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Updated: April 20, 2014 17:41 IST

Ask Shanaz

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

Please suggest some home remedies to get rid of head lice and nits. — Nivedha

Apply vinegar on the hair and scalp. After an hour, comb your hair with a fine-tooth lice comb and get the nits (eggs) taken out by hand. Vinegar loosens the nits and hence they are easier to remove. Then wash the hair with a mild herbal shampoo. After shampoo, add two tablespoons of vinegar to a mug of water and use it as the last rinse. Then comb your hair again with the lice comb. Do this daily for one week. Have weekly henna treatments. Add four teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, two raw eggs, one teaspoon of methi seed powder and enough “tea water” to the henna powder, mixing it into a thick paste. “Tea water” can be made by boiling used tea leaves again in enough water and straining the liquid. If the hair is dry, add two teaspoons of oil. Apply the henna on the hair and wash it off after an hour.

My skin is tanned. Please suggest a home remedy. Can I apply olive oil? — Soumiya

Olive oil can be applied if your skin is dry. Or you may apply it on the body. For the face, use a facial scrub twice a week. Apply it on the face and rub gently on the skin using small circular movements. Leave it on for five minutes and then wash it off with water. Mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it daily on the face, at any time. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Twice a week, apply the following face mask. Mix three teaspoons of oats with one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply it on the entire face, avoiding the lips and the area around the eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.

When I was ten years old, my hair used to be soft and shiny, but now it has become dry and rough. Please suggest some remedies. — Abirami

Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply it on the hair. Then immerse a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water, and tie the hot towel around your head, like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel procedure three or four times. This helps the hair and scalp retain the oil better. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use less shampoo and rinse well with water. After shampoo, apply a creamy conditioner, taking less quantity of the conditioner, and massaging it lightly into the hair. Leave it on for two minutes and rinse it off with plain water. Or, you can apply a “leave-on” type of conditioner or hair serum. Apply it similarly, but do not rinse off.

In your remedies for the removal of tan you had recommended application of lemon juice. I am allergic to lemon juice. What else can I use to remove my tan? — Mahendran

You can take two teaspoons of curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply it daily on the face. Wash it off with plenty of water. You can also use the following facial scrub twice a week. Mix rice flour with curd and apply it on the face. Rub gently on the skin with small circular movements. Wash it off with water. If your skin is oily, you can mix gram flour (besan) with curd and a little turmeric, make it into a paste, and apply it on the face twice a week. Wash it off after 20 minutes.

I have a few skin tags behind my neck and under my arms. Recently, some have occurred on my face. Please give me a home remedy to get rid of them. — Karthik

Skin tags are small, benign growths and do not cause any harm. However, sometimes they may grow on the face. If there are many, it may be better to consult a doctor to have them removed. If you like, you can try the following home remedies. Tea tree essential oil is said to help in the removal of skin tags. Take a cotton bud and apply very little tea tree oil directly on the skin tag. Then cover the area with a band-aid. Do this twice a day, till it falls off. Or, you can take two parts of bicarbonate of soda and one part of castor oil. Mix it into a paste. Wash the area around the tags and then apply the paste. Cover it with a band-aid. Do this twice a day, till the skin tag falls off.

I sweat a lot under the arms. Please suggest some remedy to control it. — Prashant

If sweating is very heavy, consult a doctor. The use of anti-perspirants and deodorants will help. Most deodorants are also anti-perspirants. A spray, rather than a roll-on deodorant, may be more suitable. Talcum powders also control sweat and maintain freshness. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it under the arms. You can also add lemon juice to this paste. Leave it on for ten minutes and then wash it off with water. Or, mix a little baking soda with your talcum powder, and apply it under the arms. Ayurveda gives some dietary suggestions for excessive sweating. Drink “nimbu paani (lime juice).” Drink ginger tea before and after your meals. Chop fresh ginger finely and mix it with a pinch of salt. Chew a little of this before your meal. Drinking warm water with your meals may also help. A light diet with fewer spices is advised. Eat smaller meals.

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