Monday, June 30, 2008

Face Pack

One of the oldest methods of beauty treatment is the application of face and body mask. History is full of instances of women making use of various natural and organic substances to make their skin look young and smooth. Cleopatra is a classic example.

Advantages of using a face mask:
*Improves the blood circulation and gives a glow to the skin.
*Helps in toning the muscles and prevents them from sagging.
*Makes the skin supple.
*Removes dead cells and lends a porcelain-like shine to the skin.

Basic mask for a smooth texture
Beat an egg in the juice of one lemon. Apply on face and neck.
Leave for 15-30 minutes till dry. Rinse off. If this mask suits you use it once a week.

Masks for oily skin
Honey & egg mask (if you are allergic to honey avoid using it)
Mix 1 tsp of honey with one egg white, apply the thick paste on face and neck, leave for 7-10 minutes and wash off.
Mix 1 tsp of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar in ½ cup warm water, cover and keep in warm place. When it ferments use it as a face mask.

Toning mask:
Make a paste of one beaten egg white, 1 tsp yogurt and multani mitti (fullers earth). Apply on face and leave till it dries. Rinse off. Use this toning mask at least twice a week.

Fruit packs:
Mix 2 tsps papaya pulp and 10 drops of lemon juice. Apply on face and neck, leave for 20 minutes and rinse off.
Or take the juice of the pulp of any fruit (orange, sweet lime, water melon or papaya) and apply on the face. This soothes and cleanses the skin, closes the pores and stimulates blood circulation.
Caution: Do a test by applying the juice behind the ear. If it causes redness or itching do not use.

For dry skin
Warm milk is excellent for rough skin. Mix oat meal or almond powder in milk. Apply on the face, when dry scrub in a circular motion. Wash with clear water
Or mix 1 tsp of Olive oil with 2 tsps of fresh cream. Apply on the face and leave for 10 minutes. Remove with cotton wool pads soaked in water.

Fruit packs
*Beat a mashed banana in 1 tsp of salad or vegetable oil. Apply and leave for 20 minutes till it dries. Rinse off. This nourishing mask should be used at least once a week.

*1 tsp of honey, 15 drops of orange juice, 1 tsp spoon of fullers earth and 1 tsp of rose water. Mix well. Apply on the face and wash after 10 minutes.

*Mix 3/4 cup of rose water, 1/4 cup of glycerine, 1 tsp vinegar and 1/4 tsp honey. Keep in a bottle, use regularly after cleansing the skin.

Packs for those suffering from acne
*Mix 2 tsp of egg white, 2 pods of crushed garlic and 1 tsp of Lacto Calamine. Apply on the face and wash after 20 minutes.

*Mix in one bottle (250 ml) of rose water ¼ tsp vinegar, 5 drops of glycerine and 2 drops of camphor. This is an excellent moisturiser.

For aging skin
*To a large pinch of crushed almonds add ¼ tsp of cleansing cream or milk. Massage well on the skin. Wash off.
*Mix a few drops of the essential aroma oil Pachholi with almond oil. Apply every morning and at night. This helps to maintain the rhythm of cellular reproduction.
Use a face pack regularly. This will go a long way in keeping the skin healthy and glowing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hair Care

HAIR and the scalp must be kept scrupulously clean. Our grandmothers and mothers followed a regular ritual of washing hair. Hair and the scalp were anointed and massaged with oils and washed with reetha (soapnut), shikakai and other herbal extracts.

Washing of hair has assumed greater importance today, specially for city dwellers because we are exposed to many chemical pollutants, dirt, smoke etc., which cling to the hair, making it necessary to wash your hair frequently.

One of the most frequently asked questions is how often one should wash hair. Actually, washing does not harm hair. It is the product that you use that can be harmful.

Harsh shampoos can strip the hair of its natural oil and leave an acidic residue on the scalp and this can cause damage. You should wash hair as often as you need to in order to keep the scalp and hair in good condition. The frequency of your shampoo depends on your

hair type:
* whether your hair is dry or oily.
* the season - during humid weather you need to wash your hair more frequently.
* the area you live in - rural or urban and the pollution level.
* the general condition of your hair. For instance if your hair has suffered damage due to the use of permanent wave lotions or chemical dyes or exposure to hair dryers - less frequent shampooing is recommended.

Choosing a shampoo
Shampoos come in various forms including creams, semi liquids and gels. These are different shampoo bases. Some are gentler on hair and skin than others. The detergent content in shampoos for greasy hair is higher than those for normal or dry hair. The balance of the various ingredients in a shampoo is important, so is their ability to deal with different hair types and conditions.
So, while choosing a shampoo, do not go by the brand name but by the contents that suit your hair.

Dry hair: Choose a shampoo which is formulated to nourish dry hair - look for ingredients that contain oil e.g. coconut, palm, almond etc., as these help to soften hair.
Oily hair: Oily hair needs to be gently cleaned without causing any irritation to the scalp. Use a shampoo which contains Camoline - this makes hair shiny. Lemon shampoo - this contains lemon essence or citric acid and helps to cut grease and gives shine.
Coloured hair: If you use a dye or henna - it adds artificial pigment to the hair - it requires special care to keep hair healthy, make the colour last long and add shine. A number of companies make shampoos for coloured hair. One of the best is L'oreal.
Dandruff, itchy scalp: You need to use a medicated or treatment shampoo. These shampoos usually contain Cetrimide and Selenium Sulphide.
Preperm shampoo: If you perm your hair - make sure that your hairdresser uses a preperm shampoo.

Tips for cleansing and washing hair:
Wet your hair thoroughly before applying shampoo. Do not use very hot water or hard water to wash. Using a lot of shampoo does not make your hair cleaner, but only leads to depletion of oil and moisture. Apply shampoo with a light massage, working into the scalp and hair with fingertips. Rinse your hair well after shampoo to get rid of the soapy residue.
To dry your hair, first wrap your head in a towel and let it soak the excess water. Then gently blot your hair instead of vigorously rubbing with the towel. Do not brush or comb wet hair. Use a wide tooth comb to get all the tangles out, working from the ends upwards. Avoid using hair dryers as much as possible. Let the hair dry naturally.

