Natural Lip Scrubs: 7 Amazing Beauty Recipes to Take Care of Chapped Lips

Chapped or dry lips is something we all dread because not only does it look dreadful, it is painful as well. A common problem that occurs during winters due to the cold climate, it is a result of dryness. As such it becomes a compulsion to religiously apply lip balms to keep it moisturised and prevent the problem. However, most commercial lip balms hardly live up to their promise of bringing instant relief, providing only short-lived solutions. Even the lip balms we carry in our hand bags give us a very temporary relief. But more than lip balms what can help you even more are lip scrubs. They work effectively in removing chapped skin and giving you smooth lips. So why not go for natural lip scrubs and get rid of this problem permanently? They will not only save you from buying extravagant products but also leave your lips beautiful. Here’s our list of favourites –

Natural Lip Scrubs: 7 Amazing Beauty Recipes to Take Care of Chapped Lips

1. Sugar Lip Scrub

 

It is one of the easiest things that can be made at home as it comprises only three ingredients: coconut oil, honey and brown sugar. The sugar acts as an exfoliating agent while the honey moisturises after the sugar scrub removes the dead skin. It is a very efficient therapy for sore or chapped lips.

coconut sugar

2. Coffee Scrub

 

The caffeine content in the coffee rejuvenates the lips making them flush with colour and life. Though it might not leave a very nice after taste, it gives a intriguing effect. You can use a sweet balm for follow up. Mix a tablespoon of ground coffee and olive oil and gently apply on your lips. Leave it for five minutes and rinse it with water thereafter followed to make your lips softer.

coffee 625

3. Mint Lip Scrub

 

In case you don’t like the fragrance or the taste of coffee you can go for the mint lip scrub, which also helps in reviving the lips. The addition of peppermint does wonders to dry and chapped lips. Your lips will feel soft and plump.

peppermint

4. Coco Lip Scrub

 

This scrub adds moisture to the lips and comes very expensive at the stores. But you can make it at your home using only two ingredients. You need one teaspoon of coconut oil and sea salt. Mix them together and rub it on your lips in circular motion. Do it daily to get better pouts and red lips.

coconut oil

5. Lemonade Lip Scrub

 

Since there is lemon in the scrub, it turns out to be very refreshing as well as effective especially in the summers. The Vitamin C presence in the scrub performs its wonders. The lemon juice acts as cleanser and kills the bacteria on the lips.

lemon

6. Honey, Lemon and Sugar Lip Scrub

 

This combination gives benefits of three supreme ingredients for healthy lips. Honey is a powerhouse of antioxidants and lemon provides the necessary vitamins. Besides exfoliating, this scrub also acts as a moisturiser for the lips.

honey

7. Honey Lip Scrub

 

This scrub is a combination of honey, baking soda and olive oil. The sweetness of honey takes care of the icky flavor the baking soda and exfoliates the lips beautifully. Rub the mixture of baking soda, honey and few drops of olive oil gently on your lips and further rinse with warm water. It will help in removing the dead cells.

Here’s another reason to take up yoga. It prevents memory decline in old age

Doing yoga for a long time could change the structure of your brain and protect it against cognitive decline in old age, suggests new research.

When the researchers imaged the brains of elderly female yoga practitioners, they found that the “yoginis” have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.

As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory. One such change in the brain involves the cerebral cortex becoming thinner, which scientists have shown is correlated with cognitive decline.

Researchers found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory. (Shutterstock)

So, how can we slow or reverse these changes?

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggest that the answer could lie in contemplative practices like yoga. “In the same way as muscles, the brain develops through training,” explained one of the researchers, Elisa Kozasa of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important,” Kozasa added.

The research team wanted to see if elderly long-term yoga practitioners had any differences in terms of brain structure compared with healthy elderly people who had never practiced yoga.

They recruited a small group of female yoga practitioners who had practised yoga at least twice a week for a minimum of eight years, although the group had an average of nearly 15 years of yoga practice.

As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory.

The researchers compared the yoginis with another group of healthy women who had never practiced yoga, meditation or any other contemplative practices, but who were well-matched to the yoginis in terms of their age (all the participants were 60 or over) and levels of physical activity.

The researchers scanned the participants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging to see if there were any differences in brain structure.

“We found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory,” Rui Afonso from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo added.

