Blackheads are something very few of us avoid unfortunately.
Using a natural chemical free oatmeal and yogurt based product is quick and easy to make in our own kitchens.
Using store bought cosmetics does not have to be the answer to blackhead problems which will often contain preservatives and toxins.
The health benefits of these ingredients are well known and when combined together with a few additional natural store cupboard favorites, make a powerful blackhead removing face mask which also gently exfoliates the skin revealing fresh new glowing skin.
Let's take a look at the skin benefits of oatmeal and yogurt followed by two recipes.
The first is an excellent blackhead remover and gentle skin exfoliator. The second is an antibacterial busting face mask perfect for oily or acne prone skin.
Stress is so common that many feel it on a daily basis. It could be related to work, family problems, feelings of inadequacy or simply overload with that long to-do list that never goes away. And when the holidays come around? Well, it often gets worse at a time when we really just want to feel the comfort and relaxation of being around our family and friends. But there are many natural ways to relieve stress.
According to a study, aromatherapy may be the way to go. The study worked to understand how aromatherapy affected blood pressure and the stress of subjects with “essential hypertension.” To do this, one group experienced the aromatherapy for a period of four weeks through inhalation of a blend of oils using lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot. (1)
The process of evaluation included blood pressure checks and pulse readings twice a week. Additionally, serum cortisol levels, catecholamine levels, subjective stress and anxiety levels were monitored before and after in all subjects to include the essential oil group, the placebo and the control group.
Though the differences in the catecholamine levels among the three groups was not very significant, the differences in the blood pressure, pulse, stress, anxiety and serum cortisol levels were quite significant. Ultimately, the results indicate that through aromatherapy, or inhalation of an essential oil blend, psychological stress responses, serum cortisol levels and blood pressure may be greatly reduced. That’s enough evidence to give making a DIY stress-reducing solution a try!
What Natural Ingredients Help Reduce Stress?
Diffusing oils such as lavender, myrrh, frankincense and bergamot in a DIY stress-reducing solution can do way more than just relax you; they are also capable of reducing inflammation, improving immunity, balancing hormones and helping with sleep and digestion.
If you still are not convinced, check out this study. Time was spent evaluating the effects of lavender oil for sleep, and as we all know when we are stressed, our sleep can be greatly affected. In the group that used lavender, not only was their sleep better, they woke up more refreshed. (2) So by diffusing lavender, or a blend to include lavender, myrrh, frankincense and bergamot, before and/or during your sleep you can gain that quality rest that can reduce your stress.
Another study shared information about how aromatherapy helped reduce stress and increase performance during work — and who doesn’t want that? This specific study used petitgrain essential oil, which is in the citrus family, and found that subjects who experienced the inhalation through diffusion of the oil increased work performance while feeling more relaxed. It showed an improvement of both the mental and emotional state by reducing the stress levels and simultaneously increasing awareness. (2)
How to Make a DIY Stress-Reducing Solution
Now that you have gained an understanding of just how great some essential oils can be for stress, make your own DIY Stress-Reducing Solution and experience it for yourself. You can create this blend and use it in your diffuser, or put a few drops in your bath.
Use 10–15 drops of the above blend with 1 cup Epsom salt in the bath
Using a dark-colored glass bottle, add the oils. Lavender oil has long been known to produce a calming effect. It may alleviate anxiety, provide restful sleep and reduce symptoms of depression. Bergamot oil has the ability to help with insomnia while reducing frustration. Frankincense holds true to its stress-relieving effects, too. It can add a deeper sense of calmness by quieting the mind and offering spiritual grounding. And let’s not forget myrrh oil, as it provides relaxation and is commonly used for aromatherapy massage.
