Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Monsoon is here and along with it, comes dry and flaky skin. Dry skin can turn out to be quite annoying. If you have been looking for ways to get rid of that flaky dry skin; fret not, we're here to help. A lot of ingredients that are easily available in Indian kitchens can come quite handy in keeping dry skin at bay, especially in winters. Two such ingredients that can possibly do wonders for your skin health are milk and banana. Banana helps in peeling off the dead skin; whereas, milk acts as a clarifying agent. Both the ingredients complement each other quite well and are used in a variety of beauty rituals, including skin care and hair care rituals. Both the ingredients are all-natural, so you can easily use them without worrying about the side-effects. Here is a face mask using these two humble kitchen ingredients that you may bring to your rescue:

Ingredients Required:

1 Banana
1 tablespoon Milk

Method:

To begin with, take a bowl and add one whole mashed banana in it.

Then, add in one tablespoon of milk in the bowl and mix both the ingredients well.

Once you get a thick paste-like mixture, apply it on your face and neck.

Allow the banana-milk mixture to stay for around 15-20 minutes.

Once done, wash it off with warm water.

Note: In order to get amazing results, you can use this face mask twice a week. After washing your face, you can apply a mild moisturiser to make it look more supple and radiant.

As summer arrives, it comes with various skin related problems. As heat of the sun becomes very harsh on our skin and results into many skin related issues like sunburn, sun tan, acne, pimples, spots and other skin infections. It becomes very difficult for us to protect our skin from these problems. So here we are with an ingredient that you can easily find in your kitchens, which can do wonders to your skin. Apple cider vinegar is an ingredient, which has many health as well as skin benefits. It is rich in acetic, citric, malic and amino acid and also contains vitamins, enzymes and mineral salts, which is beneficial for your skin.

Here is how you can use apple cider vinegar for flawless skin:

1. Prevents Acne And Pimples

If you are struggling from stubborn acnes and pimples, then keep an apple cider vinegar bottle handy. Due to its antibacterial and antifungal substance, apple cider vinegar helps in keeping your skin pores bacteria, oil and dust free. How To Use:

- Mix raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar with filtered water in a bowl.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply it on the affected skin.
- Leave it for 10 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
- Reapply a few times daily for few days to see the result.

2. Heals Sunburn

Apple cider vinegar is known to cure sunburns. It helps to soothe the pain and make the healing process fast.

How To Use:
- Mix half a cup apple cider vinegar with 4 cups of water.
- Douse a wash cloth with the solution and apply to sunburned skin.
- Massage it for a while.
- Repeat this several times daily for few days until your condition improves.

3. Soothe And Exfoliate Skin

Apple cider vinegar will soothe your skin and will leave it soft and supple. Its alpha hydroxyl acid removes the dead skin cells and reveals healthy new skin cells.

How To Use:
- Pour some apple cider vinegar in a bathtub of warm water.
- Be in there for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow the protective acid to soak into your skin.
- Follow this routine to maintain the pH levels of your skin.

4. Skin Toner

Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties, which helps in increasing the blood flow to the skin and minimise the pores, a great remedy for the ones with oily skin. It also regulates the pH level of your skin.

How To Use:
- Mix apple cider vinegar with filtered water. You may add few drops of essential oil also.
- Apply the solution on your skin using cotton ball.
- Leave it for few minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
- You can use it once or twice a day as per your need.

5. Remove Age Spots And Fights Wrinkles

Apple cider vinegar has alpha hydroxyl acids, which helps in removing dead skin and reveals healthy and glowing skin. Not just that, apple cider vinegar also helps in removing the age spots and minimises fine lines and wrinkles.

How To Use:
- Dab a little apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and apply it directly on the age spot and wrinkles.
- Leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it off with cool water.
- Follow this routine twice daily for 6 weeks and you will see the difference.

So, now you know the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Don't wait and include this magical portion to your daily beauty regime.