Hair conditioning: Beautiful hair is one that is shiny, has resilience and elasticity, neither too limp nor too dry.
Our hair suffers from the abuses rendered by the city environment - the water we drink and wash our hair with is laden with chemicals. That is not all - we use harsh chemical treatments like perming, colouring etc. Emotional crisis, hormonal problems and adverse weather conditions add to all this. Resulting in split ends, dryness or oiliness, limpness etc. This is when a conditioner comes to the rescue.

A conditioner is a beauty preparation that improves the texture of the hair and makes them easily manageable. There are conditionerses for various types of hair and are applied after shampooing.

Conditioning is an important aspect of the haircare routine. Almost all kinds of hair need conditioning to some extent or the other. Conditioning is usually carried out to rejuvenate the hair which has been usually robbed off its vitality. Conditioning is a restorative routine and falls in the category of preventive haircare routine.
There are two kinds of conditioners — one that are rinsed out and the other that you leave on the hair.
The special cream rinse conditioners are designed to untangle the frizz in the hair. Many also add the welcome beauty benefit of gloss to the hair. The cream rinse coats the hair to help minimise stress due to brushing, combing, setting and keeps breakage and split ends under control. Cream rinses only softens hair.

Deep conditioning is done when hair is in a very damaged condition and is brittle and broken. Deep conditioners contain large amounts of protein and for these proteins to get absorbed, deep conditioners should be applied for a longer time. In short, conditioners help to restore body and bounce to limp hair, to restore the acid mantle and remove the snarls and helps restore the loss of moisture.

Choose the conditioner according to the condition of your hair. If you have frizzy, tangled hair, go in for a moisturising cream conditioner. For coloured damaged hair, use a conditioner formulated for coloured hair. Choose the shampoo and conditioner made by the same company. If your hair is badly damaged, go to a salon and get a deep conditioning done.

Tips for conditioning
Shampoo your hair and let the excess water drain away.
Take the conditioner in your palm and apply on your hair.
Divide hair into sections and spread the conditioner throughout the hair. You can use a wide tooth comb to spread it.
Leave it on the hair for 1 to 3 minutes.
Rinse with water.

Home-made conditioners
Mix the following to prepare the magic rinse.
1 tsp of castor oil + 1 tsp of amla oil on Brahmi Oil + 1 tsp of Malt vinegar + 1 tsp of glycerine + 1 tsp of shampoo. The castor oil gives body to hair, the herbal oil acts like hair tonic, vinegar restores the acid mantle, glycerine moisturises and the shampoo helps to blend the ingredients. Before washing hair, apply this mixture to the hair gently and have it on for 20 minutes. Then wash it off with a shampoo and feel the marvellous change in your hair texture.

Henna conditioner:
For oily hair - mix heena with 2 table spoons of yoghurt and a pinch of sugar to a light paste, add a bit of water if the paste is thick and apply. Leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse well.
For dry hair - mix heena + 1 table spoon of oil (any natural oil) and add enough warm milk to make a paste, apply and have it on your for 20 minutes and wash it off. Henna conditioners give colour, sheen and body to hair.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tips to Get rid of Dandruff

AT SOME TIME or the other, most of us are confronted with problems related to hair. One of the most common among these is dandruff, which can occur at any time, right from childhood to old age

Dandruff is the single most common problem that anybody could have. To have a few white-flaked cells is normal, for, it is simply the sloughing off matured skin cells and waste materials through the pores of the scalp. It is only when this becomes excessive that it has to be considered a problem. Well looked after, clean healthy hair with proper acid balance does not have the problem of dandruff.
There are two forms of dandruff — oily and dry. The dry dandruff appears as loose white flakes and the scalp itches a lot. The oily dandruff is sticky and yellow in colour. The oily form is found mostly in adolescents and adults with an excessively oily skin and scalp.

Causes of dandruff
The basic causes of dandruff are:
1. Faulty diet
2. Emotional tension and stress
3. Hormonal disturbances *
(*The reason why so many adolescents have dandruff is that this is the time they secrete an excess of androgen hormones which produces more sebum and the sebum attracts dirt and breeds bacteria resulting in dandruff).

dandruff is a scalp disease. Some forms of dandruff can cause severe itching and when one scratches the scalp to relieve itching, further damage is caused. Any damage to the scalp, with nails can cause secondary bacterial infection. All these put together give rise to a more serious problem, accelerating hair loss and undermining the health of the hair.

How to get rid of dandruff:
Your mantra to get rid of dandruff is to keep your hair clean. Follow the routine given below:

1. Wash your hair and scalp frequently — it could be daily or every other day depending upon how stubborn your dandruff is. Rub your scalp with your fingertips and not your nails. This will clean the scalp as well as improve blood circulation.

2. If your hair and scalp are oily, you should use a herbal shampoo since washing your hair with frequent strong shampoo can cause harm to your hair.

3. Massage and daily brushing are extremely helpful for treating dandruff. They increase the blood circulation to the scalp and dislodge the dead skin cells sticking to the scalp.

4. If you have dry dandruff, use oil to massage your hair, especially before washing your hair.

5. Dandruff can be infectious; so, avoid using other people's hairbrushes and combs. If you have dandruff, soak your brush and comb in a mug of hot water containing an antiseptic solution, every time you wash your hair.

6. Medicated shampoo and rinses are available in plenty. These are actually anti-dandruff lotions whose main ingredients are made up of (a) An antiseptic agent to clear the infection (b) An agent to maintain the natural acid mantle of the scalp. The anti dandruff shampoo `Head & Shoulders' has been shown to give good results for controlling dandruff.

