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Your summer skincare guide

Summer is a time when you need to take extra care of your skin because a variety of factors can damage it. The sun rays are the harshest during this time of year and you’re at a higher risk of UV radiation. The high temperature and humidity can result in extra oil production, while moving in and out of air-conditioned rooms dries your skin.

From oily skin and acne breakouts to infections and dry skin, exposure to the sun is the biggest culprit. The UVA and UVB rays can damage the fibres beneath your skin. Over time, these fibres, known as elastin, break down and your skin will sag, stretch and lose its elasticity. Apart from leading to older looking skin, the ultraviolet radiation can also damage your immune system, putting you at risk of skin cancer.

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Care for your skin this summer!

Wondering how to make sure your skin stays healthy this summer? Follow this guide to ensure healthy, glowing skin.

Apply sunscreen every day!

Applying sunscreen is most important during summer. Sunscreen lotions not only prevent you from getting tanned, they also keep you protected from harmful UV radiation, lowering the risk of skin damage.

Choose skin products wisely

Understand your skin type before you choose products – even sunscreen. If you have oily skin, make sure that you pick oil-free products in order to avoid aggravating it. Those who suffer from dry skin should choose products that contain moisturising properties.

Use a toner

While using a skin toner is a good idea all through the year, it’s especially important during summer. Applying a mild toner after your bath every day will keep your skin moisturised and will also ensure balanced pH levels.

Sun protection

Wear hats and long-sleeved clothing in order to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. These additional clothing items provide shade and act as barriers, lowering the sun’s harmful effects on your skin.

Drink water

Drinking water (or not drinking enough) has a direct effect on your skin. Dehydration will lead to sallow skin, and making sure that you sip on water through the day is the best way to beat that.

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Fruits for skin

Fruit based peels and masks restore and rejuvenate your skin. Not only do they flush out toxins and remove excess oil, they are also natural, which means that you won’t have to worry about side-effects. Grind dried orange peels and mix them with lime or turmeric and use the mixture as a face mask to ensure healthy, glowing skin. Another remedy you can try is mixing the pineapple and papaya pulp with honey and applying it to your face. It will moisturise your skin and help remove dead skin cells.


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Stay natural with homemade sunscreen

If you want to keep your skin healthy through the summer months, it’s important to remember to apply sunscreen lotion! While this is essential through the year, during the summer, the harsh sun is at its worst, and the harmful UVA and UVB rays do the most damage, leaving you with sallow skin and increasing your risk of suffering from skin cancer in the long run.

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Stay protected

While you won’t immediately be affected by sallow, damaged skin, being out in the sun too long will give you an unsightly tan that can often lead to sunburn and peeling skin. Remember not to stop using sunscreen lotion just because you’re already tanned. The lotions play a vital role in protecting your skin from further damage. While store-bought sunscreen lotions are an easy fix, they’re not your only options. Natural options are always best, and you can make your own sunscreen with a host of natural ingredients, which will not only be cost-effective, but will also ensure that you aren’t exposed to any of the toxic chemicals or additives present in most commercial lotions.

Make your own bars

Have you heard of sunscreen bars? They’re as effective as lotion and are also much more convenient to use if you’re wondering how to remove skin tan, as all you have to do is rub the bar over exposed skin. To make your own bar, melt a cup of coconut, a cup of beeswax and a cup of Shea, cocoa or mango butter in a jar that has been placed in a saucepan filled with water. Melt the ingredients together over a stove and then add in 2 tablespoons of non-nano zinc oxide (which protects skin against UVB and UVA rays) and a few drops of an essential oil. Let it cool, pour it into silicone moulds and refrigerate. Once the bars are set, you can store them in the fridge and use them as and when you need to!

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Make your own lotion

If you want to stick to lotion, a variety of natural ingredients including almond oil, olive oil and coconut oil have natural SPF properties that could help. You should also use non-nano zinc oxide – the non-nano variant doesn’t get absorbed in your skin and helps disperse sunlight. Mix ½ a cup of either almond oil or olive oil with ¼ cup of coconut oil and ¼ cup of beeswax in a thick, glass jar (mason jars will work best). Boil water in a saucepan, add 1 teaspoon of carrot seed oil (which protects your skin from sunlight) and place the jar in hot water, till the mixture has melted. Once it’s done, take it out and add in 2 tablespoons of non-nano zinc oxide. Store your homemade sunscreen lotion in a glass bottle and use it the same way you would use regular sunscreen!


