Best Home Remedies? Not So Fast!

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In India, home remedies are often touted as the ultimate panacea to nearly anyone who’s ill from cold and cough, suffering from a bothersome tan, or experiencing some other cosmetic issue. Unfortunately, while some home remedies are super-effective, others have the potential to go severely wrong, and can be truly disastrous! New York dermatologist Dr. Kiran Lohia gives us the lowdown on some home remedies that are popular in India, but which can backfire and be quite harmful.

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Danger #1: Toothpaste on a Zit
How many people have told you that toothpaste is the best solution for a traumatic zit? Well, it’s definitely NOT true. As opposed to killing your pimple, toothpaste can actually irritate your skin so severely that it can cause a burn. Young women and men end up with huge black marks on their faces because of their experiments with toothpaste gone bad. Please do not do this! You are better off diluting one fourth of a dyspirin tablet in some water and gently applying it to the zit once a day. This will provide salicylic acid, known to reduce inflammation in zits, and help clean out the obstructed follicle.

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Danger #2: Lemon to Prevent Tanning
Grandmas around the world view lemon as a cure to nearly every cosmetic issue. While their wisdom is always valued, in this case we must beg to differ. Lemon is a pretty strong acid, and when used on the face it can cause irritation, rashes, dryness and even skin burning. Furthermore, when you go out in the sun after using lemon on your face, you can get a severe tan or a skin allergy! If you’re looking to get rid of a tan, this is not your solution. Instead, use a gentle ubtan with besan mixed with yogurt or milk, gently apply to your face in circular motions, let dry and then wash it off with gentle circular motions. Do this no more than once a week for a gradual result. Another option is Diamond Microdermabrasion – in one session, you can see your dead and tanned skin cells come off, without any side effects or risks!

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Danger #3: Butter on Your Burns
This home remedy is shockingly common. Many people put butter on burnt skin, thinking it will heal it. Unfortunately, while butter has healthy fat that will provide a nice barrier to burnt skin, the attempt is misguided. Butter will also predispose your burn to bacterial infections, which can worsen the burn and slow the healing process. Instead, apply Vaseline! This multi-functional ingredient is great for protecting burnt skin from the environment, and helps prevent infections from occurring!

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Danger #4: Mustard Oil for Skin and Hair
Who in India hasn’t heard of mustard oil being amazing for the skin and hair? A staple in West Bengal, the mythic magic of mustard oil cannot be underestimated. However, this myth is far from fact. Rather, mustard oil is dangerous to the skin and should not be used on it at all. It contains ingredients called psoralens that make your skin excessively sensitive to the sun. This causes you not only to tan and get pigmented, but also to get something called irritant dermatitis, which is dryness, rashes, bumps and sometimes even blisters! If you absolutely must use an oil, use coconut oil! It’s safe for the skin and doesn’t interact with the sun! -  Dr. Kiran Lohia, MD, Celebrity Dermatologist, Lumiere Dermatology