7. Dandruff can cause skin problems like pimples, acne or rash. Those prone to dandruff often get small rashes/pimples on the forehead or cheeks or the back. In fact, it can lead to severe acne infections, spreading to the back, chest and upper arms, wherever the skin comes in contact with hair.

8. Diet plays a very important role in the treatment of dandruff. The objective is to restore health to the scalp.
* Drink 6-8 glasses of water
* Avoid nuts and dried fruits, chocolates, deep fried foods.
* Include green leafy vegetables like spinach or any keerai daily in your diet.
* If you are a non-vegetarian, eat more of fish and chicken than mutton.
* If you are a vegetarian, include more milk and its products to give you more protein.
* Vitamin A and C play an important role in keeping the skin healthy. Vitamin A is present in some animal foods like butter and ghee, whole milk, curds, egg yolk, liver etc. Fish liver oils like Cod & Holibut are some of the richest known natural sources of the Vitamins. Today these oils are available in the market in the form of capsules. Take one capsule daily. For the vegetarians, leafy vegetables such as spinach, amaranth and red and yellow coloured fruits and vegetables like mangoes, papaya and tomato are rich sources of Carotene — the precursor for Vitamin A.

For Vitamin C, include citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime and guava in your diet. Sprouted legumes and amla are also high in Vitamin C.

Home remedies
Dandruff is one problem that can be easily taken care of with home remedies.

For Oily Dandruff:
1. Trifla Lotion: buy some trifla from the market, powder it, mix one tsp. of it in one glass of water and boil. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes, cool it and strain it. Mix with equal quantity of cider vinegar or malt (not synthetic vinegar) and massage this lotion gently in the scalp and leave it on. Use it as a nightly massage. Shampoo with a mild herbal shampoo in the morning.

2. Vinegar Rinse: To a mug of water, mix two tablespoons of malt vinegar. After shampooing, rinse the hair with it. Towel-dry your hair. This is an excellent remedy to prevent oily dandruff.

3. Dandruff Cleanser — Soak two spoonful of fenugreek (methi seeds) in water overnight. In the morning, make a paste of the seeds and apply on the head. Leave it on for half an hour. Then wash your hair with soapnut (reetha) or shikakai and water. You could also use a herbal shampoo instead to wash your hair. Do this routine twice a week.

For Dry Dandruff:
1. Boric Powder treatment: Take one tsp of boric powder which is available with the Chemist — this is what you wash your eyes with. Take one spoon of this powder, mix it with warm coconut oil and apply on the scalp; keep for 2-3 hours and then wash with a mild or herbal shampoo. Repeat at least once a week. This is a very effective treatment for dandruff and helps to maintain the acid balance of the scalp.

2. Oil Massage — For best results, massage your scalp with 1 tsp. hot castor oil and 1 tsp. coconut oil and 1 tsp. of til oil. Leave it on for about half an hour and then shampoo. Follow this routine twice a week, especially in winter.

3. Shatone Treatment — This is a Salon treatment that combines electric high frequency treatment and a hair tonic made from herbs. Usually 10 sittings help to get rid of dandruff. This treatment is available at all Shanaz Hussain Franchise Salons.

4. Cleanser — Take about 5 tablespoons of yoghurt and squeeze half a lime in it; add 2 spoonful of green gram powder and mix it well. Apply on scalp and leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash your hair with a creamy shampoo thoroughly. Follow this routine at least once a week.

If your dandruff does not clear up after this treatment, then you should take medical advise as it could be due to a fungal infection.

Skin Care Routine

skincare routine of CTM, i.e., Cleaning, Toning and Moisturising.

Moisturising and nourishing
THE MOST important part of skin-care routine is moisturising. Moisture is very essential for the skin to remain healthy, soft, supple, smooth and firm. The skin has the ability to retain moisture and to moisturise itself. However, various factors can cause depletion of moisture and make the skin dehydrated and dry. Some of the factors which cause dehydration are:
* Dry cold weather;
* Excessive exposure to air;
* Constant exposure to air conditioning and heating;
* Excessive make-up.
With lack of moisture in the skin, the cells of the outer layer become dry and shrivel up. This makes the skin texture rough and becomes fragile leaving the inner layers exposed to further loss of moisture. The skin is now vulnerable to the formation of lines and wrinkles and becomes sensitive. The end-result is premature ageing.

Functions of a moisturiser:
A GOOD moisturiser is one that not only prevents loss of moisture and rehydrates the skin but also helps to speed up the process of cell-renewal. It should also contain active ingredients that supply vitamins, minerals and enzymes to nourish the skin, keep it healthy and minimise cellular build-up on the skin surface. Many natural ingredients which have the above qualities are being incorporated into moisturising lotions and creams.

Two good natural moisturisers are
1) Honey
2) Aloe Vera.

* Honey naturally helps attract moisture to the skin from the atmosphere. Honey-based creams provide intensive moisturisation. They are ideal for dry and dehydrated skins.
* Aloe Vera is one of the most versatile plant ingredients. The plant has a unique moisture-retentive ability and powerful healing properties. One of the main properties of Aloe Vera is its ability to seal off moisture from the skin.

Cleansing gels containing aloe-vera have helped acutely dehydrated skins restore health and for sensitive conditions. Another quality is its action on dead epithelial cells on the skin surface. Aloe Vera aids to soften these dead cells aiding their removal from the surface, leaving the skin smoother. The removal of dead cells improves the function of the skin. It also has an astringent action and tightens the skin, thus protecting it from early ageing. It has also shown excellent results on sun-damaged skin with its moisturising, softening and healing actions.
So, when you are choosing a moisturiser, read the label well and choose one which contains honey/aloe vera. For normal to dry skin, use moisturising creams containing honey along with sandalwood.
OILY SKINS need moisturising too, especially in cold dry weather. Use a light liquid moisturiser soon after cleansing and toning while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture and prevent moisture loss.

