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Updated: December 3, 2012 19:25 IST

Ask Shahnaz

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Shahnaz Husain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to askshahnaz@gmail.com

I get pus-filled pimples occasionally. What is the reason and what should I do? -- Lakshmi

If there is pus, it is an acne condition, which means there’s infection in the inner layer of the skin. Wash your face twice a day, morning and night with a medicated soap. Then wipe with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Boil neem leaves over low fire. Cool and strain. Make a paste of the leaves and apply daily on the face. Wash with plain water after half an hour. Mix cinnamon (dalchini) powder with a little lemon juice and a few drops of honey into a sticky paste. Apply only on the pimples daily and leave it on for one or two hours. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply on the face two or three times a week. Wash it off when it dries. Use only oil-free products. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts and yogurt in your daily diet. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning.

My wife is losing hair. She has tried out many shampoos, but to no avail. Could this be because of lack of calcium or vitamins? -- Abraham

Excessive oil in the hair and nutritional deficiency can lead to hair loss. She should apply a non-oily herbal tonic on the scalp daily and leave it on. Avoid massage. Part the hair in sections and apply over the scalp. Avoid oil applications. She should wash her hair four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing well. After shampoo, add the juice of a lemon to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. Applying egg white 15 minutes before a shampoo also helps. She should have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soya and curd in her diet. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.

My face is oily. I wash it five times a day, but after a while, it stills looks oily. How can I improve skin tone? -- Karthi

Wash your face with soap only two or three times a day. You can rinse it with plain water several times a day. After washing, apply astringent lotion using cotton wool. Cucumber juice also has an astringent effect. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice and apply the paste on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash off when dry. It will reduce the oily look and lighten skin tone over a period of time.

Although I use a medicated sunscreen with SPF, my hands are darker. -- Arun

Sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet rays of the sun. You can look for an anti-tan sunscreen. Apply til oil daily and massage it on the on the arms. Mix gram flour (besan), curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi) into a paste and apply at least thrice a week. Wash off after half an hour. Then apply til oil and massage.

My hair is curly with split ends. Also, it is not growing. What should I do? -- Krithika

The growth shows less in curly hair. The average rate of growth lengthwise is half an inch per month. Diet is very important for healthy hair.

Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soya bean and curd. Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply on the scalp and the ends too. Then wrap a hot towel over the head. Use less shampoo and rinse well with water.

After shampoo, apply a creamy conditioner, taking less quantity and massaging it lightly into the hair. Apply on ends too. Leave for two minutes and rinse with plain water.

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