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Headaches: causes and solutions

There’s nothing worse than a headache – except not knowing what’s causing it! The reasons for your headache can range from lifestyle factors to medical conditions that manifest in the form of headaches. As with any ailment, understanding why it’s happening can help you manage it better.

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Look to your lifestyle

Don’t worry every time you are struck by a headache; some of the causes are simply lifestyle factors that you can change with a few tweaks to your habits. The following are a few factors that could be causing that ache:

  • Drinking too much and too often
  • A radical change in your sleep cycle

  • Skipping meals

  • Excessive amounts of stress

  • Environmental stimuli such as exposure to tobacco smoke or pollution

  • A strained back, caused by poor posture

  • Eye strain because of reading for prolonged periods without a break

  • Nutritional deficiencies and dehydration

Conditions that cause a headache

Apart from these lifestyle factors, medical conditions also play an important role. Inflammation-based conditions, especially sinusitis (which is an inflammation of your sinuses), is a common reason for headaches. Other medical problems that lead to headaches include the flu and common cold.

Solve it!

There are several ways to avoid getting a headache. There are various natural remedies that you can use to cure them instead of resorting to medication. Avoid drinking alcohol excessively, follow a set sleep schedule and ensure that your diet is balanced. What you eat is as important as when you eat. Ensure that you get enough of magnesium, folate and vitamin B-9 to avoid suffering from diet related headaches. Reduce stress by practising yoga and meditation and try to avoid pollution as much as you can. Remember that poor posture and reading for long periods will cause headaches.

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If your headache has been caused by an inflammatory disease, herbal remedies can help. Tulsi (drink a mixture of tulsi leaves and ginger pieces in hot water) has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps reduce stress. Guduchi is another great herb that helps treat headaches caused by sinusitis. Piper longum (Indian long pepper) on the other hand, can help with headaches that are caused because of stress and travelling.

If you’re looking for a natural remedy for your headaches, turn to turmeric. Its anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin content help to deal with headaches caused because of viral infections such as the flu or a cold. Another remedy you can follow is drinking chamomile tea, as that makes you more likely to sleep, helping to restore equilibrium in your system.


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Dealing with dandruff

Dandruff can be a pesky condition to deal with. While it’s just shedding of dead skin cells, not only does it leave you with embarrassing white flakes, it also leads to itchiness. But, don’t worry! It’s not a difficult condition to manage – if you know what’s causing it. Instead of searching for the best anti dandruff shampoo, look for factors such as stress, genes, hormones and unbalanced diet. Several skin conditions can also cause dandruff. Take a deeper look into what’s causing it, so that you can fight and treat it effectively.

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Skin issues often lead to dandruff

The next time you see white flakes, blame your skin! Dandruff is often caused by dry skin, or a dry scalp. In such cases, you will see small, oily flakes form on your scalp. On the other hand, if the flakes are white or yellow, and are accompanied by a very oily, red, inflamed scalp, you could be suffering from seborrheic dermatitis.

Other skin disorders that can lead to dandruff include eczema, an inflammatory skin condition and psoriasis, a skin condition that causes a rapid build up of dead skin cells. Dandruff can also be caused by fungal infections such as malassezia (an inflammatory skin disorder), as they irritate your skin and lead to an increase in the number of dead skin cells in your body.

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There’s a way to beat it

There’s no one way to treat dandruff, but there are several natural remedies for it! You do have to be careful though, because treatment for one type of dandruff may actually be counterproductive for another kind. A quick example is how you should treat dry scalp and seborrheic dermatitis dandruff differently. Moisture is great for dry scalp dandruff – but it could aggravate seborrheic dermatitis! So, make sure you know what sort of dandruff you suffer from before trying to treat it on your own.

Once you do know, home remedies for dandruff come to a quick rescue. Try applying lemon juice or aloe vera gel to your hair before you wash it to deal with dry skin dandruff. For oily skin, the best dandruff treatment is to apply a mixture of equal amounts apple cider vinegar and water, as it helps to soothe your scalp and reduce inflammation. You can also try using a paste of baking soda and water, which will help to absorb excess oil. If your dandruff is being caused by a fungal infection in your scalp, apply a mixture of tea tree oil with grape and walnut extracts – this will cure the infection and also treat dandruff.

Psoriasis and eczema are serious conditions, so you will need to find the best anti dandruff shampoo for them, often a medicated one. Finally – remember that following a healthy lifestyle, especially reducing stress and eating a well-balanced diet, plays an important role in managing dandruff.


