Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Aloe Vera - Coconut Oil Hair Mask with Step-by-Step Pictures

Previously we had discussed about the benefit of aloe vera application on skin. Today, I am writing about how to make a hair mask out of aloe vera and coconut oil. This hair mask is a great way to get rid of dandruff, itchy and dry scalp and dry hair. Aloe vera has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Thus, it leaves hair feeling clean and fresh after the wash. Shampooing tends to leave the hair dry. This hair mask would ensure that your hair are adequately moisturized.

Aloe vera also helps control hair fall. I have experienced the change over a span of a few months. I apply this hair mask twice or thrice a week prior to shampooing. However, you can use it once a week or twice a month, depending upon the suitability. Usually, aloe vera suits almost everyone's hair and skin. However, it might not suit some people, which is very rare. So, use this hair mask if you think aloe vera suits you. For first timers, I suggest you do a patch test before going for full application.

So, let us see how to make this hair mask.

I used a medium-sized stem, since I have thick and long hair. Not waist-length, but a bit longer than the shoulder length. You may take a small stem or half a stem if you have short hair. For longer tresses, you may use a bigger stem or 2 medium-sized stems in order to extract sufficient juice.

  1. Clean the stem by washing it with water. Wipe it with a cloth. Cleaning the stem with water would remove the traces of dirt and soil on its surface.

2. Take a sharp knife and remove the thorns by lightly brushing the edge of knife along the edge of the stem.
Removing thorns would help prevent pricking on hands.

3. Now, using the knife peel of the aloe vera stem. You have to actually slice of the skin in a way that you do not waste the flesh inside the stem. Only the skin should come off.

4. The next step is to remove the flesh into a bowl or onto a plate. You may scrape it out using your fingers or knife. The flesh is soft and gooey and will come off easily. It is fine if some green part of the stem comes out with the gel extract.

5. Now, mix equal quantity (by volume) of coconut oil in the aloe vera extract. Use something like Parachute coconut oil, that as no additives or artificial fragrances.

6. Blend it well using your fingers. This is a little messy but totally worth it!

Lightly massaging your scalp and hair using this mixture. The hair should be covered from root to tip. When I apply it onto my hair, I leave my them untied. The mixture doesn't drip. It sticks to the hair. It feels like I have applied just oil to my hair. It doesn't look or feel anything unusual.

Keep the mask on for 30 minutes or so and wash off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo, such as Sunsilk Shampoo. It is very mild yet cleanses the hair of excessive oil really well. I do not need to use any conditioner because this mask leaves my hair feeling soft, silky and hydrated. You may use a conditioner if you feel the need.

I hope this would be helpful to you. I will surely try to keep coming up with such simple home-made stuff. For more, stay tuned. :)

P.S. - Do check out the exciting range of products from Neutrogena India available online.

Product Review- Sunsilk Co-Creations Perfect Straight Range

Hello blogger buddies! How are you doing?? Great?? Good!!!

Today, I am writing a review on the Sunsilk Co-Creations Perfect Straight Shampoo and Conditioner. Actually, these products were launched way back, may be earlier this year as far as I can remember. But what the hey?!! I am still writing a review to share my experience with you guys.

I happen to love my tresses a little too much. I have naturally straight and silky hair, but they just don't stay put. They have got to fly helter-skelter, making me look like a mess. That's one reason I never let my hair out of the pony-tail while going to college. I have never used any straightening equipment till date. I was skeptical about using a straightening shampoo, fearing damage to my hair. But curiosity got the better of me. :D

So, I finally grabbed a bottle of Sunsilk Perfect Straight Shampoo off the rack at the supermarket yesterday. I bought the smallest bottle available and along came a free unit of Perfect Straight Conditioner. I wanted to see what kind of effect this shampoo would have on my already-straight hair. I was expecting the shampoo to help me pin my hair straight. Let us see what it did to my hair! But, before that let us take a look at the product specifications.

About the Sunsilk Perfect Straight Range

The Perfect Straight Shampoo

The Sunsilk Co-Creations Perfect Straight Range is created by Yuko Yamashita. The Shampoo came in an attractive purple bottle with a flip cap. It is meant for daily use, so it is comparatively mild than the other Sunsilk Shampoos. I needed around 12 ml of shampoo, since this one lathered a bit less. The fragrance is extremely pleasant and refreshing. The consistency is like any other shampoo.

Price- 56 INR
Quantity- 80 ml

The Perfect Straight 

The Conditioner came in a attractive purple tube. It smelled equally sweet. But again, too mild. I ended up using 10 ml of conditioner, which is way more than what should be used on medium length hair. Consistency and color looked like any other conditioner.

Price- 20 INR (This one came free with the Shampoo)
Quantity- 20 ml

The verdict

I did not tell anyone at home that I have used a new product. I waited for them to notice the change, if any. And my Dad and Sis did notice it! They said my hair look better in terms of staying pinned and neat. The instructions on the bottle say that the hair must be completely aligned as they dry. My hair definitely didn't become straighter, but the shampoo helped me make them stay in place. It also eased the little traces of frizzes.

