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</P> Water hydrates our insides, and proper hydration equals beautiful skin. Water helps the kidneys eliminate toxins from the body quickly. It also keeps skin from drying out, thus preventing wrinkles.

The Beauty of Water

Water hydrates our insides, and proper hydration equals beautiful skin. Water helps the kidneys eliminate toxins from the body quickly. It also keeps skin from drying out, thus preventing wrinkles. Another way water can help skin is through steam. Try a rejuvenating facial steam and see how soft and smooth your skin feels afterward: put three handfuls of chamomile into three litres of water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from stove, pour into a large, shallow bowl, and let the steam rise onto your face for about 10 to 15 minutes. Put a towel over your head and the bowl for more efficient steaming.

Going to the Spa? Watch Where You Sit!

Many spas and salons in Canada and the United States do not have regulatory bodies to oversee sanitation and hygiene practices, according to a recent investigation by CTV news. Some clients of a California salon recently came down with a fungal infection after taking footbaths and getting pedicures. Out of about 1,000 spas in the country, the Canadian Spa Association currently has just 123 members who follow voluntary guidelines for hygiene. With hair cutting, massage, exfoliation, manicures and pedicures taking place daily, spas have the potential to be breeding grounds for infection. But don't let that scare you off a pleasant experience. Most spas are quite concerned about proper hygiene. The key is to ask the right questions before getting treatments. Manicure and pedicure equipment, for instance, should be sterilized between customers. And although water in footbath tubs is changed between customers, the tubs themselves should also be sterilized.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern over a new disease coined "hot tub lung." When used indoors with jets on, hot tubs can give off a fine mist containing Mycobacterium avium. The bacteria cause flu-like respiratory symptoms and fever. To avoid the condition, clean the filter of your hot tub regularly, and if indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated. To be absolutely sure, leave the jets off.

Sources: CTV news net; Spatrade 04/22/2003

Easy-to-Grow Aloe

The aloe plant is a succulent belonging to the lily family, commonly found in the wild in various parts of Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia. The bitter, watery gel inside its leaves has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal and beauty product. There are many forms of commercially-available aloe preparations, including juice, capsules and ointments. However, as a beauty aid, it is quite simple (and rewarding) to grow an aloe plant in your own home. In fact, the fresher the gel is, the more effective it is for a variety of purposes-to heal wounds, help scars disappear, soothe sunburns, or for general skin care. To extract the plant's gel, simply break off one of the lower leaves and slice it down the middle. Gently remove the gel with a popsicle stick, or apply the leaf directly to the affected area of skin. Fresh leaves can be kept in the fridge for a few days. Wrap them in damp kitchen paper, then put them in a sealed container to avoid drying out.

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