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The secret to a smart brain!

You’ve gotten enough sleep, you’re prepared to face the day – but your brain feels sluggish, tired and forgetful. If you suffer from memory loss, can’t focus on the smallest tasks and spend your days wishing you could be more productive, your brain is probably unhealthy! It is very important to improve brain power, as keeping your brain inactive can lead to forgetfulness and make you unable to focus. This may not seem like such a big deal, but in the long run, an unhealthy brain could lead to serious issues such as dementia.

Staying sharp in your daily life is not something you would spend too much time worrying about, but you should! From eating food for brain to learning how to improve your brain memory, there are several lifestyle changes that can work wonders.

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Spend time with a pet

Very often, the reason we’re unable to focus is not because we’re not exercising our brains enough, but because we’re tired, stressed and upset. Spending time with a pet is therapeutic, helps you get daily exercise and really improves your mood! All of this is a great way to improve brain health.

 Eat some brain herbs!

Herbs are perfect for you if you’ve been wondering how to improve brain power. From ashwaghanda and tulsi to vacha and gotu kola, Indian herbs help to keep you sharp while eliminating stress, which, if not controlled, can sometimes hamper your brain function. Include herbs in your diet to keep your brain healthy.

 Sniff an essential oil

This is a little trick that can improve clarity in a jiffy! If you’re feeling foggy and your brain seems muddled, all you need to do is sniff on some stimulating peppermint or keep basil oil. The essential oils improve focus and cut out mental fatigue.

 Eat breakfast

Every morning – and make sure it’s a really good one! What you eat directly affects your memory, so if you’re wondering how to improve brain power, a good diet is your answer. Make sure you’re getting a healthy amount of nutrients to improve energy levels and keep your brain sharp. Eat food such as tomatoes, which contain antioxidants that help keep your brain cells healthy, and spinach, which contains potassium that helps make your brain more responsive. Also eat brain foods such as almonds.

 Cut out coffee for tea

And make sure it’s green tea! The antioxidants, flavonoids and stimulants in the tea will help ensure that your brain stays active and energetic throughout the day, without the harmful effects of excessive caffeine that you can get from consuming too much coffee.

shutterstock_147162674Exercise!

This is extremely relevant because exercise helps you stay energetic. Activity improves cognitive function, which in turn enhances your memory and keeps your brain sharp. Exercise also helps to encourage the growth of new brain cells, helping you to learn and retain things at a faster pace. You could perform yoga, dance, or just take the stairs every day!


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Your lifestyle can help lighten your skin!

Did you know that a variety of lifestyle changes can make your skin dull, lifeless and even darker? While no amount of skin whitening treatment will be able to give you lighter skin than you were born with, unhealthy habits will darken your skin further. While there are several debates about the best fairness cream and how they actually work, natural treatments work the best. And, apart from packs and ingredients that can lighten your skin, lifestyle changes play a big role too! Here are a few skin whitening tips that you can use to restore your skin to its natural, light shade.

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Keep yourself protected!

The weather outside can be really harsh on your skin, whether it’s darkening it or damaging it. Wear a hat when you’re outdoors to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun and remember to use sunscreen every day, even when it’s not sunny outside.

Get a little activity

Exercise makes you sweat, which removes the toxins clogging your pores. It also helps to tighten and tone your skin, which makes it glow and boosts oxygen and blood flow. When all this is combined, your skin looks healthier and naturally fairer than if you’re inactive. Remember that yoga works better than any skin whitening treatment, since the controlled breathing and de-stressing abilities help lighten your skin.

yoga + waterHydrate yourself

Sometimes, it’s not the colour of the skin that makes it appear darker, but the quality! If your skin is dehydrated, it will look dull and sallow. To bring the colour back into your skin, you don’t have to pick a fairness cream or skin whitening soap. All you need to do is drink enough water! Your skin will be refreshed, glowing and fairer in no time.

Eat correctly

Did you know that carotenoid-rich food can actually help you get a tan? The properties in the food give your skin a warmer glow. To get a lighter, fairer tone, foods like potato and lemon are perfect – whether you’re consuming them or applying them on your face as a pack. Remember that a balanced diet is your best bet though!

shutterstock_144889729Maintain a good routine

Remember that a bad skin routine will also change the colour of your skin. Make sure that you wash your face at least three times a day, and indulge in a little exfoliation a few times a week. Exfoliation is a process that helps to lighten your skin because it scrubs away dead skin cells. Remember not to chaff yourself though!