How To Find The Right Liquid Exfoliator For Your Skin

Garden of Wisdom

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two years, you will have noticed a sharp increase in the amount of acid-based skincare products hitting the shelves. While scrubs might have been the tried and tested method of sloughing away dead skin a few years back, now it is all about the liquid exfoliator. So much so, Pinterest has seen a 58% increase in searches for liquid exfoliators.

Yet, there is still a stigma attached to using skin acids, especially in high doses. Your skin has a carefully balanced pH level, which keeps the barrier healthy and strong, locking in water and nutrients. Overusing abrasive acids can disturb this balance and excessive use over time can damage the barrier. What happens then? Well, you’re more likely to have a skin flare-up of acne, eczema or rosacea, and it could also cause premature ageing.

That said, using acids as part of your skincare routine has a lot of benefits. From unclogging your pores and smoothing out your skin’s texture to reducing the appearance of pigmentation and boosting your collagen production. It just requires some research to find the right liquid exfoliator for your skin…

For stubborn blackheads: Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and it is oil soluble, which means it can help loosen any built up of dirt and oil in your pores. It is by far one of the best ways to reduce your blackheads at home. You can use a salicylic acid serum all over or just on the problem areas. 

For plumper, smoother skin: Glycolic Acid

Together with lactic acid, glycolic is one of the most well known alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Not only does it help to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface and smooth out uneven textures, but it also works on a deeper level to have recharge your natural collagen production. The result? Smoother, brighter, firmer skin following regular use.

For sensitive skin: PHA Acid

If you have super sensitive skin or are wary of acids in general, polyhydroxy acids are the perfect place to start. Similar to AHAs in terms of what they do, PHAs are much gentler. You might not have heard too much about them up until recently because they were under patented technology. Now that patent has lifted, it’s likely you will see them popping up everywhere as the benefits easily outweigh any potential drawbacks with this acid. Read Shabir’s paper on polyhydroxy acids to learn more about their skin benefits. 

For acne-scarring: Azelaic Acid

For some people tackling the breakout is only the first step as they are then left with visible scarring. While azelaic acid won’t make the scars disappear overnight, with regular use it can help ease their appearance. Azelaic acid helps to increase your cell turnover and gets rid of dead skin cells to make space for the new ones, which helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and acne scarring. Depending on your skin type you can use an azelaic acid serum twice a day, but you will need to wear SPF during the day.

For those who can’t live without a scrub…

For some, there is nothing quite like physically scrubbing away dirt, grime and dead skin, but it is important to find the right one. Poorly formulated face scrubs or aggressive overuse can cause tiny micro-tears in your skin. It’s worth taking the time to find a scrub that uses smooth, rounded beads, which reduce the chances of micro-tears and offer a gentler exfoliation. Try Derma E’s range of scrubs or Nannette de Gaspe’s Essence Noir Polish.   

How To Ease Your Sleep Problem

Sleep Problems

It’s rare for a week to go by without sleep, or our lack of, hitting the headlines. In 2019 so far, fresh research has already revealed that getting the right amount of sleep can reduce the intensity that we feel pain the following day and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. But, studies have also suggested that not getting enough could leave you more open to infections and more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Experts recommend anywhere between six to eight hours of sleep a night. We don’t need to tell you that most of us aren’t hitting these figures on a regular basis. Stress levels and excessive screen time are usually pinpointed as the main sleep-stealing culprits, but with few of us having the luxury of radically changing our lifestyles right now, how can we improve our sleeping habits?

With national Sleep day taking place on Friday 15th March, here are the natural remedies to help promote a healthy sleeping pattern…

Calm a whirling mind

It’s well-documented that when we’re stressed out we tend to struggle to switch off and fall asleep easily. Neubria’s Drift for Rest contains the Bliss Botanical Complex, a blend of natural herbs to help you relax mentally and physically. While the instructions recommend you take two capsules an hour before you go to bed, we recommend you try to take them at the same time every night to ease your body into a regular sleeping pattern.

