Several beauty treatments and cosmetic products offer instant results for your worst skincare nightmares. But, don’t jump the gun and overlook the damage that they can cause. Shirley Mistry & Yamini Walia tell you about the healthier, safer alternatives to some popular treatments
With the lack of time in today’s day and age, instant treatments are tempting and often seem the best great option. However, if you are patient and opt for safer, natural alternatives, the results will leave you feeling healthier than you would after a cosmetic treatment. Read on to find out what healthier alternatives to pick.
Microdermabrasion vs Natural Peels
A chemical peel, or microdermabrasion, is the instant solution to all your skin problems. From dark spots, lines, pigmentation and dryness, to dullness and tanning, a chemical peel can take care of all your skin problems in a jiffy. The procedure involves a small, pen-like tool, which is used to peel back the top-most layer of your skin. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?! These peels also use several toxic chemicals that peel back two to three layers of your skin. So, apart from using it for a fresher, cleaner complexion, people also pick chemical peels to minimise the appearance of fine lines and scars. Chemical peels create a mild wound when they exfoliate your skin, causing a fresh layer of skin to come to the surface, making your skin glow and appear healthy. However, the chemicals used as part of this procedure can be counterproductive and cause scarring, skin discolouration and damage induced by ultra violet rays.
While chemical peels do offer instant results that claim to last longer, the results can be replicated at home with natural products, provided you have a little more time on hand. Simple home remedies are both effective, as well as extremely inexpensive compared to a chemical peel. Moreover, your skin stays protected and you will not suffer from the side-effects that chemicals can cause. Unless you are opting for a chemical peel to get rid of nasty scars, we recommend sticking to natural alternatives.
Our Picks: Use lemon or lime juice, combined with a crushed disprin tablet (salicylic acid) and some yoghurt to make your own peel. This effectively removes scars and blemishes.
Weight Loss Clinics vs Detox Wraps
Most advertisements from weight-loss clinics urge you to join them in order to lose weight in a short span of time, usually just a few weeks. However, these clinical procedures have adverse side-effects. Several clinics use drugs that can be very harmful for your body. They may result in quick weight loss, but you should remember that quick weight loss implies not only a loss of fat, but also of muscle. So, weight loss clinics are definitely not a very healthy option when you want to lose weight.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative, you can opt for slimming or cellulite wraps. Slimming wraps use small strips of material that are wrapped tightly around your body, while only herbal remedies are used for cellulite wraps. Weight-loss wraps tighten and tone your skin, making you appear slimmer. But, the weight loss is temporary, as you’ll lose only water weight due to your body’s natural sweating process during the treatment. However, they are much healthier than weight loss clinics.
Our Picks: Head to Aura Thai Spa in Bandra for a detox body wrap that will not only help you lose water weight, but also ease joint pain and stimulate blood circulation.
Hair Transplants vs Olive Oil
If you are dealing with hair loss problems, hair transplant surgery might seem like a wise option. However, transplant surgery can have several dangerous side effects. The surgery can result in itching, swelling, numbness, scars and even bleeding. The procedure can also damage your existing hair by making it thin and lifeless.
Instead of a transplant, use olive oil, which is a natural way to boost hair growth. The moisturising properties of olive oil condition your scalp — an area that people tend to neglect. This improves the overall quality of your scalp. Hair loss is caused by a hormone that is responsible for the shrinkage of the hair follicle shaft. However, the production of that hormone, called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is hampered when olive oil is applied to the scalp.
Our picks: To facilitate hair growth, mix approximately ½ cup olive oil with one egg yolk and a few drops of lemon juice in a small bowl. Leave this mixture on your scalp for 15 minutes and then wash it off. Your hair will be healthy and thick in just a few days.
Cosmetic Surgery vs Beautytek
Who doesn’t dream of perfect, glowing skin? But, cosmetic surgeries should not be your go-to solution to achieving it! For some people, cosmetic surgeries are a way to correct their flaws, while for others, they are a way to regain their regular appearance after an accident or a mishap.
Regardless of the reasons, cosmetic surgeries have serious disadvantages. From medical complications such as nerve damage and scars, to the high costs, there are more negatives than positives when it comes to these procedures.
Beautytek is a natural alternative to cosmetic surgery. It tones and lifts your body without you having to go under the knife. The non-invasive technique can reshape over nine different problem areas of your body. The new device also claims to be able to lift your breasts by up to 7cm, flatten your stomach, tone your buttocks and thighs and smooth out cellulite. The treatment is pain-free, has no side effects and can transform your appearance in just 12 sessions. In fact, with just one or two top-up sessions every following year, the results are said to last a lifetime. The technique combines the ancient Chinese principles of acupressure — where certain points in your body stimulate energy flow — with modern technology. We are already rooting for this natural procedure.