Aloe vera is one of the most well-known and widely used plants that is known for its medicinal and general health benefits. It is not only considered great for health of the body, but is also said to be great for the skin and hair. Also known as ghritkumari in Hindi, aloe vera has found widespread acceptance around the world, due to its many incredible health benefits, as well as relative ease of growing it. Aloe plants can be found in the kitchen gardens and indoor potted plant gardens of numerous houses, because the plant grows easily and quickly. It requires minimal care and the gel from the leaves, which is the main edible part, can also be easily extracted and put to various uses.

A lot of people only use aloe vera and its products to improve the quality of their skin and hair. Aloe vera juices are widely available in grocery stores and online. But aloe vera is said to be at its nutritional best, when consumed raw and unprocessed. This is why it is grown at homes and often used in foods and drinks. It has a mild herbaceous flavour and almost a neutral taste, which is what makes it a healthy ingredient to add to your diet. Let's look at the health benefits of aloe vera, before looking at the various ways that we can add it to our diets.

Aloe Vera Nutrition and Health Benefits

1. Rich in Antioxidants:
Aloe vera is said to have a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, due to the abundance of plant compounds polyphenols in it. Aloe vera, both when applied topically and consumed, can improve your skin and hair quality.

2. Boosts Digestion:
Aloe is said to be great for ensuring smooth functioning of the digestive system. According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House, aloe has laxative properties and is great for improving and balancing intestinal flora. This means that it increases the levels of good bacteria in the gut and expels harmful parasites from the digestive tract.

3. May Help Diabetics:
Some human and animal studies have shown that aloe vera may help people suffering from Type-2 diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity and may help manage blood sugar levels. However, this benefit may need more research before it can be established as a fact.

4. May Promote Weight Loss:
Consuming aloe vera may also help a person manage their weight. The gel is known to have detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also known to boost immunity and digestion, which may indirectly help in weight loss.

How To Consume Aloe Vera

1. Juice it: The easiest way to consume aloe vera is to juice it. Cut your aloe leaf into small sections, remove the upper bright green layer of the leaf and then scoop the gel out. Make sure the thin yellowish latex layer between the leaf and the gel is also removed. Wash the gel and add it to food processor along with coconut water/plain water and a little honey for sweetening, and blend. You can add your favourite juices including apple or cucumber juice to the mix.

2. Add the leaves to salads: Apart from the gel, aloe vera leaves are also generally considered safe for consumption. You can wash and chop fresh aloe vera leaves (make sure you remove the spiky ends, separate the flat green leaves from the latex and the gel and wash it thoroughly) and toss it along with your summer salads. Aloe leaves can add crunchiness to your salads.

3. Add the gel to salad dressings:Aloe vera gel can be added to salad dressings. Due to its slimy texture, it can be mixed with ingredients like olive oil, vinegar easily. Aloe vera can make for a nutritious salad dressing.

4. Freeze it as ice-cubes: Aloe vera is used to soothe burns. The diluted gel can be poured into an ice-cube tray and frozen and then applied to the affected area for immediate relief. These cubes can also be put to use in smoothies. Just add a few of these aloe gel cubes to your blender while making fruit smoothies and blend!

While preparing aloe vera for consumption at home, one must make sure that the latex is completely removed as that's the only part of the plant that may have side-effects. It's not recommended to consume aloe vera daily and it is advisable to speak to a dietitian or a nutrition expert before adding aloe vera to your diet.

A great deal of research has been conducted on nutrition, and today, we have a strong case in favour of "natural foods." It is nothing new. Even the ancient sages of India placed a high value on naturally derived foods, i.e. those that can be eaten raw and those that are unrefined and unprocessed. Fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouted cereals and dals, nuts (unsalted), seeds, and yogurt come under the category of natural foods. They should form a major part of the daily diet, cutting down on refined sugars and fats.

There is no doubt that natural foods can improve our skin's health by keeping your skin hydrated and youthful for a longer time. Eating natural foods regularly makes your skin glowing and young. Therefore, it's very important to keep a track of what you eat and drink. Reduce your intake of fats, sugar and red meats. A part of your daily diet must consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, as far as possible. Yogurt is also a healthy food for your skin, while skimmed milk and paneer can also be included. Vegetables should be lightly cooked. Eat enough green leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce. Fruit and vegetable juices, freshly extracted and diluted with water, are ideal for your skin.

