A few days ago, I was listening to an interview of a Food Administration Official in the NPR FM channel. I do not remember the name of the official though. The interview was about a book that she wrote recently about why the number of incidences of cancer are on the increase. One thing that caught my interest was about the skin-care.
(As mentioned in the interview): Skin is a very large organ that is exposed all the time. Hence we need to take really good care of it. Skin absorbs whatever is applied on it. So, what we apply on the skin should be edible practically.
This made me wonder -- in that case, all the skin-related products that we use, should not have the warning tag 'For External Use only'. These days even Ayurveda-inspired products like Himalaya have that tag, not to forget chap-sticks and lip-sticks; alas! I wonder how these companies that make these products think the substance is far away from getting into the mouth!
All these thoughts brought back my childhood memories, when my mother and my grand-mother would constantly remind me almost everyday to do an oil-bath. Oil-bath is an elaborate and healthy process (it used to be a daily ritual, but no longer). An edible oil like sesame oil or olive oil is used to oil the skin well and then one has to wait for a while for the oil to get into the skin. A soft paste is prepared with lentil's flour (usually moong dal, chana dal) and milk. This paste is applied on the skin and the scrubbing process starts. After that, it is time to rinse.
Now if I think, all the substances we used were edible - indicating that this is the best bath product for the skin and hence, for our body too. Forget about all the 'complexion-care', 'dry-skin care', 'even-tone care', 'anti-aging care' skin products - one run through the ingredients present in the soap - puts in a lot of doubts in my mind, like is sodium laureate edible?
Recently, my daughter's pediatrician also suggested the same, when I raised concerns over her skin dryness which I observed usually during seasonal and climate changes (this is called acclimatization) and asked which moisturizers to use. This is what he said - 'you should use sesame oil at home, the one we use in preparing pickles. Apply that before and after bath. And for the bath, use stone-pressed soft moong dal flour'. Its been a week now and her skin has improved withstanding the effects of climate change. Do I need any other testimony? I don't think so!
What our ancestors followed, does seem to be a very healthy thing! After all these inventions and research in skin-care products, I think we will and we have to get back to lentil's flour and edible-oil based bath products.
Well, it will be amusing when skin products have the tags like -
'Gives better or similar results when consumed'!
'Can be used as a substitute for a snack, 0% Trans fat'
[Any such interesting one-liners are welcome!]