Healing cuts, bruises and other skin problems

  • Treat a cut with garlic

To treat a cut or abrasion, gently wash the wound with warm soapy water and pat it dry with a clean soft cloth. Then bruise a peeled clove of garlic and press it against the cut for 5-10 minutes, securing it with a bandage if you like. Garlic contains allicin, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of several kinds of bacteria and protect against infection. (Caution: fresh garlic is an irritant, so never leave it in any form — infused, crushed or whole — on the skin for more than 20 minutes at a time. Remove it immediately if it irritates the skin.)

  • Black pepper stops bleeding

Shaking a good amount of black pepper onto a bleeding cut will stop the blood flow swiftly. It works because the pepper constricts the blood vessels. Many people who have tried this remedy also claim that a wound treated with black pepper heals with less scarring.

  • Reduce bruising with an onion

If you have just bumped your arm, leg or knee (or other body part) and you’re worried about bruising, immediately press the cut end of a raw onion onto the bruised area and keep it in place for 15 minutes. The allicin in onions (the compound that makes your eyes water) helps to stimulate the lymphatic flow in the body, helping to flush away excess blood in the just-injured tissue that creates the discoloration we call a bruise. Caution: use onion only on intact skin, not on skin that is broken.

  • Soothe sunburn with green tea

Just add 3 green tea bags to 1 litre just-boiled water, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it steep for 2-3 hours. Use a cotton wool ball or a very soft cloth to dab the sunburned area with the cooled tea and allow the cooling tannins to do their work.

  • Conquer lice with tea tree

When it comes to head lice, the bottom line is that you have to put in a few hours’ work to get the desired result. Combine 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil with 1 teaspoon tea-tree essential oil. Massage the oils thoroughly into your hair and scalp, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes. Using a special nit comb (available from pharmacies and most supermarkets), comb out your hair in sections, wiping the comb after each pass to remove any nits or lice. Shampoo with a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons regular shampoo mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and 5 drops each of tea-tree and peppermint essential oil. The tea tree and salt are natural antiseptics and peppermint has a cooling effect. Repeat the oil and shampoo recipe every couple of days, and check hair with a lice comb daily.

  • Camomile salve

Melt 4 tablespoons petroleum jelly in a double boiler and stir in 1 tablespoon camomile flowers. Heats for 2 hours or until the flowers are crisp. Tightly fit a jam strainer on top of a glass jar and squeeze the hot mixture through. Once the salve cools, apply to a mild skin rash up to four times a day. For best results, choose the more efficacious German camomile (Matricaria recutita) over Roman or English camomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

  • Double-duty paste for bee stings

A bicarbonate of soda—vinegar paste applied to a bee sting immediately after you remove the sting will help to reduce the pain. Use 2 parts bicarbonate of soda to 1 part vinegar to make a paste, apply it to the sting, allow to dry, and then wipe it off with a clean damp cloth.

  • Rolled oats and pantihose to cure hives

Cut the leg of a pair of pantihose off at the knee and put these four ingredients into the foot: 3 tablespoons each rolled oats and powdered milk, and 1 tablespoon each dried camomile flowers and lavender. Knot it off and hold it under warm (not hot) running water as you fill your bath. Submerge the bag and let the water cool. (Hot water makes hives worse, not better.) Soak for half an hour, and every 5 minutes or so hold the bag over the rash and squeeze to release the soothing stuff inside.

  •  Witch hazel for skin rashes

The bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant contain high proportions of naturally astringent tannins and an aromatic oil — the perfect recipe for soothing itchy skin rashes.

