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From the ‘Herbal Queen of India’- Shahnaz Husain

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Don’t just Age gracefully — Age beautifully!

By: Shahnaz Husain

"You don't stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing," the famous quote by George Bernard Shaw is still relevant  in modern context .We all want to look great as we age  and  seek solutions in jars and bottles, potions and lotions promising  timeless youth and beauty.

Age is no longer what it used to be  . Getting older doesn’t mean decline or despair. It’s a reason for celebration!

After all, with age comes experience, wisdom, peace and a certain level of respect and expertise.   .

There are plenty of ways we can age with grace, beauty and joy. We can experience more happiness, more success and get even better with age and experience .

Aging is inescapable. Let’s face it, none of us love the idea of getting older and make up    can't completely cover aging.So, why not age gracefully and beautifully   and maybe get back that natural glow?

So, what are the  wisdom   to aging beautifully and  gracefully.  If we acknowledge that beauty comes from health, we can motivate ourselves to be our healthiest. That starts with the basics.

If you have been following a healthy diet and lifestyle, you will find that it delays visible ageing signs on your skin. Good health and fitness have many benefits where the appearance is concerned.  Actually, regular exercise helps to delay aging changes and has a beneficial effect on both body and mind. It keeps the muscles and joints flexible and prevents problems like osteoporosis.  Walking is excellent, as it helps to exercise the entire body.

The benefits of exercise are extensive. Among them are the feel-good hormones which are produced when we exercise: endorphins. These make us happier and improve our energy levels  . Running, tennis, gym,  football, badminton ,kho kho, belly dancing, it’s all good.

So, consult your doctor about taking up some regular exercise.

You are what you eat hits home when you pass 45. Along with exercise, adopt a healthy eating pattern, with an emphasis on fresh fruits, unrefined cereals, salads, sprouts, lightly cooked vegetables, yogurt and skimmed milk, clear soups, fresh fruit juices.  The diet should be low in fats, sugar and starch, but high in vitamins and minerals. This kind of diet will raise your level of fitness and also help your skin. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains is highly advisable .

It is never too late to start a regular skin care routine, selecting products according to the skin-type. The skin-care routine should include cleansing, toning, moisturizing and nourishing. With age, the activity of the oil glands decreases and the skin becomes drier. Therefore, daily moisturizing and nourishing help to keep the skin soft, supple and youthful.

Certain areas show ageing signs easily. So, pay special attention to the neck and the area around the eyes, which show age most of all. Nowadays specialized products are available for the care of particular areas, like the eyes. Avoid massaging the skin around the eyes, as it can get easily pulled and stretched. The application of outer-eye creams helps to maintain the elasticity of the skin and prevent early wrinkles. The hands also begin to show neglect and ageing sooner than most other parts of the body. Take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil and 3 tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into skin of hands. Rinse off after 15 minutes.

Take weekly facials at a good beauty parlous. Professional massage, with cleansing, toning and mask, really help to rejuvenate the skin. The skin’s ability to retain moisture improves and so does the process of cell renewal.

Recent scientific studies show that sun-exposure causes spectacular changes in the skin and is the single most important cause of skin ageing. The effect of the sun, or photo-ageing, is much more profound than the passage of time. Therefore, sun-protection with sun-block products is imperative.

Many anti-ageing ingredients are also easily available at home:

Green tea is a powerful antioxidant, which helps to delay visible ageing signs. Take half cup water and 2 teaspoons green tea. Bring the water to a boil. Put tea leaves in a ceramic bowl. Pour the hot water over it and keep for 2 minutes. Strain and cool the liquid. Apply on face with cotton wool to tone the skin. Leave on.

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and helps regeneration of new cells. Crush sesame seeds (til) coarsely and mix it with honey. Add dried mint leaves. Or, mix almond meal with yogurt for exfoliation. Apply on the face and rub gently on the skin with small circular movements. Wash off with water.

Boil carrots, cabbage and turnip in water. Strain, cool and use the water to wash the face. Mash the vegetables into a pulp and use like a face mask. This helps to nourish the skin with Vitamin A and minerals.

