Tired of the latest product promising to prevent hair fall? Frustrated by the ingredients in that expensive cream you bought to control your acne? Discouraged by the failure of products promising to control dandruff? Simpler remedies are not too far away. Take a leaf out of your grandmother’s home remedies to find a host of solutions to your most common skin and hair problems. Bonus? Your wallet will thank you, and so will your face and hair. Ayurvedic expert Dr Sumita Prajapati shares some tips that will help you get a glowing skin and healthy hair.
One of the most common scalp disorders that causes flaking and itching, dandruff can be easily treated by common items in your kitchen – curds, fenugreek (methi) seeds, neem leaves, even the humble aspirin.
• Apply sour curds to your hair and scalp for about an hour before washing the hair with a mild shampoo.
• Soak neem leaves in water overnight, strain, and use as a rinse. Or grind the soaked neem leaves and leave on as a medicated pack for about an hour before washing off. Neem is a mild antiseptic and will help inhibit the growth of dandruff-causing fungus.
• Similarly, methi seeds can be soaked overnight, ground and used to shampoo your hair. It is super sticky, so make sure you rinse every bit of it out. Methi also acts as a conditioner leaving your hair smooth and silky.
• If you’re rushed for time, crush a couple of aspirin tablets into your regular shampoo and use as usual. The salicylates help to control dandruff.
Excessive hair loss can be triggered by stress, nutritional deficits and even lack of sleep, not to mention the vagaries of the climate. While the root cause must be determined before you can control hair fall, here are some home remedies that may help.
• Oil massage: Harsh shampoos with sulfates can cause irreparable harm to your hair. Warm a few tablespoons of coconut oil, and massage onto your scalp. Leave for at least 20 minutes before washing it off with soaked and ground methi seeds. Along with controlling dandruff, methi also helps control hair fall.
• Aloe vera: The sticky gel inside the aloe vera stalk is an effective deterrent to hair loss. Apply the fresh gel to your hair and leave for 45 minutes before rinsing it off. Aloe vera also helps control dandruff and leaves hair with a pleasant shine. This mask can be applied three or four times a week.
• Yoghurt cheese and honey: Hang curds in a muslin bag to drain overnight. Mix with two tablespoons of honey and apply this mask to your scalp. Leave for 30 minutes before rinsing with water. Do it at least two times a week for better results.
• Onion juice: Extract onion juice from freshly-ground onion and apply on scalp using a cotton ball. Leave on for half an hour before rinsing with cold water. Onion’s anti-bacterial properties help control skin infections and promote hair growth.
• Indian gooseberry (amla) juice: Make a paste of dried amla powder (or grind fresh amla into paste) and apply to the scalp. Leave for half an hour before rinsing with cold water.
• A balanced diet, with an emphasis on spinach and methi greens, yoghurt, sweet potato, etc., can mitigate hair loss and promote hair growth. Dr Sumita Prajapati also advises adding a few teaspoons of sesame (til) seeds to your daily diet.
The bane of many a teenager, pollution, stress as well as bad eating habits contribute to the outbreak of acne. Apart from cleaning your face regularly to get rid of pollutants, and changing your diet to avoid excess oil and sugar, the only way to control acne outbursts is through expensive prescription medication. Dr Prajapati advocates the use of a weekly ubtan – a body scrub made of chickpea flour and turmeric, or crushed walnut shells or even oatmeal. This helps to exfoliate the skin and unclog the pores. She also lists some inexpensive but effective remedies to get a clearer skin.
· Honey: With antibiotic and anti-microbial properties, regular application of half a teaspoon of honey can help control acne. If you have oily skin, mix honey with oatmeal to make a mask. Honey can also be mixed with cinnamon powder to combat inflammation.
· Fresh mint: Finely- minced mint leaves, mixed with curds and powdered oatmeal make a very effective face mask to unclog the pores and clear the skin impurities.
· Aspirin: As with dandruff, the salicylic acid in aspirin helps it to combat acne. Crush aspirin tablets in some water to make a paste and apply locally. Rinse clear with cold water.