We’ve all tried and tested certain age-old home remedies that have been prescribed for various problems. Sore throat? No problem; gargle with salt water to get rid of those germs. A urinary tract infection? Gulp down unsweetened cranberry juice! Remedies like these make our life easier and cut down on our dependence on over-the-counter medications for minor problems. But there are certain remedies that have been peddled to the masses as ‘solutions’ for common problems, but they either have no effects or cause harm to the ones who try them out!
Home Remedies You Shouldn’t Be Trying
Stay clear of these 7 home remedies that don’t really work or can do you more harm than good.
1. Treating Acne With Toothpaste
A common home remedy for pimples is to dab a bit of toothpaste on them to make them disappear. While toothpaste helps dry out acne, which is why this home remedy is recommended, it also dries out the skin. Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium fluoride, which are found in toothpaste, irritate the skin and strip it of its natural lipids. It may even lead to dark pigmentation of the skin. Simply put, toothpaste was designed for your pearly-whites – and should be used just for that!
What to do instead: Moisturise with aloe vera gel or apply diluted apple cider vinegar onto the affected area for desired results.
2. Exfoliating Skin With Homemade Nut Scrubs
Exfoliating your skin is an important step required for removing dead skin cells and making your face glow. Nut scrubs are a common natural exfoliator used to achieve that fresh glow. However, using crushed nuts (even when mixed with honey or oil) can pose certain side effects – the small sharp edges, when rubbed onto your skin, can result in wear and tear…literally. You don’t want the healthy pink glow you wish for to be highlighted with mini red bruises, do you?
What to do instead: Try a ground coffee and sugar scrub, or a scrub made of oatmeal and milk. Ensure that when you apply the mixture on your skin, you do not rub it too vigorously, as over-exfoliation (even with a gentler scrub) can cause damage to the skin.
3. Butter or Toothpaste for Burns
Not only does butter NOT help with treating burns, but it could also make it much worse by retaining heat. The butter could also harbour bacteria. As for toothpaste, it’s not sterile and could lead to infections. The chemicals in toothpaste can irritate the skin as well. These remedies do not have much evidence to back the claim of them treating burns, so you’d do best to avoid them!
What to do instead: Run cool water (not cold water or ice) over the affected area for at least 20 minutes. You can also use a cold compress or rub aloe vera gel over the burn for relief.
4. Petroleum Jelly for Vaginal Dryness
Having intercourse without enough lubricant can be quite uncomfortable. Petroleum jelly is a common alternative to lube used by women who experience vaginal dryness. However, its usage may increase the risk of infections ‘down there’ because petroleum jelly sticks around for longer than traditional lube. Do you really want to use something that could take a couple of days to get completely washed out of your body? We didn’t think so!
What to do instead: Personal lubricants, either water- or silicone based, that are available in local pharmacies, are better suited for the delicate environment of your personal areas.
5. Orange Juice for a Cold
Busting one of the most popular myths that orange juice is the healing elixir to gulp down when you’re down with a cold, here’s what you need to know. Vitamin C hasn’t really been proven to treat colds, not unless the people trying the remedy were in really good physical condition. If not, then it hardly does much to get rid of a bad case of sniffles!
What to do instead: Chicken soup or hot herbal tea is what you need to drink up if you’ve caught a bad cold. Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and of course, stay warm as much as possible!
6. ‘Walking Off’ an Ankle Injury
If you’ve hurt your ankle but the injury doesn’t seem very severe, the advice often imparted is to ‘shake it off and just walk’. Wrong remedy! If your ankle hurts, it needs rest, and loads of it! Putting pressure on the sprain or injury is just going to make things worse for your ankle.
What to do instead: The first order of action should be to follow the ‘RICE’ method, to ease the pain of the injury, and bring down the swelling.
- Rest the injured area.
- Ice should be administered to the affected area.
- Compression. Wrap the area firmly with a bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevate the injured ankle by propping it up on a couple of pillows while you sit down.
7. Applying Lemon Juice to Dark Spots on the Skin
Natural has been the buzzword for quite some time now, but all that’s natural may not be beneficial (for several purposes) – in fact, they may be downright harmful! Applying lemon juice or rubbing a slice of lemon directly onto the skin has recently been touted as a great home remedy for skin lightening. Well, NOT for people who face the sun a lot! Even when you first apply the juice onto your skin you’re sure to feel a slight stinging or burning sensation, thanks to the lemon’s acidic pH. Now imagine how that’s going to feel or react once you step out in the scorching heat! The citric component makes the skin prone to inflammation or blisters, and your lightening remedy may just provide you with the exact opposite of the results you’d desired!
What to do instead: Stick to the age-old remedy of rubbing a slice of a potato or a tomato on the skin. They’re known for their skin lightening properties AND pose no side effects!
Now that you know what you need to avoid the next time you’re facing any of these problems, try the safer and effective alternatives to these ‘home remedies’!