Stretch marks are a common annoyance during and post-pregnancy and the easiest and most convenient way of reducing these marks is by following a pregnancy skincare regimen, health experts have said.
Stretch marks often appear on the belly, thighs, breasts, and hips, during their second trimester as during pregnancy the skin undergoes several changes.
Along with the appearance of stretch marks, the skin tends to sag and become dry and itchy due to lack of moisture.
However, the best part is that with early intervention, these skin changes may fade or disappear after childbirth.
"Skin tends to change during pregnancy, which means regular skincare routine probably won't be very effective. Hence, understand the nourishment that skin requires during this phase and choose a regimen accordingly," said Dr Prathibha Babshet, Ayurveda expert, R&D, The Himalaya Drug Company.
For pregnant mothers, Babshet shared an essential two-step skincare routine for stretch marks during and post-pregnancy.
First, massage gently before bedtime: A massage is the most effective way to reduce stretch marks. Indulging in a light massage every night before bed helps in building skin elasticity while increasing blood flow.
"The increase in blood flow also results in a lightening of the marks. New moms can include this as part of their bedtime routine with an oil specially formulated for stretch marks; preferably olive, wheat germ, almond, and sesame," she said.
Then, moisturise after a shower. When the moisture level in the skin is maintained, it not only results in soft and supple skin but also helps reduce itchiness and the appearance of stretch marks, according to the expert.
Babshet also added that opting for a cream with a herb-oil-butter complex helps provide deeper moisturisation, especially when used after a shower.
"A blend of almond oil, wheat germ oil, olive oil, mango butter, kokum butter, and shea butter, and herbs like centella, pomegranate, and licorice helps firm up sagging skin and reduces the appearance of stretch marks naturally," she said.
The experts also stressed that, apart from a good skin care regimen, it is equally important to take care of your health and body.
"It is advisable to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Drinking enough water also helps keep the skin hydrated. Avoid eating junk food and eliminate caffeine from your diet," Babshet noted.
A living body is made up of 70% of water. An individual can survive for maximum up to 14 days without food but that is not the case with water. Water is very essential for every bodily function without which it is impossible for one to survive. Though it doesn’t carry any caloric and nutritional value, it is impossible for one to survive without water. This explains how vital water is for sustainment of life for every living being.
Ayurveda considers water as an important component of life sustaining material and explains in detail about the proper usage of water in order to keep oneself healthy. As the main motto of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of a healthy individual and also to cure the diseased one, water acts as an adjuvant in fulfilling this former motto of Ayurveda.
In this article you will know what Ayurveda and also the contemporary science advices regarding practices regarding water intake that one has to to follow in order to keep oneself healthy.
1. Why is Water an essential part of life?
Modern science: -
Water is a vital element that supports life in the following ways:
By maintaining the normal bodily volume
It maintains normal mucosal texture by retaining the moistness within the cells
Regulates growth, multiplication, functioning and natural death of cells
Plays a major role in balancing the electrolytes in the body
Aids digestion by being a constituent in saliva, mucus, enzymes and other secretions of the alimentary tract.
It regulates temperature by being a part of sweating.
Plays an important role in normal functioning of all the systems of the body namely: digestive system, excretory system, nervous system etc
Helps in formation of urine which eliminates metabolic wastes from the body.
Maintains proper texture of stools formed aiding proper evacuation.
It is a major composition of Kapha dosha which helps in growth of the body
Increases strength of the body
Provides stability and strength for all joints of the body.
Maintains normal texture of the skin in the form of kapha.
2. What is the required quantity of water per day?
Modern science: -
There are different opinions based on the quantity of water to be taken as per modern science.
Modern science roughly advices 1.5 litres to 2 litres of water per day.
The amount of water to be taken daily is also decided based on the body weight of the individual.
It also depends on the activity level of each individual and individual requirement per day.
Ayurveda advices intake of water only when one’s thrishna vega appears i.e when the person feels thirsty.