Nourishing is a way of supplying emollients to the skin so that it can hold moisture better and perform its other functions. In dry and ageing skins, the secretion of sebum, the skin's natural oil, is low. Nourishing helps to replenish and feed the skin; therefore, nourishing is a must in the daily night-care routines, so that the skin is replenished after it has suffered assaults by exposure to the sun, chemical air pollutants, low humidity conditions and make-up. It also prepares the skin for the night so that the process of renewal and repair can carry on efficiently while you are asleep.

How to choose your nourishing cream:
A NOURISHING cream is a "skin food" that is enriched with emollients and Vitamin A & E, which are necessary for nourishing the skin. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and helps in minimising cross-linking damage. Cross-linking is an oxidation process that causes degeneration to the supportive tissues and thus hastens premature ageing of the skin. Vitamin E also promotes the healthy regeneration of new skin cells. Read the label and buy a nourishing cream of a reputed company which has Vitamin A & E in it. Among the herbal creams, choose something which contains active ingredients like wheat germ oil, carrot, cabbage, and almond which provides valuable vitamins and minerals.

Procedure for using nourishing cream:
AFTER CLEANSING, apply your nourishing cream. Massage your face lightly using upward and outward movements. Avoid areas around the eyes. Pay more attention to dry patches. Keep for 5-15 minutes, remove the moist cotton. Never sleep with cream on, as it blocks your pores.

Eye area:
After cleansing the area around the eyes, apply an outer eye cream. Leave for 5 minutes and remove with moist cotton wool. Take care not to pull or drag the skin around the eyes. Special eye creams are today manufactured by good cosmetic firms. Always try a little cream first to test for allergy. Among the herbal creams, use an almond-based eye cream.

Home-made moisturiser:
Mix ¾ cup of rose water, ¼ cup glycerine, 1 tsp. of vinegar and ¼ tsp. of honey and keep it in a bottle. Use it regularly after cleansing.

Home-made nourishing mask:
Mash a banana and beat in a tsp. of salad or vegetable oil. Brush it on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes till it dries. Then rinse it off. This nourishing mask should be used once a week at least.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wrinkle Free Skin

Although wrinkles can be signs of experience and wisdom, naturally it could be a matter of bother to many. Skin ages all over the body; but more so where there has been exposure to the sun - which is a lot in tropical weather, especially in Chennai. Exposure to sunlight causes dryness, roughness, sagging and finally wrinkles.

Wrinkles can be divided into two categories.
* Fine surface lines which appear first and
* Deep furrows that appear as age advances.

Wrinkles do not just appear on the face, but also on the face, neck, the back of the hands and top of forearms.

Factors that promote wrinkle formation:
SMOKING, pursing of lips leads to formation of fine lines
* Skin type - people with light coloured skin are more susceptible to sun damage and hence more wrinkles.

* Heredity (some families wrinkle more; so if your grandmother at 60-70 still has smooth skin, chances are that you will have less wrinkles).

* Dress - long or short as it determines how much skin is exposed to the sun.

* Occupation - people who are mostly outdoors, have more exposure to the sun over the course of many years tend to have more wrinkles.

Preventive measures
* THE most important preventive measure is to use a sunscreen lotion when you are outdoors. For India, use of sunscreen with SPF 30 or above; apply the sunscreen at least half-an-hour before you go out; repeat every three hours.

* Limit alcohol intake - large amounts of alcohol consumption leads to blotches and puffiness and when this goes down, wrinkles set in.

* Drink at least eight glasses of water to hydrate your skin.

* Do not go on crash diets. Yo-yo gain and loss can make your skin sag by wearing out the supporting fibres.

* Exercise in fresh air or walk daily for at least 15 - 30 minutes in the open. This stimulates the circulation and oxygen supply to the skin and helps to delay onset of wrinkles.

* Take time out to relax facial muscles. This can be done both by meditation or a facial every month after you are 30 years old.

* Don't sleep with your face scrouched into your pillow.

* Place a thin strip of cloth soaked in groundnut oil over your forehead. Leave it on for 10 minutes. Do this three times a week.

* Always wear sun glasses with UV protection. This prevents crows feet.

* Use reading glasses as soon as you need them; otherwise you will be puckering your eyes.

* Do not keep rubbing your eyes all the time. This can stretch the delicate skin.

* Stop smoking as pursing your lips around a cigarette can etch up lines.

* Keep your hands off your face. Sitting with your chin in your hands pushes your skin out of its natural position and stretches it.

Treatments available for wrinkles:
Cosmetic treatment

A NUMBER of anti-wrinkle creams are available in the market. Choose creams that contain liposomes, antioxidants like Vit. E, Panthenol and Provitamin B5. These creams make wrinkles look less prominent. Choose a cream to suit your skin type and a reputed parlour for a facial once a month.
Consult an experienced beautician for a facial which prevents pimples.

Medical procedures:
TODAY THE two most popular medical procedures are:
* Laser removal of wrinkles. This treatment is almost painless and there is little or no redness. You may require a few sittings over a period of months.

* Botox - is getting popular in India. A lot of film stars and models use it to keep their appearance intact. Botox is brand name for Botulinum Toxin Type A. Botulinum toxin is used to eliminate frown lines, horizontal forehead lines, crows feet and worry lines. Botox blocks impulses from the nerve to the tiny facial muscles to stop them contracting, leaving the overlying skin smooth and wrinkle-free. The pain associated with the injection is minimal. Treatment takes 15 minutes depending on the areas you wish to get treated. It takes seven days to see the full effect and lasts for 3-5 months. You will need to repeat the injections 2-3 times a year. Nowadays people have `botox kitty parties' where these injections are given to both men and women. For safety, choose an experienced doctor.
Diet for avoiding the onset of wrinkles:

* GET FISH to your table at least twice a week. Oily fish like Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines are the richest source of active Omega-3 fatty acids which strengthen collagen and elastic fibres and thus prevent wrinkles, sagging and dryness. If you are a vegetarian, Omega-3 fatty acid is available in capsule form at the pharmacies.

