Anti-pollution Health & Beauty Care

asian woman in sunglasses.

Shahnaz Husain
Pollutants in the air are making our cities increasingly hostile to our good health and well-being. We are facing unprecedented high levels of pollution in Delhi and some other major cities. Respiratory and lung problems have become real health hazards. Indoor air pollution has also been causing headaches, burning eyes, nausea, etc.
In fact, the primary concern of Governments and scientific research agencies is the reduction of pollution to safer levels. NASA has also recommended keeping specific house plants to purify the air and remove toxins, making the air safe for us and specially our children. Research has shown that many of such plants actually absorb harmful gases and clean the air inside our homes. Plants not only give off oxygen, which purifies the air, but also cleans the air of dust, paint and building materials.
One of the plants, mentioned by NASA, is Aloe Vera, which is easily available in many homes. It is said to release considerable quantities of oxygen, while it absorbs carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, as well as formaldehyde; thus making the air much cleaner and purer. Another plant, which is said to be very hardy and easy to maintain is Ficus. It also helps to purify the air. The Spider Plant is also recommended by NASA, as it absorbs toxins from the air. A plant, which is hardy and endurable, is the Snake plant. It is easy to maintain and can easily be kept in the bedroom to purify the air while we sleep. The other plants that purify the air and remove toxins, as identified by NASA, are the Areca Palm, English Ivy, Boston Fern and Peace Lily, which are also easily available in India. These remove a variety of toxins from the air. Some are said to clean the air within a few hours of keeping them in a room.
Apart from the lungs, the skin is also one of the first to bear the brunt of air pollutants, which attack the skin surface and also lead to an accumulation of toxins. Firecrackers also add to the chemicals in the air, which are potent skin irritants. Chemical pollutants cause oxidation damage and this can lead to the manifestation of premature ageing signs on the skin, like wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dark patches and spots, etc. Chemical pollutants also disrupt the normal balances of the skin and scalp, leading to problems like dryness, sensitivity, rashes, acne, irritative or allergic reactions, dandruff and related conditions. They also make the skin and hair dull, lacking vitality.
Cleansing of the skin assumes more importance in order to get rid of the impurities that are deposited on the skin. If you have a dry skin, use a cleansing cream or gel. For oily skins, cleansing milk or face wash may be used. Look out for products with ingredients like Sandalwood, Eucalyptus, Mint, Neem, Tulsi, Aloe vera, etc., when you buy cosmetic products. The anti-toxic and tonic properties of such ingredients have helped in clearing skin congestion and eruptions that result from exposure to chemical pollutants. Aloe vera, for example, is also a powerful moisturizer, relieving dryness and making the skin healthy and soft. So are ingredients like apricot kernel oil, carrot seed, wheatgerm oil, etc.
Anti-pollution cosmetics help to provide protection and reduce the damage caused by pollutants. These are basically “cover creams” that form a barrier between the skin and pollutants. We have formulated a sandalwood protective cream, for this very purpose. It forms a transparent protective cover. Sandalwood soothes the skin and protects it from irritative reactions and eruptive conditions. It suits all skin types and increases the skin’s moisture retention ability too.
Pollutants also collect on the scalp. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and aloe vera gel with one egg. Massage the mixture lightly into the scalp. Leave on for half and hour and then wash the hair. Rinse well with water.
Or, give the hair hot oil therapy. Heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave oil on overnight and wash hair the next day.
The impurities and pollutants can also affect the eyes, causing burning or redness. The eyes should be washed with plain water several times. Soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water or green tea and use them over the eyes as eye pads. Lie down and relax for fifteen minutes. This really helps to remove fatigue and brightens the eyes.


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