Ask Shanaz

Beautician Shahnaz Husain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to

My skin is very dry. What should I do to improve my complexion? — Indu

Use a cleansing cream or gel to clean your face in the morning and night. Lightly massage it on your face, wiping it off with moist cotton wool. In the morning, after cleansing your face, apply rose water to tone the skin. A moisturising lotion or sunscreen should be applied next and left on for the day. At night, after cleansing, massage your skin with nourishing cream mixed with a few drops of water. Wipe it off with moist cotton wool before going to bed. To lighten skin colour, mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it daily on your face at any time. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Or, add a pinch of turmeric to two teaspoons of curd and apply it daily the same way. Wash it off after 20 minutes with plenty of water.

I don't know if my skin is oily or dry. I don't have pimples all the time, but I get them frequently. Why is this so and what's the remedy?Amara

You may be having oily or combination skin, since it is pimple-prone. You may also be having large or open pores. Pimples can occur if you are under stress, or if there is hormonal activity. Apply an astringent lotion or skin tonic after washing your face, especially on the pimple-prone areas. Wash your face with soap only two or three times a day. Apply sandalwood paste on the pimples, leaving it on for an hour or two. Other ingredients such as a paste of neem or mint leaves are also believed to discourage pimples. Avoid applying rich creams and moisturisers, as they can clog the pores and lead to pimples.

Suggest a remedy for scaly dandruff.Yamini

For dandruff, apply herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool and leave it on. Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing it off well with water. Half an hour before a shampoo wash, lightly massage your scalp with two tablespoons of vinegar. Once a week, heat olive oil or til oil and apply it on your scalp at night. Leave it on overnight. The following morning, apply the vinegar as advised half an hour before a shampoo wash. Weekly henna treatments will also help. Add 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs and enough tea water to mix the henna powder into a thick paste. Tea water can be made by boiling used tea leaves again in enough water, and then cooling and straining the liquid. Apply the henna on your hair and wash it off after an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, add more tea water. Include fresh fruits, salads, sprouts and yoghurt 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.

What is bleaching of the skin? Does it have any side effect? Will it make the skin permanently fair? Can bleaching be done on elbow skin?Ashi

Bleaching is done to lighten the colour of the skin. In many bleaching preparations, chemicals are used. There are also creams which help lighten skin colour. These include creams containing natural ingredients. Bleaching will not make the skin permanently fair, because when we expose the skin to the sun, it becomes tanned. Repeated bleaching can dry the skin and cause premature ageing. Bleaching can be done on elbow skin, but you can also try home remedies to lighten the skin colour on the elbows. Rub lemon halves daily on the elbows. Wash it off and massage sesame seed oil into your skin. Make a paste of gram flour (besan), curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi). Apply the paste at least three times a week. Wash it off after half an hour. You can also apply a cream containing lemon and turmeric daily.

I have combination skin which looks dull and black marks on my cheeks.Pavithra

Wash your face twice a day, morning and night with a medicated soap. Then wipe the oily areas with an astringent lotion, with cotton wool. Astringent lotion will be available at a cosmetic store. Apply a scrub only on the areas with black marks. Once daily, at any time, mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it on the face. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply it on your face two or three times a week. Wash it off after it dries. This pack will help brighten your skin and lighten the black marks.

Suggest a remedy for cracked heels.Priyadarshini

At night, before retiring, soak your feet in hot water for 20 minutes. Add some coarse salt and shampoo to the water, before soaking your feet. Rub your heels gently with a pumice stone or a scrubber to remove the dead cells. Avoid metal scrubbers. After washing your feet, massage them with a thick cream, especially your heels. Bandage your heels with a cloth; then wear cotton socks and go to sleep. Keeping your heels smeared with cream all night will soften and moisturise the skin. Repeat this every night for one week. If the cracks pain or bleed, consult a doctor.

Recommended for you