Now that you understand a little more about these oils, let’s go ahead and blend them together to make our amazing stress-reducer. You will want to have a vertical dropper insert so that you can control how much oil you use, drop-by-drop. Secure the dispenser into the top of the bottle, then the cap. Once you have capped the bottle, give it a good shake to blend it well. For the diffuser option, follow the instructions for your diffuser. Usually, you need to fill it with water. Then add 5–6 drops of the DIY stress-reducing solution and place it in an area of the room that will allow it to easily permeate the room. For a relaxing bath, fill the tub as you normally would, then add about 10–15 drops of the DIY Stress-Reducing Bath Blend and one cup of Epsom salt. Get in and relax.
DIY Stress-Reducing Solution
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: about 1–2 ounces
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops bergamot essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil
10 drops myrrh essential oil
Stress-Reducing Bath Blend
Use 10–15 drops of the above blend with 1 cup Epsom salt in the bath
Place all 4 essential oils in a dark-colored bottle.
Place the vertical dropped securely into the bottle.
Aloe vera has gained popularity in the past few years for the health benefits that it provides. And it’s difficult for a thing not to become famous once it's connected to the word ‘weight loss’. Aloe vera is helpful in losing weight due to the detoxifying properties it has. Most people who want to lose weight or are struggling to do so surely know about it. But what most of them don’t know is how to inculcate it in their diet/routine for losing weight in a healthy manner.
Below, we mention five ways you can consume aloe vera to reap its maximum benefits.
The best way to consume aloe vera would be to consume it with juices and smoothies. This will not only maximise its benefits but will also make it taste better.
1. Aloe vera juice with lemon
This juice can be consumed every morning empty stomach and you should not have anything an hour after you have had the juice. The detoxifying property of aloe vera helps it cleanse the body of toxins. The juice also cleanses the intestines which help to keep our bowel movement smooth and healthy.
How to prepare the juice
Take one glass of water and add one lemon juice to it. Now, take a tablespoon of aloe vera gel (preferably from the plant and not packaged one). Now put this solution in a pan and heat it while stirring constantly (until the gel blends in the water). Now add a tablespoon of honey and have it warm.
2. Aloe and ginger tea
This tea can be the best mid-afternoon drink. There are many healthy properties of ginger, such as it is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, promotes healthy digestion and also prevents fluid retention. These properties, when combined with aloe vera, helps to remove fats from the body.
How to make it
To make this delicious tea, grate one tablespoon of ginger and add one teaspoon of aloe vera juice to it. Add this mixture to a cup of water and bring it to boil. Once the gel is mixed nicely with the water, turn off the heat. Now let the mixture cool down for 10 minutes.
3. Pineapple, cucumber and aloe juice
The best time to consume this juice would be after you have had your lunch. Pineapple has the ability to improve digestion and detoxify your body. Cucumber is hydrating and has fibre, which further betters your digestion.
How to make this juice
To make this juice you will need one slice of pineapple, a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, a cup of water and half a cucumber. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend well until you obtain a smooth texture. Having this smoothie when feeling hungry after you have had your lunch would be a great idea.
4. Orange, strawberry and aloe vera smoothie
Low in calories and safe for diabetics, strawberries make a great fruit for weight loss. Strawberry is also rich in fibre and is a powerful cleanser. By combining orange, aloe vera and strawberries, you can make a great antioxidant drink for a healthy weight loss.
How to make it
To prepare this juice, squeeze some fresh orange juice. Add three to four slices of strawberry and one tablespoon of fresh aloe vera juice to it. Put all this in a blender along with half cup of water. Blend until smooth and you are done.
Too much of a good thing may not always be better for your health. Researchers have shown that high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – commonly touted as "good cholesterol" for helping to reduce risk of stroke and heart attack – may increase a person's risk of premature death as much as its low levels.
The research suggests that intermediate levels of HDL cholesterol may increase longevity.
"The findings surprised us," said the study's senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. "Previously it was thought that raised levels of the good cholesterol were beneficial. The relationship between increased levels of HDL cholesterol and early death is unexpected," Al-Aly said.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in blood that can narrow and block heart vessels, causing cardiovascular disease and stroke. For years, HDL cholesterol has been credited with helping to remove plaque-building "bad cholesterol" from arteries.