  • Spot-buster pastes

Applied to spots and pimples, these quick and easy homemade pastes will encourage blemishes to disappear quickly. Try these three:

  1. Bicarbonate of soda Moisten 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda with a few drops water and dab it onto spots. Leave for 5 minutes, and then wipe off with a face washer dipped in cool water.
  2. Rolled oats Use some of your morning porridge as a scourge for spots. Dab the cooked, cooled porridge onto blemished skin, cover with a warm-water face-washer compress and let it sit for l5 minutes. Repeat daily until the spots are gone.
  3. Cornflour and lemon juice Make a paste with 1 teaspoon cornflour and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Apply to spots and let it sit for 4-5 minutes before gently washing your face with cool water.
  • Sunscreen and spot buster

The white zinc-oxide cream that sportsman spread over their noses as a sunscreen is also an effective acne fighter. Dab on a little zinc-oxide cream before bed and it will not only help to dry up pimples but is also said to prevent scarring.

  • Wards off vampires, too!

Rubbing a freshly cut clove of raw garlic onto a pimple will help to dry it up and make it disappear. Treat pimples just before bedtime, as garlic doesn’t have to be on your breath to make those around you back off fast!

  • Seal in moisture with margarine

Dry skin and some rashes may benefit from a soak with a cool, wet face washer for several minutes, then a gentle rub-down with a bit of margarine. Cover the affected area and leave it on for 1-2 hours. Wipe the margarine off with a clean soft cloth and repeat daily or as required. Caution: if you have an inflammatory skin condition such as eczema, see your doctor before trying this remedy, as it may further inflame the rash. If you have an adverse reaction, stop applying the margarine.

  1. Two ways to stop shingles from itching

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chicken pox. (It isn’t as contagious as chicken pox but can be passed on to anyone who’s susceptible.) The rash consists of small, crusting blisters that itch terribly. Both of the following home remedies may bring some relief:

  1. Aloe gel Apply gel to affected area to calm the itch.
  2. Cornflour Soak for 15 minutes in a tepid bath with 1 cup (140g) cornflour added to it.
  3. Aspirin Mash 2 aspirin tablets and mix with 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide in a small cup. Stir until the aspirin dissolves. Use a cotton bud to apply to blisters only; avoid undamaged skin.
  • Remove dead skin cells the easy way

An excess of dead skin cells is a feature of many common skin conditions. You can soften and exfoliate your skin without having to resort to scrubs or potentially damaging abrasive commercial products. Due to its high content of alpha-hydroxy acids, mashed pawpaw flesh is a great exfoliant. Rub it into dry, rough skin such as elbows and feet, leave for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water.

  • Rosewater for chapped skin

To make a lotion for chapped skin (and a fragrant one, at that) mix 1/2 cup (125ml) rosewater with 1/4 cup (60ml) glycerine and rub it into the skin as needed. This essential cupboard companion is very popular in Asia and the Middle East, where it is used to flavour food as well being included in rituals. You’ll find it in pharmacies, many supermarkets and health food shops.

  • Tropical wart remover

Make several shallow cuts in an unripe green pawpaw and collect the sap that it releases. When it congeals, mix it with water to make a thin paste. Before applying the paste, protect the skin surrounding the wart by swabbing on a thin layer of petroleum jelly (papain, the enzyme in pawpaw, is an irritant so powerful that it’s an ingredient in meat tenderizers). Using a cotton bud, carefully apply the paste to a wart morning and night until it breaks down and disappears. Papain breaks down proteins in dead tissue, making it a wart remover of long standing.

  • Cure warts with a ‘garlic press’

Slice a freshly peeled garlic clove, place it on a wart and bind it with a gauze bandage. Leave the garlic in place as long you’re able to and repeat the process morning and night. Because of its general antiviral activity, it has been claimed that garlic can cure warts even when other methods have failed. It’s worth a try!

  • Turmeric for treating ringworm

If you have a bottle of the spice turmeric in a kitchen cupboard, you have an antiviral powder on hand that has been used in Asia as a ringworm remedy for centuries. In a small bowl, mix enough of the powdered root with water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area with a cotton bud, cover it with a bandage and leave it on for 20-60 minutes. Repeat three or four times a day. Caution: turmeric may irritate sensitive skin, so test it first on clear skin; if redness develops, try another treatment.

Credit: Reader’s Digest

Picture credit: Google