This shampoo worked more like a hair-spray. It made my hair stay put for longer, which also made them a tad bit dry to touch. I suggest you massage your hair with hair-oil at least 1 hour prior shampooing. I didn't do it this time, so that might be the reason behind the slight dryness of hair.

And the below pic was clicked earlier today. My tresses remained under total control.

The Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Smells awesome! Believe me, I have been sniffing my hair every now and then since yesterday
  • Beautiful packaging
  • Helps remove frizzes effectively
  • Makes hair shinier
  • High on quality

The Cons:

  • Very mild. You may need to use more quantity of shampoo and conditioner than usual
  • Made my hair a little dry. Conditioner didn't seem to help much on maintaining the texture. May be a massage would help next time

Rating: 4 out of 5

In a nutshell, girls with thick and curly hair really won't benefit much from this product. The ones with unruly wavy tresses may find some relief. And the rest like me, your straight hair would become more manageable. Overall, an excellent and value for money product. Totally met my expectations!

Chennai Silks- Husband’s envy wife’s pride

I am not a saree person, but still I came up with this post. One of my friends recently attended a Pakistani wedding. She managed to grab more attention than the bride in her classic Indian attire - the silk saree! Funny but true!

Ask any Indian woman about her dream Indian saree and the only answer that you would most probably be expecting is Silk Saree. And if you want to buy authentic Indian silk sarees then you need to go down south. The southern part of India is famous for silk sarees and you will hardly find any woman visiting this part of the country returning back without a silk saree. Sarees are the only dress which both reveals and covers a woman’s sensuality and beauty in a perfect manner. If worn perfectly a saree can make a woman look like a goddess of sensuality and beauty. And if you want to buy a saree that brings out the best in you, then the best place to visit is Chennai Silks.

Actress Bhumika Chawla all decked-up in a beautiful silk saree

Chennai Silks has been the undisputed kings of silk sarees. Their patterns are unique because they are a mix of contemporary modern style and authentic traditional design. There are so many varieties and designs of sarees that it is very difficult to chose one that you think is the right fit for you. Each and every one of the sarees that are available in Chennai Silks will make you feel that they are tailor made for you. 

No wonder Chennai Silks is both loved and hated. Women love Chennai Silks as it fulfills their desire to own their dream saree and their husband hate it as they know that they will be having a tough time once they went inside the stores with their wives.

Anarkali Suites- One of the Many Indian Classics

It is said that an Indian woman looks her sensuous best in a traditional dress, let it be a gorgeous silk saree or a salwar kameez suit or a lehenga or any other traditional dress. These dresses enhance the beauty of a woman as it perfectly drapes around her increases her beauty and femininity by many folds.

Bollywood diva Kareena looking stunningly gorgeous in Anankali suits
On the lines of Salwar suite or Salwar kameez comes a unique set of suit that is known as Anarkali suit. They are just like any other salwar suit but with a slight difference. Anarkali suits are actually a mix of two different types of dresses. They are inspired by two different and very varied cultures in India. The upper half of the kameez is just like any normal kameez that you would see in the market. What is interesting is the lower half of the Kameez. That is what sets Anarlaki suits apart from any other normal salwar suits. The bottom half is inspired by the dress worn by the women in Rajasthan, North-western state of India. It is more like the lower half of ghaghara and is bejeweled with beads and stones. Anarkali suits are long and usually comes up to the knees, in some designs up to the ankles. They come in different vibrant colors and can be worn as a party wear. 

If you are fond of different kinds of salwar suits and have not yet bought an Anarkali suit, then you and your wardrobe is definitely missing one of the most elegant and beautiful traditional Indian dresses and it is high time you added one to your collection.

Welcoming Lord Ganesha!

|| Ganpati Bappa Morya ||
 || Mangal Murti Morya ||

Lord Ganesha of Ganesh, also known as Vinayaka is a deity that is fondly worshiped by Hindus all around the world, prominently in India and Nepal. The Elephant-God wards off the evil and bring in happiness, peace and prosperity.

Ever since I was a kid, I have felt really attached to Lord Ganesha. I find him to be really really so damn adorable. Yes! My God is adorable! I used to watch mythological TV shows featuring Lord Ganesha. I believe in His existence, His might and I know He would always be there when I need him the most...Somewhere in disguise..secretly giving me strength to walk ahead with my head held high in bad times. I am thankful to Him everytime I feel happy...I just feel so so connected to Him. Eveytime I hear or read the word 'God', its Lord Ganesha's image that comes to my mind. Tomorrow, on 9th September, 2013, Lord Ganesh will come to our homes on the occasion of Ganesh Chathurti. This is a very auspicious occasion and celebrated with great fervor all across India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh. Today I spent my afternoon in the market clicking shots of some of the best idols of Lord Ganesha.

His Divine Eyes

Decked in Jewels

The Cutest Ganesh Idol Ever!

