Monday, March 24, 2008

Food for skin!

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!]


Anonymous said...

good thought, a caution not to summarily reject our way of doing things just because western ways appear trendy..

కొత్త పాళీ said...

great post.
yes .. nuvvula noone and sunni pindi absolutely rock!

Anonymous said...

A caution.
I do not know about kids in India.
A lot of kids born here (Indian families) are developing food allergies. Ofcourse we have more awareness and access to tests here. One of the many suspected reasons is exposing babies to allergens very early on. One medium is oils used for massaging babies. I am not a 100% believer of that. However, my own kids have very high antibody numbers for a lot of foods. So, I tend to be cautious and jsut let others know that there are exceptions. If the exception is you, it would help to know.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of reason for skin dryness or allergies.

To avoid skin dryness using "vanicream" (moisturizing skin cream) would be one of the best options. This can be applied to the kid all over body after the bath. The side effects are less or we have not seen. We apply this to our kid who has several food allergies and skin dryness. Please check with your doctor about this cream. This one doesn't need any presription.

This was suggested by a doctor at National jewish hospital in denver.

For unknown reasons some of the indian kids in America develop rash if you apply any of our indian traditional methods. (I see the number jumping in kids born in India too.)Sometimes the reaction could be late. Better be careful. When in doubt ask your doctor.

BTW, you guys must be in Singapore now. Isn't it?

-- Vihaari

Anonymous said...

Thanks. That's something we never tried. So, I will find out more about it. Who knows, it might even help:-)
So far, my son's uniqueness is that he responds to absence of moisturising lotions (even the so called non-greasy ones) more than anyhting else. I kept him off all lotions and his itching has come down drastically. The skin is dry alright but not inflamed. Actually, I discovered that because I have a similar problem with my hands.
BTW, is that question about Singapore to Soujanya garu?

గిరి Giri said...

విహారి గారు, లలిత గారు, నేను ప్రస్తుత మున్నది సింగపూరులోనే, కానీ సామీప్యాన్ని ఆసరాగా తీసుకుని సౌజన్య మాత్రం హైదరాబాదులో ఉంది :)

ఎలర్జీ విషయం లో నాకూ కొన్ని అనుమానాలు ఉన్నాయి, అమెరికా లో ఉన్న మన వాళ్ళకి ఇవి కొత్తగా అంటుకుంటున్నాయా లేక ఇండియాలోనూ పెరుగుతున్నాయా? చిన్న పిల్లలకే కాక పెద్ద వాళ్ళకీ కొత్తవి వస్తున్నాయా? (నిజానికి నేను అమెరికా వెళ్ళే వరకూ పల్లీలు పడని వారిని చూడలేదు)..

సౌజన్యకి సమాధానం తెలిస్తే చెప్పాలి.

అమెరికా లో మా దగ్గర బంధువుల పిల్లాడికి మన తిళ్ళు ఏవి తినిపించినా శరీరిమంతా దురదలు, పాపం వాళ్ళు మొదట్లో చాలా కష్టాలననుభవించి ఇప్పుడు వాడి తిండి విషయంలో చాలా జాగ్రత్తలు తీసుకుంటున్నారు. సున్ని పిండి పడని పిల్లల గురించి నేను విన్నాను.

నాకు కూడా, కొలంబియాలో గాలిలో పుప్పొడి పెరిగినప్పుడల్లా, మునుపెన్నడూ లేని "చర్మపు టెలర్జీలు", కంటి దురదలు వచ్చేవి..బెంగళూలులో ఉన్నప్పుడూ ఇలాంటివి నాకు రాలేదు. దీ నంతు చూద్దామని డాక్టరు దగ్గరకి వెళ్దునా, రెండు చేతుల మీదా అరచేతి నుంచి మోచేయి దాకా (ముందు వేపు) చిన్న చిన్న ఇంజక్షనులిచ్చి వాటి వల్ల దద్దుర్లు ఎంత మాత్రం పెరుగుతాయో ఓ కాయితం మీద రాసుకు రమ్మన్నాడు, అటు పై ఇంకొన్ని పొడవాల్సిన పదార్ధాలు న్నాయని చెప్పి పంపాడు, నేను మళ్ళీ అటుకేసి వెళ్ళలేదు.

Naga said...

చాలా ఆసక్తిమరమైన విషయాన్ని లేవనెత్తారు.
జాన్సన్ & జాన్సన్ అనే కంపెనీలో పనిచేసే ఒక ఉద్యోగి తాలూకు వారు నాకో సలహా ఇచ్చారు. అప్పట్నుంచి పిల్లలు తలంటుకునే షాంపూనే ఎక్కువగా వాడుతున్నాను.
తిండి విషయంలో కూడా వీలైనంత ఆర్గానిక్ వాడుతున్నాము, ముఖ్యంగా పాల వినియోగంలో.