Incorporating magnesium-rich formulas, such as bathing in Better You’s Magnesium Oil Original Flakes or spritzing the brand’s Magnesium Oil Original Spray onto the soles of your feet in the evening will also help your body relax.

Prevent the 3am wake-up call

For some, it’s not the getting to sleep that’s tricky, but the staying asleep. If you can drift off easily enough but wake up at 3am religiously, you might find taking Sleep Tight by World Organic helps to keep you asleep for longer. While tart cherries boost your body’s levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and hops promote a sedative state, this supplement also contains natural relaxers including magnesium and theanine. Those who regularly travel long-haul and battle with jet lag might also find this helpful when you’re trying to get back into a normal sleeping pattern.

Why do you wake at 3am? “Whilst the body is in sleep mode, there are many regenerative processes occurring. Waking up at 3am is associated with the stressors during the day using up glycogen which leaves insufficient glycogen for the liver to convert into sugar for these regenerative processes,” explains Shabir. “In the absence of sugar for energy for these regenerative processes, the body produces adrenaline to compensate but unfortunately this keeps us awake.”

Keep De Mamiel’s Anchor by the side of your bed too, as the blend of natural oils and magnesium help to ease you back to sleep. A pea-size amount massaged into your pulse points and three deep breaths should suffice.

New parents SOS

If you’ve got a newborn baby you’ll already be aware of the sleep deprivation that comes with having kids. What you might not know is that research predicts that this broken sleeping pattern could last for six year. Researchers at the University of Warwick found that sleep duration and satisfaction is decreased up to six years after giving birth for both parents.

So, how can you make the most of those precious hours of shut-eye and improve your sleep quality? One word: Benenox. The supplement is uniquely designed to help support sleep by ensuring a constant supply of glycogen to the brain overnight, so you wake up feeling refreshed rather than tired and groggy. All you need to do is take 15ml before you go to bed.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Skin?

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According to new research, the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night. Most of us are well-versed with the implications of not getting sufficient sleep, including daytime fatigue, irritability and a shorter concentration span. Studies have also solidified the link the between a lack of sleep and weight gain. The impact on our skin is rarely talked about.

The quality and duration of sleep can have a profound effect on the health of our skin. When we sleep our bodies recharge but so does our skin. While we sleep our body goes into repair-mode and heals, restores and eliminates toxins from our skin. It gives the term ‘beauty sleep’ a whole new meaning.

How does a lack of sleep affect skin’s appearance?

Dull-looking skin: A lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels, which in turn increases inflammation in your body. Inflammation is one of the biggest underlying skin issues and if it’s constant can lead to pigmentation, increased sensitivity, rosacea and premature ageing.

Cortisol breaks down the proteins that keep your skin smooth and radiant. It is the flight or fight hormone and it sends blood to your muscles rather than to your skin. This deprives your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients, which leaves it looking dull, ashy and blotchy.

Incorporating massage into your skincare routine when you cleanse with your fingers or a tool, such as Beauty Restorer, will help boost your circulation and ease this inflammation.

Dry skin: The increased inflammation due to the cortisol can also break down the tiny lipids, known as ceramides, which hold the skin cells together and create a protective layer to retain nutrients and water. This break down can result in the dehydration, which can lead to dryness.

Your body also works to rehydrate and balance moisture levels whilst you sleep, but this can falter if you’re not getting enough sleep. Replenishing your body’s hyaluronic acid levels with supplements and a serum will help fend off dry skin if you’re unable to get a full night’s sleep regularly.

Puffy eyes and dark circles: As mentioned previously, water balance occurs whilst your sleep so cutting this sleep time could result in puffy eyes and perhaps even a slightly puffed up body (water retention). Dark circles may also be associated with a lack of sleep because the dilation of the blood vessels in the under-eye area can result in deeper tint. In darker complexions this is more pronounced since you already have more pigment.

It sounds simple, but using a cold teabag on the area does work for some because the tannic acids in tea encourages the blood vessels to shrink. However, the real thing it to get a sufficient night’s sleep!

