Health Topics

Healthy Living

November 2009
Skin Care During Winter
Anju Poddar

Whenever there is a change in seasons – from summer to winter or vice versa – the skin takes a beating. It tends to become drier. This underlines the importance of taking care of your skin during these seasons.

At the onset of winter, the skin needs an extra supplement of moisturiser. The three basic rules of looking after one's skin are cleansing the skin, toning it and nourishing it with a good moisturiser.There are lots of cosmetic companies who have come out with highly advertised skin products. The buzzword today is ayurvedic skin care: extracts from plants and seeds like cloves, cinnamon and bayleaves. Natural things do wonders for our skin without taking away from it. Lots of Indian companies are there in the market with herbal skincare products. For our climate and way of living, these are more beneficial than foreign products which have lots of chemicals. Intake of multivitamins, natural vitamin E and some calcium would supplement this. Here are a few suggestions compiled from people who believe in taking care of the skin naturally.

Soft fruits – like ripe papaya - and honey make very good cleansers. Hard fruits like apple don't move well on the skin – you will have to stew your apple for a similar use.

Papaya: Cut a ripe papaya with skin, in the size of a bar of soap. Store it in your fridge. Every morning and evening, rub the pulp over your face and neck in a circular motion like you would with soap, keeping the skin side towards your palm. Rinse a bit later. This hydrates the skin well.

Honey: You could make a mixture of ½ tsp honey with one tsp curd and massage on your face in a circular motion with your fingers. Keep this on the face for 10 minutes before you rinse it well with water.

Do not use soap on your face or neck. Use only face wash, if need be. Never wipe the water off your face after cleansing it – just pat it dry.

Toning is very good for combination skin. People with oily or combination skin have the pores of their cheeks and nose enlarged. In the heat, while travelling or working in the kitchen, the pores become more open and the dirt sets in them, clogging them. This gives rise to blackheads and whiteheads.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes: Cucumbers and tomatoes make good natural toners. Cucumber should be peeled, pulped and liquidised. Soak the juice in cotton wool and rub on the cheeks and nose in a circular motion. Let it dry on the face. Rinse it with cold water after a while. You wouldn't have to peel a tomato; just cut it in half and rub on the face. Let the juice dry. Rinse it with cold water after a while.

Toning is not very important in winter but if you are working in the kitchen, it would be a good idea to refresh your skin with these toners. Also, unlike cleaning and moisturising, which you have to do twice a day, toning is required only once a day, in the mornings. Apply a non-alcoholic toner –like rosewater - on top of the wet skin. This shrinks the pores.

6 Quick-fixes to be beautiful in winter

  1. Mix one teaspoon glycerine (which you can buy from any chemist), one teaspoon rose water and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Apply this evenly on the face and neck, leaving out the area near the eyes. Keep it overnight and rinse off in the morning, as it tends to be a little sticky. If you are uneasy sleeping with it, apply it in the morning and keep it for two hours, before rinsing it off. After application, do not step out in the sun as this has a tanning effect. Ensure that your sunblockis at least of 15 to 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor).
  2. Instead of soap, use a liquid paste of milk and besan(gram flour) with one lemon juice,to scrub over the face. Wait for it to dry before rinsing it off.
  3. Grind and soak one teaspoon of Quaker oatmeal in one teaspoon milk overnight, or at least for one hour. In the morning, apply this on wet skin. Keep it on the face till it becomes dry and then splash water to rinse it off. You could also add a few rose petals in the mixture: dry some Indian rose petals in the sun; powder and sieve well; mix ¼ tsp of this to the above oatmeal preparation.
  4. Mix ½ teaspoon honey with two teaspoons lemon juice, in a very thin consistency. Apply this on the face and neck (you can also try this near the eyes), and keep it on for two to three hours. Rise off well with water.
  5. Glycerine and rosewater works very well for cracked feet. Mix a drop of any essential oil, like jasmine or sandalwood into it. Do not use hot water or soap.
  6. For the hair: mix mustard oil in a little hot water. Apply this to the roots of the hair with cotton wool. Let this sit for an hour at least. Wash off with a mild shampoo and rinse well using a good hair conditioner. Oil at least once a week. You can also use olive oil, coconut oil or whatever oil you normally use.

Over the toner, a moisturiser with sunblock should be applied. After cleaning and moisturising the skin, a night nourishing cream should be applied – of course at night. For moisturising the hands and body, it would be better to use ayurvedic products. Honey is very good, but it can be kept on the skin only for the short duration when you are in the house – because you certainly cannot be going out with sticky skin!

The Cream of Trouble: Earlier, people used to recommend using malai (milk cream). But malai has a strong smell that gets into the skin.To get rid of it, one tends to wash the face repeatedly with water, thus taking away the nourishment. Milk would be a better choice. Apply it on the face with cotton wool and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it with water. Do not – strictly – use hot water, as it dries up the skin. Always use lukewarm water.

Using a drop of body oil in the last mug of water splashed over your face or skin would be a good idea.
Anju Poddar is a successful home maker fascinated by Hindu traditions and festivals. She has authored two well received books, A Journey to the Heavens and A Wedding in the Family.
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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