Our Picks: The treatment has just been launched in the UK and is receiving tremendous response. One session of the treatment ranges between `2,000 and Rs 15,000, which is quite reasonable as compared to cosmetic surgery. For more information log on to www.londonaesthetics.co.uk
Permanent Makeup vs Microart
While permanent makeup feels like a breath of fresh air, it is as risky as any other medical procedure. It involves the use of needles, which can result in unsightly side-effects, including swelling and skin bumps. Also, once the makeup is permanently applied, you can only remove it if you go through another cosmetic procedure. In most cases, the removal results in scars, bleeding and bruising. It can also result in an unnaturally light skin tone.
Micro-Art is a natural alternative to permanent makeup. It is a semi-permanent, mineral makeup procedure for the brows, lash line and lips. It is applied by a licensed micro-artist, and uses non-toxic mineral pigments. The procedure is completely natural, only takes about an hour and lasts up to three years.
Our picks: We’re waiting for the treatment to launch in India, but till it does, log on to www.microartmakeup.com to find out more
Injecting Skin Fillers vs Hyaluronic Acids
Forget about ageing gracefully, several people are flustered at the first sign of fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and crows feet, making cosmetic procedures such as injecting skin fillers a quick and easy way to hold on to your youth. Your skin develops wrinkles and sags when your body begins to lose collagen, which is a protein that maintains elasticity in your skin, but weakens as you age. Skin fillers are used to combat this. The procedure comprises of injecting substances such as collagen (procured from human or cow cells) or botox into the troublesome areas. This boosts the collagen content of your skin and makes your skin look taut and plump. In many cases, fat from the patient’s thighs or abdomen is also used.
Sometimes, Polymethylmethacrylate beads, which are tiny round, smooth plastic particles, are also used to fill laugh lines and crows feet. Hyaluronic acid is also present in most collagen fillers, as it helps water molecules bond and makes your skin plump and supple. However, there is always a risk of your body rejecting these injections. You may react adversely to the filler and their long-term effects are unknown. However, immediate reactions such as drooping of another facial feature (due to the filler spreading inaccurately), flu, nausea, headaches and bruising are commonly reported. Also, when it is not performed correctly, this procedure can lead to infections, allergies and connective tissue disorders.
Instead of opting for skin fillers that come bearing severals risks high price tags, we recommend that you simply increase your intake of foods that contain hyaluronic acid. Found in common, everyday foods, hyaluronic acid is a cheaper, more convenient option to collagen fillers.
Our Picks: Meats, such as gizzards, liver, heart and kidney are the richest source of this acid, but you can also get your fill from fish oil, potatoes, radish, sweet potatoes and spices such as thyme.
Sunscreens vs Use Of Antioxidants
Several articles and studies have explained how sunscreen can help prevent sun damage and skin cancer. However, study that was undertaken in 2006 by the University of California, spins this theory on its head. Free radicals in our body are essentially what cause cancer and prolonged exposure to sun rays also creates free radicals. The study suggested that certain ingredients found in sunscreens actually promote the generation of free radicals, which means that the application of sunscreen can cause the formation of more free radicals than no sunscreen at all. While the jury is divided on this theory, antioxidants can help. They stop cancer cells from growing and can lower your risk of skin cancer. Studies suggest that when consumed in adequate amounts, antioxidants move to the region just under the skin and form a protective barrier, just like sunscreen does.
Our Picks: Virgin coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, avocado, red bell peppers, yoghurt, spinach, eggs and rosemary are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals.
Permanent Eyelashes vs Fake Eyelashes
For a set of fuller, film-star-like lashes, permanent eyelashes may seem like the perfect solution. They last for 2-6 weeks and require no re-application or touch ups. However, they come at a price! Since each hair is being attached on your lash line using glue, it can easily get into your eye and cause irritation. In fact, this glue can cause serious infections and even blindness, if it isn’t tended immediately. Apart from this, repeatedly using permanent eyelashes can damage to your natural eyelashes, and cause them to shed, which is why we suggest occasionally using fake lashes, instead of investing in permanent lashes. You can apply them at home, while ensuring optimum levels of hygiene. You can also regularly dispose of fake lashes, minimising the risk of contracting an infection from trapped bacteria and dust particles.
Our Picks: Ardell false lashes, Rs 370 onwards