Ageing skin: We have already touched on this, but the increased levels of cortisol leads to inflammation, which in turn breaks down the bonds that form collagen. It is the collagen in your skin that maintains the structure and elasticity, which gives it that supple plumpness. With the loss of collagen skin becomes thinner, less firmer, less smoother and gradually wrinkles become more prominent. 

Hair: There is a direct correlation between stress and the onset of hair loss. Cortisol causes inflammation in the whole body, including the hair follicles where all the process of keratin manufacture occurs. A lack of sleep is the most ruthless form of stress to the body and can result in premature hair loss.

With the help of fulvic acid, which supercharges your cellular energy, the Ful.Vic.Health range can help alleviate this somewhat. But as I have mentioned, targeting the underlying sleep issue is the best preventative approach. For more advice on this, read Signs and Symptons of Sleep Loss.

An Acne-Busting Injection Is On Its Way

Acne Injection

Late last summer scientists revealed that they were one step closer to creating an injection to could help cure acne. Researchers at the University of California unveiled their approach in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology following a small scale study.   Read More…

Shabir And Trinny On Sleep

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Sleep is a huge topic and with new research suggesting that the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night and catching up, it’s safe to say that it’s an issue that we have all struggled with at some point or another. In their latest live video, Trinny and Shabir discussed the most common sleep problems and the natural remedies that could help alleviate them.

Why is sleep so important?

When it comes to sleep we often focus on the problems we have falling asleep or staying asleep, rather than why it’s so important. You might assume it is a time when your mind and body shut down, but it’s actually when your body is processing, repairing and strengthening. While you sleep all the information from the day is processed and some of this information is moved from your short term memory into your long term memory and others are deleted. It’s also when your body manufactures hormones, repairs damaged tissues and produces new cells.

During the first three hours of sleep, your body produces human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone is vital for maintenance of youthful and radiant skin because it is involved in the repair of the damages caused to skin on a daily basis whether from external or internal sources. The middle two hours of sleep is when melatonin levels increase. Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in the circadian rhythm which is the pattern of sleep/wake-up but it also is a powerful antioxidant working to remove any free radicals that arise from the all the reparative processes that are undergoing whilst we are sleeping. During the final two or three hours, levels of cortisol drop, muscles relax giving skin its deepest recovery time.

How can you get back to sleep?

Waking up after three or four hours of sleep is a common problem, especially during menopause. Don’t just lie there trying to force yourself back to sleep, instead try some chamomile tea or caffeine-free green tea as this has l-theanine, which help relax the body and mind. Cherry Night by Viridian is also worth looking into as cherries are rich in melatonin and magnesium, which are particularly good for people who battle with restless sleep. You have to use it on a daily basis to reap the benefits.

Cortisol (stress hormone) levels should also be looked at as it blocks the release of your serotonin, which balances your mood and aids sleep. Sleep Tight by Natures Aid contains Magnolia, which helps to rebalance your cortisol levels, as well as Passionflower and Hops which act as natural sedatives. Eclectic Kids Sleep Support offers a natural remedy for children from the age of 12 months and above.

What about taking melatonin supplements?

Melatonin supplements definitely help you sleep better, however in the UK they need to be prescribed by your doctor. There may be a couple of risks as it is tricky to get the dosage correct and some believe long term use of the synthetic versions could possibly hinder your body’s own production. Instead, you may opt for cherries which provide a natural form of melatonin to hopefully replenish your stores.

Does a lack of sleep cause weight gain?

There is a direct link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. Despite common belief, it’s not because you are awake for longer and eating more. The increase in cortisol that wakes you up also stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin, which is responsible for regulating your sugar levels.

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

A dip in energy at around 3pm in the afternoon can be due to not getting enough sleep or what you ate for lunch. If you had a carb-heavy lunch you might find your energy levels crash after about two and a half hours because your body has burned off the sugar. You might find a power nap (less than 20-minutes) will help you recharge.

