Health News

What does vitamin C do for the immune system?
What does vitamin C do for the immune system?

When you think about supporting your immune system, you probably think about vitamin C. But how are they actually connected? As the seasons change, many people may begin stocking up on orange juice or vitamin C supplements. In fact, vitamin C is one of the most commonly taken supplements in the world – but what does it really do for the immune system? And is it possible to take too much vitamin C? 


What does vitamin C do for the immune system?

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans, but the body cannot make vitamin C on its own. You need to consume vitamin C through external sources, such as through your diet or supplements. Like the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C is water-soluble. Because our bodies do not store water-solubles well, vitamin C needs to be replenished every day. 

Vitamin C helps support the immune system by supporting various functions. It is a potent antioxidant and helps fight oxidative stress which is important for a healthy immune response. It also supports the functioning of white blood cells, which are major components of the immune system. 


Which foods are high in vitamin C?

Ensuring your diet has an adequate amount of vitamin C is the first way you can help support your immune system. Some fruits that are high in vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, as well as less common fruits like pineapple, kiwi, and watermelon. Many vegetables are also rich sources of vitamin C, including broccoli, spinach, green and red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. 


What is the difference between Ester-C® and vitamin C?

If you’ve ever stood in front of a vitamin C display at the pharmacy, you may be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless array of options. What is actually the difference between Ester-C® and regular vitamin C? In short, vitamin C is acidic and may cause stomach irritation for some people. Ester-C® was created as a response to this problem; it is a non-acidic, well-absorbed version of vitamin C that is gentler on the stomach. During the production of Ester-C®, vitamin C metabolites are also created that help to enhance the retention of vitamin C in your body.* Studies show that Ester-C® increases vitamin C levels in white blood cells for up to 24 hours or up to two times longer than regular vitamin C.


What happens when you have too much vitamin C?

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, vitamin C has very low toxicity and is not believed to cause serious adverse effects if you have taken too much. The most common complaints after high intakes of vitamin C are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal effects related to the unabsorbed vitamin C in the intestine. 

What to eat and drink when you are tired?
What to eat and drink when you are tired?

Quite often, feelings of fatigue can be overcome through changes to diet and physical activity. Many people rely on caffeine and other quick fixes to get an energy boost. Although coffee and sugary foods may give you a brief burst of energy, this is often followed by an energy slump. This can lead to poor dietary choices and the cycle persists.

Here are some of our nutrition tips to fight fatigue:

  • Blood Sugar Balance

Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced results in sustained energy during the day. Choose slow releasing, complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains. Complex carbs are the body’s primary energy source – providing fuel for both brain and muscles. Put it this way, you would not drive your car without fuel, so do not try run your body on empty either. Very low carbohydrate diets often leave you feeling weak and tired as you are not getting enough glucose from carbohydrates in the diet.

Choose wisely and watch portion sizes but do not totally eliminate this food group. Wholegrains such as oats also contain a number of B-vitamins, aka the ‘energy vitamins’, which are essential for turning the food you eat into useable energy.

  • Check your iron levels

Fatigue can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying vitamin or mineral deficiency. The most common of which is low iron – or anaemia. Iron deficiency is especially common in women, especially those of childbearing age. If you are feeling constantly tired, look pale and keep getting ill, it might be worth having a blood test to check on your iron status. You can certainly improve iron levels through diet.

Choose sources of haem iron, which are absorbed more easily in animal foods such as shellfish, red meat, poultry and fish. Non-haem iron is the type found in plant foods such as spinach, kale, beans, lentils, nuts and eggs. Increase absorption by consuming vitamin C alongside iron rich foods.

  • Protein

By adding protein to each meal and snack, you will slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, ensuring energy levels remain stable. As well as the typical animal sources, do not forget about vegetarian sources of proteins such as nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. The latter are a great source of iron, a lack of which can result in weakness, fatigue and apathy. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot absorb iron from vegetarian sources as well as they can from animal sources. Therefore, to increase absorption, ensure you eat your beans and lentils with foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C.

