Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 58, Tuesday March 10, 2009



Skin Facts
The Skin is the body's largest organ, measuring 2 square yards and accounting for 15 percent of body weight. It is thickest on the back of the palms and soles of the feet and thinnest on the eyelids. The skin serves several functions- it protects the body from the external environment; expels waste and regulates body temperature.

Skin Problems
We face several types of skin problems, no matter the skin type. Today we will deal with the most common of all skin ailments in teens namely, acne. Yes, the dreaded acne!

Teen skin at one time or another will face issues ranging from simple pimples to its more severe cousin: a barrage of pimples - acne!

Lets first deal with what causes acne.

There are several factors that can contribute to breakouts- heredity, fluctuations in the levels of hormones caused by puberty or menstruation, improper cleaning, use of incorrect skin care products, and stress, to name a few.

There is no proof that food products play a role in acne, but it makes sense that induction of excessive oily food is bound to have an effect on your skin. Food allergies can also cause rashes resembling acne.

Now, the name of the game is to be aware of your skin, and not be so wrapped up in other things whilst totally ignoring skin care.

Acne will not appear overnight, so learn to read the signs. Deal with that first pimple and take precautions.

For starters clean your skin twice a day with a soap-free face wash, Ponds/Johnsons Ph 5.5, etc. Use clove cream or neem paste on you pimple. Don't press or squeeze as this can cause scarring. Apply the following pack twice or thrice daily:

1 tsp neem leaves paste (boiled and pureed)

Pinch of turmeric
1 tsp cucumber puree
If you are already suffering from acne here's what you should do. Contrary to popular belief it is not necessary to scrub acne prone skin with harsh soaps or abrasive cleansers. Scrubbing can irritate your skin and worsen the situation. Gentle cleansing with a soap free cleanser (Neutrogena) and washing with neem water (boil lots of neem leaves in few liters of water and store) twice a day is needed.
Apply the following pack every other day:
1 tsp aloe vera gel
4-5 mint leaves (paste)
2-3 cloves (paste)

Wash with neem water. Apply anti-acne cream containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid only on the spots before bedtime. Drum plenty of water.

Avoid facials. Steam is a complete no-no. Salons offer acne treatments but they cannot and should not include prolonged massage on steam. If your skin does not respond to these steps do not hesitate to see a dermatologist.

Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Makeup and styling: La belle


The shondhas (evenings) here are barren. They are candlelit, they are darker than evenings. They are alone between thousands of rickshaw bells, hundreds of honking cars. They are overshadowed by confusion, overtaken by the smell of evaporated tea. They are one step away from surrender.

I look for fireflies and only find ants. Rooftops hold few last lovers; verandas bid good byes. Shondha is painful, it's lost between the call for prayer and someone's cries. Someone's eyelids still heavy from afternoon naps and someone's lips still dry from lingering thirst.

Shondhas are inconclusive, they are too uncertain. They make me want to run. Not run away, but just run, run long enough to touch night and then stop to miss what I left behind; another shondha, yet another lost one.

Shondhas stop my music; it makes me look for old cassettes with mixed songs. I find them but they never get played. I don't own a cassette player. I think of buying one to listen to music that shondhas demand. And I try to figure out what I demand irrespective of the melancholy of a shondha, irrespective of all my superficial feelings. And I can't; the depths of my thoughts get stolen by each passing shondha, everyday.

So instead of giving in I revolt. I dance around like the sun is coming up. I jump up high and give myself an adrenaline rush. I want to mimic a child so I look for children, and can't find any. Not on the streets, not on anyone's lap. I desperately seek their energy, their ability to fight all seasons, all moods. And I feel weak. Like a wreck I give up. I feel a pain in my arms; my ankles feel twisted.

And no one heads home; everyone keeps working. Even birds, they sit around nonchalantly on electric wires, the threat of half darkness is no match for their boisterous little hearts. They still sing, scream, puke. They don't care about the sunsets and sunrises of this city. They have better things to do than worry about the calculation of light.