Don’t take that X-ray lightly. Even low dose of radiation can harm your heart

Ex-rays are not really as harmless as we’ve been made to think. According to a study, exposure to even low doses of ionising radiation, such as X-rays, may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It is known that populations exposed to ionising radiation in medical or environmental settings have symptoms suggesting an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the study suggests that low exposure to doses of around 0.5 gray (Gy) – the equivalent of repeated CT scans – is associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular damage, up to decades after exposure.

This raises questions about the nature of long-term alterations in the heart’s vascular system caused by such doses. Soile Tapio and Omid Azimzadeh of Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen in Germany and colleagues studied how human coronary artery endothelial cells respond to a relatively low radiation dose of 0.5 Gy and found several permanent alterations in the cells that had the potential to adversely affect their essential functions.

Endothelial cells, which form the inner layer of blood vessels, were found to produce reduced amounts of nitric oxide, an essential molecule in several physiological processes including vascular contraction.

The study suggests that low exposure to doses of around 0.5 gray (Gy) - the equivalent of repeated CT scans - is associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular damage, up to decades after exposure.

Previously, high-dose radiation (16 Gy) has been shown to persistently reduce levels of nitric oxide in the serum of mice, but this is the first study to indicate impaired nitric oxide signalling at much lower doses. Cells damaged by low-dose radiation also produced increased amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are formed as a natural byproduct of normal oxygen metabolism and play an important role in cell signalling. Increased ROS can damage DNA and proteins.

In addition, exposed cardiac endothelial cells were found to have reduced capacity to degrade oxidised proteins and to be ageing prematurely. Such harmful changes did not occur immediately (that is, within a day) but first began in the longer term (one to two weeks). As these cells do not divide rapidly in the body, this observed time in the cell culture would correspond to several years in the living organism, researchers said. All these molecular changes are indicative of long-term premature dysfunction and suggest a mechanistic explanation to the epidemiological data showing increased risk of cardiovascular disease after low-dose radiation exposure, they said.

India Couture Week: Huma Qureshi, Dia Mirza to take on the runway in Delhi

Bollywood presence is imperative at fashion weeks, be it in the form of showstoppers or front rows. And, this time around too, the upcoming India Couture Week,organised by Fashion Design Council of India, will see starry presence. The seven-day fashion showcase will take place between July 24 and July 30 in Delhi.

Actors Huma Qureshi and Dia Mirza will turn showstoppers at India Couture Week 2017.

While actor Dia Mirza will walk for designer Anju Modi, actor Huma Qureshi will turn showstopper for designer Rina Dhaka. Dhaka will be showcasing a charity fashion exhibit on the ultimate day of couture week (July 30, Sunday), and Modi will be showing on July 27, Thursday. Both the shows will be held at Taj Palace hotel in the city.

Actor Kangana Ranaut has walked for designer Anju Modi in a previous edition of the fashion showcase. (Waseem Gashroo/HT)

This is the tenth edition of the couture week, and a total of 14 designers will showcase their creations as a part of it. While an exhibit by Anamika Khanna, followed by a show by Rohit Bal will open the couture week, designer Manish Malhotra will be doing the finale.

Rina Dhaka has done a fashion exhibit in the past at the couture week with actors Nimrat Kaur and Malaika Arora as her showstoppers.

Here's why you should take your pink eye seriously

High humidity levels have led to a spurt in cases of conjunctivitis, a condition also referred to as ‘pink eye’. It is an infection of the eye that causes redness and itching in the outer surface. In rare cases, doctors say, the infection can involve the cornea, which can be serious.

“Most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by viruses. They are milder in nature and the symptoms tend to go away on their own in about a week.However, we see many patients suffering from secondary infection involving the cornea that causes prolonged problems,” Dr A K Grover, chairman of Vision Eye Centres, said. He added that maintaining hand hygiene, avoiding sharing of hand towels or eye cosmetics with infected individuals could help reduce the spread of the disease. Swimming pools are also a source of the spread of the virus.

According to Dr Uma Malliah, senior consultant, ophthalmology at Apollo Hospital, conjunctivitis is common during monsoon and change of season.

Here's why you should take your pink eye seriously (Shutterstock)

“Bacterial infection causes a thick discharge from the eyes, whereas in viral infection, it is watery. Pain, redness and other symptoms are also severe in case of infection caused by bacteria compared to the virus. It should not be taken lightly,” Dr Malliah added.

