AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com
These days, more and more companies are coming out with products that claim to solve all your beauty woes. While some of these products may actually work, they can be harmful for your skin in the long run. In this mega guide, we give you home remedies for common skin problems like pimples, acne scars, dark spots, tanning and more.
Home remedies to fight pimples
By using a few simple ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens, it is possible to find a quick-fix for those unsightly pimples on your face.
Cinnamon and Honey
Cinnamon is a common spice and flavouring agent but the essential oil it contains also has strong anti-microbial properties. The water activity of honey is very low and this means that it does not contain a lot of moisture which can promote the growth of microorganisms. Considering that pimples often arise from an infection within the pores of the skin, combining cinnamon with honey is an effective remedy.
Mix a little cinnamon powder with a little honey to make a paste; avoid adding water because it will destroy the action of honey. Dab a little of the paste on each pimple and allow to remain overnight; wash off with lukewarm water the next morning. Repeat for a few days if necessary.
Lemons contain vitamin C and phytonutrients called flavonoids that have a strong antioxidant as well as antibiotic action. Free radicals generated during the metabolic reactions within the body can damage the healthy cells of the body, causing inflammation and swelling. The antioxidants in lemonrestrict the action of these free radicals and this makes lemon juice an excellent remedy for pimples.
Squeeze out the juice from a freshly-cut lemon and dab a little directly on to the pimple. Leave on overnight and wash the next morning.
Mix a tablespoon of groundnut oil into an equal quantity of freshly squeezed lime juice and apply over the entire face; this provides long-term preventive action against blackheads that may later turn into pimples.
A word of caution regarding lime juice – it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and therefore, do not venture out in the sun when you have applied it to your face.
Tomatoes are acidic in nature and applying their pulp to the pimple causes the skin to dry and the pores of the skin in the region get tightened. This means there is a lesser chance of oil leaking from the pores to cause pimples. Tomato is also rich in antioxidants and applying the pulp to the face reduces inflammation and damage of the skin.
Cut a tomato in half, squeeze out a little of the pulp or the juice and apply on the pimple. If this causes you pain or drying of the skin, dilute the tomato pulp with a little water and use. Do not do this more than once or twice a day because it may lead to excessive drying of the skin which can be quite painful.
Remember how your grandmother always insisted on sprinkling a little turmeric on your wounds saying it would help it heal? Well, medical researchers are now finding that turmeric contains ingredients that make it a powerful antimicrobial. No wonder then that women in India have always been using turmeric paste claiming it keeps their skin healthy and glowing. Although you can apply turmeric paste directly to skin, consuming it with a little warm milk is also said to be an effective remedy for flawless skin.
- Mix a little turmeric powder with a little coconut oil and apply directly onto the pimples at night; next morning, wash your face with water to remove the paste.
- Dry a few neem leaves in the sun and grind to a fine powder. Mix equal quantities of this powder, turmeric powder and a little rose water to form a paste. Apply this to the pimples, leave it on for around 20 minutes or so and then wash your face. You could also substitute sandalwood powder for neem powder – this remedy works equally well for acne.
Home remedies to beat acne scars
A pimple arises due to some sort of skin damage; during the healing process, the body creates new skin cells and collagen fibers – this repair process leads to the formation of the acne scars. When it comes to reducing acne marks, it is important to remember this because whatever the form of treatment you use, the scars won’t really go away – its only their color, size and appearance that can be modified so as to render them undetectable. Here are a few home remedies you can try to lighten the acne scars.
According to Ayurveda, sandalwood or chandan is highly effective as a soothing and cooling agent, making it ideal to deal with skin problems. For use against acne scars, simply soak a piece of sandalwood in water for a few hours. Remove the wood, dry and store for reuse. Using a small ball of cotton, smear the sandalwood water slowly on the parts of the skin that has acne scars. Repeat every day for about a week and you are sure to notice a marked difference in your facial appearance.
Another way of using sandalwood is to rub a piece of sandalwood on a wooden base with a little rosewater to get a paste. Apply a small quantity of this paste on the acne scar and leave it on overnight. Wash the next morning with cold water.
Add a few seeds of fenugreek (methi) into a little water; boil for about 10-15 minutes. Allow the liquid to cool, strain out the seeds and using a cotton ball, apply the water to the acne scars. Do this regularly for about a week and you will see a reduction in the intensity of the scars’ appearance.
Neem contains alkaloids that give it distinct antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This makes it effective against a wide range of skin problems right from acne and eczema to ringworm because it also has the property of cleansing the body of toxins. For action against acne scars, place a neem leaf directly on the affected area for some time; do this regularly to see good results.