For this study, researchers studied kidney function and HDL cholesterol levels in more than 1.7 million male veterans from October 2003 through September 2004.
Researchers then followed participants until September 2013.
In the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the researchers showed that both high and low HDL cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of dying among study participants with all levels of kidney function. "Too low and too high are both associated with higher risk of death," Al-Aly said. Whether maintaining intermediate HDL cholesterol levels may increase longevity will need to be explored in future studies, Al-Aly said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Face masks at home with turmeric are very helpful to treat a number of skin conditions, such as dark spots, blemishes, acne, pigmentation, wrinkles, stretch marks, and cracked heels.
Turmeric (also called curcumin and haldi) has been used traditionally as a beauty treatment in India. It helps to balance and restore skin's natural pH level. It slows down the skin's aging process, heals dry skin, and makes skin supple. Turmeric is also good for acne as it is a natural antiseptic. Read more to get familiar with turmeric face masks at home and learn about the several beauty benefits of turmeric on the skin.
In India, a mixture of turmeric and gram flour is applied to the bride and bridegroom on the morning of the wedding day, so they will have a golden glow on their skin at the time of the wedding.
Turmeric/Yogurt/Gram Flour Face Mask for Glowing Skin
This face mask twice a week will add a natural golden glow to your facial skin.
Add two teaspoons gram flour (also called chickpea, garbanzo, or besan flour) to one teaspoon turmeric powder. Now mix with three or four teaspoons of yogurt. Mix well, and apply to the face for 20 minutes. Gram flour is particularly good for oily skin, but if you have dry skin also add ground oats to make your dry skin smooth. Yogurt with its antioxidant properties helps protect the face.
These delicious healthy smoothie recipes make it easy to eat healthy with fruit, milk, protein, immune-boosting yogurt, and other nutritious ingredients—and they're great for those on a smoothie diet, too.
Your expanded waistline refuses to shrink an inch, despite following the recommended set of workout and exercises? It is getting worse as you are only gaining weight around your belly? Perhaps your low metabolism, food intake, exercise, lifestyle habits has to do something with the condition, or perhaps not. There may be an absolutely different reason to your protruding belly, than the common ones cited before and usually. The reason behind the bulge around your abdomen, may be rooted in a certain psychological condition. Those extra pounds could be a cross product of stress. While increased stress can result in reduced appetite at first, this ‘chronic’ stress may eventually lead to you binging into fattening food. And this phenomenon is commonly reffered to as the stress induced weight gain. Stress, anxiety, overthinking are almost becoming synonymous to the times we are living in. This stress is not only affecting the peace of your mind but could also playing a role in promoting weight gain, especially around your mid-riff. And a certain hormone called cortisol can be labelled as a culprit here. Cortisol Cortisol is also called the stress hormone. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands, it is important for maintanence of blood pressure as well as infusing energy in the body. The hormone also stimulates fats and carbohydrate metabolism for greater energy and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite. Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner explains, “In the tension filled times body releases cortisol the stress hormone as a result there is a rise in insulin levels thus blood sugar levels drop and one craves high carb foods and sugary food.” The body releases chemicals in response to food that might have a direct calming effect, and this is how you binge yourself into gaining weight around your belly. Shilpa adds, “Also high cortisol production can confuse the entire endocrine system and increase appetite. Stress leads to over production of ghrelin your hunger hormone and leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full and satiated becomes passive.” Why is this belly fat a reason to worry? It has been found that stress and increased cortisol levels tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than around the hips or other parts of the body. Chief Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta says, “There is a strong co-relation between belly fat and cardiovascular diseases. We have heard of apple and pear shaped bodies, those who are apple shaped, that is the ones with a considerable body weight in around the abdominal are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases. Cortisol is known as the survival hormone. The concentration of the hormone is controlled by the enzyme found mostly in the abdominal region. Hence there is a greater storage in the fat tissues of abdomen , when you are stressed. Here are a host of remedies you can try to beat the stress-induced weight. Shilpa suggests meditation and a making a window for some recreational activities ,” In lives full of stress and compulsive eating disorders one should include daily meditation and relaxation techniques like music, reading , dancing or engage in some sport you like to play.” Dr. Rupali Dutta lists a couple of suggestions which can come in handy to cut down on the bulge, due to stress. 