updated 19 Aug 2011, 16:29
user id password
Fri, Aug 19, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
The Indonesian bride's beauty formula you can try at home
by Kelly Misa

How do you treat pigmentation from sunburn?

I've tried every natural exfoliating trick, and nothing brought my skin back to its original luster.

While we all dream of even, flawless skin, not all of us are lucky enough to have it. Most of us were born with smooth, spot-free skin, but the sad truth is, we develop rough patches of uneven complexion over time, and they will most likely worsen as we get older.

Among the many causes of spots and pigmentation are long-term sun exposure (no thanks to harmful UV rays), pollution, blemishes, and hormones. All these, plus significantly slower skin renewal due to age or skin dryness, contribute to your dilemma.

You're on the right track by exfoliating. I'm not quite sure what sort of natural tricks you've tried, but I've learned that using a thick, grainy scrub, with ingredients like sea salt, sugar, or micro-beads, once a week is a no-fail way to regulate your skin's cycle. That, and a daily scrub-down using your good old loofah or washcloth should smoothen out thick or flaky skin.

Also, I found that using a moisturizing body wash instead of bath soap is much more effective, as it gives your skin a good polishing without drying it. Then, an application of hydrating lotion or body oil right after showering should lock in skin's moisture and keep it looking radiant.

When it comes to your face, you'll need gentler products. A light resurfacing cleanser should work well, and if it has brightening properties, even better. This will help even out dark spots and skin discoloration.

A generous application of moisturizer or serum that contains niacinamide and vitamin C, known active brightening ingredients, should result in the even skin tone you want.

Most important, to see results, use adequate SPF protection daily. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen will prevent pigmentation. Keep in mind you'll need a minimum SPF of 15 every day and 30 when outdoors. Prevention, after all, is still better than cure.

If you make this part of your daily regimen, you'll surely see results in a few weeks. But if you're looking for a faster way to get results, you may require help from a skin care professional.

Ask your dermatologist about laser skin resurfacing, intense pulsed light (IPL), and other light therapies treatments. These thoroughly treat advanced uneven skin and pigmentation from years of unprotected sun exposure. Depending on the treatment, you may see results in only two to three sessions, but it may come with a steep price tag.

Can I get smooth, glowing skin from ingredients found in the kitchen?

A trip to Bali for the launch of Pond's White Beauty Naturals not only gave me a chance to try the effective range of products, but also taught me to make my own body scrub made from basic, easy-to-find ingredients.

In our schedule was a Balinese beauty class facilitated by Aurora Brahami, spa director of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa. She taught us two recipes: one is called lulur, and the other a coconut scrub.

Lulur is a beauty treatment that originated in the 17th century in the palaces of central Java. Indonesian brides still use it, especially leading up to their wedding day. It moisturizes the skin, refreshes it, and leaves it glowing. It does so by removing dead skin cells and increasing blood circulation.

This is easy; you'll need three teaspoons of rice grains (uncooked), two slices of turmeric, and three teaspoons of sandalwood. Mash the rice grains with a mortar and pestle, then mix in the turmeric. Add hot water to the preparation to get a thick paste, then add sandalwood for fragrance.

Apply all over your body, let dry, and rinse with water. Brahami says that if you find the scrub quite strong, you may use yogurt to remove it.

The other recipe is the coconut scrub. You will need the meat of about half a hard coconut, ½ teaspoon of cloves, and one slice of turmeric. Shred the coconut with a grater, then add turmeric and cloves to the concoction. This removes dead skin cells and nourishes skin. This is still used daily by fishermen in the village of Bualu to scrub their skin after work.

These recipes are just what Nusa Dua uses for their treatments in their spa. You can try these at home and feel like you've just had a Balinese treatment.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.