* Eat berries like our grandmothers did - purple, dark red, blue berries eg. jamun, phalsa and dark cherries. These have anti-aging properties because they get their colour from the wrinkle-buster antioxidant flavinoid Anthocyanin. Cauliflower and broccoli also have cell-protecting anti-oxidants, beta-carotene as well as Vitamin A and C.

Tips to hide your wrinkles:
USE LIQUID make-up to camouflage lines, blend well so that it does not set into crevices.
* Blush-on used on cheek bones can take away attention from the wrinkles.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Get Rid of Dark Circles

Under-eye circles
This is a common problem, generally attributed to heredity, lack of sleep, mental and physical fatigue, stress and improper diet.

If your dark circles are hereditary, you can hope to lighten them and camouflage them by the treatment given below, but they will not vanish.

Sleep is very essential to health and beauty. Make sure you get your 6-8 hours of sleep. Some people need more and some people need less. Skin revives itself when you sleep.

If you suffer from insomnia or chronic fatigue, something very common during menopause, consult your doctor, and along with medical help, follow the instructions given below.

A nutritious diet goes a long way in preventing dark circles. Insufficient iron, which causes anaemia, is also responsible for dark circles. To get rid of those dark circles or prevent them, do the following:

-- Eat a green leafy vegetable daily.
-- If you are a non-vegetarian, include liver and egg, especially yolk, in your diet.
-- Iron supplement can be taken in the form of tablets.
-- Figs and sultanas are sources of iron.
-- Wheat contains more iron when compared with rice; include wheat at least once in your daily diet.
-- Drink plenty of liquid. Consume at least 6-10 glasses of water daily. Moisture is the key to a good complexion.

Stress -- mental and physical -- also increases dark circles. To relax, close your eyes. Squeeze the juice from a grated cucumber, dip a cotton pad and place it on your eyes.

Put on some soothing music, lie down and relax. Dark circles tend to intensify with the increase in the number of hours spent before the TV and the PC.

Tips for treatment at home
At bedtime, cleanse the skin around the eyes using an herbal cleanser. Wipe off very gently with moist cotton. Apply an almond-based under-eye cream around your eyes. Remove it using moist cotton after 10 minutes. Creams should not be left on the skin around the eyes when you go to sleep.

For daytime, you can try the following: Powder almonds and store in an airtight bottle. Make a paste using milk and apply around the eyes in the morning. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and wash with water. Take care not to pull or drag the skin around the eyes.

Some parlours do a special under-eye treatment. Specially formulated masks containing seaweeds are also available for the purpose. Seaweed has a revitalising effect when applied under the eyes. When it dries, wash off with water. This should be used once a day.

Fresh air and exercise
Oxygen is vital to your skin. It has been observed that if you are continuously breathing in stagnated air (for example, if you work for 12 hours in an air-conditioned office), you are prone to dark circles. To offset this, take an half-an-hour brisk walk daily and do some deep breathing exercises. This will do you as much good as an expensive under-eye treatment.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tips to improve complexion

For most of us complexion means fair or dark. But complexion is the total effect of the skin - colour, tone and clarity.

Factors affecting complexion
*Genetic: This determines the colour of your skin, number of oil glands, seat glands etc. Therefore, people belonging to different races have different skin type, colour and tone.
*Age: With age we find that the skin loses its sheen and its texture becomes thin, dry and loose. The cell renewal process diminishes with age.
*Improper skin care: The first two factors are natural. But we can prevent our complexion from deteriorating by avoiding the following:
Improper cleansing of oily skin darkens the skin and leads to blemish causing acne.
The texture of the oily skin worsens if the enlarged pores are not arrested; so, be sure to do your toning process daily to close the pores.
Cleansing, moisturising and nourishing are essential aspects of dry skin care. If you avoid this routine, the texture of your skin will turn dry and flaky resulting in dull complexion.
*Use of wrong cosmetics:
Excessive use of wrong cosmetics like oil-based chemical make-up products adversely affect the condition of the skin. The complexion turns sallow, yellow and the texture become thick and greasy.
Go slow on fairness creams. Some fairness creams contain mercury drug preparations. They are photosensitive and cause patchy discolouration of the skin in the sun.

Home care to improve complexion
*Cleansing: Use face wash for the face and soap for the rest of your body.
*Face scrubs to remove dead skin:
For normal skin - mix green gram and Bengal gram powder in equal quantity in milk and apply on face. When dry pat with water, scrub in a circular motion and rinse with water. This helps to give the skin a smooth appearance. Should be used at least twice a week.
For oily skin - Use an oatmeal and sandalwood scrub.
Mix one tsp of oatmeal and ¼ tsp of sandalwood powder. Apply on face and scrub gently in circular motion.

After cleansing, use a toner. You can use a readymade toner or just mix 1 tsp. of lemon juice with rose water and apply.
*To control open pores:
Mix tomato juice and honey and apply on skin daily. Keep on for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
*Moisturising dry skin:
After cleansing and toning, use a moisturiser. You can choose between a readymade and a home-made moisturiser. Mix 1 spoon of glycerine and a few drops of Vitamin E oil; apply on the face. Rinse off after 20 minutes. This gives a soft and smooth texture.

*Complexion masks to lighten skin colour:
Make a paste with 1 tsp milk powder, 2 tsp honey and juice of half a lemon, apply on your face, leave it on till it dries and then rinse off.
If you are the busy one with no time, do the following. Take a lime and cut it into two.
Rub one half on the face gently. Squeeze the other half into a cup of water, add a little rock salt and drink it. Do it for 6-8 weeks regularly. There will be a marked improvement in your skin colour.

