The truth about skin and hair care

Last Updated 29 January 2010, 11:18 IST

The myth: Washing the face several times a day with soap and water can get rid of oiliness.
The truth: This only provides a temporary feeling of freshness. Washing the face several times makes the skin too alkaline. The pH (acid-alkaline) balance of healthy skin is  more acidic. The acid mantle protects it from pimples and acne. The face should be washed only twice or thrice a day with soap. It should be wiped and then toned with a rose-based skin tonic to complete the cleansing process and to restore pH balance.  

The myth: Using a night cream on oily skin works wonders on the skin.  
The truth: An oily skin should not be massaged with nourishing creams or night creams. This activates the oil glands further. Creams can also clog pores and lead to the formation of pimples. The skin should be cleansed and then rinsed with plenty of water. Creams should not be applied if the skin is oily.  

The myth: Applying cream around the eyes at night and leaving it on overnight prevents wrinkles.   
The truth: The skin around the eyes is delicate and thinner than skin on the rest of your face. Apply a light textured cream, which has been specially formulated for that area. Wipe off gently with moist cotton wool after 15 minutes. Cream should not be left on all night around the eyes.  It can lead to puffiness.

The myth: Blackheads are the result of dirt that has collected in the pores. Pinching them with the help of fingernails and washing the face several times can get rid of blackheads.
The truth: Blackheads are caused by the clogging of pores with hardened oil. The tip, which is exposed, oxidises and turns black. Hence the name ‘blackheads’. Blackheads should not be pinched with fingernails. The use of scrubs helps dislodge blackheads. Stubborn blackheads should be extracted at a skin care clinic.  

The myth: Teenagers will grow out of the ‘acne phase’.
The truth: This is wrong advice that parents give their children. Taking appropriate, daily care of the skin helps prevent and control acne. In fact, acne should not be neglected, as it can cause extensive scarring.   
The myth: If you have normal, balanced skin, you don’t need routine care.
The truth: This is a common misconception. All skin types need daily care to remove pollutants and dirt that settle on the skin, as well as to protect and maintain its health and beauty. Make-up also must be removed every night. The skin is also exposed to factors that hasten premature ageing like sun-exposure. Seasonal changes also affect the skin. So, a daily skincare routine is a must.

The myth: Sunscreen is required only during summer as winter and other seasons are not harsh on the skin.
The truth: Sunscreen protects the skin from UV rays and, therefore, sun protection is needed in winter too.  

The myth: Brushing hair 100 times a day makes it healthy and lustrous.
The truth: Actually, this does the hair no good and can even damage hair. In fact, if the hair is oily, too much brushing can make it brittle.If your hair is dry, it can lead to static and ‘fly away’ hair. It’s best to use a wide-toothed comb, particularly if there is hair loss. If you use a brush, a natural bristle brush is recommended.  

The myth: Frequent washing of the hair is harmful.  
The truth: This is, perhaps, one of the most common myths. Hair attracts dirt and pollutants and these, along with stale oil and sweat, tend to cling to the hair. Washing does not harm the hair. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Apply less shampoo and rinse well with water. Wash the hair more frequently in hot and humid weather if the hair and scalp are oily.  

The myth: Hair loss can be controlled with a head massage.
The truth: Hair should be treated gently. Avoid a vigorous massage. If there is hair loss, the roots may be weak and this could cause more hair to fall out. Using only the finger tips, work the scalp in small rotary movements to stimulate the follicles.  

The myth: Black henna or kali mehndi is a natural product.
The truth: Natural henna is green and leaves behind a reddish-brown colour on white hair. It does not colour dark hair. Henna helps condition the hair and gives it volume and gloss. It has the ability to coat each strand. If eggs, yogurt and oil are added to the henna paste, it will not make the hair dry. If you want colour, omit the yogurt.

(Published 29 January 2010, 11:18 IST)

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