The Legend of Lord Ganesha

Traditional Ganesh Hindu stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvathi, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged and asked his follower ghosts to teach the child some manners. Ganesha was very powerful, being born of Parvati, the embodiment of shakti (or power). He defeated the ghost-followers (called "Ghanas") and declared nobody was allowed to enter while his mother was bathing. The sage of heavens, Narada, along with the Saptarshi (the seven wise rishis) sensed a growing turmoil and went to appease the boy with no results. Angered, the king of Gods, Indra attacked the boy with his entire heavenly army but even they didn't stand a chance. By then, this issue had become a matter of pride for Parvathi and Shiva.

After the devas (Gods) were defeated, the trinity, the controller, preserver and destroyer of the universe launched an attack against Ganesha. Amidst the fighting, Shiva severed the head of the child. And brought on Parvathi's rage. Seeing her son dead, Parvathi revealed her true self, as the Adi-shakti, the prime energy that fuels the universe and sustains matter. Taking on a terrible form, she vowed to destroy the universe where her son was killed and re-create a better one. The Gods prostrated before her and Shiva promised that her son will live again. The trinity hunted the world for a head and came across a mother elephant crying for her dead baby. They consoled the mother and fixed the head of the baby elephant in place of Ganesha's head. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day, the boy would be called as "Ganesha" (Gana-Isha : lord of the Ganas). In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.

Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati

According to the Linga Purana, Ganesha was created by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati at the request of the Devas for being a Vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) in the path of Rakshasas, and a Vighnahartaa (obstacle-averter) to help the Devas achieve fruits of their hard work. (Info courtesy- Wiki)

A stall of Ganesh Idols

A woman selling artificial garlands and decorative items 

Woman selling incense and other things required for the religious ceremony
I wish all the blogger buddies a very happy Ganesh Chathurthi. May Lord Ganesha fills our homes and heart with peace, prosperity, wisdom and happiness. Stay tunes for more of Ganesh Chathurthi.

Getting back to pink!

Irrespective of being a girl or a guy, lips are undoubtedly the most eminent and appealing feature of our face. But we often tend to care very little for our lips. Healthy pink lips add a charm to our smile. But sometimes our lips tend to lose their natural color and beauty and turn dark and dull. There is a series of reasons that cause hyperpigmentation or dullness of lips.

Hustling and stressful lifestyle, smoking, chewing tobacco, frequent use excessive make-up, insufficient water intake, treatment such as chemotherapy, sickness, etc can cause your lips to lose its luster. So, I wish to share simple tips of getting soft pink lips naturally. These home remedies would help revive the natural charm and color of your dull lips within a few weeks. Since these are home remedies, it will take time to show results.

By God's grace I have naturally pink lips. They began to get slightly pigmented after I got dental braces. By using the good stuff in the kitchen, I was able to reverse the pigmentation and maintain the natural color of my lips. It is my personal opinion that no matter how expensive and high-quality the cosmetics may be, they cause harm to the skin in the long run. Apart from a couple of occasions like dance competition and play during my school days, I have never used any make-up all my life. Here are a few simple tips that will help your lips get back their lost glory.


Drinking plenty of water is good for your body. Chapped and dry lips can be your body's way to tell you that it is running low on fluids. When the body is well hydrated from within, your lips reflect the same.

Honey and lemon

Honey and lemon are great detoxifying agents. Mix a 2-3 drops of lemon with 1/2 tsp of honey and gently apply it on your lips. Let is dry, wash off and pat dry. The acidic and lightening properties of lemon would help bring out the natural color back to your lips.

Pomegranate and beet root

These amazingly delicious foods are a boon for your lips too. Squeeze out a teaspoon of pomegranate juice and mix it with milk cream. Apply this mixture to hydrate and moisturize chapped lips. If you don't have a pomegranate, you can use beet root instead.

Clarified butter

Gently applying clarified butter (ghee) on lips is very beneficial, especially during winters. It heals cracked lips and makes them super-soft. This is my most favorite remedy for cracked lips during winters. I love how ghee smells! Delicious!

Lip massage

A light lip massage improves blood circulation to your lips. You can use almond oil and massage your lips with fingertips before going to sleep.

Lip scrubbing

Using a soft toothbrush to gently scrub your lips removes the layer of dead skin, making your lips look fresh and clean. Scrubbing lips before applying the above mentioned mixtures would help them permeate deeper into the lips for optimal nourishment.

Limit the use of lip make-up

Avoid using lip color and lip gloss when not needed. Make sure you remove the make-up of your face and lips before sleeping. You can use cotton balls dipped in baby oil or almond oil to wipe your face clean.

Kick the butt and drop that weed

The best way to stop further damage to your lips is to quit smoking and chewing tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco cause the lips to darken and wrinkle. The fact that tobacco gives you cancer may make you feel motivated to kick the butt.

Sun is not fun

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight causes darkening of lips. Using a lip balm with adequate SPF would prevent damage to the lips.

An illustrative video on natural way to lighten dark lips

I hope you found these tips useful. Nothing would make me happier than helping you get those lips back to being luscious and pink. :)

Aloe Vera- For a Younger Looking & Beautiful Skin

Aloe Vera is known for a multitude of medicinal and healing properties since thousands of years. The Egyptians call it the 'plant of immortality'. Aloe Vera has internal and external applications. According to WebMD, it is good for skin as well as hair. Today's post talks about skin benefits of Aloe Vera. There are many brands in the market selling products and cosmetics loaded with Aloe Vera extract. But fresh and organic things are always the best. The same applies to Aloe Vera extract.