*Diet plays an important role in improving the complexion and texture of the skin.
*Drink a glass of lemon juice daily. This contains Vitamin C which improves the complexion.
*Include a glass of carrot juice or any mixed vegetable juice in your daily diet.
*Soak fenugreek (methi seeds) in a glass of water overnight. Drink the water and eat the seeds the next morning. This not only improves the complexion but also acts as a pain-reliever.
*Include one keerai (green leafy vegetable) daily in your diet. This contains a lot of iron and micronutrients and helps to get rid of dark circles.
*Take honey in some form. If you are plump, take a glass of honey and juice of half a lemon in water at room temperature. Alternatively, you can add honey to your toast instead of jam. Honey has Vitamin B-Complex that is essential for good skin colour.
*Yoghurt is a wonder food. Eat it as well as use it to massage your skin. It tones up both dry and oily skin.

*Avoid using strong soaps on your face.
*Go slow on bleaching and lightening creams as these harm the skin.
*Do not apply perfumed lipstick.
*If you have acne problem, do not pick on pustules as these will leave marks.
*The Sun is the skin's worst enemy. Exposure to the ultraviolet rays damages the collagen fibres and will darken the complexion. It can also make the skin dry and rough. If you cannot avoid going out in the sun, make sure to use a sunscreen meant for Indian skin.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Types of face packs

YOUR FACE is the most important part of your personality. It provides a great deal of information about you, your health, your age and your state of mind. The skin on your face is the most valuable asset. When you are young, you do not need to take much care of your skin. The problem of pimples begins at teenage. And as you grow older, your skin starts looking pale and lifeless. No matter how much make up you apply, it's difficult to get back that natural glow. So, it's essential to take extra care of your face as you grow old. Facial is one of the most common ways of refreshing your skin. It is a deep skin treatment and helps to counteract the ravages of age, pollution and UV rays. A lot of skin problems such as blemishes, acne, dry skin and wrinkles can be prevented and reduced with regular facials. If appropriate technique and products are used, this treatment can be effective to make the skin smooth and shining.

There are different types of facials offered by salons. The kind of facial you should go in for depends on your skin type, lifestyle and general health. When you get the facial done for the first time, go to a qualified beautician, who can assess your skin type and recommend an appropriate facial. Also make sure that you get your facial done by a professionally qualified and experienced beautician in hygienic surroundings. Otherwise, there are chances of getting skin infections.

A basic or normal facial includes thorough cleaning, massage with a nourishing cream, removal of blackheads and use of a facemask (depending on your skin type/specific problems).

Types of facials
Apart from basic facials, some of the popular facials done at most beauty salons are:

*Acne facial
It is meant for treatment of acne. Specific creams and masks are used to dry the pimples, clean blackheads and lighten acne scars. Sometimes a beautician may use high frequency current to dry the pimples.

*Facial for lightening the skin colour.
Herbal vegetable peels or cosmetic products with a galvanic machine are used to achieve a lighter skin tone.

*Bio lift facial
A special bio-mask is used for a face-lift. This facial is usually recommended for people in the forty-plus age group.

*Fruit facials
Fruit pulp like papaya or fruit and vegetable juices are used as they contain beta-carotene and antioxidants. The benefits of a fruit facial are achieved only in conjunction with a galvanising machine.
A word of caution: make sure you do a patch test with the fruit or fruit juices to check if you are allergic to that particular fruit/juice; otherwise you may end up with rashes and burns.

*Alpha hydroxyl facials
Products with high potency of AHAs are used to treat pigmentation, dull skin and wrinkles.

*Aroma facials
Essential aroma oils are mixed with cannien oil and used for massage. Different oils have different properties. Therefore, the kind of oil used depends on individual needs. For instance, eucalyptus oil improves skin elasticity and Patchouli oil rejuvenates the skin, helps in treating cracked skin and wrinkles.

Exotic facials

*Gold facial
This is a clinical treatment and uses special methods of massage. The treatment encourages lymphatic drainage and removal of wastes and toxins. The main ingredients are gold cream and gold gel. These contain 24 carat gold, aloe vera, wheat germ oil and sandalwood. The gold facial helps to improve blood circulation, skin elasticity, rejuvenates the skin and helps in delaying the formation of lines and wrinkles.

*Pearl facial
The precious pearl and whitening rehydrated moisturising cream is used along with sea oil and a sea scrub. Research has revealed that pearls contain a combination of natural substances that help to improve rejuvenation of the skin cells. This treatment is ideal for pigmented skin, provides hydration to the skin and makes the skin firm, supple, smooth and young.

The question asked often is when should one start having a facial and how often.
Have it done once a month after the age of 30.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunscreens and Sunblocks

Exposure to the sun is the main cause of wrinkled, rough and blotchy skin. Photo-damage is the term used by dermatologists to describe damage caused to the skin by the sun. In fact, dryness of skin, patchy discolouration, darkening, tanning, pigmentation, age spots, wrinkles and other signs associated with not so young skin are the direct cumulative result of unprotected sun exposure, rather than ageing itself.

The sunrays that cause damage to the skin are UV rays (ultraviolet rays). Our skin is exposed to two kinds of UV rays:

UVA rays:
These are long wave, intense rays that can penetrate deep into the skin. Not only do they lead to dryness, wrinkles, darkening and pigmentation but they also result in deeper damage to the collagen and elastin fibres causing sagging of the skin. The UVA rays come into the house through windows and also through clothing especially thin and loose clothes.

UVB rays:
These are short wave, intense light rays. They not only cause sunburn but they also intensify the effect of UV rays. UVB or the burning rays are more prevalent during summer and strongest at mid-day.

UV rays
*Thinning of the epidermis.
*Damage to epidermal cells, the defence cells and the colour cells.
*Deep damage to the collagen and elastic tissue in the dermis.

The result
*Thin, dry and fragile skin
*Patchy, darkening and pigmentation
*Wrinkles - fine lines as well as deeper ones
*Loss of suppleness and elasticity
*Reduced immunity, making us more susceptible to allergies and infections

Skin exposed to UV light forms high energy molecules called free radicals. These discharge energy and cause further damage to neighbouring skin cells.
How do you tell that skin has become sun damaged? These are the several signs - the skin has a dull greyish appearance, blotching, tanning or pigmentation which will be patchy, freckles, moles, dark spots and of course, the dreaded wrinkles; however, one of the earliest signs is the dryness of the skin.