One should take sips of water repeatedly when thirsty instead of taking large volume of water at once to fulfil daily requirement.
3. What should be the temperature of drinking water?
Modern science: -
Temperature of the drinking water doesn’t carry any importance as per modern science. It usually depends on individual preferences and temperature of the surroundings.
Ayurveda describes the practice of intake of Sukhoshṇa jala or warm water as the best over the intake of cold water.
Warm water refers to Sukhoshṇa jala i.e that which can be consumed comfortably without burning oneself or in other words is should be Luke warm.
Drinking warm water had following advantages:
It improves digestion
Avoids fermentation of food consumed
Improves peristaltic movement of the gastro intestinal tract and prevent food stasis.
Corrects the disturbed gati or movement of vata i.e it promotes anuloma gati of vata.
4. What is the best time for drinking water while having food?
Ayurveda describes specific time for drinking water with respect to food.
When water is taken before food, it is said to help in weight reduction as it brings a feeling of early satiety.
When water is taken after food, it slows down the metabolism and increases kapha dosha causing increase in body weight.
When water is taken along with the food, it maintains the normalcy of the body and also regulates the normal weight of the body.
5. What happens when you drink too less or too much of water?
When you drink too less or inadequate amount of water i.e less than the required amount of water to fulfil your daily needs, it leads to:
Dehydration – Lips become dry, throat dries up, skin losses its normal texture and urine output decreases
Results in constipation due to reabsorption of water from bowels to compensate the fluid needs of the body.
It hampers the normal metabolic activities of the body by decreasing the production of enzymes.
Disturbs peristalsis by causing imbalance in the electrolyte levels of the body.
When you drink too much or excess water i.e more than the required amount of water to fulfil your daily needs, it leads to:
Fluid retention in the body
Swells up hands and legs
Impaired metabolism as a result of insufficient interaction of enzymes and food particles.
Can cause loose stools due to increased peristalsis
So, as it is said “Too much is too bad and too less is too sad”, it is always advisable to drink water as and when required.
Ayurveda also advocates the same and advices to take sufficient water depending on the bodily requirements.
Consultant at Ayurcentral, Bengaluru &
Asst.Prof at Sri Paripoora Sanathana Ayurveda Medical College Hospital and Research Centre
Being mindful of what you eat before bedtime can help you get a good night's sleep. The quality of your sleep is greatly affected by what you eat and at what time you eat it. Pooja Banga, Certified Nutritionist and wellness consultant, Founder - Cultivating Health, shares a list of food items which should be avoided before bedtime:
Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. They all are very good for health in general but they are probably not the best thing to load up before you head to bed. These veggies can interfere with your ability to sleep soundly because you're likely still digesting all that fiber while trying to fall asleep, which leads to being less than comfortable. Eat those good for you veggies earlier in the day, so your body has time to digest them before you lay down for the night. It has insoluble fibres which can not let your digestive system stay at peace during the night
Ice creams and high sugar
Eating a bowl of ice cream before bed may hit the spot, but it won't make for the a good night's sleep. Like fatty cheese, ice cream can take a while to digest and your body really isn't able to rest well while you're still working on digesting. Sugar can also cause your energy to spike, keeping you from easily falling asleep. That sugar and fat makes ice cream a sleep disruptor, rather than supporter. Candy bars, ice creams, cakes, etc, are all a big no when it comes to eating before bed. Yes it may sound very comforting to have these after dinner but because of the high sugar content, the calories from them cannot be used immediately so it can get stored as fat.
Citric fruits and tomatoes
Tomatoes are good for your skin; it is sad that eating tomatoes them at night can have a negative impact on your sleep. This is mainly because of tyramine, which is a type of amino acid. This chemical increases the activity of your brain and delays sleep. No one ever said that citrus fruit can ever be unhealthy but due to the high vitamin C content, it is not ideal as bedtime food as it may cause acidity and heartburn if not digested properly. It will not only disturb your sleep cycle but also spoil the next day with all the burning sensations.
