Everyone wants to look his or her best during the festive season. But thanks to bad eating habits, stress, pollution and neglected beauty rituals, your skin may not be in its best shape. According to Mumbai-based cosmetic physician Dr Rashmi Shetty, since Diwali comes after Navratri (where many women fast for nine days) and also because the festive season involves a lot of running around, women tend to get that tired look with exhaustion and lack of sleep evident on their faces. She adds, "However, these days some very good spa and non-invasive cosmetic treatments are available that can give you a ‘fresh’ and ‘well-rested’ look within no time."
Don’t forget the basics, counsels Dr Mohan Thomas, senior cosmetologist, Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai. He explains, "Good skin begins with remaining stress-free, having balanced nutrition, drinking enough water, and exercising." Dr Thomas’ other tips include using a cleanser and moisturiser daily, applying a sunscreen with SPF of more than 35, decreasing smoking and caffeine consumption, and using good makeup, which can cover up superficial blemishes.
So, now that Diwali’s just a few days away, get cracking: there’s still time to make appointments, mix up home remedies, get a massage and pamper your skin so you can be refreshed and rejuvenated when D-day dawns.
Here’s our three-day guide to improving your skin and body.
Day 1: Prep Up
Diet tips: Begin your day with a glass of lukewarm water with a twist of lime and one tsp honey. It’ll help to flush out the toxins from your body, prevent pimples and give you a vitamin C boost.
Brew a teapot of green tea and sip four to six cups throughout the day. Green tea contains L-theanine, a de-tensing amino acid, which helps bust the flow of the stress hormone cortisol and helps keep collagen fibres intact, ensuring elastic, firm, great-looking skin.
Sprinkle some flaxseeds on your cereal, as these are a rich source of omega-3, which helps reverse the damage already caused in the skin and dulls the tan a bit.
Have a glass of mixed vegetable juice twice a day. Top zit-fighters include carrots, celery, and ginger.
Have broccoli for lunch and spinach for dinner as they are loaded with vitamin A and vitamin E, which will firm up your skin and make you look younger.
Beauty tips: "Use a milk scrub followed by a honey moisturiser," suggest Kapil Dhameja and Sanyog Jain, founders of Blue Terra Spa.
To make the milk scrub, mix 8-10 tsp fresh (not boiled) milk, a pinch of salt and 3-4 drops of lemon. Apply it on your face with a cotton ball. Let it dry. When the scrub is dry, massage it gently into your skin for 2-3 minutes. Splash your face with water. Then, to moisturise, take 2 tbsp almond oil and 2 tsp honey. Mix and store in an airtight container. Apply it on the face after the milk scrub and massage for 5 minutes. Rinse with water. (Note: If the moisturiser feels too sticky, add a little oil.)
"In the evening apply mashed tomato with curd and leave on for 20 minutes for fresh skin," suggests Megha Dinesh, director – spa, The Park, New Delhi. "Just before bed, applying glycerine mixed with lemon juice works wonders on the skin," advise Dhameja and Jain.
Day 2: Get into Gear
Diet tips: Eat a crushed garlic pod on an empty stomach; it’s a great detoxifier.
Eat avocados as they contain the most potent anti-ageing combination – vitamins E and C – which mop up ageing free radicals and make your skin luminous. Have salmon for lunch and mackerel for dinner, sautéed or grilled. Besides omega 3, these are a good protein source, essential to make enzymes and hormones that keep skin glowing. They are also rich in vitamin D, which keeps the skin fresh.
Add oranges and kiwis to salad. High in vitamin C, they give sagging skin a boost. This improves skin texture too. Beauty tips: "Add half a cup of honey to your bath water for soft and smooth skin," suggests Dr Sangeeta Amladi, head, medical services, Kaya Skin Clinic.
"Create a facial scrub with 1 tsp milk cream, ½ to 1 tbsp ground sugar and 5-6 drops olive oil. Massage gently with 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp rose water, 1 tbsp besan and a pinch of turmeric. After a massage of 4 to 5 minutes in circular motions, leave paste to dry, then wash with warm water. Do not use soap," says Dr Akhilesh, head of NeoVeda Spa, The Metropolitan Hotel, New Delhi.
"If you have a tan, take 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp milk and a few drops of lemon and massage all over," advises Siddharth Shankar, director, Mystic Cures Ltd.
Day 3: Finish in Style
Diet tips: Begin your day with a glass of lukewarm water with a twist of lime and one tsp honey.
Add sunflower seeds to your cereal. The zinc in it will help heal your pimples faster and prevent more acne breakouts.
Munch on some walnuts (omega 3 and antioxidants) mid-morning and in the evening. Have pomegranate juice twice to fortify your blood count and give the skin a rosy tint.
Make sure you have a big bowl of yoghurt along with both main meals. The probiotics in it will help add healthy bacteria to the intestines (read no acne) and buff up the production of collagen (read less lines on the face).
Beauty tips: "Blend 2 gm each of white sandal, saffron, poppy seeds, red sandal and manjistha with a few drops of rose water and apply as a face pack; it helps whiten the face," says Siddharth Shankar.
"If you have oily skin, soak multani mitti and mint powder in yoghurt for 30 minutes and mix them well by beating. Apply it on the face for 15 minutes and leave it to dry. Then wash off with lukewarm water. After that, rinse with cold water," says Dr Sangeeta Amladi.
"At bedtime, apply an equal proportion of honey and rose water on the face and leave for 10 minutes; you’ll get a wonderful glow on the face," shares Megha Dinesh.
Happy Diwali! May you even outshine the diyas!
SAY NO on all 3 days
Junk the junk Chocolates, fatty and sugary foods lead to a sluggish digestive system that hampers smooth elimination of waste matter from the body. These then clog up the skin, leading to blocked pores and acne.
Avoid tea, coffee and aerated drinks
These lead to tired-looking, greasy skin and spots, and also make the skin sag and look dull.
Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol dehydrates the skin and depletes stores of vitamins B and C. Also, it leads to blotchiness and puffiness.
Stop smoking: Nicotine attacks blood vessels that feed the skin with nutrients and depletes oxygen levels. This leads to blocked po-res, pimples, dry and peeling skin and black lips.
Spa and beauty packages
From facials to wraps, body treatments, peels, all-day rituals, and even weekend packages, there are a variety of spa packages available this festive season.
In Delhi, Blue Terra Spa recommends their ‘Humid Escape’ package, while The Metropolitan Hotel’s NeoVeda spa features a Men’s Purifying Facial, Shoulder and Scalp Massage. The spa at the Shangri-la hotel has a Restorative Mud Ritual perfect for this season, while VLCC lists a long line of facial peels that work wonders.
In Mumbai, Dr Rashmi Shetty, cosmetic physician, recommends her Skin Alive package, while The Jiva spa at Taj Wellington Mews is highlighting its Soundarya package, and The Quan Spa at the JW Marriott is hosting a ‘Festival of Scrubs’. Finally, the packages at Rejuve Spa, InterContinental The Lalit, include a stay plus spa option.
From HT Brunch, October 23
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