Aloe Vera is a type of a cactus that belongs to Liliaceae family. It is usually found growing in places with dry climatic conditions. The thick and fleshy leaves of Aloe Vera are packed with clear transparent gel. This gel can be applied directly on to the skin. It is a bit difficult to extract the gel out of the spiky leaves. The gel is slightly solid, slimy and sticky, but full of natural goodness. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. You can extract the gel by filleting the leaf, scraping it off into a clean bowl and mashing it up with your fingers.

Aloe Vera extract can be used directly on to the skin. I personally use Aloe Vera twice a week for my oily skin. I apply it on my face, let it dry, wash off with water and pat dry. Avoid using Aloe Vera on area near the eyes. I suggest you do a patch test before applying Aloe Vera onto your skin. Some people may experience skin irritation resulting from Aloe Vera application. Tropical varieties of Aloe Vera are also known to cause skin irritation. Let us take a look at the host of benefits that Aloe Vera has to offer. 

Helps treat sun tan and sun burn

Direct application of aloe Vera gel helps treat sun tan and sun burn. Given to its antioxidant properties, it helps accelerate the healing process at the epithelial layer of skin.

Works excellent as a moisturizer and as anti-aging agent

Dry skin needs to be replenished with moisture and not oil. Instead of applying moisturizing lotions, one can apply Aloe Vera gel. The gel permeates deep into the skin and hydrates it. It works great as an anti-aging agent. The beta carotene and Vitamins C and E keep the skin moist and naturally firm. Thus, it makes the skin glow and look younger. 

Even men can explore the benefits of Aloe Vera. They can use the Aloe Vera gel instead of after-shave lotion. Aloe Vera has a cooling effect on the skin.

Treats acne effectively

Aloe Vera is an excellent remedy to treat skin disorders like acne, dark spots and blemishes. It lightens the dark spot over regular application. Aloe Vera get its anti-inflammatory properties from Gibberellin and Auxin. These two hormones accelerate growth rate of new cells, thus, speeding up the healing process.

Heals wound, burns and blisters

Aloe Vera has a soothing effect on skin that has sustained minor burns and wounds. It is good for treating blisters, itching and rashes resulting from eczema and psoriasis.

Aloe Vera is indeed nature's gift to the mankind. It is often used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat problems related to hair and skin. It is also used to detoxify the body through internal application of its extract. Aloe Vera must be used for internal application under the supervision of qualified medicine practitioner only.

An illustrative video for using Aloe Vera for naturally glowing skin

Note- The contents of this 'And My Life Goes On...' blog (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Sore throat- Unraveling The Reasons Behind Your Agony

Sore throat is the last thing in the world that anyone would like to have. The itch, burning sensation, tenderness and the discomfort it causes is enough to ruin your spirits. Sore throat leaves you feeling debilitated all day long. It is one of the prime reasons for frequent trips to doctor’s clinic and sick leaves from work. Sore throat is a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. It is necessary to probe into the causes and risk factors that increase your chances of getting a sore throat. Let us now discuss the reasons why you may get a sore throat.

1. Viral infection

Viral infection is the primary and most common reason why you get a sore throat. Most of the time viral sore throat is accompanied with flu-like symptoms.
  • Common cold caused due to infection from Coronavirus or Rhinovirus gives you a runny and stuffed nose and a painful throat.
  • Infection caused by Adenovirus and Parainfluenza virus is very common. It results into inflammation of pharynx, larynx and tonsils.
  • Herpes simplex caused by herpes simplex virus is a condition wherein the patient has blisters and sores in the nasal mucosa, mouth and throat.
  • Apart from these, there is Epstein-Barr virus that causes glandular fever or mononucleosis. Mono is characterized by swollen lymph nodes, swollen tonsils and a nasty sore throat. A person suffering from mono experiences difficulty in breathing and swallowing sputum or food.

2. Bacterial infection
  • Out throat is susceptible to a number of bacterial infections. Streptococcal pharyngitis or strep throat is a medical condition that is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. It is characterized by sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, and high fever and chills. This is the most common bacterial infection that results into a sore throat. Close contact with the patient must be avoided since the infection is highly contagious.
  • The chances of getting infected by Corynebacterium diphtheriae are very thin. However, in the eastern parts of Europe an increasing number of people are falling prey to this deadly bacterium every year. It causes infection of the upper respiratory tract which is known as Diphtheria. The patient exhibits symptoms like fever, chills, cough, lesions on skin, and swollen neck. The swelling in the neck is acute and very painful. There is difficulty in breathing, speaking and swallowing.
  • Sore throat may be caused because of complications arising out of incomplete treatment of acute tonsillitis. Complications like development of PTS, i.e., Peritonsillar Abscess may crop up. PTA consists of production and accumulation of pus around the tonsils. It causes severe one-sided pain in the ear and throat due to which the patient cannot breathe, swallow or speak properly.
  • Uvulitis refers to the inflammation of the uvula and is generally prevalent among children. Uvulitis may occur due to bacterial infection or trauma. Heamophilus influenzae type B, Streptococcus pyogenes, or Fusobacterium nucleatum could be the culprits behind the swollen and painful uvula in your child.
  • Sore throat caused due to sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia may be extremely rare but not non-existent. When the bacteria Chlamydia thracomatis successfully breeds in the hostile environment of the throat, it can cause inflammation of the pharynx.

