Ever since I was young, I received compliments on my skin texture and colour from many. I never got a pimple, even when I was a teenager. Sometimes, random people would look at my face and make comments like, “how beautiful your skin is,” or “how do you keep your skin so smooth and shiny?” Over the years, as I got into my 40s and 50s, I started getting more compliments like, “you don’t look a day older than 30,” or ” how do you maintain such young-looking skin?”I was proud of my skin tone. I felt so happy when I received complements from people about my skin. Of course, I attribute more credit to my genes than my maintenance. My mum was a beautiful lady with flawless skin, even in her 70s. She did not look a day older than 60 when she passed away at 74. People often asked me if my mum was my sister. I felt proud whenever somebody asked me that question at parties or gatherings. Now, my kids get asked the same questions. I’m often taken for their older sister or wife or girlfriend. They feel pride in introducing me as their mother to their friends.
I never really did anything to my face to look young. For years, I only used moisturizers like POND’S cold cream, pure sandalwood powder or an Indian cream called Fair & Lovely. Most of my childhood, I went without a single cream on my face, except for a puff of talcum powder.
Over the weekends as a young Indian girl, I was required to replace course rice powder mixed with a pinch of pure turmeric and sesame oil or peanut oil for soap. Turmeric is supposed to have antioxidants, and it also is said to act like an antibiotic. People in India believe using turmeric bleaches the face naturally. When a young girl gets her first period, she is given turmeric to use as a custom so she won’t get blemishes from pimples and body heat. She is also asked to reduce the amount of oily foods she eats, and she is given mild food without too much fat in order to reduce body heat. Coconut is part of the diet for a young girl who starts her period in order to produce naturally oily skin. I always used egg whites, lemon juice and turmeric to firm my face. I also used cream from milk or yogurt with turmeric to smooth my face.
Natural remedies and beauty tips are a way of life in India, even today. Most Indian women do not get pimples and blemishes because they eat mild food When I migrated to this country, I was fascinated by all the cosmetic products on the market. I experimented with different creams, bleaches and powders for a short while, but I soon realized my skin just didn’t take to those products kindly. So I reverted back to the use of turmeric, rice powder, olive oil, egg whites, natural sandalwood powder, pure sandalwood paste, lemon juice, etc. For years, I did that. Because time has passed with a lot of sun exposure, my skin has got somewhat damaged, so I started using SPF 15 moisturizers. As a diabetic, I choose my products carefully so I don’t damage my skin more. Diabetics are prone to skin infections and different skin conditions, which could be the result of poor control over the diabetes, poor circulation of blood and dehydration with high sugar levels, etc.
Now, I see little blemishes on my face as I age. I also developed freckles from sun exposure, so I try to be careful by using an umbrella or hat when I am outside. I drink plenty of water all day and try to eat as many vegetables and fruit as possible. Now, I am almost looking like my age or a little younger. Still, I get compliments.
What we eat shows up on our faces. Being a diabetic makes me careful with myself, whether it is avoiding sunburn or caring for a cut on my finger. I know what is in store for me if I don’t heed to my blood sugar levels. I am what I make myself because MY LIFE MATTERS.