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar has the property of scraping off the old cells on the surface of the skin and this peeling action along with its antiseptic property makes it useful against acne scars. However, a direct application of vinegar may damage sensitive skin; so make sure you dilute it with a little water and apply this apple cider vinegar solution to the scars using a cotton ball.
Along with the use of these home remedies, it is important to take steps to prevent new pimples from erupting. Stress tends to cause hormonal changes that can worsen acne; so use deep breathing exercises and meditation to keep stress away. Cut down on your use of oil-based cosmetics such as moisturizers and make-up and even hair products; this will reduce the blocking of the pores in the skin and reduce your chances of an acne outbreak. While there is nothing you can do about the appearance of acne prior to or during the menstruation period, you can certainly avoid it getting worse by keeping your face clean and free from oil and adopting a ‘no touching or breaking pimples’ policy.
Home remedies to get rid of unwanted facial hair
Ask women what they find embarrassing about their face and quite a few will reveal it is the facial hair that they need to constantly battle with. While we all have a little hair on the face, there may be times when there is a sudden spurt of growth due to various reasons and this excessive hair growth is called hirsutism. The most common reason is generally a hormonal imbalance because it is the levels of oestrogen that determine hair growth. Unfortunately, hirsutism is a long-term problem and while you may opt for bleaching, waxing or shaving, they cannot provide a permanent cure. Here are a few home remedies that can help you deal with this problem without resorting to the use of chemicals.
Traditionally, women in many Indian homes regularly used a face pack made by mixing gram flour orbesan with turmeric. This was said to have the ability to remove the excess hair on the face, particularly around the mouth and chin.
Mix equal amounts of besan and turmeric and add a little water to make a thick paste. Apply to the problematic part of the face, leave on until it dries totally and then dip a cloth in warm water and use to rub off this face mask – you will find that along with the besan mixture, the strands of hair are also removed.
Alternatively, mix in a little curd or cream (malaai) to the besan-turmeric paste and apply for an equally effective hair removal remedy.
With a home-made wax-like substance, it is possible to remove facial hair quite effectively; however, you need to be prepared for the process to get a little messy and maybe even painful when compared to the turmeric or besan face pack. The molten sugar in this recipe provides the stickiness; honey and lemon act as bleach as well as help to soothe the skin.
Take about a tablespoon of sugar in a vessel, add in a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice; heat this lightly or microwave for about 3 minutes and mix to get a smooth paste. When the paste is still slightly warm, apply it to the part of the face from where you need to pluck the hair. Cover the area with a strip of cloth and immediately pull the cloth in the direction opposite to that in which the hair is growing.
Yet another remedy that works to pull off the hair in an action similar to waxing is the egg mask. This is quite easy to try at home because all ingredients are easily available.
Take the white of one egg, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar and half a tablespoon of corn flour. Beat to make a smooth paste and apply this to the portion of your face that has unwanted hair. Once it dries, it will take on the appearance of a thin mask covering your face; all you have to do is pull it off firmly and the hair will get pulled out, too.
When it comes to these home remedies for getting rid of unwanted hair, it is not that it will give you magical results overnight. Often, you have to keep repeating the treatment at regular intervals to see a difference that is noticeable. If you do not find relief even after trying these remedies on a regular basis, it is best to consult a doctor to find out if there is some other underlying medical problem that is causing the excessive growth of hair.
Home remedies to lighten stretch marks
If you’ve noticed unusual whitish and unsightly marks on the abdomen, upper arms, breasts, buttocks or legs, you probably have developed what is commonly referred to as stretch marks. These marks are most often a result of a sudden change – either an increase or a decrease – in body weight.
Therefore, they are usually observed after pregnancy, or in teenagers who undergo the spurt in growth because of the hormonal changes associated with adolescence. These stretch marks are difficult to totally obliterate; however, there are some home remedies for lightening them so that they don’t appear as prominent.
With its acidic nature and natural bleaching properties, lemon juice is one of the most effective remedies to lighten stretch marks. Simply cut a lemon, squeeze out the fresh juice and rub it gently onto the affected skin. Keep for about 10 minutes and then rinse off with a little warm water. Repeat a few times each day to see better results.
Vegetable oil massage
Traditionally, in many parts of India, during the first few months following childbirth, the mother is given an oil bath – that is, coconut oil or castor oil is massaged onto the entire body as well as the scalp and this is followed by a bath with hot water. Quite a few modern-day beauty treatment centers make use of the wisdom of this ancient custom. Vegetable oils such as coconut oil, castor oil and even olive oil have the property of moisturising skin and smoothing out the wrinkles. Both these actions ensure that these oils are equally good for getting rid of stretch marks.
