Pollution in the air is making our world increasingly hostile to our well-being, by leading to a build up of toxins in the body.  Among the organs of the body, the skin is one of the first to bear the brunt of air pollutants, which not only attack the skin surface, but also lead to an accumulation of toxins. These cause oxidation damage and disrupt the normal balances of the skin, leading to premature ageing signs, dry-skin sensitivity, rashes, pimples and acne. The skin looks dull and lacks vitality. Our lifestyle can compound the problem further. Alcohol, rich and spicy foods, inadequate sleep, lack of exercise and increased stress, all lead to a build-up of toxins, which reflect on the skin. Therefore, we need to get rid of toxins and wastes. There are many ways to do it. However, the best way is to detoxify the system in order to look and feel good.

Diet

Bring about changes in your diet. You should include raw and natural foods in your diet including fresh fruits and vegetable juices. This detoxifies the system by promoting the elimination of waste. Fresh fruits, lightly cooked vegetables, unprocessed cereals, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds and yogurt should be included in your diet. You should focus majorly on fresh juice as it is the richest source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes. Recently cold-pressed juices have become popular.  Experts recommend cold-press juices as it contains more nutrients. Drink plenty of water. The first thing you should do in the morning is to drink a glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice. This helps to flush the system. Have probiotic foods, like probiotic yogurt.

Protective Cosmetics

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All of us who live and work in urban areas need protective cosmetics. If the job involves travelling, or if one travels long distances to work, the skin needs to be protected. If the skin is prone to eruptive conditions like acne, pimples, rash, it should be protected with specialized creams that also reduce oiliness and deal with the problem.  

External Detox

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For external detox, deep cleansing and exfoliation with scrubs is a good idea as  it helps to cleanse the skin of dead cells. Your cleanser should contain sandalwood, eucalyptus, mint, neem, tulsi, aloe vera, lemon etc. This is because the anti-toxic and tonic properties will help to clear the skin congestion as well as eruptions. Protective creams containing sandalwood are good for you if your skin is prone to eruptive conditions like acne, pimples and rash.

Brushing

Skin “brushing” helps the elimination of toxins. It is used in the treatment of cellulite, which is caused by deposits of water, fat and other wastes collecting in pockets beneath the skin. The entire surface  is brushed by using a rough cloth or you can use a natural bristle brush. Begin from the feet and go upwards. Then brush from lower to upper arms. Go across the shoulders and back. Remember to brush gently on the chest and abdomen.

Activated Charcoal

Use of activated charcoal to detoxify the skin is getting quite popular as it purifies the skin by drawing out the toxins. It also refines the pores along with removing dead skin cells.This actually brightens the skin. The best way to use activated charcoal is in the form of a face mask. Just mix rose water and aloe vera gel with activated charcoal and your face mask is ready. Now, apply a thin layer on your face. Avoid the area around the eyes and lips. If you have acne prone skin, then add 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil and rose water to make a face mask. Wash off the masks after 20 minutes.

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Sunscreens

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Today, sunscreens are very much a part of routine skin care. This is because people are more aware of the damage caused by UV rays and chemical pollutants. Anti-pollution cosmetics, which are basically protective creams or “cover” creams, can also be sunscreens. These creams form a transparent protective film on the skin. By including sun filters in anti-pollution creams, they can serve a dual purpose. Such products also protect the skin from problems like hyper-pigmentation.

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Yoga

Take up yoga. Yoga asanas are quite beneficial for you as they strengthen the body by making it flexible, supple and youthful. Yoga also consists of breathing exercises which improves oxygenation and purifies the organ systems as well as induces relaxation of the body and mind. There is no feeling of fatigue. Instead, there is physical and mental exhilaration. Indeed, according to Yoga, the body is the temple of the soul. 

Shahnaz Husain is a well-known beauty and wellness expert. She is also the founder, chairperson and managing director of The Shahnaz Husain Group. For more stories from Shahnaz Husain, stay tuned to HerZindagi.