3.Fungal infections
  • Oral candidiasis or oral thrush commonly caused by Candida albicans is a very superficial and localized yeast infection of the mucous membranes in the mouth. It is normally seen in babies. It may also infect adults and cause infection in the mouth as well as throat. The infection seen in adults is named as ‘Candidosis’. It may also attack the respiratory tract causing infection in the bronchi. It is called as ‘broncho-candidiasis’. All these types of infections cause irritation of the throat.

4. The non-infectious causes
Sore throat may be a result of pharyngitis caused by mechanical or chemical reasons, as explained below.

4.1. Humidity level
The preferred level of humidity in the atmosphere is 35% to 50%. Inappropriate level of humidity in the atmosphere can trigger illnesses of the respiratory tract. Low humidity sucks out the moisture from the tissues of nose, mouth and throat. This initiates irritation and itching in the throat.
High humidity aggravates the symptoms of asthma and sinusitis, pharyngitis being one of symptom.

4.2. Exposure to irritants
Exposure to irritants like pollution, cigarette smoke, dust and pollen can trigger respiratory ailments.

4.3. Thermal irritants
Swallowing food or liquid that is very hot or very cold can damage the tissues in your throat. It produces a burning sensation in your throat.

4.4. Heamatological disorders
People suffering from heamatological disorders like leukemia and aplastic anemia experience ulcers of the mouth and throat.

4.5. GERD
GERD stands for Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease. It is characterized by reflux of food and stomach acids into the esophagus. It is caused due to improper closure or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve located at the opening of the stomach.
The stomach acids cause irritation, inflammation and formation of sores in the esophagus, causing you to experience sore throat.

Having been discussed the reasons we get a sore throat, let us now elaborate the risk factors that increase our chances of getting one.

1. Age
Children and teenagers are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. The degree of pain in the throat experienced by them is higher than that in adults. Older people easily catch cold because of low-immunity. No wonder why it usually advances into serious ailments like tuberculosis.

2. Chemical irritants
Particulate matter present in the smoke from combustion of coal, petrol, diesel etc cause irritation of throat.

3. Pre-existing medical conditions
People suffering from asthma and sinusitis are at an increased risk of getting viral and bacterial sore throat. People with poorly-managed diabetes can easily contract fungal infections like Candidosis due to lowered immunity.

4. Tumors
Tumors of the tongue, pharynx and larynx are generally associated with smoking and alcoholism. Such tumors cause sore throat and radiating pain in the ears.

5. Compromised immunity
People with HIV have suppressed immunity and low level of resistance. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, malnourished children, pregnant women and people undergoing treatment with steroids are all susceptible to infections of the respiratory tract. Hormonal imbalance and stress are also known to inhibit body’s immune response.

6. Congested living spaces
Viral and bacterial infections tend to spread rapidly in overcrowded places like schools, prisons, hospitals and offices.

7. Proximity to the patients
Close contact with patients suffering from respiratory illnesses or other contagious infections can spread the infection to other people, especially by the way of airborne droplets.

Understanding the causes of getting a sore throat and the associated risk factors is necessary for effective and timely treatment of the underlying medical condition. It is also helpful to avoid getting such throat infections in future.

Note- The contents of this 'And My Life Goes On...' blog (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Top 4 Causes of Dark Spots That Will Blow Your Mind

All the beautiful ladies out there, if your are looking to find reasons behind the coffee-colored patches on your skin, you have come at a right place.

Dark spots on skin can occur due an array of reasons. Dark spots show up on not only the face but also back, shoulders, waist and thighs. Dark spots develop due to accelerated production of melanin in the skin. According to Daily Makeover, the exact reason depends upon the area that is affected. The phenomenon of dark spots is also known as hyperpigmentation. Dark spots result into uneven skin tone or discoloration, which can literally break an otherwise beautiful complexion. Let us take a look at the culprits causing dark spots and how to remove that.

The Sun

The Sun is the number one perpetrator when it comes to giving dark spots. Summers may fade away but the damage sustained by the sun-exposed skin shows itself very clearly. Make-up can camouflage the hyperpigmentation temporarily, but it is necessary to contain and reverse the damage. Prolong exposure to sunlight triggers excessive production of melanin, a pigment which gives color to our skin, resulting into blotchy and patchy skin. The best way to prevent dark spots due to sun-damage is to use a good sunscreen that provides adequate protection against the UV rays of the Sun.

