Say no to tanning this summer


Tanning is inevitable this summer even if you choose to cover up completely or plan to use a sunscreen. But a few simple home remedies like using cabbage leaves or exfoliating with almonds on the affected areas can help in skin lightening.

* Use Cabbage: These green leaves act as a miracle when it comes to sun tan. Place a few cold cabbage leaves on the affected areas. Keep them for 15 minutes. Repeat it twice a week for immediate effect.

* Apply Vicks: Take a small amount of Vicks on your fingers, apply it to the sunburn areas and massage gently. People with excessive sunburn use twice and others use once a week.

* Apply ice: If you have excess sun burns then this is really going to work. Take a few ice cubes, wrap them in a muslin (mulmul) cloth and apply gently to the tanned areas. In case of excessive sun burns apply ice directly to the affected areas. It offers you fresh and tan free skin.

*Use milk cream and saffron: Blend high quality edible milk cream with saffron, make a paste of it and apply it on your face gently and leave it overnight. Apply it thrice a week. This home remedy not only gives a tan free skin, but also acne free and fairer skin.

*Apply curd: Add curd, use it on tanned surfaces for about 15 to 20 minutes. Wash off. Do regularly to get rid of tan completely.

*Apply bottle gourd juice: This helps in overcoming the worst tan cases. Apply the bottle gourd juice to the tanned areas 3 to 4 times a day and you will see the difference.

* Apply masoor dal paste: To make this wonderful skin rejuvenator, soak a whole tablespoon of masoor dal and make a rough paste of it. Add equal quantities of tomato paste and aloe extract, apply it on your face and affected areas and let it stay for half an hour before you wash it off with cold water.

* Exfoliate with almonds: Soak almonds in water for three to four hours, grind them well making a mild scrub and apply it to your tan affected areas. This not only helps you to get a tan free skin but also makes your skin healthier from within.

* Use buttermilk: Add three teaspoons of buttermilk to one teaspoon of oatmeal, mix it well and now give its lick to your face by massaging in circular motion. This will not only help you to get tan free skin but also results in younger and blister free skin.

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8 surprising health benefits of stevia


Stevia is a wonder sweetener that can help your body in a number of ways. Here’s what you need to know.

If you are a diabetic or are on a diet, sugar is possibly one of your worst enemies. And to satiate your sweet cravings, you must have tried everything out there. But did you know that stevia can help your body in a number of ways other than controlling your sugar levels and aiding in your weight loss goals? Here are eight benefits of the wonder sweetener that you might not have known about.

#1 Lowers your blood sugar levels

Stevia is used as a substitute for sugar, especially for diabetics. It contains a compound called steviol glycoside that is not absorbed by the body and cannot be broken down and hence, is flushed out directly. It stabilizes your blood sugar by increasing insulin resistance, inhibits the absorption of glucose and promotes the health of the pancreas.

Tip: Stevia tea is one of the best concoctions to keep one’s blood sugar under control. Just steep some stevia leaves in warm water for about five to seven minutes. Drink this tea either hot or cold two to three times a day.

Warning: People with low blood sugar should avoid drinking stevia tea as it could lead to a drastic drop in blood sugar levels.

#2 Controls high blood pressure

According to a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Biology and Technology stevia can lower the blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. However, the results are seen over one to two years. Hence, people who are more prone to the disease can it in their diet to prevent hypertension.

Tip: Drink a cup of stevia tea on a daily basis to maintain your blood pressure levels and lower your risk as well.

#3 Beats dandruff and acne

Being packed with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory compounds, stevia can help you to get rid of acne and dandruff. Apart from this, it is used to repair dry and damaged hair.

Tip: For dandruff free hair, just add a few drops of stevia extract into your shampoo and use it regularly. In case of acne, either make a paste of the leaves or apply the extract directly to the pimple and leave overnight. The extract will dry out the pimple and more importantly will not leave a blemish. It is important to note that one must use it regularly to see the desired results.

#4 Reduces wrinkles and fine lines

Stevia contains a compound called retinoic acid that thwarts the progression of wrinkles. It works by inhibiting the breakdown of cells especially collagen and elastin. Moreover, it reduces sebum production and even enhances the life span of cells.

Tip: To reap its skincare benefits, all you need to do is mix stevia extract in their regular face cream and use it on a daily basis. Alternatively, you can apply the extract on your face every night and wash it off with cold water after half an hour.

#5 Helps protect your teeth and gums

Gingivitis is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria. As stevia contains antibacterial and inflammatory compounds, it prevents the colonization of bacteria in the mouth and around the gums. This in turn hinders the formation of cavities and plaque that predominantly contributes to the onset of gingivitis.

Tip: Add few drops of stevia extract to your toothpaste or gargle regularly with the stevia mouthwash or stevia tea. To make stevia mouthwash add two to three drops of stevia extract to a small cup of warm water and gargle.

#6 Reduces heartburn and indigestion

The presence of specific plant glycosides in stevia soothes an irritated stomach lining and thus, aids in the treatment of indigestion and heartburn.

Tip: Drink a cup of warm stevia tea to deal with indigestion, whereas its cooled form combats heartburn.

#7 Aids in weight loss

Stevia is great for weight loss as it contains no calories and can be used a sweetener. You can use it in baked and cooked products as the glycosides present in it, do not break down when cooked. An added advantage of this leaf is that it has the capability of reducing your cravings for fatty foods.

Tip: In order to use stevia in everyday cooking, add the extract or the leaf to your daily diet to satiate your cravings.

#8 Heals wounds faster

Stevia inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and thus, acts as a powerful natural aid to treat wounds and minor skin infections. Naturopaths believe that it has the capability to reduce the pain associated with sores and even treat athlete’s foot.

