Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home remedies for Dandruff

Dandruff is caused by the fungus Malassezia.

Malassezia (medical term Pityrosporum ovale) occurs naturally on the skin and scalp and survive by feeding on fat cells of the skin and oils secreted from the hair follicles on the scalp.

When  there is an abundance of Malassezia the fungi can destroy a large amount of fat cells as they feed. This results in not having enough fat cells to release the oil needed to keep the skin and scalp moist and hydrated. The skin and scalp will then dry up and become itchy and flaky resulting in dandruff and dry flaky skin.    

Lack of certain foods in the diet rich in zinc, B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids (cheese, chicken, shrimp, crabs, beans and kidney beans, eggs and leafy greens) and using hair products that dry up the scalp also contribute to dandruff.

One of the best treatments to prevent dandruff is to get an oil massage done on the hair and head once a week. This ensures your hair and scalp is getting the oil nourishment it needs to protect it from dandruff and drying up.

The following are a few popular home remedies used for the treatment of dandruff.

Olive Oil for the treatment of Dandruff

Slightly warm ¼ cup olive oil and massage it into the scalp and leave on for 2-3 hours. Rinse off in warm water using a mild shampoo like baby shampoo. Do this treatment twice a week.

Fenugreek seeds for the treatment of Dandruff

*The fenugreek seeds emit a strong smell which may be unpleasant to some people so only use if you and others around you can bear the smell.

Soak 3 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in ¼ cup water overnight. Put the wet seeds including any liquid there may be into a grinder and grind into a paste. Apply on the scalp and leave on for an hour. Wash off in warm water. Refrain from using a shampoo as it may cause an allergic reaction with the fenugreek. Do this treatment twice a week.

Lime/Lemon Juice for the Treatment for Dandruff

Take the juice of a lemon or lime and apply on scalp during the last rinse when washing hair. Do this treatment twice a week.

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice Treatment for Dandruff

Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 teaspoons of lemon/lime juice. Massage into scalp and leave on for 2-3 hours. Rinse off with warm water. Do this treatment twice a week.

Thyme for the Treatment for Dandruff

Add 3-4 tablespoons of fresh Thyme leaves and a cup of water into a pan and heat on medium low. Bring to a boil and take off fire. Allow to cool and strain and then apply on hair. Leave on hair for 2-3 hours and rinse off with warm water.

Shampoos for preventing Dandruff
  • Shampoos containing Olive oil
  • Shampoos containing Tea Tree Oil
  • Shampoos containing Aloe Vera
© 2012 Suranee Perera

Home remedies for head lice

Pediculosis capitis is the term used for head lice in the medical field.

Head lice affects both adults and children and are transmitted mainly from direct head to head contact with an infected person. Head lice can also be contracted by sharing the same hair brush, bedding, towels and clothing.

School going children between the ages of three and ten are the most vulnerable since they can come into contact with children having head lice while at school. Living in an unhygienic environment and not bathing and washing hair regularly can also make one susceptible to head lice.

The following are a few popular home remedies used for the treatment of head lice.

Mayonnaise Treatment For Head Lice

Mayonnaise is one of the oldest home remedies used in treating head lice. Although it does not kill the eggs and lice, it smothers the louse making it easy to be removed with a lice comb. The oil in the mayonnaise is the ingredient which helps in suffocating the lice.

Fully coat the hair with the mayonnaise. Make sure to apply on the hair near the ear and neck since these two areas are where lice and nits are mostly found. Cover the hair with a shower cap and leave on for 7-8 hours. Do not apply the mayo on hair before going to bed and leave overnight since the shower cap can come off resulting in the mayonnaise going on the nightclothes, pillows and bedding. Wash using a mild shampoo like baby shampoo. Then use a lice comb and comb through each section of hair to catch the lice. Do this treatment once a week for best results.

Olive Oil Treatment For Head Lice

Olive oil has antiseptic properties which kill the lice by suffocating it. Fully coat the hair with olive oil. Apply on the hair near the ear and neck as these are two areas frequented by nits and lice. Cover the hair with a shower cap and leave on for 3 hours. Wash with baby shampoo as this is a mild shampoo. Since you might have to wash the hair 2-3 times to get rid of the oil it’s best to use a mild shampoo on the hair. Use a lice comb and comb through the hair to remove the lice and nits. The olive oil treatment should be done every 7 to 10 days.

Neem Leaves for the Treatment For Head Lice

Neem leaves are effective in killing lice. Grind a handful of Neem leaves in the grinder. Transfer to the blender with 3 tablespoons water and blend. Remove and place in bowl. Fully coat the hair with the mixture. Leave on for an hour and wash with warm water. Do not use a shampoo or soap when washing the hair since the chemicals may mix with the Neem and aggravate the scalp and hair resulting in an allergic reaction. This treatment is not recommended to be used on children.