Constricted innerwear

While a fabulous well-fitted innerwear can enhance your appearance and boost your confidence, an extremely constricted innerwear can cause skin blemishes. Tight innerwear cause friction between itself and the skin, causing skin irritation and ultimately darkening of skin. Dark spots may appear near armpits, shoulders, neck and back if you wear an extremely tight bra that struggles to accommodate you. Similarly, skin irritation may occur around the waistline and groin due to tight-fitting panties. It would be extremely smart of you to dump your constricted lingerie and buy new well-fitting lingerie that doesn't dig in your skin. If the damage has been done, the dark spots can be treated with prescribed hydroquinone gel.

When hormones go haywire!

Hormonal changes affect women not only psychologically but also physically. While a woman experiences mood swings as her estrogen and progesterone play hide and seek, it is the skin that also undergoes changes. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or intake of hormonal pills often takes a toll on the skin. Surge in these hormones cause accelerated melanin production and ultimately hypermigmentation. Dark patchy spots usually occur on forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. In case of pregnancy, dark spots vanish after delivery as hormones tend to settle down. When on hormonal pills, consulting a GP and switching over to another type of birth control measure is the only way out.

Hair removal

Hair removal can cause dark spots to develop, if the technique applied for getting rid of stray hair is faulty. Using depilatory creams and razors for hair removal causes skin irritation and darkening of skin. Waxing is known to the safest and most reliable way of hair removal. But getting your arms, legs or face waxed from an inexperienced or unskilled beautician can give you terrible dark spots. If you are already hit by dark spots due to faulty hair removal techniques, you can treat it with hydrocortisone cream under a physician's supervision.

An informative video on how to treat dark spots caused by acne

Making little changes in the way we do things on daily basis can help prevent dark spots and blotchy skin from ruining our complexion. By following a healthy routine of exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing the skin, we can make it stay younger, healthier and glowing.

Note- The contents of this 'And My Life Goes On...' blog (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Knowing the Facts of Severe Food Allergies - A guest post by Tammy Mahan

There are millions of people in the world having severe reactions caused by food allergies each year. While the symptoms of most food allergies are minor and the reactions mild, there are those that cause severe, even life threatening reactions. Food allergies cannot be cured; important measures for the prevention of serious consequences to health are recognizing the allergy early and managing the reactions to food.
Allergic reactions can be caused by over one hundred and sixty foods. The eight that are most common make up ninety percent of the allergic reactions to food and the source of a number of ingredients. This is why food labeling laws pinpoint these eight foods on ingredient labels. 

Top Eight Allergy Foods

  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Tree nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (milk)
  • Crustacean shellfish (lobster, shrimp, crab)
  • Fish

The food labeling law (requiring allergens to be identified on labels) designates these as major allergens that could lead to severe reactions. The individual ingredients have to be listed on the label with the source of the food in parenthesis beside them if it is not obvious from the food name itself. There can be an allergy warning that says: this product contains (name of allergen), or that the food was made in a facility that also makes one of the common allergens. 

Reacting to Severe Food Allergy Symptoms

A food allergy could be present if there is the appearance of certain symptoms and avoiding them can prevent the re-occurrence.
  • Reading labels will help to avoid the foods that result in the allergy. Recognizing the first symptoms of an allergic reaction and being knowledge of the proper measures for treatment is important. 
  • Treatment should be initiated immediately by those that have a food allergy and begin having symptoms while eating or after eating. Visiting the emergency room should be done if the symptoms worsen.

Allergic Reaction Symptoms

Severe food allergy reactions can appear after a few minutes or up to two hours after the food has been eaten. Hives, rash, swelling of the lips, face and tongue and abdominal cramps are all signs of allergic reactions. There can also be difficulty breathing, dizziness, loss of consciousness and swelling of the vocal cords and throat with an allergic reaction.
It is important to learn to identify the symptoms early so that treatment can be gotten immediately to prevent death from resulting.

Severe Food Allergies Can Threaten Your Life

Anaphylaxis can result from eating a food that you are allergic too. The airways in the lungs can become constricted. Swelling of the throat can lead to suffocation, and anaphylactic shock can occur when the blood pressure drops severely leading to shock.

Anaphylaxis from severe food allergies results in approximately one hundred and fifty deaths, two thousand hospitalizations and thirty thousand visits to the emergency room in the United States per year.
Learning which foods that you are allergic too and educating yourself about the reading of labels to identify common allergy inducing foods is of the utmost importance for your health when you live with severe food allergies.

About the Author

Tammy Mahan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at the State University of New York. She practiced as a Registered Nurse for 20 years. She has experience working in the following medical units; intensive care, cardiac care, medical/surgical, oncology, pediatrics, neo-natal intensive care, and emergency room care. As a Certified Natural Health Consultant, she advises people on alternative treatments and helps them set up treatment plans that will best suit their needs. Tammy has written hundreds of articles, blog posts and eBooks related to health and medical topics. She has also ghost written thousands of articles on topics ranging from arts and crafts to zoo animals. She also has excellent research skills that allows her to write informative articles on any topic in laymen terms and for the highly educated. Tammy is also the author of a cookbook, a children’s non-fiction book, and a new age book. As a mother, she is also well versed in topics relating to family and children. As an animal lover, she enjoys spending time with and caring for her pets. Tammy has also traveled extensively throughout the United States and several other countries. As a professional writer, she creates content that is informative and engaging to her readers.

