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.   

How To Soothe And Prevent Insect Bites

Insect Bites

We thought it was coming to an end, but the heatwave is set to last through until August. Water companies have put a proposed hosepipe ban in place for next month and the sales of fans has gone through the roof. While most of us have been enjoying the warmer climate, it has come with some downsides. This week, the NHS revealed that they have received twice the amount of 111 calls regarding insect bites compared to this time last year. Why? The warm, sticky weather is the perfect breeding ground for horse flies, midges, ants, you name it.

“Horseflies like hot weather in general, so they may become more active around breeding sites and farms in hot weather,” Dr Daniel Whitmore of the Natural History Museum’s insect division told the BBC. “Obviously, by wearing fewer clothes in hot weather we expose ourselves to bites more and become more attractive to the flies.”

Usually you feel a bite before you see it. Give an itchy patch 15 to 20 minutes and a hard, red lump tends to develop. Most bites tend to be nothing more than incredibly itchy, unsightly and irritating, but experts have warned that horsefly bites can become infected if not looked after properly.

If you want to prevent insect bites altogether, plan ahead and buy some vitamin B1 supplements. Studies have shown that this particular vitamin acts as a natural repellent by encouraging your skin to produce an odour that puts insects off. Don’t worry though, this smell isn’t detectable by humans. It’s also a non-toxic option to deet sprays. Shabir recommends taking one Vitamin B1 500mg, £21.99 by Solgar Vitamins, every day two weeks before your holiday and while you’re away.

For those who haven’t been as organised and are fed up of being bitten by the pesky insects, look to Mrs White’s Unstung Hero Mosquito Repellent, £20. It’s a non-toxic spray that offers instant protection from midges. To soothe and de-itch existing bites, invest in Thyme Out, £18. This insanely talented tonic helps to soothe insect bites and stings, as well as ease prickly heat and sunburn. It’s a summer essential and belongs in every bathroom cabinet. Plus, it also comes with a complimentary travel spray, so you can put it in your handbag or hand luggage.

Unsurprisingly, the heatwave has also seen a rise in cases of sunburn across the UK. To help ease your sunburn and other issues that arise in the hot weather, read Shabir’s guide to The Most Common Holiday Concerns Solved.

How To Recognise Lyme Disease


Q: I am 51 and used to be very active in my job as a country ranger. Recently, however, I feel very tired, my lower body aches, and my legs feel weak. Someone suggested this could be lyme disease. Could you explain what this is, and the treatment?

A: Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through tick bites. The pinhead-sized ticks are common in the northern hemisphere, in gardens, woods, moors and parks, both country and town. They also settle on animals, such as deer, horses, dogs, sheep and cows. In the UK, they are mostly active from April to October. However, not all ticks carry lyme disease, and infection rates in tick populations vary by species and geographic areas.

Lyme disease causes a wide range of symptoms, according to the campaigning support group Lyme Disease Action. Early signs, within two to 30 days of a bite, may include a circular red ‘bull’s-eye’ rash at the site, facial palsy and flu-like symptoms (such as fatigue, fever, headaches anda stiff neck). Other symptoms, usually of more advanced, untreated disease, include muscle and joint pain, and disturbances of coordination, hearing, sight, digestive system and sleep. The illness may lead to heart problems or disturb the central nervous system. Read More…