Shampoos for the treatment of lice
  • Tea Tree Oil shampoos and conditioners
  • Coconut oil shampoos and conditioners
© 2012 Suranee Perera

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Home Remedies for Dark Knees and Elbows

Dryness and lack of proper hygiene are two main reasons for dark knees and elbows. This leads to dead cells building up on the skin. Pressing the elbows and knees against hard or dirty surfaces too can result in dark knees and elbows.

Exfoliating and moisturizing are two effective treatments for dark knees and elbows.


Exfoliating dark knees and elbows should be done 2 -3 times a week.
  • Mix 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Apply this on a loofah and scrub the knees and elbows for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
  • Another scrub ideal for dark knees and elbows is to mix together ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 tbsp. of honey and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Apply this on a loofah and scrub the knees and elbows for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
  • White sugar mixed with lemon/lime juice is another effective scrub. Mix ¼ cup white sugar with 1 tablespoon lemon/lime juice. Apply on wet knee or elbow with a loofah. Massage in circular motions for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Then massage the skin with olive oil and leave on for 15 minutes. Wipe away the oil using a dry washcloth or paper towel.


Applying lemon/lime juice
  • Take the juice of 1 lemon or lime and apply on the knees and elbows. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water using a washcloth. You can also place slices of lemon/lime on the knee and leave on skin for 10-15 minutes. You can also place your elbows directly on slices of lemon/lime for 10-15 minutes.
  • Another home remedy to lighten the knees and elbows is to mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil and ½ teaspoon lime juice and apply on the knees and elbows. Leave on for 10 - 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water using a washcloth.

  • Apply honey or petroleum jelly on clean knees and elbows before going to bed at night. Leave on for 15 -20 minutes and then wipe using a wet wash cloth.
  • When applying store bought moisturizers before going to bed, cover the knee and elbows with a sock (make sure the toe part of the sock is cut) since the skin will be able to soak up the moisturizer much more effectively.
  • When using commercial moisturizers for the treatment of dark knees and elbows make sure it contains cocoa butter, shea butter or Aloe. 
© 2012 Suranee Perera

Monday, February 27, 2012

Home remedies for foot odor

Bromhidrosis is the medical term for body odor and foot order is one form of bromhidrosis. Foot order develops because of sweat glands in our feet. The glands release sweat which make are feet moist and become the ideal breeding ground for certain bacteria. The bacteria grow and feed on the dead skin in these moist areas giving out a bad smell known as foot odor. Brevibacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacteria. are claimed to be the main bacterium responsible for foot odor. Wearing shoes and socks help the bacteria multiply and grow thus making the condition worse.

Home remedies for foot odor
  • Make it a point to soak feet 3 times a week in warm water which has 1 tablespoon sea salt or Epsom salt added to it. Completely dry with a clean towel.
  • Wear open toed shoes, sandals or flip flops (slippers). If you must wear closed shoes, wear ones made of canvas or leather and socks made of 100% cotton.
  • Soak feet in warm water which is made from lemon tea. To make the tea add 2-3 lemon tea bags to 3 cups of boiling water. Let the bags steep in the water for 15 minutes. Add this to 4 cups of warm water and soak the feet in it.
  • Sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch to the insides of the shoes to keep feet dry.
  • Exfoliate dead skin by applying a homemade foot scrub.

Homemade Sugar Foot scrub
  • Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Ground oats – 2 tablespoons
  • Honey – 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon/lime juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Aloe Vera juice – 2 tablespoons 
Mix all the ingredients to a paste and apply on both feet and massage for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Homemade Coffee and Sea Salt Scrub
  • Ground coffee – 3 tablespoons
  • Ground oats – 3 tablespoons
  • Sea Salt – 3 tablespoons
  • Olive oil – 3 tablespoons

Mix all the ingredients to a paste and apply on both feet and massage for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Commercial foot odor remedies
  • Get a pedicure done twice a month.
  • Apply Tea Tree oil on feet after a bath or shower. The oil has antiseptic properties which help in killing bacteria.
  • Use an antibacterial soap and a pumice stone to get rid of dead skin.
  • Apply Neosporin, an antibiotic ointment, on washed and dried feet before going to bed. 
© 2012 Suranee Perera

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Home Remedies for Dark Circles Under the Eyes

Some people tend to get puffy eyes and dark circles around the eye much sooner than others. Although a variety of reasons including fatigue, lack of sleep, being in front of the computer screen for too long have been blamed for this, aging too plays a huge role.

