Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. Does oily, spicy food lead to pimples? What about applying creams?
A. Pimples are usually due to oiliness of the skin and a congested system. A diet that is nutritious and also keeps the system cleansed of toxins and wastes would help to avoid pimples and acne. It is better to avoid fried snacks, rich oily gravies, rich desserts and confectionary items, like biscuits, cakes, sweets, etc. Include foods like fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, yogurt, clear soups, lassi, etc., in your daily diet. Drink plenty of water. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. You should also avoid oily creams and moisturizers, as they can clog the pores and lead to further pimples. Apply matte moisturizers or sandalwood protective cream.
Q. My hands are becoming dark and my skin has white patches due to dryness. Is it better to apply moisturizer after bath?  
A. If the white patches have tiny flakes, they can be due to dryness. However, it is also advisable to check out white patches with a dermatologist. Apply til oil daily and massage it on the skin before bath. Use mild glycerin soap for bathing. Immediately after bath, apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture. Mix besan, curd, lemon juice and a little haldi (turmeric) and apply at least three times a week. Wash it off after half an hour. Then apply til oil and massage it into the skin, as recommended. You can also apply a lemon-turmeric cream daily.
Q. My face is too oily and I also get blackheads. I wash my face 3 to 4 times, but it is still oily. How to prevent this?
A. After washing the face in the morning, wipe the face and blackhead prone areas with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. You will get astringent lotion at a cosmetic store. In the morning after washing the face, make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes. Use a facial scrub three times a week on the blackhead prone areas. Mix rice powder with rose water and use as a facial scrub. Apply on the areas with blackheads and rub gently on the skin using small circular movements. Leave on for 5 minutes and then wash off with water. Twice a week, apply face mask. Mix 3 teaspoons oatmeal with egg white and few teaspoons curd, so that it is a thick paste which does not drip. Apply on the entire face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.
Q. How to prevent excessive perspiration and its effects?
A. For excessive perspiration (which can result in body odour), Ayurveda provides some dietary suggestions. Sip “nimbu paani.” Sip ginger tea before and after your meals. Chop fresh ginger root finely and mix with a pinch of salt. Chew a little of this before your meal. Sipping warm water with your meal may also help. Light diet and less spice are advised. Eat smaller meals. Avoid synthetic clothes. Wear cotton underwear and cotton clothes during summer. Porous materials help sweat to evaporate. Loose, light clothing is much more appropriate and comfortable during summer. Daily change of clothing is, of course, a must.
Q. How to remove hair from the arms and legs? Can I use an epilator? Is it painful?
A. Waxing is a good option for hair removal from arms and legs. You can have it done at a beauty salon. It is a common and inexpensive procedure. Waxing removes hair by the roots and it may not grow back for four to six weeks. There will be some pain during the hair removal process, which will decrease with each waxing. Epilator is a small gadget for hair removal. Epilators also pull out hair by the roots and also cause some pain. But, like waxing, one gets used to it with time. Very short hairs may be removed with an epilator, but its best to follow the instructions given with the epilating gadget that you buy.
Q. Please suggest remedies for corns on feet.
A. Corns are caused by ill-fitting shoes that rub against the skin, or squeeze the feet. Soaking the feet in hot water and rubbing the hard skin with a pumice stone can help small corns. You can add Epsom Salts to the water. It is said to soften corns. However, if the corn is large or painful, it is better to seek medical attention. Sometimes a round ring-shaped plaster is used on the corn to ease the pain and pressure. You should not try to cut the corn yourself. It is best to consult a doctor. Shoes should not be too tight.
Shahnaz Husain, internationally acclaimed for Ayurvedic beauty care and ac Harvard Subject on “Emerging Markets,” received the Padma Shri Award and is the first woman in 104 years to receive the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur Success Award.