A healthy, balanced diet that supplies the body with essential nutrients promotes both good health and beauty. One should add more seasonal fruits and vegetables to their diet. In summers, when the loss of fluids in our body is greater, eat summer fruits like melons, watermelon, cucumber and so on - which are all high in water content. Taking in enough water and fluids stimulates blood circulation, keeping the skin hydrated and cleansed of toxins and wastes. On the other hand, the improper elimination of wastes or toxins from our body reflects on the skin and it looks dull and lifeless. Also it is important to follow a low salt diet. A congested skin, caused by water retention can look puffy and lose its youthful quality.

The best way to kick-start your morning is by drinking a glass of water with the juice of one whole lemon in it - this will give keep your skin glowing and hydrated. Avoid drinking aerated drinks and drink more fresh fruit juices. In summers, instead of a hot cup of tea, drink lemon iced tea, jal jeera, lassi or buttermilk, and instead of sugar-laden desserts, have yogurt with honey, or fresh fruits.

One must take their skin problems seriously as hiding them with your make-up is not going to help. Ayurveda also recommends including fresh, organic, nutritious foods in our diet as they not only contribute to good health, but will also promotes our skin health. Beauty is not just a matter of how you look, but also how you feel.

It’s that time of the year when chai becomes a little less favoured and nimbu-soda is available almost everywhere. Very soon, anything synthetic will be a no-no and cotton will be your go-to fabric. Umbrellas come out to give your sunscreen company, suede shoes get packed away. Yes, summer time is here. And with it, a whole host of skin care issues too. Oily skin gets oilier, and dry skin gets patchy. There are breakouts and pimples, rashes and roughness, and that acne just wouldn’t go away! Just a few simple changes in your everyday skin care regimen can ensure that you are all set to glow through this season too. Here are few summer skin care tips that can come quite handy. We spoke to Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, leading dermatologist and founder of Skin and Hair Clinics for expert advice on tackling the heat.

What does summer do to our skin?

According to Dr. Deepali, warmer temperatures mean it is time to change your skin care routine. The sunny Indian summer can be pretty harsh on your skin if you don't take care of your. So, just like your wardrobe, your skin care too definitely needs a seasonal change.

Too much sun is bad for your skin. Not only can you get tanned (which is not always a bad thing) but over exposure to sun rays can cause premature ageing of skin too. Our skin contains a pigment called melanin and too much exposure to sun causes more melanin to be produced. This is why a prolonged stay under the direct sun can cause a change in your skin colour or even tanning. This is also why sunscreens are recommended irrespective of your skin-type.

Here's a holistic list of summer skincare tips that would help all skin types.



1. Face care

Your face is your identity to the world, so you should look after it 365 days of the year. Summer months though, warrant a special skin care regimen – one that hydrates and keeps it clean and grime-free. Make sure you keep your face clean of dust and sweat through these hot months. A lot of people encounter break-outs and pimples in these months. If you are one of them, make sure you splash your face with water at least 3-4 times every day. No need to use a face wash every time, clean water would do just fine.

Dermatologist Dr Deepali also suggests exfoliation as a method to keep your face clean, "Using a scrub once or twice a week in summers for all skin types is important but, which scrub depends on your skin type. Acne prone skin needs multani mitti (fullers earth), chandan, rose water and basil whereas if you have dry and matured skin you should use egg white, lemon, chandan and curd with a pinch of turmeric and besan too".

2. Use weather appropriate products

The thick creams you were using through the winter months won’t do you any good now. Pack them away or use them for very dry areas of your body like the feet. Summer months need products that let your skin breathe naturally. Go for lighter lotions and serums. Products that block pores can cause more problems.

"Water-based moisturizers work best for normal skin types. For oily skin, gel-based moisturizers are preferred. For extra oily and acne prone skin, stick to facial sprays with minerals good for your skin', says Dr. Deepali. "Natural moisturizers like glycerin and rose water added to the bathing water helps a lot and applying plain curd for 10-15 minutes on all dry areas of the body before bathing works wonders too," she adds.