  • Dark, leafy greens

Popeye got it right; spinach contains large amounts of magnesium, which is essential for energy, strength and stamina. It also relaxes muscles and can aid sleep. In short: if we do not get enough of the stuff, we feel tired and weak. Magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common, so make sure you add spinach and other leafy green vegetables to smoothies, salads, soups and stews.

  • Vitamin C

Adequate amounts of vitamin C are crucial for a healthy adrenal system, which helps prevent feelings of fatigue from both physical and emotional stress. Remember, cooking significantly reduces the vitamin C content of food, so ensure you get some raw fruits and veggies in your diet daily.

  • Water

Even being mildly dehydrated can leave you feeling weary and fatigued. As well as drinking enough water throughout the day – at least 1.5 litres, you can also top up your levels through foods such as watermelon, cucumbers and citrus fruits

What are blackheads and how to remove them?
What are blackheads and how to remove them?

When it comes to acne, blackheads are one of the milder forms. Unlike other kinds of acne, blackheads are not red or inflamed, but they certainly are persistent. They can turn an otherwise good-skin day into a mediocre one. So, in the quest for good-skin days every day, here is everything you need to know about how to improve blackheads and how to decrease the appearance of your pores.

Blackheads are a type of non-inflamed clogged pore and are also known as open comedones. Once exposed to the air, the top of the clogged pore oxidizes and turns black (hence the term “blackhead”). Whiteheads are also a kind of comedone; however, they are called “closed comedones” because they are covered by a layer of skin cells that prevents them from oxidizing. Learning how to improve blackheads can be a game-changer, because if you do not send them packing, they stick around for the long haul. Some blackheads stay for weeks and some for months if they are not extracted. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are often taken care of by the body—they usually clear up within one to two weeks.


What causes blackheads?

Now we know that blackheads occur over time as sebum (an oily substance), makeup and other environmental debris build up within pores. But why? There are a few factors that influence the formation of blackheads, among them:

  • Hormones: Blackheads most commonly crop up during puberty because hormone levels trigger a spike in sebum production. However, they can appear at any age. Shifts in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and stopping the birth control pill can also trigger blackhead formation.
  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke can cause resistant blackhead formation, especially in women.
  • Occlusion: Use of occlusive (prevent or retard water loss) skincare and hair care products can trigger blackhead formation. Plus, things that physically come into contact with skin such as a headband, hat, phone or even your hands, can block the oil glands, congesting the skin and triggering blackhead formation.

Blackheads love to hang out on noses and chins, but that does not mean they do not wander. Beyond the face, you can also find them on the back, neck, chest, arms and shoulders. The reason? These areas have lots of hair follicles.


How do you improve blackheads?

Once you spot a blackhead, what is the best way to actually remove it? Slowly and gently. Try using exfoliants or exfoliating masks as part of your skincare routine; it is the easiest way to gradually release the debris from a congested pore. Follow up with a daily salicylic acid treatment. Salicylic acid is an ideal ingredient in oily skin—it penetrates the oil gland effectively and triggers exfoliation. Not all blackheads are alike; some may be larger and deeper than others. Resist the urge to squeeze any blackhead as it can injure the skin—and potentially trigger discoloration or scarring. Plus, you run the risk of introducing bacteria into pores. It is also best to skip the blackhead-removal tools; if misused, they can cause hyperpigmentation and increase inflammation. The best course of action to treat and prevent blackheads on the nose, chin, cheeks and anywhere else on the face is to adopt an effective skincare regimen. By simply adding one (or two or three) of these formulations into your regular routine, you will say hello to a clearer complexion in no time.