Sunscreens and sunblocks:
These protect your skin from photodamage. Actually sunscreens are probably the best anti-wrinkle treatment you can buy. Broadly speaking, each and everyone of us need to use a sunscreen on a daily basis even if we are indoors - in winter as well as in summer.
Sunscreens get into the skin and sit there like a line of defense. When UV rays hit the skin, the sunscreen grabs these and absorbs the dangerous energy before the rays can get into skin cells.
Sunblocks block UV light, causing it to reflect off the skin thereby never allowing it to penetrate the skin like a mirror sitting on the skin surface. Today most sunscreens have a combination of ingredients, thus making them sunblocks too.
The ability of a sunscreen to block out the sun's harmful rays is referred to as sun protection factor (SPF) and is designated as a number, for instance 10, 15, 30 etc. In other words, SPF is the protecting power of a sunscreen. SPF, however, denotes protection only against UVB rays.
Most sunscreens today contain antioxidants which act as fire extinguishers - they diffuse, put out or take the energy out from these radicals. Antioxidants can render free radicals harmless thereby sparing and protecting the surrounding skin cells from damage. Vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants. By using sunscreen products with antioxidants, you can reduce harm to your skin.

Some do's and don'ts:
Use a sunscreen with SPF of atleast 30. The higher it is the more effective.
Read well the label of the sunscreen before you use. Buy one which has both UVA and UVB blockers.

Apply sunscreen - atleast 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. This allows the sunscreen to be fully absorbed into the skin thus completely readying the skin to screen out the UV rays it encounters right from the beginning.

Don't be stingy. Make sure you use enough sunscreen; otherwise, you will not get the protection of the SPF rating given on the product. Use a blob about the size of a 50 paisa coin.

If you are going to be outdoor, apply sunscreen at regular intervals. A thumb rule is: reapply sunscreen every two hours when you are out in the sun.

Reapply sunscreen immediately after exercising or swimming even if your sunscreen claims that it is waterproof or sweat proof.

Do not forget your lips. Use sunscreen on your lips too. Unprotected lips can get badly burnt. Lips tend to get darker more than the rest of the facial skin on exposure to the sun.

Protect your eyes - give your eyes a sunscreen too - use sunglasses that have lenses with UV light protection. Wearing a proper eye protection helps prevent cataracts as well as squint lines from developing.

Avoid direct sun. When outdoors, stay in shady areas and wear a wide brimmed hat.
Wear the right clothes. During summer, choose loose cotton clothes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Myth and fact about shampoo

Most of us do not give the process of shampooing a second thought.
Drop some soap on the hair, work up some frenzied hand movements, get the maximum lather, rinse rapidly and voila!
The hair is clean. But is it? It's important to choose the right shampoo and also equally vital is how you go about this cleaning regime. Here are few general facts and fiction regarding shampoos.

Myth: Shampooing often dries the hair.
Fact: You should wash and shampoo your hair as often as it accumulates dirt or becomes limp. This is especially for working women who go out everyday.
UV rays and the pollution can play havoc with your healthy hair, creating a chemical imbalance on your scalp.
People with oily hair should cleanse their hair more often and for this daily regime they can choose a mild shampoo or dilute your regular shampoo in water. Always remember to apply conditioner to your hair after shampoo to shield it from harmful rays.

Myth: Use hot water to remove excess dirt from hair.
Fact: Very hot water makes the cuticles swell and stand away from the hair shaft, cold water flattens them providing a smooth and shiny surface. The age-old trick of rinsing hair under cold water after conditioning does really make a difference. For your regular shower its ideal to use tepid water.

Myth: Dandruff shampoos keep the flakes away.
Fact: Most of the anti-dandruff shampoos can eliminate the flakes temporarily but they may not prevent them from recurring. Using this kind of shampoo is only a preventive measure.
Some of the shampoos now have a good amount of moisturiser. Yet others make your hair feel dry and brittle. Leaving conditioner on your hair without a thorough rinse can also accumulate dandruffs.

Myth: Coloured hair does not need special shampoos.
Fact: Use special shampoos on treated hair. Use the one that enhances the colour or protects the colour coating.
Most of the colour products come with a conditioner to be used after colouring and generally shampooing is not recommended soon after colouring. Some of these shampoos leave an additional pigment on your hair. Others contain sunscreen character that protects the colour from fading. Even a mild shampoo can fade the colour. If you are not using a special shampoo then avoid using a shampoo on the hair for a few days.

Myth: You do not have to use a conditioner if you are using a shampoo with moisturiser.
Fact: Moisturising shampoo increases the shine of hair and removes tangles but only till the lather remains.
Once you wash away the lather the moisture also goes. You need to use a conditioner for long, damaged or brittle hair. You can avoid conditioner if you have oily hair or if it's short.

Myth: Shampoo brand has to be changed regularly to prevent your hair getting used to a particular shampoo.
Fact: This is a common myth and this is a reason good enough for us to try out new brands flooding the market. Hair does not get used to a shampoo.
A built-up is possible if you use too many styling products or a shampoo that contains a conditioner as well. Use shampoo according to the quality of your hair and use a conditioner separately.

Myth: The more the lather in a shampoo the cleaner the hair gets.
Fact: Actually it is the other way round. The heavy lather is only filled with air and not any cleansing agent. Thick foam that comes from small lather breaks up the dirt and the oil that accumulates on the scalp.
Only a small amount of shampoo is needed for short hair and a little more for longer ones. Excess shampoo could damage the hair lustre.

