Shahnaz Husain explains how to care for skin that has been damaged

We are all born with good skin. A baby's skin is soft, smooth and free from problems and damage. As we grow older, the skin is influenced by many factors, like our diets, habits, lifestyle, hormonal changes and imbalances, the environment and even sun- exposure. All these can lead to problems that causes skin damage, like acne, scars, spots, blemishes and pigmentation.

Skin damage and blemishes on the face can be due to dark spots, scars and pits on the skin, left behind by acne. In fact, acne can lead to deep, permanent scars. So, it is important that the condition be checked from spreading. Consult a skin care clinic or specialist in good time. Acne occurs mainly on oily skin and starts with a blackhead. Avoid neglecting blackheads, as they can irritate the surrounding tissues of the skin, resulting in inflammation, pimples and then develop into acne, which is due to a bacterial infection. Here are some tips that will help acne:

Apply sandalwood paste on pimples or acne. Or, mix together one teaspoon cinnamon (dalchini) powder, half teaspoon methi seed powder, lemon juice and a few drops of honey. It should be a sticky paste. Apply it only on pimples or acne and leave on for a couple of hours, or even overnight.

Or, you may add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to two tablespoons of water or rose water. Apply this on eruptive conditions.

Scar management

As far as scars are concerned, sometimes there is extra growth of scar tissue, developing into “keloids.” The result of this kind of scarring is that the skin becomes uneven and loses its smooth texture.

Among the treatments for acne scars are laser therapy, microdermabrasion, chemical peeling, etc. Considering the risks involved in chemical peels, I devised Veg Peel treatments to minimize acne scars. These are clinical treatments, based on dermabrasion, i.e., gently rubbing the skin with some grainy substances formulated with plant extracts. We also recommend products for daily home care. However, it takes time, so one should allow 4 to 6 weeks to see a difference. In cases of extensive scarring, it may take more time, as several sessions may be needed. If there are pimples and acne, they have to be treated first.

Some home remedies may also help. However, these home remedies for scar removal should be carried out after the acne condition has subsided. If there are no pimples, acne or rash, use a facial scrub. Mix rice powder with curd and a pinch of turmeric. Apply on the face and rub gently on the skin with small circular movements, especially on the areas with acne marks. Then leave it on for five minutes and wash off with plenty of plain water.

A face mask may also be used once or twice a week. Mix 3 teaspoons oats with egg white and one teaspoon each of curd and honey. Apply on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after half an hour. Dried and powdered lemon and orange peels or ground almonds can also be added to the pack.

A word of warning! Never pick pimples or blackheads with the nails. This can cause the condition to spread and also leave marks on the skin.

Skin damage can also occur by way of dark patches or dark spots (freckles) on the skin, due to sun-sensitivity. They can also be due to hormonal imbalances. Pigmented patches are also common on aging skin and may develop during pregnancy and the menopausal years. The first aspect of the treatment is sun protection with the application of sunscreens with a high SPF (SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number beside it indicates how well the sunscreen protects skin against sunburn.). If the skin is dry, a sunscreen cream should be applied. For normal to oily skin or combination skin, a sunscreen gel is more suitable. Sunblock creams of higher SPF are also available.

Fruit masks may help hyperpigmentation. Mix ripe papaya pulp with grated cucumber, tomato pulp and oranges. Apply the pack daily on the face and wash it off after half an hour. The pack not only lightens skin colour, but also revitalizes the skin and removes dead epithelial cells.

External care can help to remove dark patches and spots, provided protective care is followed afterwards. Protective, preventive and corrective care, together, represent the foundation of modern cosmetology.

Shahnaz Husain, globally acclaimed pioneer and leader in Ayurvedic beauty care. She is a world renowned beauty and wellness expert and the Founder and CMD of the Shahnaz Husain Group

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