skin type given the effect of stress on Pitta and Vata. Grounding activities, a consistent routine, and meditation are very beneficial for this personality type as they help balance Vata.
Those with the Savanna skin type may have many Type A tendencies but can occasionally struggle with not knowing which step to take next in life. Similar to their skin, their personality can have an intensity that helps to get the job done. While this personality type usually knows what they want in life and usually achieve their goals easily, they can sometimes struggle with not finishing projects if they take too much on.
In terms of friendships and relationships, they are usually quite dependable, but during stressful times can be thrown off balance. If care is not taken to maintain a balanced routine and structured breaks, this personality type can struggle with overwork and burn-out and can lead to anger, anxiety, and insomnia. Making a conscious effort to take time to enjoy life instead of working all the time can be very helpful for this personality type. Working on being less critical of one’s self is paramount.