Warm a little olive oil and massage it deep into the affected skin before going to bed. Rinse the next morning with a little warm water and a mild soap if necessary. Or, you could try a mix of olive oil and coconut oil, too. When it comes to castor oil, the best way is to rub slightly warmed castor oil directly onto the affected skin and then wrap a cloth dipped in hot (but not uncomfortably so) water around the area. Or,you could wrap a plastic sheet over the skin where you have rubbed in the oil and use a hot water bag over this area – the warmth allows the pores in the skin to open up and absorb the oil better.
The white of the egg is rich in protein and this is useful in dealing with stretch marks. Collect the whites from two eggs, whip gently and apply as a thick layer onto the marks. Once the egg pack has totally dried, rinse it out with water and then moisturise the area by applying some olive oil.
Home remedies to remove tan and dark spots
We love naturally dark skin. However, at times, prolonged exposure to bright sunlight or polluted air, ageing or hormonal fluctuations may cause patchy skin darkening making your skin look unhealthy. While cosmetic treatment is a probable option, it is generally not recommended except in a few extreme cases; by the regular use of a few simple home remedies, you can deal with darkened skin in the comfort of your home.
One of the simplest and safest bleaching agents you will find, lemon juice can work wonders for darkened skin. The ascorbic acid or vitamin C present in lime juice acts as an antioxidant and this action helps to lighten the colour of the skin. All you need to do is squeeze the juice from half a lemon and apply this with a cotton ball onto the area where the skin has darkened. Or you could even directly rub a cut lemon over the affected area to allow the juice to stick to the skin.
Leave on for at least an hour and then wash with water. But make sure you avoid exposure to sunlight when you have applied the lemon juice onto your skin or your skin will only get darker than before.
Besides using lemon juice alone, you could also try combining it with turmeric powder or tomato juice. Mix about 3 teaspoons of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder; apply this paste and leave it on for half an hour; then wash with water. Or make a puree from 2 medium-sized tomatoes and mix this with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and apply this to darkened skin for about 20 minutes.
Milk contains a compound called lactic acid and this has been found to help with lightening the colour of skin. Use a cotton ball to apply a little raw milk to the darkened skin; allow to dry and leave it on overnight; wash the next morning with a little warm water.
Since it is made of milk, yogurt also contains lactic acid and this gives it bleaching properties. You can also add in a little lemon juice and some oatmeal into the yogurt to make a thick paste and apply to the darkened skin. According to Ayurveda, the regular application of buttermilk (the thin liquid left behind after removing the cream from milk in the form of butter) on darkened skin can help keep the skin cool and refresh it.
When honey is applied to the face either alone or in combination with ingredients such as lemon juice and olive oil, it helps to remove the layer of dead cells on the outermost layer of skin. As a result, your skin appears brighter and fresh than before. Besides, honey also contains enzymes that help to make the skin soft and glowing. If you have sensitive skin and want to try honey on your face, make sure you try it out elsewhere – say on the arm – and check how your body reacts to it before applying it to your face.
Even better than using honey alone is to combine it with an equal quantity of lemon juice and milk powder and a little paste obtained from soaked almonds.
Home remedies to treat burn marks
When the skin gets burnt, it often leads to scarring of that area which can be very displeasing to look at. The burn itself is a painful memory to erase and the burn scar is a constant reminder of it. Here are some effective home remedies using traditional Indian herbs to get rid of burn scars by Dr Uma Singh, medical director of Nomarks (Ozone Ayurvedics).
A good way to remove scars at home is to gently massage the scar with almond oil. Massaging the scar twice a day will help to progressively reduce the scar.
Fenugreek seeds also help in getting rid of scars. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water overnight and grind it into a fine paste. Now apply this mixture gently on to the burn marks and leave it on. Once the paste has dried completely, you can wash it off with water. Apply this paste regularly to remove the scars. Cold water with turmeric also has antiseptic properties which work well on burnt skin.
The India Yunani Cotton-Ash Paste burn remedy has been used for centuries to treat even severe burns. Take a large piece of cotton wool (or any kind of pure, white cotton fabric) and burn it (perhaps in a metal pot). Use the ash of the burned cotton and mix with olive oil to get a thick paste. Spread this black paste on the burnt skin and cover with a cling film. Reportedly, the pain disappears in seconds and even the accompanied shock reduces in severity. If the pain is back, refresh it and use fresh paste on the wound. Use the paste for a week or so, depending on the severity of the burns.
Another age-old remedy is potato peels. They provide moisture and they also have anti-bacterial properties that help in healing. Doctors have found that potato peel bandages work better for minor burns than conventional dressings.