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health 3As research continues to link chemical based skincare products to a multitude of skin diseases, such as rashes, eczema and psoriasis, ‘natural’ has become the buzzword among dermatologists.

The question that most patients ask is: “Are these ‘natural’ remedies more effective than chemically processed products?” The answer, as proven by science and my personal experience as a herbalist, is a resounding “Yes!”

However, convincing people to not use chemical based products is a different ballgame altogether. Patients – even ‘educated’ ones – continue to use them, and say “I don’t care what is in them as long as they make me beautiful!”

One of my regular patients, who suffered from severe acne once complained, “I have tried every hydroquinone lotion (a chemical based whitener) I could find but these scars don’t go away. I will be an ugly bride!”

I replied: “If you overuse skin lightening lotions, they will worsen, not improve your acne, since they have bleaching chemicals. Instead, let the Vitamin E-rich, natural Argan oil mixed with liquorice extracts work their magic.”

Thankfully, she listened and by the time she got married her acne, scars and pigmentation had subsided.

Another patient came to me after she had undergone a facelift. Instead of a wrinkle-free face, she ended up with severe skin inflammation and bruising.

I told her, “Instead of going through so much pain and paying thousands of rupees in the name of beauty, have faith in natural treatments that are not very expensive and have minimal side effects, such as vinegar based mixtures for fairer complexions and aloe vera to reduce wrinkles.”

However, while ‘natural’ oils, body butters, and herbal remedies are known to be effective, before you hop on to the ‘natural’ bandwagon, consult your dermatologist and only use certified products to ensure that there are no side effects.

– Dr Mubashara Khan
The writer is a nutritionist and dermatologist.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 27, 2014.