Dr Parul Sharma, associate direction and head of ophthalmology at Max Saket, said treatment of conjunctivitis was mostly symptomatic. “We advise cold compress, tear substitutes and, in some cases, antibiotic eye drops to prevent severity due to secondary infections,” she said.

However, if the symptoms persist and there is blurring of vision, antibiotic therapy may be needed. A sharp, deep pain in the eyes and sensitivity to light in patients suffering from eye flu should not be ignored.One must consult an eye specialist if symptoms persist for over a week, doctors say. However, research shows over-prescription of antibiotic eye drops is fraught with risks, such as changes to the ocular flora and increased presence of multi-drug resistant strains.

6 Tips That Will Help You Take The Best Food Photographs

Do you wonder how some people always manage to ace their food pictures and the ones you click, in contrast, look all dull and boring? Social media platforms are now overloaded with pictures of food that are beautiful, tasteful, enticing and sometime just plain gorgeous. Food photography is a skill that can be developed over a course time with the right knowledge and know-how. Because, if you are not tempted while looking at your own food pictures, then something must be wrong, right?

It is essential to note that some of the most appetizing photographs of food across social media haven’t been captured using a high-tech, expensive camera equipment. Thus, while DSLR cameras may give you a slight edge over others, getting an aesthetic food photograph needs more than just hi-end gadgetry. You humble smartphone can deliver good pictures too if you follow a few important points. To begin with, a well-captured food photograph possesses the capability to reflect the inherent taste of the food item that is clicked. That is how powerful the photograph must be.

6 simple, and important, things to keep in mind to get the best food photographs.

 6 Tips That Will Help You Take The Best Food Photographs

1. Light will guide you: 

For any photograph, whether it’s a portrait of a person, a landscape view or a food picture, adequate light is the most important aspect that must be taken into consideration. Natural light beats any other source of artificial lighting. It helps capture the nitty-gritties of the dish thus making it more appealing. Light must always come from the front or the side and make sure never to shoot in excess light as it defeats the purpose of the photograph. Avoid using the flash mode while clicking pictures of food, as the flash tends to create reflections giving the food a different orientation.

2. Angle: Depending on the food item, the most suitable angle helps enhance the photograph. While certain items will look best when shot directly from top, others will stand out when shot from the side, for instance, a multi-layered cake.  Some items like a burger will look best when shot at eye level. The angle is a subjective yet an essential characteristic in food photography. Try framing the shot using a few different angles before you zero-in on your preferred choice.

3. Pick a point of focus:

Here, we mean the ‘hero’ of the shot and the part you want people to pay attention to most. This is especially helpful when shooting in crowded or cluttered spaces. You should be able to pick the dish/platter and make that the hero of your photo. If one is shooting on a dining table, for example, make sure you include only the essential items on the table in the photograph. Otherwise, the attention is diverted away from the dish. Decide what is significant for the composition of the picture and what is not. Focus on what will make the photo look complete and avoid over crowding the shot.

4. Close up or not?


How ‘close’ do you want to see the food in your picture? A lot of people like taking only close-up shots of food and ingredients, and in most cases this works. Plated dishes, with a play of colours could look good in a wider view too. Try a few and see what does justice to the dish you are taking pictures of.

5. Interaction is the key: 

Food photographs look a hundred times more appealing by adding a human element. It increases the level of engagement for the viewer, making it appear more real. Thus, while shooting, make it a point to hold the item in your hand, for instance. Compose the picture in a manner that incorporates some human element.

6. Props make all the difference: 

Even the most palatable dish can look unappealing if not presented well. Thus, props make all the difference. It is of paramount importance that the correct cutlery, utensils, mats etc be used in food photography. Use clean plates and try and make use of white cutlery, which enables the food colors to stand out.

Ansel Adams once said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”, and with the essential steps mentioned above, you are sure to make the best photograph possible. Happy clicking!

 

Diabetes patients, take note: You may be at greater risk of tooth loss

Good dental care is extremely important for diabetics. According to a recent study, the disease can even risk a patient’s oral health. The University of Pennsylvania researchers found that the oral microbiome is affected by diabetes, causing a shift to increase its pathogenicity. The research not only showed that the oral microbiome of mice with diabetes shifted but that the change was associated with increased inflammation and bone loss. It is of significance in India where diabetes is on the rise among the population, and alarmingly, a lot of people remain undiagnosed.

