For most of us complexion means fair or dark. But complexion is the total effect of the skin - colour, tone and clarity.
Factors affecting complexion
*Genetic: This determines the colour of your skin, number of oil glands, seat glands etc. Therefore, people belonging to different races have different skin type, colour and tone.
*Age: With age we find that the skin loses its sheen and its texture becomes thin, dry and loose. The cell renewal process diminishes with age.
*Improper skin care: The first two factors are natural. But we can prevent our complexion from deteriorating by avoiding the following:
Improper cleansing of oily skin darkens the skin and leads to blemish causing acne.
The texture of the oily skin worsens if the enlarged pores are not arrested; so, be sure to do your toning process daily to close the pores.
Cleansing, moisturising and nourishing are essential aspects of dry skin care. If you avoid this routine, the texture of your skin will turn dry and flaky resulting in dull complexion.
*Use of wrong cosmetics:
Excessive use of wrong cosmetics like oil-based chemical make-up products adversely affect the condition of the skin. The complexion turns sallow, yellow and the texture become thick and greasy.
Go slow on fairness creams. Some fairness creams contain mercury drug preparations. They are photosensitive and cause patchy discolouration of the skin in the sun.
Home care to improve complexion
*Cleansing: Use face wash for the face and soap for the rest of your body.
*Face scrubs to remove dead skin:
For normal skin - mix green gram and Bengal gram powder in equal quantity in milk and apply on face. When dry pat with water, scrub in a circular motion and rinse with water. This helps to give the skin a smooth appearance. Should be used at least twice a week.
For oily skin - Use an oatmeal and sandalwood scrub.
Mix one tsp of oatmeal and ¼ tsp of sandalwood powder. Apply on face and scrub gently in circular motion.
After cleansing, use a toner. You can use a readymade toner or just mix 1 tsp. of lemon juice with rose water and apply.
*To control open pores:
Mix tomato juice and honey and apply on skin daily. Keep on for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
*Moisturising dry skin:
After cleansing and toning, use a moisturiser. You can choose between a readymade and a home-made moisturiser. Mix 1 spoon of glycerine and a few drops of Vitamin E oil; apply on the face. Rinse off after 20 minutes. This gives a soft and smooth texture.
*Complexion masks to lighten skin colour:
Make a paste with 1 tsp milk powder, 2 tsp honey and juice of half a lemon, apply on your face, leave it on till it dries and then rinse off.
If you are the busy one with no time, do the following. Take a lime and cut it into two.
Rub one half on the face gently. Squeeze the other half into a cup of water, add a little rock salt and drink it. Do it for 6-8 weeks regularly. There will be a marked improvement in your skin colour.
*Diet plays an important role in improving the complexion and texture of the skin.
*Drink a glass of lemon juice daily. This contains Vitamin C which improves the complexion.
*Include a glass of carrot juice or any mixed vegetable juice in your daily diet.
*Soak fenugreek (methi seeds) in a glass of water overnight. Drink the water and eat the seeds the next morning. This not only improves the complexion but also acts as a pain-reliever.
*Include one keerai (green leafy vegetable) daily in your diet. This contains a lot of iron and micronutrients and helps to get rid of dark circles.
*Take honey in some form. If you are plump, take a glass of honey and juice of half a lemon in water at room temperature. Alternatively, you can add honey to your toast instead of jam. Honey has Vitamin B-Complex that is essential for good skin colour.
*Yoghurt is a wonder food. Eat it as well as use it to massage your skin. It tones up both dry and oily skin.
*Avoid using strong soaps on your face.
*Go slow on bleaching and lightening creams as these harm the skin.
*Do not apply perfumed lipstick.
*If you have acne problem, do not pick on pustules as these will leave marks.
*The Sun is the skin's worst enemy. Exposure to the ultraviolet rays damages the collagen fibres and will darken the complexion. It can also make the skin dry and rough. If you cannot avoid going out in the sun, make sure to use a sunscreen meant for Indian skin.