While you might think you're getting drowsy after that glass of wine, drinking alcohol right before bed can affect quality of sleep. Alcohol might be soothing before bed, but is actually very disruptive for your sleep cycle and causes negative effects on rapid eye movement. You may fall asleep faster after a glass of wine, but you're probably gonna wake up tomorrow still feeling pretty tired.
Red meat, cured meat and cheese
Cheese might be the worst offender of all the high-fat foods you could eat before attempting to go to sleep. Red meat contains high protein and cured meat and cheeses have an amino acid tyramine which makes you alert.
Caffeinated drinks and chocolate
We all know why high caffeine drinks should be avoided before bed as it can lead to sleeplessness but the same goes for chocolate. Chocolate also has caffeine in it and is a sneaky one before bedtime because along with caffeine it also has an amino acid that makes you alert. Chocolate can be a good energy booster in the afternoon but it is not a good energy booster at night.
Amid the pandemic, work from home, social shielding and discreet outdoor ventures have not only disrupted our emotional well-being but have also drastically affected our physical health. As people are confined to their homes with reduced physical activity there is rapid bone resorption (loss) as muscles and bones are not getting adequate stimulation.
Also lack of exposure to sun during the pandemic has critically affected vitamin D levels in our body. People are frequently feeling tired with lack of energy and strength. Everyone needs to be cautious about the health of their bones as much as their other needs.
Dr Dipesh Mahendra Waghmare, Medical Advisor Executive to Millennium Herbal Care, shares some measures that can take care of your bones during the pandemic.
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, green leafy veggies and dry fruits. Good sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals, egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and milk. Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones - calcium helps to build and maintain bones; while vitamin D helps your body to effectively absorb calcium.
Get exposure to sunlight to make enough vitamin D
Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough vitamin D. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D has a significant role in calcium homeostasis and metabolism. As per pan-India study the best time to get exposed to the sun is between 11am and 1pm since the wavelength of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is 290-320nm during this period which is essential for skin to make vitamin D.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Smoking and excessive alcohol intake contributes to bone loss and weakened bones. These unhealthy habits unknowingly reduce blood supply to the bones, slow down the production of bone-forming cells and impair the absorption of calcium. By avoiding these habits, you can lower your rate of bone loss and protect your bones from negative impacts.
Get plenty of physical activity Like muscles, bones become stronger with exercise. The best exercises for healthy bones are strength-building and weight-bearing exercise like walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights and dancing. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise each day. Strength-building and weight-bearing exercise provides stimulation to bone cells and helps to increase bone mineral density and bone size thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Ayurveda and phytomedicines for bone health
There are several herbs and phytomedicines mentioned in Ayurveda for promoting bone health. Herbs like Hadjod, Salai guggul, Ashwagandha and Bala are clinically proven to reinstate bone cell homeostasis (osteoblast and osteoclast) and to improve bone mineral density. While herbs like Arjuna, Methi, Lakha serve as an organic source of bio-available calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, mucopolysaccharrides, minerals and phytoestrogen, of which all are essential components for healthy bones.
The best approach to bone health is adopting proper lifestyle and restoring the healthy balance of bone forming cells (Osteoblast) and bone resorption cells (Osteoclast). As with aging this balance shifts in a negative direction, favoring greater bone loss. Ayurvedic herbs augment bone mass formation and increase its natural healing abilities. Natural or phyto-medicines are free from any kind side effects, can be continued for long term and have sustained benefits for the holistic wellness of your bone health.
The wedding season is upon us, and every bride wants to get that glowing flawless look for her special day. Especially when face masks and humidity are leading to acne and breakouts.
If you are a bride-to-be but are unable to follow a pre-bridal beauty regimen because of your busy schedule, don't fret. Rajat Mathur, Education Manager at Kiehl's India shares some skincare habits guaranteed to give you a quick bridal glow.