Fruits like banana, apple, papaya, water melon can be mixed together and applied as a face mask for all skin types.  Papaya, rich in enzymes, cleanses the skin of dead cells and helps cell renewal. Banana tightens the skin. Apples and oranges are rich in vitamins and minerals. Water melon hydrates the skin.  Apply and wash off after 30 minutes.

For an anti-ageing face mask that also adds radiance, take half-teaspoon wheatgerm oil and 2 DROPS geranium oil. Add 2 teaspoons oatmeal, one teaspoon almond meal and orange juice.  The pack is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, with powerful anti-ageing benefits.

Last, but not least, your attitude is important. Keep an open mind. Never hesitate to try out something new in fashion or colours. You never know, it may suit you. Be subtle with make-up and accessories. Do not follow fashion fads. They may not be for you. Learn something new. Cultivate your interests and hobbies. They give another dimension to the personality.

According to Sophia Loren, the famous film star, “There is a fountain of youth – it is your mind, your talents and creativity that you bring to life and to the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

But in the end, growing older beautifully means investing in the healthiest lifestyle  possible in body and in mind.

Kitchen Ingredients that can be used on the Skin

Most  women  do not realize that   chemical laden  attractively packaged  creams  promising eternal youth and soft glowing complexions  contains harmful ingredients, toxins ,preservatives and artificial colours.

A  dangerous  trend is  gaining momentum in modern world where beauty conscious  women   are  moving towards synthetic and chemical solutions to  beauty problems by way of  using   gazillion products  which might give  instant results but these products   can easily be absorbed through the skin's pores, potentially causing a range of negative   effects like pimples, rashes , acne and skin allergies etc .

Most health experts suggest bringing natural beauty products to your skin's rescue and  sticking to  pantry-sourced beauty   options  would be the best and easiest way out to  help you attain natural  glow, without any  side-effects.

Right there on your kitchen shelf are many natural ingredients for beauty care. Find out their benefits and how they help when applied on face or body.

Milk:

Milk contains proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Applied on the face, it helps to relieve dryness, nourish the skin and make it soft. It also soothes sun-burn and removes tan over a period of time. Dip cotton wool in cool milk and apply on the face and arms to remove tan and soften the skin in winter. Milk can be added to face packs.

Yogurt:

Yogurt contains elements that nourish the skin. It also contains lactic acid, which helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin. Applied on the skin, it helps to relieve dryness and remove tan. It also has a healing effect on acne. Take 2 teaspoons Yogurt and add a pinch of turmeric. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Wash off after 20 minutes. It also checks acne.

Turmeric:

Turmeric (haldi) has many healing properties. It is a natural antiseptic and also has an anti-inflammatory action. It helps to soften the skin and lightens skin colour over a period of time. Add a little turmeric to yogurt and apply daily. Wash off after 20 minutes.

Cinnamon: (Dalchini):

Cinnamon powder has a healing effect on pimples and acne. To cinnamon powder, add a few drops of lemon juice and honey, mixing it into a sticky paste. Apply on the pimples and leave on for an hour. Wash off with plain water.

Vinegar:

For pimple prone skin, mix one part vinegar with four parts water and apply the lotion on the face. Leave on. For dandruff, massage 2 tablespoons vinegar lightly into the scalp 15 minutes before shampoo. It helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin and scalp.

Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda):

For oily, blackhead prone skin, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply and wash off after 5 minutes. Baking soda can also be used to rub the teeth, like tooth powder. It helps to whiten the teeth.

Tea leaves:

Tea leaves are said to have an anti-inflammatory action. They also help to reduce oiliness. The tannin in tea helps to add shine to the hair, if tea is used in hair rinses. Used tea leaves can be boiled again in enough water, cooled and strained and used as a last rinse after shampoo. Tea bags can be steeped in water and applied over the eyelids, like eye pads. They help to reduce puffiness and add brightness to the eyes.

Besan:

Besan or gram flour contains starch and helps to tighten the skin. It also has a cleansing action. Besan has been used in body masks (ubtans) since the ancient times. It can be mixed with curd or milk, along with a pinch of turmeric and used as a body mask or body scrub. The paste will cleanse the skin of dead cells and brighten the skin. It also helps to remove tan.