We all have ligaments, muscles and some fat around our eyes. The muscles and ligaments hold the fat in place. As we get older the muscles and ligaments become weak and can no longer hold the fat. The fat then travels to the bottom of the eyes and causes the eyes to swell up and become puffy. When we are tired, don’t get enough sleep or strain our eyes the puffiness gets worse and eventually we end up with dark circles around the eye or skin which is dry and wrinkly.

The following are some home remedies you can try to get an eyelift and treat dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.

Cucumber or Potato slices/ or cool tea bag

Slice a ¼ cucumber. Place a slice or two over each closed eye. Leave on for 10 minutes. You can use potato slices the same way.

Tea bags soaked in cold water are ideal too for treating puffy and dark circles around the eye. Place one on each closed eye and leave on for 10 minutes. Refrain from using herbal tea bags since it’s not as effective as the non-herbal varieties.

Cucumber juice/potato juice

Take the juice of ½ a cold cucumber and soak cotton in it and apply it on the closed eye lids. Leave on for 10 minutes or until dry. Then wipe the eye lids with cotton which has been soaked in cold water.
You can use potato juice the same way.

Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily and getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night is a must as this aids in healing puffiness and dark circles around the eye. 

Some suggest applying rose water, turmeric, lemon juice, tomato juice etc but I haven’t personally tried it so I can’t recommend such ingredients. Cucumbers, potatoes and tea bags on the other hand are safe and effective and is a popular home remedy used by women throughout many parts of the world. 

A few other reasons for dark circles around the eye are said to be due to:
  • Hereditary reasons
  • Certain illnesses - Frequent sinus infections and allergies can cause puffiness around the eyes.
  • Lack of certain foods in the diet - Lack of foods rich in vitamins A, C and E in the diet.
  • Hormonal changes - during pregnancy and menstruation 
  • Consuming foods high in salt
  • Dehydration 
© 2012 Suranee Perera

Friday, February 24, 2012

Homemade Body Scrubs for Dry and Scaly Skin

Dry and scaly skin is caused due to a variety of reasons including using harsh soaps on the skin, not moisturizing, insufficient intake of water and living in dry climatic regions.

If not treated, dry and scaly skin can lead to impetigo, ringworm, dermatitis, Psoriasis or eczema.

The outer layer of the skin is the epidermis which contains epidermis cells. These cells are mainly made up of keratin. Water is needed to keep the keratin healthy and if it does not have enough, the skin will become dry, rough and scaly.

Body scrubs, lotions and creams are ideal for dry and scaly skin. Always apply a lotion or cream after a bath or shower as this will prevent the skin from losing moisture which leads to dryness. Vaseline Intensive Care and Nivea are two valued lotions for dry and scaly skin.

Body scrubs should be used twice a month to exfoliate dry and scaly skin. Below are a few homemade body scrub recipes ideal for dry and scaly skin.

Aloe Vera Gel and Brown Sugar Body Scrub
  • Aloe Vera gel – 4 tablespoons
  • Brown Sugar – 4 tablespoons
  • Almond oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon
  • Lime/lemon juice – 1 tablespoon

Combine the ingredients together. Apply on wet skin using a loofah and massage using circular motions for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Olive oil and Sea salt scrub
  • Olive oil – 4 tablespoons
  • Sea salt – 2 tablespoons 

Combine the ingredients together. Apply on wet skin using a loofah and massage using circular motions for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Oatmeal, Bran and Sea Salt scrub
  • Oatmeal – 6 tablespoons
  • Bran – 6 tablespoons
  • Sea salt – 1 tablespoon
  • Milk 

Put the oatmeal and bran into a grinder and grind for 2-3 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sea salt and fully mix the dry ingredients. Then pour in enough milk into the mixture until it forms a paste. Apply on wet skin using a loofah and massage using circular motions for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Hair care tips

Caring for your hair is just as important as caring for your skin. Unfortunately some women overlook this fact thus ending up with a head full of dull and limp looking hair.

Damaged hair is due to a variety of factors and listed below are a few.


When we are young our hair is thicker and shinier but as we grow older and begin frequently dyeing, blow-drying and styling our hair it eventually dries and thins out.

Use shampoos containing rice and wheat proteins as this helps to strengthen the hair.


Eat foods which help nourish the hair leaving it shiny, smooth and healthy. Include foods rich in calcium, iron, proteins and biotin.
  • Calcium and iron: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are packed with calcium and iron and ideal for hair. You can also get iron from eating liver, dates and raisins.
  • Calcium: Yogurt and milk are two other foods rich in calcium and ideal for strengthening hair.
  • Proteins: Foods such as liver, salmon, eggs, tofu, cottage cheese and beans are great sources of proteins.
  • Biotin: Biotin helps strengthen hair and make it thick and shiny. Biotin (B7) can be found in foods like peanuts, kidney beans, lentils and almonds, papaya and carrots. Ideal ways to get biotin from food is to drink a glass of freshly made carrot juice 3-4 times a week or eat a cup of cubed papaya pieces 3-4 times a week.