3. Stick to the basics

You may think your skin cannot get dry during summers but that’s a myth. Moving in and out of air-conditioned areas alone can cause your skin to dry out. This is applicable not just to facial skin but the entire body. Make sure you follow the age old principle of cleaning, toning and moisturizing at night before sleeping. Sweating can cause our skin pores to open up. You need to use a toner (after making sure the skin is clean) to help close these pores. Sticking to the basics during summers is even more important given the UV rays of the sun that could result in premature ageing and wrinkles.

4. Importance of sunscreen

Don't forget to wear sunscreen! UV rays can be harmful for your skin any time of the year, but more so in the summer months when our exposure levels are higher. Pick a sunscreen that gels into your skin and gets absorbed. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended and must be applied 20-30 minutes before you head out into the sun. If you are going to be swimming, then keep re-applying as and when it gets washed out. Sunscreen application can go a long way in minimizing sun related spots and could even help delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dr. Deepali suggests changing the brand you use every 6 months. And yes, people with oily skin must apply sunscreens too. “For oily skin, gel-based sunscreen is preferred, while combination and dry skin should use a sunscreen moisturizer with a matte finish if putting make up on it. Alternatively, use a cream based one which gets absorbed well without leaving a residual layer," she says.


5. Natural remedies

Never underestimate what your grandma said! There are ingredients in your kitchen which can help soothe the skin during summer. Lemon and tomato are very good for keeping your skin fresh. A quick way to use tomato is to juice tomatoes (don’t add water) and freeze the juice using your regular ice-trays. Use this as a gentle scrub every alternate day and let the juice dry on the skin before washing it off. The lycopene in tomato does wonders for the facial skin.

6. Don’t forget the eyes and lips

The sun’s rays are the harshest between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. during summer months. Avoid stepping out around these times. If you do step out, make sure your eyes are covered with sunglasses and lips protected with a balm. We often forget that the skin around the eyes is very delicate and needs extra attention. If too much heat is making your eyes burn, then wash them with clean and cold water. A couple of cold cotton pads dipped in potato juice can be soothing too. If the problem persists, do consult a doctor.

7. Maintain hygiene

Overall hygiene can go a long way in tackling the heat. Having a bath twice a day will not only keep your skin fresh, it will also help combat summer lethargy. If you are prone to prickly heat – a bucket-bath with neem leaves can help. People who suffer from body odour can also benefit from regular bathing. Chlorine water can speed up the process of tanning, that is the reason why we tan more in the pool than ordinarily. Make sure you bathe after a swim to get the chlorine off your body.
"Soaking hands and feet in water enriched with a pinch of salt will help boost blood circulation and after that applying a cream rich in urea and Vitamin C should help too," adds Dr Deepali.

8. Eat cooling foods

What we eat has a lot to do with how we look and feel. Eating heavy food is bound to make you sluggish in a weather like this. Additionally, it can make your skin oily and susceptible to breakouts. Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Stay away from sugary drinks that are full of calories. Make sure your intake of water is an optimum 8-10 glasses at least. Try vegetable juices and natural alternatives like nariyal pani to hydrate yourself and feel fresh.

9. Wear breathable fabrics

Cotton and lighter fabrics are a must to tackle the heat. Tight clothes can cause irritation and make sweaty parts of the body itch more. Prolonged conditions lead to rashes and sometimes even serious skin infections.

10. Don't fear the sun

Lastly, don’t be afraid of the sun as it is a mood enhancer. Sunlight helps us produce more seratonin – a mood boosting hormone. That’s exactly why days of no sun during winters can make you feel low. Just make sure you balance the outdoor travel with a good skin care regimen and protect yourself from the harmful impact of sun rays.

Have a happy summer!

Dr. Sujeet Ranjane
Dr. Sujeet Ranjane
BAMS, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sandip Nimbhorkar
Dr. Sandip Nimbhorkar
BAMS, Ayurveda Naturopathy Specialist, 21 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sneha Kale
Dr. Sneha Kale
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Gynaecologist, 3 yrs, Pune
Dr. Prashant S Mane
Dr. Prashant S Mane
BAMS, Critical Care Medicine Specialist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Suhel  Shaikh
Dr. Suhel Shaikh
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Dermatologist, 2 yrs, Pune
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