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Beautician Shahnaz Hussain offers tips and answers queries. You can send your queries to shahnaz_press@yahoo.co.inWhat should I do to get rid of puffiness around my eyes? Shweta

Chronic puffiness can be a hereditary problem. You should consult your doctor to ensure that your kidneys and sinuses are functioning well. On the other hand, puffiness can result if you have not been getting adequate sleep or have nutritional deficiencies. Neglecting to remove eye make-up or cream at night around the eyes can also result in puffiness.

You can try some simple home remedies. Apply a compress of iced water or cold milk directly over your closed lids and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sometimes, washing the eyes with lukewarm water helps. Soak cotton wool in chilled rose water and let it rest under your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Lie down and rest while you do this. Grated potatoes or potato juice applied around the eyes may also help.

What are the uses of aloe vera in skin and hair care? I have a plant in my house. I get pimples once in a while. Can I apply aloe vera directly on the face? Payal

Aloe Vera helps moisturise the skin. It is said to have antioxidant properties too. It will not help your pimple problem. In cosmetic products, the stabilised aloe vera gel is used. A gel and a juice can be obtained from the plant. The gel is the leaf pulp or mucilage and is obtained from the inner portion of the leaves. The juice is found just beneath the outer skin of the leaves. You can apply the juice or the gel, but wash the plant well before cutting it to obtain the gel or juice. Apply the juice or the gel on the skin and wash it off after 15 minutes. Apply it first on a small area to see how your skin reacts to it. It can also be applied on the hair and washed off after 20 minutes. It may help soften dry hair.

Can you suggest a home remedy for stretch marks?Rani

Stretch marks normally fade with time, but they are never removed totally. This is because they form due to destruction of skin elasticity. You can mix besan with curd and a little turmeric and apply it daily on the area, washing it off after 20 to 30 minutes. Then apply sesame seed (til) oil and massage it on the skin.

My problem is dandruff and I have been suffering from hair loss for the past one year. I have tried many anti-dandruff shampoos, but the problem persists. Ritika

Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three or four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing well. Half an hour before shampooing, apply two tablespoons of vinegar on the scalp, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Once a week, heat pure coconut oil or til oil and apply it on the scalp at night. Leave it on overnight. Next morning, apply the vinegar as advised half an hour before shampooing. Weekly henna treatments will also help. Add four teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, two raw eggs and enough tea water to the henna powder, mixing it into a thick paste. Tea water can be made by boiling used tea leaves in enough water, cooling and straining the liquid. Apply the henna paste on the hair and wash it off after an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, add more tea water. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts and yoghurt in your daily diet. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily and ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.

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