“Up until now, there had been no concrete evidence that diabetes affects the oral microbiome,” said senior author Dana Graves. “But the studies that had been done were not rigorous.” Just four years ago, the European Federation of Periodontology and the American Academy of Periodontology issued a report stating there is no compelling evidence that diabetes is directly linked to changes in the oral microbiome. But Graves and colleagues were skeptical and decided to pursue the question, using a mouse model that mimics Type 2 diabetes.

“My argument was that the appropriate studies just hadn’t been done, so I decided, We’ll do the appropriate study,” Graves said. The team began by characterising the oral microbiome of diabetic mice compared to healthy mice. They found that the diabetic mice had a similar oral microbiome to their healthy counterparts when they were sampled prior to developing high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia. But, once the diabetic mice were hyperglycemic, their microbiome became distinct from their normal littermates, with a less diverse community of bacteria.

Diabetes patients have increased levels of a molecule that is important in immune response and inflammation. (Shutterstock)

The diabetic mice also had periodontitis, including a loss of bone supporting the teeth, and increased levels of IL-17, a signalling molecule important in immune response and inflammation. Increased levels of IL-17 in humans are associated with periodontal disease. “The diabetic mice behaved similar to humans that had periodontal bone loss and increased IL-17 caused by a genetic disease,” Graves said.

The findings underscored an association between changes in the oral microbiome and periodontitis but didn’t prove that the microbial changes were responsible for disease. To drill in on the connection, the researchers transferred microorganisms from the diabetic mice to normal germ-free mice, animals that have been raised without being exposed to any microbes. These recipient mice also developed bone loss. A micro-CT scan revealed they had 42% less bone than mice that had received a microbial transfer from normal mice. Markers of inflammation also went up in the recipients of the diabetic oral microbiome.

“We were able to induce the rapid bone loss characteristic of the diabetic group into a normal group of animals simply by transferring the oral microbiome,” said Graves. With the microbiome now implicated in causing the periodontitis, Graves and colleagues wanted to know how. Suspecting that inflammatory cytokines, and specifically IL-17, played a role, the researchers repeated the microbiome transfer experiments, this time injecting the diabetic donors with an anti-IL-17 antibody prior to the transfer. Mice that received microbiomes from the treated diabetic mice had much less severe bone loss compared to mice that received a microbiome transfer from untreated mice.

The findings “demonstrate unequivocally” that diabetes-induced changes in the oral microbiome drive inflammatory changes that enhance bone loss in periodontitis, the authors wrote. Though IL-17 treatment was effective at reducing bone loss in the mice, it is unlikely to be a reasonable therapeutic strategy in humans due to its key role in immune protection. But Graves noted that the study highlights the importance for people with diabetes of controlling blood sugar and practicing good oral hygiene. The study is published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Moms-to-be, take note. Liquor during pregnancy may affect health of future generations

Would-be-moms, here’s another reason to put down that glass of wine or alcohol, as a recent study warns that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause abnormalities in the brain and behaviour of the newborn and may also pass on to generations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in newborns.

Lead author Kelly Huffman from the University of California, Riverside, said that prenatal ethanol exposure (PrEE) from maternal consumption of alcohol, was thought to solely impact directly exposed offspring, the embryo or fetus in the womb.

Huffman added that his team has evidence that the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure could persist transgenerationally and negatively impact the next-generations of offspring who were never exposed to alcohol.

The study found that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause abnormalities in the brain and behaviour of the newborn and may also pass on to generations.

The researchers explained that utero ethanol exposure generates neurobiological and behavioural effects in subsequent generations of mice that had no ethanol exposure.

To determine whether the abnormalities in brain and behaviour from prenatal ethanol exposure would pass trans-generationally, Huffman generated a mouse model.

The results indicated that as expected, the first generation of mice that was directly exposed showed a typical gene expression, abnormal development of the neural network within the neocortex and behavioral deficits.

However, the main discovery of the research lies in the subsequent, non-exposed generations of mice. These animals had neuro-developmental and behavioural problems similar to the those of the first, directly exposed generation.

“We found that body weight and brain size were significantly reduced in all generations of PrEE animals when compared to controls; all generations of PrEE mice showed increased anxiety-like, depressive-like behaviours and sensory-motor deficits,” Huffman stated.

By gaining an understanding of the neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects of prenatal ethanol exposure that persist across generations, scientists and researchers can begin to create novel therapies and methods of prevention.

The research is published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.