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Have your skin glowing this Diwali!
Dr Parul Kolhe
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November 07, 2007

The festive season is here again and Diwali is around the corner. Everyone wants to look their best, but unfortunately, often end up looking their worst due to consumption of unhealthy, rich food, the pollution in the air due to incessant firecrackers and lack of time for skincare.

So just what does it take to look your best during the festivities? Here are a few simple tips to have your skin glowing this Diwali:

~ Limit your intake of sweets

It may seem like wet blanket advice during the season, but at least keep consumption under control. If you overdose on sugary and fried goodies, in a few days it'll start showing on your face -- breakouts, dull skin, weight gain, not to mention allergies thanks to the artificial colouring and flavouring that goes into mass-produced sweetmeats. So convince yourself to eat only tiny portions of sweets for the sake of your tastebuds and that too only on Diwali day itself. Also make sure to include plenty of fresh fruit and raw vegetables in your diet if you want your skin to boast a healthy glow.

~ Start a rigorous cleansing regime

Wash your face at least four to five times a day. Use a soap-free moisturising cleanser if you have dry skin and follow up with toner and moisturising lotion each time. It's imperative to keep your pores open and skin free of environmental pollutants. Use a homemade scrub of ground almonds, rava or oatmeal with a little milk and a teaspoon of honey to exfoliate your skin thrice a week. Rub gently into the face for 10 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Remember to cleanse make up off immediately after parties -- never sleep with make up on, no matter how late you get home.

~ Moisturise

Nothing saps the skin of its lustre like dryness. The sudden change of season and drop of atmospheric humidity experienced in this month can shrivel up your skin. Use a water-based moisturiser frequently and drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin.

~ Don't stop working out

In the hustle and bustle of shopping, socialising and pre-Diwali card parties, do not compromise on your health. Continue your exercise regime as usual and you'll be thankful at the end of the season that you didn't pile on the pounds. The circulation boost afforded by a good cardio workout can keep your skin glowing all day.

~ Protect your skin from firecrackers

Most firecrackers have high smoke emissions due to high magnesium and cordite content. These fumes and particulate emissions can settle on your skin and harm it, causing irritant reactions, chemical burns and allergies. Stay at least six to seven feet away from lit fireworks. If you have sensitive skin, it's a good idea to tie a cotton scarf or dupatta over your face while lighting or watching a fireworks display. Most importantly, wash your face thoroughly with a mild soap and water immediately afterwards and follow up with a moisturiser.

In case of burns, wash the area immediately with cool running water for 10 minutes or longer, till the burning sensation eases. Apply an antibiotic cream like T-Bact or Soframycin on mild burns and consult a doctor immediately. Do not tamper with or attempt to burst any blisters if they appear on the burnt area; they should be drained only by the doctor.

~ Follow an old tradition

The Pehli Anghol or First Bath on Diwali morning is an age old tradition in which people apply a paste of coarsely ground sesame seeds (til), almonds and milk to the body and scrub well. Uttan, a fragrant blend of gram flour, sandalwood paste and rosewater, is also used on the face and arms. These ingredients are rich in natural oils that moisturise your skin. They exfoliate dead cells and stimulate blood circulation, lending a fresh glow to your skin. Try it every day starting now and see the results for yourself.

Have a happy and safe festive season. May the glow of countless Diwali lights reflect on your face and may the radiance of your skin put the diyas to shame!

Dr Parul S Kolhe is an MBBS, DDV and DNB in dermatology.

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