Malai:

Malai or “cream of milk” is extremely nourishing for dry skin. The effect is so mild that it can also be used on the delicate skin of babies. It softens the skin and makes it smooth and radiant. It is suited to dry skin. It also helps to lighten skin colour over a period of time. It can be added to face masks and body scrubs. Applied on the lips, it helps to soften and lighten the colour of darkened lips.

Dealing With Body Odour this Monsoon!

Is excessive sweating in armpits, feet, palm and groin bothering you due to overheating of body in Summer heat   ?  Unpleasant   sweating in peak monsoon season is major cause of   embarrassment. sweating  is the body’s natural way to regulate its temperature but terrible smell becomes a problem. Excessive sweating which is known as  hyperhidrosis could be caused due to stress, physical exercise, emotional excitement, diet, hygiene standards , heredity  hormonal imbalance and high temperature.

While sweat itself is virtually odorless, When sweat encounters bacteria on the surface of your  skin, it produces   nuisance called body odour .

Perspiration is the body’s natural way of cooling itself. Sweat mixes with surface bacteria and decomposes fast, creating problems of body odour. Body odour actually forms about six hours after we sweat. The waste matter that is secreted with sweat has to be removed by washing and bathing, in order to avoid stale odour and feel fresh.

Bathing and scrubbing help to clear away germs, dirt and odour. All parts of the body must be washed well, specially the neck, armpits and feet. These are the areas where germs accumulate and cause odour. Adding cologne to the bath water leaves the body fragrant. Colognes also have a cooling effect. Shower gels and body shampoos, containing natural ingredients, like sandalwood, rose and khus have a cooling and refreshing effect. They are not only natural coolants, but have germicidal and antiseptic benefits.  Wear cotton underwear and clothes during the humid season. Porous materials help sweat to evaporate. Loose, light clothing is much more appropriate and comfortable during hot monsoon season . Daily changes of clothing is, of course, a must.

The use of anti-perspirants and deodorants do help. Most deodorants are also anti-perspirants. A spray, rather than the roll-on deodorants may be more suitable in monsoon , but this is a matter of personal choice. However, be sure to choose a mild deodorant, as strong built-in anti-perspirants can cause skin irritation or sensitive reactions. It is always better to try them out on a small area, on the inner arm, first. If the skin tingles or burns for more than a minute, you should not use it. Some people find the use of talcum powders quite adequate. They  absorb perspiration and maintain freshness for some time  .

Climate also plays a part in choosing the right perfume. In hot and humid conditions, it is better to go for light, lemony and fresh fragrances, rather than heavy ones. The effect of perfumes intensifies in hot and humid weather. A heavy perfume can be quite overpowering. Lemon, rose, lavender or sandalwood are light and refreshing during hot weather.

Here are some tips for preventing body odour:

Be generous with the use of colognes, even splashing them on. Colognes and Eau de Toilette constitute mainly water, or a mixture of alcohol and water, with only 2 to 5 % perfume. They are lighter and leave a light lingering fragrance.

Colognes can be added to bath water. Or, add eau de cologne to a mug of water and used as a last rinse. It has a cooling effect too.

Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) helps to prevent body odour. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply under the arms. You can also add lemon juice to this paste. Leave on for ten minutes and wash off with water. Or, mix a little baking soda with your talcum powder and apply under the arms, or on the feet.

Potato slices can also be rubbed on areas where odour forms easily.

You can also add one teaspoon alum to your bath water. Crush some mint leaves and add them too.

Rose water can always be added generously to bath water. It is a natural coolant and also fragrant.

Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to two tablespoons of water or rose water. Apply this under the arms with cotton wool.

To remove odour from the hair, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse.

For excessive perspiration (which can result in body odour), Ayurveda gives some dietary suggestions:

Sip “nimbu paani.” Sip ginger tea before and after your meals. Chop fresh ginger root finely and mix with a pinch of salt. Chew a little of this before your meal. Sipping warm water with your meal may also help. Light diet and less spices are advised. Eat smaller meals   after short intervals.

(The author is international fame beauty expert and is known as ‘Herbal Queen of India’)

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