Indian Problems!

Dear Readers,

I am writing this post to depict the funny realities of my life as an Indian, as well as life of the people around me. This is all based on my observations about my people.
This post does not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments. So I request you to take this write-up with a pinch of salt. I am sure you too would be able to connect to the following events and end up smiling by the time you finish reading the last sentence.

Where did my life go, Penny?

So, here we go!

  • Parents say 'Don't talk to boys'! Middle School: Don't talk to boys. High School: Don't talk to boys. College: Don't talk to boys. Age 23: It's time for you to get married!
  • Every Indian wedding you go to, your American friends ask if it was arranged.
  • I spend an hour in the sun and I turn 50 shades of brown.
  • 34% of Microsoft employees are Indian. Because of this, I think Microsoft Word shouldn't think my name is a spelling error.
  • Keep your friends close and coupons closer!
  • All these people talk about how much they smoke, and the closest I've ever gotten is inhaling the agarbatti (Those scent sticks you light up)
  • Parents can turn the simplest conversations into something extremely awkward.
  • Mom: Go do this, then do that, now do this. After that do this. Me: I barely started the first thing!
  • You're Indian when "be there in 5 minutes" turns into 45 minutes.
  • The best part about having a complicated name is that teachers are less likely to call on you.
  • Your Mom tells embarrassing stories about you to the other aunties.
  • When there is another Indian in my class, we either become friends or we are in direct competition for higher grades.
  • I always have a love hate relationship with autocorrect when it comes to Indian names.
  • I didn't choose the Indian life. The Indian life threatened me with a chappal until I submitted to its will.

Happy Friendships Day

I wish all my blogger buddies a very Happy Friendships Day! I hope we share this bond for an eternity :)

“A good friend is a connection to life, a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”
Lois Wyse (1926-2007);

And a tribute to true friends and friendship..

Home remedies to get rid of bed bugs

Tiny creatures like bed bugs can literally wreck havoc in your house. Recently, my bed got infested with bed bugs, and I had a hard time sleeping at night. I had a stinging sensation at the back of my ears and on the feet. Next day, I was feeling itchy and spotty at the back of my ears. I clicked a picture of it with my cell phone camera. I was shocked to see three tiny bite marks. I showed it to my Mom and she instantly figured out what was wrong. 'Oh my God! Those are the bed bugs bite!', she exclaimed with a hint of worry on her face. I couldn't imagine I had bugs in my bed!

Google Images

Calling up pest-control services to get rid of bed-bugs was out of question, because I am allergic to fumes and smells of the insect sprays and other chemicals they might use. So Mom suggested we keep the mattress and the pillows in the sun. It was summer then, and the temperature was beyond 40 degrees Celsius. Perfect time to roast bed bugs!

So, we moved the pillows and the mattresses to the eighth floor my apartment building and let it stay out there in the sun for a good 7-8 hours. Thank you God, for the elevators! I also washed my bed-sheet, duvet, pillow covers and put it out in the sun to dry. We did this back to back for two days. And voila! My mattresses, pillows, pillow covers, bed-sheet and duvet were free from bed bug infestation.

I realized that in spite of maintaining highest level of hygiene, our homes get infested with bugs anyways. So, we need to be watchful for signs of their presence. On noticing any bugs, we should take prompt remedial measures.

Here are some home remedies that will surely help you get rid of bed-bugs.

  • To begin with, wash the bed-sheet, pillow covers and duvets thoroughly. If possible, use hot water. Also wash mattress cover, if any. Dry it in sun. But, do read the wash instructions on them. Do not wash them in hot water or dry them in hot sun if the instructions say so.
  • Apart from putting the mattress and pillows out in the sun, you can also use hot steam. This is perhaps the deadliest way to exterminate bud bugs. Many vapor steamers are available in the market these days that are used to clean floor, bathrooms, tiles walls, etc by the power of hot steam. Alternatively, you can use a steamer that is meant for ironing clothes. Steam the mattress and pillows on both the sides to eliminate the bugs. Steaming is a good option, in case the bed-bugs decide to attack your bed during monsoons and winters.
  • Homes with pets like dogs and cats have an increased susceptibility to bed-bug infestation. There is quite a possibility that your pet's bed is infested with bed bugs. If so, do not hesitate to discard the mattress. Examine the surrounding area for bed-bugs and their eggs.
  • Beg bugs do not feed  for longer than 8-10 minutes. Neither do they have a firm grasp on hair. If your pet is carrying bed bugs, a session of grooming outside the house shall do the trick.
  • You can keep bed bugs at bay by vacuuming the mattress, pillows, carpets and frame of the bed at regular intervals, preferably, 3-4 times a week. Discard or burn the content at a safe place, preferably outside the house.
  • Get a cover for your mattress if you haven't been using one. A mattress cover will prevent the bed bugs from penetrating deep into the mattress.
  • Change the bed-sheets and pillow cover at regular intervals. Wash the duvets too.Wash them thoroughly everytime using a good detergent.