8 hours of good quality sleep, people might argue that it is not as essential, but sleep deprivation may have a bearing to stress and anxiety. Learn to delegate your work, you cannot take care of everything and yourself alone. Therefore fretting about it, is only adding to your stress. So stop, breathe relax, and plan. You have to monitor your eating habits and keep eating at regular intervals of time, as the sugar levels go down, the levels of cortisol go up. You must include high fibre, leafy vegetables and whole grain foods in your diet. Whole grains has a very positive impact in maintaining satiety. Also, remember to have enough proteins, most of our Indian meals are high on carbohydrates, which may make you lose out on the adequate protein intake. Make sure to load up on vitamin C, as it is supposed to boost the adrenal gland, which regulated the secretion of cortisol. It is essential to be hydrated, Nimbu paani, chaas, nariyal paani, or just plain water, make sure you keep yourself hydrated to prevent the stress induced weight gain. Try and take out at least 30 minutes and engage in anything that de-stresses you, dancing, listening to music reading. Yoga or regular exercise also helps keep your spirits up.
Vapor rubs are typically used on the chest, back and throat to help with symptoms of a common cold or minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints. Of course, you can purchase vapor rubs in stores, but these products contain toxic ingredients — such as camphor — that are harmful to your health.
According to Dr. Bruce Rubin from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, an over-the-counter vapor rub “may make people with congestion feel more comfortable, but it does nothing to increase airflow or actually relieve the congestion.” In fact, research performed on ferrets found that an over-the-counter vapor rub increased mucus and decreased mucus clearance. (1) This means that these topical treatments may not only ignore the source of the problem, but they may actually make symptoms worse. So why do people feel better after using these creams? It’s menthol. The strong menthol odor tricks the brain into feeling like your nasal passages are unclogged. (2)
Luckily, this homemade vapor rub recipe really works and is completely natural! You can feel confident in what you are putting on your body. You only need five simple ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, grated beeswax, peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and then a container to store the mixture in.
The essential oils deliver a soothing feeling while giving off an aroma that helps to open up the respiratory system and help improve the ease of breathing.
In fact, the peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils pack this rub with a number of benefits. Peppermint essential oil is used for muscle pain relief, sinus care, fever reducing, headache help, nausea relief and so much more. Eucalyptus essential oil functions as an expectorant, helping to cleanse the body of toxins, making it great for relieving symptoms of the cold and flu. It has also proven helpful with sinus and respiratory problems.
Try this homemade vapor rub today. Simply pour the olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax into a glass jar. To save containers, choose a jar you can store your homemade vapor rub in later. Fill a saucepan with two inches of water and place over medium-low heat.
Then, set the jar in the saucepan and wait for the oils to melt. Stir to combine. Once you mix all of the ingredients together, allow to cool and add in the essential oils.
Homemade Vapor Rub
Total Time: 30 minutes
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup grated bees wax
20 drops peppermint essential oil
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Pour the olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax into a jar.
Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium low heat.
Place jar in saucepan and allow oils to melt. Stir to combine.
Once combined, allow to cool slightly and add in essential oils.
Pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers and allow to set.
As someone who's been a beauty writer and editor for nearly a decade, no matter how many masks, scrubs, and serums I try, my blackheads have nevertheless persisted. I could have sworn that when I entered my thirties I was supposed to fight the anti-aging and dehydrated-skin battle, and that I could finally toss all the bizarre anti-acne products I’ve procured over the years. No such luck. To this day, I still have my beloved pore strips in the bathroom vanity.