Only a few like me sit and watch. Melt with the sun, fall in love with dusk and wait to be forgotten. A few like me search for the future in our half shadowed reflections. A few like me who can't sing, hum. And shondha, my disloyal love, cheats on me everyday.

Yet I anticipate shondha every hour, the comings and goings, the short span of time when the world doesn't stop but I do to feel the length of transitions. I take out my measurement tapes to calculate, but I forget to jot down all the numbers. Transition turns into absolutes, and I forget what it was that I had set out do.

And it happens, shondha, everyday… around now… between then… in me… definitely around me… surrounding you…turn around… it's shondha.

Budget Smart

Selecting your digital assistant
Miraz Yousuf, a BBA student, wants to buy a smartphone. Apart from helping him during presentations and assignments, he wants it to be sleek and entertaining. When it comes to buying a cool gadget, Miraz has a rather big heart: he has an open budget. Here are some of the popular PDAs in the market.

Nokia E90 Communicator
The 3G enabled PDA has a camera of 3.2 mega pixels. It can be opened into two parts like a laptop, where one portion will be your keyboard, and the other a monitor. A problem with this set is its size- it's bulky and is therefore inconvenient to carry. However, it has a 'business executive' look to it and is very appealing to many businesspeople. The operating system used is Symbian OS v9.2 S60 Platform. Price is Tk 46, 000.

Sony Ericsson's XPeria X1
This too, has a camera of 3.2 mega pixels but the operating system here is Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. Available mainly in two colours, solid black and steel silver, this 3G enabled handsome PDA has a keyboard that emerges from underneath the touchscreen, as you slide it upwards. Price is Tk 51000.

HTC Touch HD
This PDA, that boasts its ultrafast 3.5G technology, gives special attention to entertainment. The 3.8 inches wide display and sophisticated video and audio systems bring you 'the ultimate cinema experience'. Also, it has a 5 mega pixel camera. A touchscreen helps you to navigate through this candy bar smartphone. This PDA is based on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. Price is Tk 65, 000.

Grameenphone offers two BlackBerry products- Pearl (a. k. a. 8100) and BlackBerry 8700. The price of the former is Tk 30, 999 and the other costs Tk 27, 999, adding another figure, which is close to around Tk 2000 for service charge and network connection. However, BlackBerry is out of stock at the moment although replenishment is expected very soon. BlackBerry Pearl seems to be a better option since, unlike 8700, it has a camera (3.1 mega pixels), and is also much slimmer. There is no touchscreen in these models but Pearl's trackball is very handy. BlackBerry, mainly targeted towards professionals, uses its own operating system.

Samsung Omnia
Based on Windows Mobile System OS, the 3G enabled PDA that weighs very light looks somewhat similar to iPhone. Omnia will cost you Tk 44, 000. It has a 5 mega pixel camera and a rather big touchscreen display. This candy bar phone has an accelerometer, which rotates the picture depending on the phone's positioning.

iPhone was awarded the “Best Invention of The Year 2007” by Time Magazine. It has two versions- first, the iPhone itself and then came iPhone 3G. Prices are Tk 80, 000 and Tk 60, 000 respectively. However, a huge amount could be saved if you buy from abroad and unlock it here in Bangladesh. These PDAs also have accelerometer and touchscreen and a camera of two mega pixels. Good looks, convenience, style- Apple seems to have an extremely strong hold over the market.

By M H Haider

By the way

Home-made cleaner

Many of us have the habit of running to the nearest shopping mall for buying even simplest things like cleaners. Instead of spending on cleaners, you can easily make your own cleansing solution at home.

Furniture, glass surface, window panes, door-knobs, mirrors, marble furniture, car windows, tiles and everything else for cleaning which you used cleaner products or polishes- can all be easily wiped clean with lukewarm water with a squirt of washing liquid or concentrated detergent. Just make the solution and go cleaning everything for which you otherwise used cleaning products. Hot water makes better cleanser; soak a thick cotton piece of cloth or old handkerchiefs in the solution and wipe the surfaces clean. To avoid smears on the surface, rub the wet surface with a dry cotton cloth and see the clean surfaces sparkle with glint.



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