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LifestyleHealthProtecting skin, hair against pollutants

Protecting skin, hair against pollutants

Published: 24th Nov 2021 5:19 pm

Hyderabad: Pollutants like cigarette smoke, dust, smog, and vehicle exhaust cause all sorts of skin irritations, like allergic reactions, rashes, wrinkles, decreased elasticity, and accelerated ageing. Pollution causes inflammation, damages collagen, and disrupts the skin barrier. Around 90 percent of premature ageing can be attributed to pollution. Breathing air containing high levels of air pollutants, and this can dramatically impact the skin.

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Simple practices like cleansing your face thoroughly every day, staying hydrated, and eating nutrient-rich foods will help to keep your body and skin healthy. Cleansing of the skin is important to get rid of the impurities and pollutants deposited on the skin. If you have dry skin, use a cleansing cream or gel. For oily skin, cleansing milk or face wash may be used; also use a facial scrub after cleansing.

Look for products that are rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, with ingredients like sandalwood, eucalyptus, mint, neem, tulsi, aloe vera, etc., which have anti-toxic and tonic properties, when you buy cleansers. Aloe vera, for example, is also a powerful moisturiser and an antioxidant. So are ingredients like apricot kernel oil, carrot seed, and wheatgerm oil.

After cleansing, wipe the skin with a rose-based skin tonic or rose water, to complete the cleansing process and refresh the skin. Soak cotton wool in chilled rose water and tone the skin with it, patting briskly. Green tea also makes a good skin toner. If there is rash or eruption, add a little rose water to sandalwood paste and apply on the face. Wash off with plain water after 15 minutes.

Anti-pollution cosmetics help to provide protection and reduce the damage caused by environmental effects. These are basically ‘cover creams’ that form a barrier between the skin and pollutants. Sandalwood protective cream is very useful to protect the skin from environmental effects.


Wash your scalp and hair regularly but not too often. Use a deep-cleansing, detoxifying shampoo that respects the balance of scalps rendered sensitive by pollution.

Mix shikakai powder, chane ka atta, haldi powder; add water as needed, and make a fine paste of it. Use it as a substitute for soap. Pollutants also collect on the scalp. Shampoo, hair rinses, serums and conditioners help to restore the normal balances if they contain ingredients like amla, brahmi, triphala, bhringraj and henna. They also coat the hair and form a protective cover. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and honey with one egg. Massage the mixture lightly into the scalp. Leave on for half-an-hour and then wash the hair. Rinse well with water.

Or, give the hair hot oil therapy. Heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave oil on overnight and wash hair the next day.

Eye care

The impurities and pollutants can also affect the eyes, causing burning or redness. The eyes should be washed with plain water several times. Soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water and use them over the eyes as eye pads. Lie down and relax for 15 minutes. This really helps to remove fatigue and brightens the eyes. Wrap around a scarf or a dupatta around your head while going out.

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