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Cosmetics, plain & simple

All creams that claim to make your skin soft and smooth rely on an ingredients to boost credibility even if the benefits have not been clinically proven. Hydroxy acids -- alpha and beta, usually listed as AHA and BHA -- aloe vera, vitamin E, vitamin C and even pure aqua, which is another name for water, a whole range of products are being sold based on false claims.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2011 02:15 IST

All creams that claim to make your skin soft and smooth rely on an ingredients to boost credibility even if the benefits have not been clinically proven. Hydroxy acids -- alpha and beta, usually listed as AHA and BHA -- aloe vera, vitamin E, vitamin C and even pure aqua, which is another name for water, a whole range of products are being sold based on false claims.

The hydroxy acids are naturally-occurring non-toxic substances found in fruits, wine, milk, sugarcane and berries. AHAs are the best method to rejuvenate Asian skin but they are effective only in concentrations of more than 10%. Most AHA-containing products have them in too low a concentration to be effective. But even in small concentrations, AHA raises the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it works best in a night cream.

BHA -- mostly salicylic acid -- is an active ingredient of acne-care products and works at levels more than 2%. It works well in summers when the skin is oily but dries up the skin in winter.

A simpler way to get the benefits is from fresh ingredients, which should be used one to times a month.

For dry skin: Mixing 3 tablespoons of milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar makes a scrub that gives the benefit of lactic acid and malic acid.

Oily skin: Adding one tablespoon of fresh lime juice to 2 tablespoon of baking soda to exfoliate and rejuvenate skin. Always clean in the evening, but never for more than once in two weeks.

*Dr Agarwal is a dermatologist and director of Mehak Skin Clinic in South Delhi’s Sarvodaya Enclave.