Tip: To treat athlete’s foot, soak your feet in warm water containing few drops of stevia extract. After soaking them for about fifteen minutes, pat dry the area. Do this for about two weeks for desired results.

Although stevia provides numerous health benefits, there are few side-effects that have been reported. These include bloating in the abdomen, lowered blood sugar in people already suffering from hypoglycaemia and lowered blood pressure in people suffering from hypotension. Hence, consult your doctor before trying it to avoid these health complications.

Disclaimer: This article is meant only for information. It is based on home remedies and does not condemn or condone the use of stevia.


Stop the Clock, Naturally

Stop AgeingAgeing is a gradual process and does not happen over a few days or months. Contrary to popular belief, living longer and healthier isn’t simply a matter of having the genes of a tortoise. In fact, heredity counts for about 30% of the difference in how well most people age. Your susceptibility to wrinkles, flab, muscle loss and health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis is strongly linked with what you eat, how much you exercise, your stress levels and exposure to toxins and harsh chemicals. In short, the lifestyle you’ve followed since you were young reflects on your skin, hair, joints, heart-every part of your body and mind. Here are some daily to-dos to help you stay beautiful and youthful always.

Eat clean, keep hydrated.

Drink a couple of glasses of water as soon as you wake up. This helps to cleanse your system. Follow it up with a glass of lemonade or green tea. Kick-start your day with a healthy, wholesome breakfast. Have small but frequent meals through the day. Keep the dinner light; try to finish it by 8 pm.

Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Go for wholegrains and complex carbs and reduce your intake of refined carbs. Get your protein from beans, lentils, lean meats and fish. Keep fat intake to a minimum-especially the artery-clogging trans fats. Ditch junk, high-calorie foods, as well as packaged foods that come with additives, artificial colour and preservatives. These speed up ageing. Consume organic foods as far as possible to reduce your exposure to toxins. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water through the day.

Work out.

Exercise is perhaps the best anti-ageing tool. It has a positive effect right down to your DNA. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk, run, cycle or swim for cardio benefits. Add some strength training. A mind-body practice, yoga is hugely beneficial. It helps to de-stress and calm you. Moreover, regular practice improves balance, flexibility and posture-all of which can help tackle the physical effects of ageing.

Reduce stress.

Find time for yourself and engage in activities that make you happy and help you relax. Meet friends, watch movies, listen to music, find a hobby. Plan vacations at least twice a year. Practise meditation and pranayama to calm the mind. Get 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night.


Pamper yourself with body massage, foot spas and facials. These are not just relaxing, they also rejuvenate you. Whole body massages, especially when done with medicated oils, for example, can reduce pain, improve joint mobility as well as circulation and promote sleep.

Back to nature.

Avoid chemical exposure through harsh cosmetics and other products. Use natural products as far as possible. Apply overripe fruits and vegetable peels, yoghurt, milk cream, honey and besan as skin packs. Oil your hair and body 2-3 times a week before taking a shower.

Ditch bad habits.

Smoking is bad, bad, bad. Besides its known links to cancer, lung and heart disease, smoking is also associated with premature skin ageing, speeding the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, curb alcohol intake. If you must drink, leave it at a celebratory glass of wine occasionally.

Try ayurveda.

Panchakarma treatments that aim to cleanse the system when started early and done on a regular basis is known to delay the onset of ageing. Make sure you visit a reputed Ayurveda clinic to get one based on your constitution and symptoms.

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Make your skin summer-friendly with these 6 tips

With the summer season already here, it’s time to make a few changes in your routine to have a skin-friendly summer. Dr Sangeeta Velaskar, vice president and head, Medical Services and R&D, Kaya Skin Clinic, recommends a few tips for taking care of yourself in the hot and humid weather.

Screen the sun: Zero down on a sunscreen that best meets your requirements and contains sun protection factor (SPF). SPF 30 is best recommended for Indian skin types. Apply sun screen 20 to 30 minutes before stepping out and ensure you wear sunscreen every day, even when you stay indoors.

Follow the essential routine: Follow the cleansing, toning and moisturising ritual twice a day for best results. Summers are the most nightmarish time for skin issues, specially acne. To keep your skin acne-free use a cleanser which contains salicylic acid and helps reduce acne and prevent future breakouts.

Exfoliate: Incorporating exfoliation into your skincare regime is a must to avoid dull skin. Exfoliants remove old, dry, dead skin cells, toxins and other deposits and allow new skin cells to surface. Scrub your elbows and knees at least twice a week to get rid of dead tissues. Rub a slice of lemon with sugar every alternate day to keep them clean and to remove tan.

Hair woes: Since hair tends to be moisture-deprived during summers, overuse of any kind of chemical and hair styling tool should be avoided. Shampooing often results in loss of shine and moisture. Consider switching to a gentle shampoo and use a deep conditioner to replenish the loss of moisture. Massage your hair with a mixture of coconut oil, castor and olive oil regularly to keep your hair nourished.

Happy feet: Start with wearing an open sandal in the summer to keep your feet dry and give them a chance to ‘breathe’. Your feet are subject to sunburn just like the rest of your body. Use sunscreen during the day and during the evenings apply a lightweight moisturizer.

Maintain a healthy diet: With summers in full swing, it is advised that apart from drinking lots of water, a special summer diet consisting of light and healthy food would ensure a cool mind and body. To keep your skin hydrated, eat lot of fresh fruits and green vegetables. Include fruits and vegetables like bitter gourd, spinach, cucumber, watermelons, oranges, cherries, plums and lychee to your diet.

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