What’s in the BATHROOM CABINET
Need to sort a health or beauty niggle fast? Discover these surprising uses for familiar products, says Larraine Sathicq
What you didn’t know: It can shrink eye bags and soothe cold sores.
Some people swear by haemorrhoid cream to hide the effects of sleepless nights. This is because the vasoconstrictors that shrink haemorrhoids can tighten up puffy skin under your eyes. Haemorrhoid creams containing adrenalin and a local anaesthetic can also be applied to a cold sore to help stop bleeding.
Some creams contain corticosteroids, which can cause unwanted side effects. Long-term use is not recommmended.
LIQUID ANTISEPTIC What you didn’t know: Antiseptic can prevent sandfly and mosquito bites.
Liquid antiseptic mixed in equal parts with generic baby oil is an effective alternative to insect repellent. The liquid antiseptic contains chloroxylenol, isopropyl alcohol and pine oil, which produces an odour that’s unappealing to bugs.
This mixture can be stored in a spray bottle, but label it clearly and keep it out of reach of children.
TEA TREE OIL
What you didn’t know: It can cure foot fungus, and kill head lice.
Tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal. For tinea, GP Dr Vicki Kotsirilos recommends soaking your feet nightly in water with a few drops of tea tree oil. For head lice, add a few drops to conditioner and comb out lice with a finetoothed comb for 20 minutes before rinsing off.
MEDICATED CHEST RUB
What you didn’t know: It can soothe sore muscles and reduce fever.
Usually used to improve breathing problems associated with colds and flu, chest rub massaged into sore muscles can also relieve pain and improve healing. “Rubbed into the soles of the feet, chest ointment can help reduce fever,” says Dr Kotsirilos. “There’s no scientific explanation but some people claim it relieves coughing too. That may be down to thymol, which has been shown to help with bronchitis.”
Chest rub shouldn’t be used internally, so avoid putting it up your nose, near your eyes, in your mouth or anywhere near broken skin.