How can you ease restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is usually associated with an iron deficiency or low magnesium levels – over 60% of us are thought to have deficient levels of magnesium. Start by upping your magnesium levels, either with an oil spray, such as Pure Magnesium Oil Spray by Life-Flo or bathing in the flakes with Magnesium Oil Original Flakes by Better You. If you don’t see any improvement after a couple of weeks, try incorporating an iron supplement.

What are the benefits of liposomal supplements?

Liposomal technology is the future of vitamin supplements. Moisture, light and oxygen can compromise the quality of tablet and capsule supplements and the nutrients can also be compromised by your stomach acid and digestive enzymes as well as the food in your gut, which affects how much is actually absorbed. Liposomal supplements use a technology that protects these nutrients and delivers them into the gut from where they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Aurora NutraScience has a full range of liposomal supplements, including vitamin C, D3 and curcumin.

How can you reduce bloating?

First and foremost, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Taking apple cider vinegar regularly helps to aid your digestive system as it contains acetic acid. Your body also naturally produces digestive enzymes, which help break down the fibres, carbohydrates, fats and sugars from your meal. However, as we age our production slows, so it is worth supplementing them with Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes.

When should you take your supplements?

If you’re going to take vitamins, you should take them with some form of food because this will signal your brain to produce digestive enzymes to ensure you absorb the maximum amount of these vitamins. Amino acids, on the other hand, are the building blocks for proteins and should always be taken on an empty stomach because they may be neutralised by dairy and other foods.

Watch Shabir and Trinny on cleansing here

Is HIIPA The New HIIT That We Can All Embrace?

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Fitness experts and gyms have been highlighting the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) for years now. Short, intense bursts of exercise have been lauded as the most efficient and effective way to get your fitness levels up and squeeze your workout into your weekly schedule. Why spend an hour on the treadmill if a 30 minute HIIT class gets the job done?

Even scientists have come out in favour of HIIT. Not only have studies shown that it can aid weight loss, but a small study revealed it could be more beneficial than traditional cardio exercise if you suffer with heart disease. One study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology even suggested HIIT could help reduce arthritis aches and pain.

Of course, not everyone has been sold on the idea of intense bursts of exercise. In the past, Paddy Ekkekakis, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University has argued that HIIT can be so unenjoyable for some people, which puts them off exercising entirely. Ekkekakis argues that motivation is a key reason why a lot of people don’t workout regularly.

“The message of ‘squeezing it in’ perpetuates the idea that exercise is a chore. We want to break down the association of exercise as punishment, as something unpleasant, something to tolerate or a bitter pill you have to swallow,” Ekkekakis told Science Daily. “For example, instead of viewing a bike ride as exercise, we want people to think of it as a chance to enjoy the outdoors or to spend time with family.”

Researchers at the University of Sydney have a similar viewpoint and are now promoting high intensity incidental physical activity (HIIPA). The good news is that most of us do some form of HIIPA every day without realising it. Anything from walking up a flight of stairs to carrying your shopping across the supermarket car park constitutes as HIIPA.

“Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health,” says Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney. “We know from several large studies of middle aged and older adults that doing vigorous exercise has great long-term health benefits, but many people find it very difficult to start and stick to an exercise program.”

Doing two or three bursts of HIIPA a day could be enough to keep you relatively healthy. Fitness expert and founder of AMP Athletic, Steve Mellor is equally as supportive of HIIPA. “Exercise is good in any capacity, we don’t need to go to the gym to do it and getting your heart rate up by going quicker on the stairs, on the street or in the park can be advantageous,” says Mellor. “For me this means increasing overall activity wherever you can through the day. For example; running upstairs, walking up-hill or playing with the kids.”

While the benefits of HIIPA have yet to be studied, it’s safe to say that you can expect to hear a lot more of the term. And, there are two very obvious upsides to HIIPA; it’s free and requires zero skill. What you save on your gym membership could be used for some post-workout pampering with the likes of Better You’s Magnesium Oil Original Flakes or Kneipp’s Arnica Joint & Muscle Massage Oil.