Is the cold winter wreaking havoc with your skin? If dry and cracked skin are the enemies, then head to your pantry and get your superstars together to banish flaky skin.
“Most oils are natural moisturisers”, says dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Abhishek Pilani, founding member of Assure Hair/Skin & Physio Centre, Mumbai. “If you apply an oil after a bath onto wet skin, the oil will stay on longer and have a better impact on the skin,” he adds. Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist and laser surgeon at Cutis Skin Studio, Mumbai further explains, “Olive oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, anti-ageing antioxidants, squalene and vitamin E, and hydrates the skin well, but only topically. It is not ideal for extremely dry skin due to its low penetrating power. The first cold press olive oil is the purest form and can be applied to both face and body.”
A face pack to try at home: Whip one egg with a tablespoon of olive oil. Eggs are a rich source of protein, and helps improve skin’s elasticity and tightens pores, adding glow. Olive oil is full of anti-oxidants, contains Vitamin A and E, and prevents free radical damage. Keep on the face mask for 15 minutes and then wash off.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory goodness that makes it suitable for all skin types. It contains saponins, “is moisturising and acts as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells,” explains Dr Goel.
A face pack to try at home: In a grinder, mix a cucumber (a good moisturiser, the antioxidants delay ageing of the skin and thus keep the skin rejuvenated), almonds (its rich vitamin E content helps your complexion and the damage done by the sun), cream (hydrating agent is skin is extremely dry) or yoghurt (if you have normal skin type) and some oats. This face mask maintains the pH of your skin and helps you get supple skin.
The buttery avocado is a superfood that’s perfect for your skin. “Besides being rich in healthy omega-3 oils and several minerals, avocados potent antioxidant Glutathione properties gives your skin the right kind of moisture it needs. Plus, its creamy consistency is a bonus nourishment in itself,” explains Dr Soma Sarkar Medical Director & Dermatologist, Skin Inn, Mumbai.
A face pack to try at home: Mash some avocado pulp with some yoghurt (its creamy nature further adds moisture to your skin) and leave on the mask for 10-15 minutes, then wash it off with cold water. You can apply this face pack twice a week. You could also replace yoghurt for honey, but honey could irritate the eyes, and some people may be allergic to honey.
Coconut oil is a natural moisturiser and works to clean away grime and dirt as well as help in de-tanning. “Coconut oil has the deepest penetration power among the oils, owing to its small particles, and works on extremely dry skin,” reasons Dr Goel.
A face pack to try at home: Mix raw honey (has moisturising and antibacterial properties) and cold pressed coconut oil. Keep the mask on for about 15-20 minutes till the texture softens on your face, and then rinse off with warm water.
Milk and yoghurt
“Milk has the superpower to remove the oil-soluble impurities thanks to its fat-soluble enzyme lipase, protein-based impurities with the help of protease and dead skin cells with lactic acid,” says Dr Goel. It’s no surprise that Cleopatra used to bathe in milk. “Milk is also a mild exfoliant and has anti-inflammatory properties, and is perfect for sensitive skin, while the creamy texture of yoghurt further adds moisture to the skin,” adds Dr Sarkar.
A face pack to try at home: A face mask of one tablespoon probiotic yoghurt, one teaspoon raw honey (has moisturising and anti-bacterial properties) and two ripe strawberries (rich in vitamin C and salicylic acid—nutrients that brighten, lighten, and cleanse oily, acne-prone skin, creating a clean and clear complexion) should work wonders on dry skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes till the mixture settles and dries out, and then gently scrub off the face mask using warm water.
Papaya and Banana
“Papaya is a rich source of vitamin A and the valuable proteolytic enzyme papain. The enzyme breaks down inactive proteins and eliminates dead skin cells, while vitamin A works as an antioxidant, leading to glowing skin,” says Dr Goel. Dr Sarkar agrees and adds, “Ripe bananas also have a rich antioxidant quotient and can be mashed and put on the face. Just be sure to use a wash cloth to wipe it off so that it doesn’t render the skin dry.”
A face pack to try at home: Papaya or bananas can be mixed with cream (great hydrating property) and used as a face mask. Use room temperature water to wash off after 10 minutes.