Ripping off a pore strip and inspecting all the gunk it removed is so satisfying, and I can attest that they are far better than squeezing blackheads with your fingers. (I know it's tempting, but you'll make your zits SO MUCH WORSE.) But I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually making my skin any better by using them. Despite the myriad pore strips I've tried, I just can't seem to get the blackheads out for good. So is it me, or are pore strips total BS?
Well, it turns out that the strips aren’t unplugging blackheads like you thought. (I know your world view is totally wrecked, breathe.) Being the ultimate skeptic, I wanted to figure out what really happens every time I use one of those pore strips.
Although there are tons of different versions available, pore strips are always made with the same basic components. The strip itself is made of a "non-soluble woven substrate,” says Ginger King, a cosmetic chemist in New Jersey—that's the papery fabric-like body of the thing. On the underside of the strip there's a polymer that (theoretically) attaches to the oil plugs in your pores, and a non-tacky resin to help the patch adhere to your nose.
While the strips themselves aren't constantly being reinvented, there have been some cool additions lately. For example, Bioré now has charcoal-infused strips to purportedly mop up more oil. Some strips are being sold in kits with additional steps, like Dr. Jart Pore Master Patch ($35/5), which has a second, moisturizing strip to help counteract any dryness. Pore strips can also have additional ingredients like fragrances or colorants, so if you have sensitive or allergy-prone skin, you may want to skip the strip.
Wetting the strip before putting it on makes it sticky. Letting it dry gives it pulling power.
The directions on a box of pore strips generally go like this: Wet your nose with a generous amount of water. After peeling any backing off, smooth the pore strip onto your nose, starting from the bridge and working your way out, and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
This is definitely one case where there can't be too much H2O—it's essential for the resin to be wet so that it will stick to your skin. The water also activates the oil-grabbing polymer. "[Water] provides a positive charge, which allows the polymers to bond to plugged pores, which have a negative charge," says Erika Palmer, the R&D Skincare Group Leader at Kao USA (the parent company of Bioré, for full disclosure).
During the 10 to 15-minute drying period, the activated polymers work to adhere to the outermost layer of skin, plus excess sebum and hair that clogs pores. (I have always found the OG Bioré pore strips superior to others, and King attributes their ultra-stickiness to the company's proprietary polymers.)
When you pull off a pore strip you can see the results—but you might be mistaken about what you're actually looking at.
When removing a dried pore strip, you want to start from the outer flanks working inward, being careful not to move too fast. (This should not be treated like a strip of hot wax, you guys.) Enjoy the stalagmites and stalactites peeking out visually if you'd like, but don't get too attached to those grits because what you're seeing may not be exactly what you think it is.
The technical term for the little dots on your nose you're trying to get rid of is keratotic plugs , according to King. These keratotic plugs are made up of dead skin cells, dirt, hair, and oil. Blackheads, which are oxidized sebum blocked in your pores, are a type of keratotic plug that lives deeper, below the surface of your skin.
With the pore strip, everything is surface level. While the strips may successfully remove the upper portions of dirt and oil, they're not going deep enough to de-clog hardened plugs of oxidized sebum—you know, the blackheads you bought pore strips specifically to target.
So, sadly, pore strips aren't going to solve your blackhead problems, though they can give you smoother skin.
Pulling off existing oil and dirt does help the skin feel softer and smoother. But strips aren't doing anything to actually treat the cause of the blackheads in the first place. In order to prevent future keratotic plugs or blackheads from forming, you have to do a deeper exfoliation or sign up for extractions at the salon. And no, you can't make your pores smaller with pore strips, either. All you can really hope to do is not stretch them out more by keeping them clear of dirt and dead skin cells with a regular scrub or exfoliating peel . And if you really love the satisfaction of a used pore strip dappled with gunk, keep on keeping on—it's not going to do any harm.
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