The beauty spot

Our expert solves all your skin and hair-related problems

I have started growing a beard, but it’s becoming difficult to manage it. The hair feels dry all the time and I don’t know how to give it a proper shape. Is there something I could use to tame my beard? — Karan Pradhan

Beard hair is no different than scalp hair. If you wish to sport a beard, the hair should be taken care off well. You could use the same shampoo and conditioners on your beard to tackle dryness. Keep it trimmed to give it a neat look. Opt for laser hair reduction for extra cheek hair so that the beard gets a good shape.

I am fair-skinned, with a wheatish complexion. Which shades of lipstick should I go in for? Can I pull off red lipstick? — Priya G

Do not use very dark shades except in the evening. During the day, use combination shades of brown with a hint of maroon. Let colour blend with the complexion rather than stand out.

I am in my early 40s and my hair is steadily greying. I wish to colour my hair but I am a bit wary of applying chemicals to my hair (which is otherwise in a great shape). Is henna a good alternative? What ingredients should I watch out for in a hair colour or dye? — Hemangini M

Henna is certainly a good option to cover the greys and it will also act as a natural conditioner to the hair. Your concern of subjecting your hair to chemical damage is justified. But don’t worry, as there are a lot of ammonia-free hair dyes available which will not only help colour the hair but also protect the cuticles from getting damaged. Proper hair care and conditioning after the colouring treatment will go a long way in keeping your hair nourished and well protected.

I lead a healthy lifestyle — eat well and exercise — but I have developed dark circles under my eyes. What are dark circles, and is there any way to prevent them?
— Ziya Soudagar

Dark under-eye circles are a result of the oxidising of haemoglobin, which begins in the capillaries, around the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s quite possible that capillaries all over your body are leaking small amounts of blood all the time. But the dark under-eye circles are so apparent because the skin around the eyes is one of the thinnest, most delicate skin in your entire body. The capillaries are much closer to the surface of the skin there.

A number of creams are available in the market which can lighten the dark circles. They include lightening agents like vitamin c, kojic acid, arbutin and azelaic acid. You can treat your skin while you sleep with an overnight application of these products. In case of home remedies, try natural eye refreshers like a chilled slice of cucumber kept for around 10 to 15 minutes or a raw potato slice cooled in a refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes on a regular basis. Dip cotton in rose water and place it on your eyes for 10-15 minutes every day.

Your make-up cannot contribute to the under-eye pigmentation, but you should always use good quality make-up. Follow a proper cleansing routine before you go to bed.

Founder of SkinLab, Dr Jamuna Pai is a cosmetic physician and a beauty expert. 

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