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Say goodbye to dry skin and chapped lips!
Dr Parul S Kolhe |
February 16, 2005
he cold winds of winter continue to sweep many parts of the country.
While it may bring a rosy flush to your cheeks, it also brings with it a host of skin and hair problems.
While the dry, cool weather conditions make winter a relatively healthy skin season (we are spared the gross heat rashes, yeast and fungal infections), it can also result in serious damage your beautiful epidermis.
The trick is to watch out for and remedy these problems as soon as they arise.
Here are some problems and how you can cure them!
Problem: Dry skin
~ Technically called Xerosis, this hits nearly everyone. But you know it is drastic when your skin feels excessively taut, peels or flakes, wrinkles are accentuated and you feel a burning sensation when you apply soap.
~ Diseases like psoriasis, icthyosis (which causes a fish-like scaling of your skin) and dandruff worsen and demand regular follow-ups with your dermatologist. The answer, ideally, is body oils, but if you find them too sticky, stay with moisturisers.
~ Any over-the-counter brand is good enough, but it must be applied immediately after your bath on damp skin and always along the direction of hair growth. Look out for creams/ lotions that contain cocoa butter, lanolin or ceramides for intensive moisturising.
i. Try Marks and Spencer's Cocoa Butter body lotion (Rs 450, available at stores that stock imported products) or medicated ones like Cetaphil or Efaderm (Rs 69, available at all chemists).
ii. If you are an aloe freak, try Elovera cream and lotion (both Rs 75, available at all chemists).
iii. Cetaphil cleanser is a good soap substitute.
These are tender red swellings, which usually show up on your feet due to exposure to severe cold.
It is unusual in places like Mumbai, but you can catch them in interior India or in chilly areas.
If you are on vacation to Himachal, pay heed!
For first aid, try warm saline soaks. Apply Fucibet cream (Rs 50, available at all chemists) and consult a dermatologist at the earliest.
Problem: Cracked soles and peeling hands
Here's a simple mix to combat this common winter malady. Mix propysalic ointment (Rs 95, available at all chemists) with petroleum jelly in equal proportion and apply over the cracks of your heel and over your hands for terrific results.
Problem: Chapped lips
Chapped lips can develop painful fissures or, worse, get infected, in which case, you must run pronto to your skin doctor.
There is also a variety of chapsticks in the market to choose from.
Avon has an excellent strawberry lip balm (Rs 65) but plain petroleum jelly is best if you are sensitive to artificial colours and fragrances.
Problem: Dry, lustreless hair
i. Good ole' grandma's warm coconut oil works best. Massage in about half hour before you shampoo.
ii. You could also use a heavy duty conditioner like Boots' Honey Acacia (Rs 225, available at any store which houses imported products).
iii. Amongst the Indian brands, you could use Ultra Doux with wheatgerm for dry hair, which will cost your approximately Rs 130.
For those who don't want to settle for anything less than 100 per cent natural, here are some home remedies you can concoct:
i. For that satiny feeling, apply virgin olive oil on your body, lips and nails; it's a great skin revitaliser.
ii. Mix equal parts of boroglycerine (Rs 3 a vial, available at any chemist), rosewater and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this at bedtime on your face, hands and feet for magical results.
iii. Mix a teaspoon each of milk cream, honey and oats. Apply on your face for 10 minutes and scrub off. It not only moisturises but exfoliates gently, leaving your skin radiant. Use this pack once a week.
iv. Whip up this pre-bath body scrub, massage all over your body and then shower:
Grind three tablespoons of sesame seeds (til) with three to four teaspoons of rosewater and half a teaspoon of sandalwood paste.
You now have a fragrant, hydrating pre-bath body scrub.
Dr Parul S Kolhe is an M B B S, DDV and DNB in dermatology.