Spring Skin Care

Shahnaz Husain
All of us want to look good, no matter what the season. Coping with the skin is a daily affair, needing an awareness of its needs and a little knowledge about the kind of treatment it deserves to look its best. By the end of the winter months, you may find that your skin has become rough and flaky. Or, you may find that your skin is highly sensitive, with rough red patches. This means that the skin has become dehydrated. As the cold decreases, continue to give your skin moisturizing treatments.
The coming of spring often brings problems for people with allergies, including skin problems like itchy, rashy or inflamed skin. Pollutants and pollen in the air may be responsible. Among the organs of the body, the skin is one of the first to bear the brunt of potent skin irritants, which lead to problems like skin-sensitivity, rash, irritative or allergic reactions, eruptions, etc.
Actually, our skin and scalp have an extremely efficient ability to absorb what is applied on it. In sensitive skins there can be an immediate allergic reaction to a cosmetic ingredient. Even if there is no sudden reaction, there can be a cumulative effect, with a build-up of chemical residues in the body. Lead, for instance, present in certain eye make-up products, can have many adverse effects. The use of creams or massage on oily skin can lead to acne, pimples or rash.
A sensitive skin may become red and start itching, due to urticaria or dermatitis. Sometimes, the allergy can become severe and affect the respiratory system. With permanent dyes and some other products, a patch test is recommended. Today, many cosmetic companies, including ours, are not using ingredients like Parabens, Sulphates, mineral oil or synthetic colours. The reason why I have been advocating organic ingredients and Ayurveda is that they are completely safe and non-toxic.
If there is a severe reaction, you should seek medical care immediately. For mild allergic reactions, some natural ingredients may help. For instance, sandalwood paste reduces redness and itching. Aloe vera gel can be applied to soothe the condition. Add a tablespoon of vinegar or baking soda to a mug of water and wash the area to relieve itching. Or, grind poppy seeds, add a little rose water, make a paste and apply on affected areas.
Essential oils are used to formulate natural cosmetics. However, they need to be used with caution, as their action is highly potent. One has to learn how to mix them with “carrier oils,” mineral water or rose water, in the prescribed proportions. Essential oils have been valued for their fragrances too.
Here are some home remedies:
Sandalwood paste can be applied on the eruptive conditions. Or, mix sandalwood with a little rose water and apply on the entire area. Wash off with plain water after 20 to 30 minutes.
Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to two tablespoons of water or rose water. Apply this on rashy and eruptive conditions.
Apple cider vinegar helps to relieve itching. It also has antiseptic and antifungal properties, which are useful for sunburn and dandruff. A few drops can be dabbed on the area with itching, using cotton wool. For itchy skin, add one tablespoon vinegar to a mug of water and pour it on the affected body area.
Simmer a handful of neem leaves on a very low fire in 4 cups of water for one hour. Leave it overnight. Next morning, strain the water and make a paste of the leaves. Apply it on inflamed and rashy areas. The water can be used for rinsing the area. Neem contains organic sulphur compounds, with versatile healing actions that are of particular benefit to the skin.
Add a little turmeric paste to milk and apply on rashy areas.
Clays like fuller’s earth (multani mitti) have a cooling and soothing effect. Mix one tablespoon Fuller’s Earth with rose water. Apply the paste on affected areas and wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes. Bicarbonate of soda relieves itching. Add it to multani mitti and rose water to make a pack. Apply on itchy, rashy and eruptive conditions. Wash it off after 10 minutes.