Frequent shampooing

One main reason for dull limp hair is washing hair too often.
  • Oily hair: Those with oily hair should wash hair every other day. A shampoo containing tea tree oil is ideal since it gets rid of excess oil, dandruff and bacteria in hair. Hair should also be washed often if you’re living in a polluted and humid environment since there’s a high chance of hair becoming greasy and dirty much faster.
  • Dry hair: If you have dry hair you should wash it 2 times a week. Washing too often can strip the hair of its natural oils making it more susceptible to drying. Refrain from washing the hair with hot water. Use creamy shampoos and conditioners which contain wheat germ oil, shea butter or almond oil as these ingredients help to moisturize the hair making it less susceptible to drying.

  • Don’t brush or comb your hair when wet as your hair is more prone to breakage. 
  • When brushing/combing hair use a brush or comb which has widely spaced bristles/teeth with smooth tips.
Get a head and scalp massage once a month as this promotes hair growth and strengthens hair.

© 2012 Suranee Perera

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Self defense tips and products for women

In Sri Lanka, a day doesn’t go by without a woman or girl being targeted by a flasher or pervert as they travel by public transport or even as they sit in their parked cars. This has become a serious problem but so many turn a blind eye when they witness such things happening.

Pepper spray and mace as far as I know are not available here in Sri lanka. If it was I’m sure many women including young girls would be carrying it with them. When those around you look the other way (as in most cases here) while someone harasses you it can be such a humiliating experience and leaves one feeling helpless and angry at the same time.

Many women and girls who are subjected to such treatment choose not to complain to the authorities since they know action will not be taken against the culprits and some refuse to complain since they do not want to put into an embarrassing position when they are asked to give in detail about the happenings of the incident.

The following are a few excerpts of stories to the sexual harassment many girls and women in Sri Lanka have to endure as they travel.

Below are a few useful videos on self defense tips and how to make a homemade pepper spray to help protect yourself as you travel.

© 2012 Suranee Perera

Benefits of the Lime Fruit

Lime has been used in many cultures for cooking and in medicines since ancient times.

This small round green colored citrus fruit is even used by some countries like India and Sri lanka for protection and to ward off evil spirits. 

Although lime fruits are said to hold less vitamin C than lemons, it’s still highly valued for its healing properties and zesty aroma and taste.

Mexican Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Persian Lime (Citrus latifolia) and the Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix) are three popular varieties of lime used throughout many parts of the world.

The difference between the three lies mainly in its flavor, aroma and size.

Mexican Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)

Has a strong invigorating fragrance and contains more juice thus the reason for it being commonly used in cocktails and drinks e.g. gin and tonic or margaritas and for it being given the name ‘bartenders lime.’

Persian Lime (Citrus latifolia)

The Persian Lime is more acidic, larger and does not contain as many seeds (sometimes having no seeds at all) as other limes.

Kaffir Lime

The juice is commonly used in many Southeast Asian dishes e.g. Thai and Vietnamese cooking because of its intense zesty flavor and fragrance.

Apart from vitamin C, lime also contains ‘folic acid, iron, calcium and pectin.’

Pectin when combined with Vitamin C helps fight heart disease.

The lime peel too has antiseptic powers since it contains Limonene which has anti-cancer properties since it stimulates the enzymes needed to detoxify carcinogens.

A few other healing properties of lime and its juice are:

Removing toxins from the body and for weight loss

Add juice from ½ a lime to a glass of warm water with one teaspoon of honey.

Drink this first thing in the morning.

This will aid in both removing toxins from the body and cutting unnecessary fat from the body.

For Skin Care

Yogurt and Lime Face pack

To make a face pack mix the following ingredients and add to cleansed face.

Leave until fully dry and rinse off with warm water. An ideal face pack for oily skin.
  • Gram flour – one teaspoon
  • Yogurt – ½ teaspoon
  • Lime juice – 2-3 drops
 Egg white face pack

Take an egg and separate the yolk and white.

Beat the egg white with a few drops of lime juice.

Apply to cleansed face.

When dry rinse off with warm water.

This face pack is ideal for those suffering from wrinkles.

For insect bites

Dilute 1 tablespoon lime juice with ¼ cup water and apply on the mosquito bites.

In cooking 
  • Rub the wedge of one lime on hands to get rid of fish odor.
  • To tenderize and soften fish soak the fish in ¼ cup of lime juice.
© 2012 Suranee Perera