Melt away dirt and oil with a gentle face wash. It is a quick step to start your day with and prepare your skin for a glowing look. This will save time and the need for double cleansing while going through an extra step of CTM routine.
Get rid of puffy eyes and refresh tired-looking eyes with a cooling eye stick or a gel based cooling eye mask. It is an easy and quick way to reduce under-eye puffiness on the go. Top it up with a avocado eye treatment or cooling aloe vera gel.
Give yourself a lip glowing treatment, which provides replenishment of oil and the shine of a lip gloss. Invest in lip oils infused with vital fruit extracts and essential oils at night and wake up with fuller and smooth lips.
Start protecting your skin from the sun. Defend skin from skin-damaging pollutants and prevent the dullness for a bright looking skin. Apply a quarter table spoon of sunscreen before heading out with a minimum of spf 50. Opt for paraben and sulfate free sunscreen
Energise and invigorate skin with a brightening face mask. The radiance mask helps brighten fatigued, dull skin. The exfoliating face mask leaves skin feeling soft and smooth ready to steal the show. Look out for glow inducing masks with ingredients like turmeric and cranberry to be applied at night for that awestruck freshness in the morning.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])
Prolonged pandemic and lockdown gave us enough time to take care of our skin and stay away from a regular exposure of sun, dust and pollution. Now that people are beginning to step out, there are chances that our skin became more sensitive to these environmental factors.
"Have you noticed more breakouts or dull skin or fine lines or pigmented spots on the skin? If so, you most likely have 'lockdown skin'. The prolonged lockdown and associated stress have resulted in significant skin damage. Now that the unlock phase has started, UV exposure and exposure to hot winds and environmental pollutants are going to cause further skin damage. It's likely that more people will have the damaging effects of this double whammy in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, dull skin, open pores, and just a very dull-looking skin," dermatologist Dr Sirisha Singh explained to IANSlife in an email.
Adding, Plabita Sharma, The Body Shop Expert says it's better to take extra precautions once we step out of our homes again.
Protect yourself from the UV rays: After spending maximum time indoors for the last few months, now that we are gradually getting ready to step out to sun exposure again post lockdown, it is important to use full spectrum sunscreen to protect our skin from the direct UV rays which cause sunburn, dark spots and discolorations. It would be ideal to use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or more every 2 hours starting from 8 am.
Cover Up: Staying indoor made our skin more sensitive towards direct sunlight that too during summers. It is claimed that the rays are more intense from 10am to 4pm. During these hours, try to avoid going outside. Or, if it's required, cover yourself properly. Wear a scarf to cover your face and neck, glasses to cover your eyes.
Stay Hydrated: Drink at least two liters of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Drinking enough water can help you combat a variety of skin issues and prevents from dehydration; it also helps your digestive system to flush out toxins from the body. This in turn gives healthy and glowing skin and helps you to maintain this glow even after the lockdown. Use moisturizer or skincare products with hyaluronic acid as one of the ingredients, use them lavishly. A spritz of cooling face mist also helps
Eat Healthy: Diet is an often -overlooked part of how we adapt to our external environments throughout the seasons. Try incorporating these skin loving foods like Blueberry, Watermelon, Nuts and Seeds, Carrots and Leafy greens, Cauliflower, Green tea to add a little extra sun protection into your diet and protect your healthy summer glow.
Exfoliate and Moisturise: Use a mild exfoliant regularly to counter the damage due to pollutants (unclog pores blocked by the pollutants). Ground oat milk can be easily made at home and works as a fantastic yet mild exfoliant that can be used 2-3 times a week. Moisturize the skin regularly using a replenishing and light moisturizer. Olive oil also works as a great moisturizer. You can add a few drops of vitamin C serum to the oil for added benefit.
If you are into home-based remedies, use a face pack. You can make one at home using sandalwood powder, fullers earth, and rose water. This may be used 2-3 times a week.