Myth: You should always lather and rinse twice.
Fact: Only if you have oil accumulated on your hair need you follow this instruction that you see on most of the shampoo bottles. This could me a marketing strategy followed by the companies.
If you have an oily hair it is ideal to shampoo at least every alternate day.
If you have dry hair, wash and shampoo only twice a week to prevent your hair from becoming brittle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tips to keep ur face clean n fresh

It is important for those with acne/pimple problems to keep their skin clean. Follow this routine:

Morning - Wash your hands and then your face with a medicated soap. Pat dry with a clean towel; do not rub with the towel. Saturate a piece of cotton with an astringent lotion or rose water to which some water has been added and press all over your face gently.
Rinse with cold water. This helps to close the pores and reduces oiliness.
If you are at home, apply a medicated cream on the pimples using your fingertip; do not spread the cream all over the face.
If you are going out, apply calamine lotion with a drop of clove oil/mint oil. Use it as a foundation on the face.

Mid-day - Repeat the same cleaning routine. Reapply the medicated cream if you are staying at home or apply calamine lotion if going out. Wash/cleanse your face four to six times a day.

Night - Repeat the same cleaning routine. Make a paste of sandalwood. Apply it with your fingertip on the pimples and scars. Keep overnight and wash in the morning.
This is an effective remedy to dry the pimples and lighten the scars. You can also use spirit of camphor or camphor lotion. This is available at the chemists. Apply on the pimples using an ear bud.
Deep cleanse twice a week to control black heads and keep pores free from clogging with excess oil — either get it done professionally at a beauty parlour or follow this method if you want to do it at home: Wet the face with warm water. Take a teaspoon of oats (cereal), add a few drops of water and apply on the face; then rub in a circular motion. Concentrate on areas where there are blackheads and excessive oiliness. Rinse gently.

Dos and don'ts
*Avoid using cream make-up and anointments that are oil-based.
*Don't rub, squeeze or pick the pustules.
*Follow skin care routine diligently.
*Avoid using beauty soaps.
*Try to avoid stress and strain. Meditate for 15 minutes daily or do yoga.
*In case you have dandruff, treat it immediately as it aggravates acne.
*If your acne is severe, consult a doctor. Diet plays an important role in the prevention of acne.
*During adolescence, girls and boys tend to eat a lot of junk, which triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. So avoid deep fried food.
*Also avoid dry fruits. Aerated drinks also aggravate pimples, besides chocolates and chocolate drinks. Go slow on spicy food and pickles as well as desserts that have a lot of cream.
*Drink six to eight glasses of water as it removes toxins and helps bowel movement and decontaminates the skin.
*Take a high-fibre diet, chapattis for instance, once a day rather than having rice twice.
for instance Include one green leafy vegetable such as spinach in your diet.
These are not only high in fibre but also contain lot of minerals and nutrients that help the skin.
For instance Eat legumes such as channa, rajma and karamani rather than meat or chicken — these are also high in fibre and protein and help in bowel movement. Constipation aggravates acne.
*Eat as much fruits and raw vegetables as possible — a salad before eating your meal works wonders as fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants.
*Include a tablespoon of sprouts in your breakfast. This will give you the day's requirement of vitamin C, which will keep your skin free from infection. Eat regular meals rather than snacking, and most importantly, don't go on crash diets as they aggravate acne.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tips on "How to Care ur Cosmetics"

. All of us have cupboards full of crumbling powders, worn out lipsticks and dusty jars of cream gifted by friends and relatives from abroad. Now is the time to clear out the clutter.

The seven golden rules to follow when storing cosmetics:
* Store cosmetics in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight; but not in a medicine type of box or under the sink. Humid and hot areas spoil the cosmetics.
* Check the expiry date, especially sunscreens and other SPF products. They not only lose effectiveness over time but also become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
* Keep your make-up tightly capped. This prevents oxidation and contamination thus prolonging the shelf life of your cosmetics.
* Watch for changes in colour, odour, texture and consistency such as product separation. There may be signs of growing bacteria.
* Never moisten make up with saliva or water. Saliva increases the chance of breeding bacteria.
* Don't share or lend your make-up or applicators - not even a quick dash of lipstick or eyeliner. Chances of getting infection from the other user are high.
* Last but not the least, if you get an eye infection or cold sore around your mouth - immediately throw out any products that may have come into contact with that area.

Some facts to help you ditch your cosmetics:
* Mascara: (shelf life - three months): Don't pump your brush in the tube. This introduces air, which promotes bacterial growth.
* Eye and lip pencils: (six months): Sharpen pencils before each use. This helps to clean the surface. Avoid using lip pencils as eye liners as some colourants are unsafe.
* Powder (face, blush): (6-12 months): Wash the sponge and applicators regularly with a milk shampoo/soap.
* Lipsticks (one year or more): Store at room temperature.
* Cleansers (6-12 months): Use tubes or pumps instead of jars.
* Toner (6-12 months): Apply with a clean cotton pad or ball.
* Moisturiser (6-12 months): Choose a pump or tube instead of a jar for hygienic storage.
* Undereye cream (6-12 months): Do not apply higher than your eye socket. Any higher may sting your eyes.
* Sunscreen: (one year but check expiry date): Don't leave outdoor or in direct sunlight. Thus knowing how to store beauty products will make them last longer and keep your skin free from rash or infection.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tan Free Skin

Sunburn usually occurs if you have been on a holiday to a mountainous region, where you are closer to the sun and the atmosphere is thinner resulting in sunburn (even if you have not been out in the sun much). Sunburn has detrimental effects on the skin in the long run. So, should be treated immediately.

Sunburn soothers
* Apply cod liver oil.
* Mix grated cucumber with milk and apply.
* Grate one fresh raw potato. Extract juice by squeezing in a muslin cloth. This treatment provides immediate relief.
* Calamine lotion (available at most chemist shops) is a very effective remedy. Apply liberally on affected areas and leave to dry.
* To one raw egg white, add one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of hazel. Apply on affected areas. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Wash with tepid water.

Suntan removers
All sunburn aids - vinegar, milk, potato juice, cucumber juice are good for removing tan. Apply on the affected area; keep for 10-15 minutes and wash. The above suntan removers have a drying effect on the skin; so, if you have a dry skin, make sure you use a moisturiser after this treatment.