Beg bugs are pest. They bite and give you nasty bite marks with a stinging sensation. They deprive you of good night sleep. Do not ignore their presence. We have simple home remedies now, to eradicate them. Hygiene and vigilance are the best methods to prevent bed bugs.

Veteran Actor Pran passes away

Veteran Bollywood actor Pran Krishan Sikand (born February 12, 1920) passed away on July 12, 2013,  Friday at Mumbai's Lilawati Hospital after prolong sickness. He was 93 years old.

Pran was of late honored with Dadasaheb Phalke Award- the greatest award in the Indian Cinema, at his residence. He carved a niche for himself during his six decade-long career in the Bollywood, by the way of depicting influential negative and character roles.

Pran commenced in journey in Bollywood as a hero, but he will be commemorated for playing the vindictive baddie in blockbusters like 'Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai', 'Munimji' 'Dil Dia Dard Liya' and many more classic hits.  He took the role of a villain to an all new level. He acted in over 400 movies and won several awards for his charismatic onscreen presence.

Pran would be deeply missed and fondly remembered as one of the most cherished personalities Bollywood has ever had. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Top things to have in your handbag at all times

Whether you are just taking your carryall for a weekend out or going on a month-long vacation with tonnes of luggage, there are a few essentials that you must carry while you step out of your home. Usually guys find the idea of girls carrying a big handbag revolting. However, they often end up needing something that happens to be there in that bag. “Do you have a face-wipe in there?” “Do you have some water to drink?” Apart from the usual stuff like cell phone and make-up, there are several little things that will always come handy.

It is necessary that you carry a reasonable amount of hard-cash with you. Why?? Because the cab driver would not accept a debit card, would he? You will need cash to pay for a cab or a train fare. You must have enough money to grab a bite to eat. It is wise to carry plastic money from the viewpoint of safety. But carrying cash is equally important.
Keep some cash in a separate compartment of your handbag. Just in case a thief gets his hands on your wallet. Carry coins for using a payphone. Your cell phone battery may not last forever on some days!

Always carry a bottle of water. Frequent sips of water will keep you hydrated when you are on the go.

Face-wipes and deodorant
These are one of the amazing versatile creations of man! A cool and fragrant face-wipe not only helps clean the dirt off your skin but also makes you feel fresh within a couple of minutes. A face-wipe can come handy just in case you accidentally spill little something on your clothes at lunch. A quick spray of deodorant will help conceal body odor until you get home and get fresh. It will also save the people around you from nasal-torment.

Hair accessories
You should carry a comb, a couple of hair rubber bands and hair clutchers. Hair often get messy during travelling. You can put your messy hair back in order if you have these basic things at hand.

Mint candy
For me, mint candy is a must have. I usually consume salad containing raw onion and food rich in garlic. So mint candies help keep bad breath at bay. These are very useful for occasions like an interview or a date.

A notepad and a pen
We do live in a digital era, but we still depend on our memory for some things. You might think of stuff you need to buy later from the store on your way home. Or you meet an important person and forget your business card or they do not have theirs. At such times, a notepad and a pen will serve the purpose.

A pack of tampons
I guess I do not need to explain this one.

Painkillers and band-aids
I am often asked for Aspirin. Carrying a strip of painkillers is a good idea when you or someone around you has a headache. Even a tiny bruise seems irritating. An exposed wound, no matter how small, will gather dirt and make way for an infection. Band-aids will come handy to take care of small cuts and bruises and help you take your mind off it.

Keep a small bottle of hand-sanitizer in your carryall. You can use it when you wish to grab a bite and don't have water and hand-wash around to cleanse your hands; or after using public transport or a public restroom.

Personal information and emergency contacts
Carry a small diary mentioning your personal information and emergency contact details of your family and friends or may be colleagues, because you cannot predict when life will throw a curve ball at you. Wouldn’t it be awful if you fall unconscious somewhere and no one knows whom to contact for you?

This is a great thing to carry when you are out on a vacation. Fun begins the moment you get started from your home. Whether it is a point-&-shoot camera or a DSLR, you should carry one. Personally, I love carrying my camera. I never know what may catch my attention.

A novel or a magazine
Carrying a novel or a magazine is a good idea. You can read it when you are travelling in a bus or a train. This will keep boredom at bay.

Carry a pack of cookies or chips or any snack you like. You may even carry an apple or a chocolate. It is quite possible for you to feel hungry in the middle of nowhere, and there is no place around to eat at.

Pepper spray
A very useful thing just in case a rowdy subway rat decides to bother you.

A pair of sunglasses
Carry a nice pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh sunlight. You definitely do not want to have a burning sensation in your eyes throughout the day.

So now you know what it takes to be geared up. Keep these little things your handbag and step out of your home with a peace of mind.

Walking in the rain

Monsoon has set its foot in India. I love this season for all the lushness and greenery it brings along. Yesterday when I was walking home from by best friend's after a study session, it began to rain. Thank God she suggested I take her umbrella. After a few minutes it slowed down to a drizzle. Everything around looked beautiful and fresh. Here is a picture I quickly took from my cell phone as I was nearing my apartment.

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