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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.

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…

Is HIIPA The New HIIT That We Can All Embrace?


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.

The Forgotten Beauty Benefits Of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

If you are prone to burning you’re likely to be well acquainted with aloe vera. The plant is renowned for its skin soothing and cooling benefits, which makes it a holiday skincare essential. The clear liquid is also celebrated for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

The ancient Egyptians called it the ‘plant of immortality’. While we’re not promising its benefits stretch that far, we would argue that aloe vera is often overlooked when it comes to skincare.

What is aloe vera?

Aloe vera is part of the cactus plant and is found in warm, dry climates, including Africa and India. While the fresh green colour is eye catching, it’s the clear gel found in the leaves that holds all the power.

What are the skincare benefits?

Studies have shown that aloe vera has impressive healing benefits – cue Jason’s Aloe Vera 84% Soothing Cream – as well as skin moisturising abilities. What gives aloe vera an edge over other moisturising agents is that it doesn’t leave a greasy film, so it’s perfect for those who have oilier skin – Laboratoire du Haut-Segala’s lightweight, but nourishing Day Cream is testimony to that.  

Unsurprisingly it’s healing powers can be of use to those who suffer with regular breakouts. Aloe vera contains a hormone called gibberelllins, which helps to boost skin cell turnover and turbocharge your skin’s healing process.

Aloe vera also contains a powerful cocktail of antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, which help to protect your complexion from environmental aggressors.

What else can you use aloe vera for?

Well, it also has many health benefits if you take aloe vera supplements. Not only is it thought to lower cholesterol, but the ingredient also soothes stomach irritation. Health Aid’s Aloe Vera 5000mg supplements could help those who regularly suffer with sluggish digestive system, constipation and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). If you prefer liquid supplements, it’s worth exploring Aloe Vera Juice High Potency by Forever Young. The juice is sometimes prescribed for those who battle with arthritis and joint pain.   

Why Castor Oil Is Making A Comeback

Castor Oil

If you were force fed spoonfuls of castor oil as a child you’re probably not thrilled that the pale yellow liquid is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. This time though it’s less about its bowel-inducing powers and more about what it can do for your skin.

Over the past couple of months the ingredient has been gaining ground among beauty editors and brands have been highlighting its presence in skincare and hair care products. The benefits of the latter are yet to be scientifically proved, but it’s safe to say that castor oil is definitely making its way back into our bathroom cabinets.

So, what is castor oil?

Derived from castor beans, this vegetable oil is rich in fatty acids, in particular ricinoleic acid which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and skin moisturising benefits, as well as relieving constipation. It’s sometimes referred to as ricinus communis on ingredient lists.

What do you use it for?

The possibilities are (almost) endless. Castor oil as been used in the medical world as a strong laxative, but it is also championed as a holistic therapy to help hydrate and soothe skin. It’s also regularly combined with other vegetable oils in solid and liquid soaps.

If you battle with acne and breakouts, castor oil could be worth exploring as a tonic due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also helps to remove any dead skin to prevent blocked pores. Just apply a tiny amount of the oil – try Organic Castor Oil by Pukka Herbs – to the area before you go to bed and rinse in the morning.

Edgar Cayce was one of the first to highlight the holistic and healing benefits of castor oil in the 1930s. The Edgar Cayce Association continues to promote the use of castor oil packs to soothe skin ailments, ease abdominal pain, help alleviate allergies and help with general aches and pains.

How do you make a castor oil pack?

If you’re intrigued by the powers of castor oil packs and want to put them to the test you’ll need castor oil, a flannel, a hot water bottle and a bin bag. You lay the flannel on the bin bag, which covers the hot water bottle and drench the fabric with castor oil.

Place the pack on the chosen area and relax – Edgar Cayce recommends using the pack for between one to 1.5 hours. It’s also worth laying a plastic sheet over your bed or sofa as the oil does drip.

What about the hair growth rumours?

While its hair growth abilities have yet to be proven, castor oils hydrating skills can be of use for your hair and can boost its shine. Use it as a conditioning treatment on wet hair and massage into the mid-lengths and ends before rinsing.  

If you’re looking for something to help improve your scalp health and boost hair growth, we recommend exploring more researched ingredients, such as silica and biotin. Both Bamboo Extract and Superior Hair could help improve the quality and strength of your hair.