  • The best cleanser for blackheads - Look for a mild cleanser that will not strip your skin of moisture, which actually can trigger the overproduction of sebum and contribute to the formation of new comedones.
  • The best toner for blackheads - Adding a powerful punch of skin-boosting ingredients via a toner will help remove the last traces of pore-clogging dirt and debris that cleansers might leave behind. 
  • The best blackhead treatment - Consider adding a targeted acne treatment to your routine, one that has a combo of glycolic acid and salicylic acid, like Vichy Normaderm Corrective Anti Acne Treatment. Glycolic acid is an AHA that penetrates deep into the skin, scooping out and neutralizing pore-clogging impurities. Salicylic acid is a larger molecular size, so it stays on the surface of the skin longer and works as a chemical exfoliant—an excellent pore cleanser.
  • The best blackhead-removal mask - If you are looking to turn up the intensity on your skin pampering—and blackhead banishing—try a charcoal mask. Its end goal is to gently draw out the oil and dead skin that create those pesky blackheads, while increasing hydration.
Importance of cleaning between your teeth
Importance of cleaning between your teeth

Your regular toothbrush only cleans the inside, outside and biting surfaces of the tooth. Do not forget to clean the surfaces between the teeth, where bacteria can multiply if left undisturbed. How to keep your month healthy? Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on and between your teeth. It must be removed regularly, or it can cause gum inflammation, cavities, and bad breath. The area in between the teeth is difficult to reach with a toothbrush and an interdental product is recommended to use in these areas. It is recommended to start cleaning between your teeth in your early adulthood every day to keep your mouth fresh and healthy.

When you start cleaning between your teeth, your gums can feel sore and bleed but do not stop since bleeding gums are often a sign of gum inflammation. If you do not notice an improvement within a few days, contact your dental professional.


How to clean between the teeth?

There are different interdental cleaning devices such as floss, dental picks or interdental brushes. An interdental brush is the most efficient tool to keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum inflammation and cavities. What product you need is dependent on your individual needs and preferences. Ask you dental professional for advice. 


How to care daily for your teeth?

Keeping gums and teeth healthy is fundamental to prevent gum inflammation and cavities. Dental plaque constantly forms on all surfaces of the teeth. Adults are advised to complement their daily toothbrushing routine with interdental cleaning.

Step 1: Toothbrushing

Softer, high-quality filaments ensure gentle cleaning, and a tapered brush head makes it easier to reach the back teeth.

Step 2: Cleaning between teeth

The choice of interdental cleaning devices depends on individual needs and preferences. There are several ways of cleaning between your teeth, depending on the size of your gaps and what you prefer yourself. In large gaps the most effective method is to use an interdental brush. 


Interdental cleaning for children

Cleaning between the teeth is usually not recommended until all the permanent teeth have emerged completely. If your dentist or hygienist has advised you to start cleaning between the teeth earlier than that, you should, of course, follow this recommendation.

Secrets of maintaining a healthy scalp
Secrets of maintaining a healthy scalp

The importance of the microbiome to the health of your scalp If you are looking for the secret to great hair, you need to start with the scalp. Like the skin on our face, the scalp is made up of oil and sweat glands and an invisible ecosystem of microorganisms: the microbiome. If this becomes unbalanced, it can become irritated and more prone to oiliness, sensitivity and dandruff. This is why it is important to ensure you are paying just as much attention to your scalp as you are your hair – especially when it comes to addressing a range of everyday concerns such as greasiness and dandruff. So what’s the best way of caring for your scalp and how can you tell if you have a problem?

  • Oily hair

If you find that your hair becomes greasy quickly, you may have an unbalanced microbiome that is creating excess levels of sebum. You can help to combat this excess sebum with an oil control shampoo. It will help rebalance your scalp. Once it is cleansed and clean, you should start to notice a big difference in how healthy your hair looks and bounciness and shine will be restored.

  • Dandruff causes and treatment

Dandruff is caused by an increase in bad bacteria and can be a tell-tell sign that your scalp microbiome has become unbalanced. The most effective way of addressing this scalp concern is with a targeted shampoo to purify and soothe the scalp reducing flakes after just one wash. Detoxing the hair from product, sweat and sebum can also help to reduce dandruff.

  • Dry and damaged hair

If your hair is feeling dry and damaged, you may not immediately think of the scalp as the cause. But, like the skin on our face, the scalp can be affected by aggressors in the environment which over time can weaken its barrier function and affect the overall health and vitality of the hair.

  • Hair loss and thinning

There are many reasons for hair thinning and loss such as the menopause, pregnancy, stress and hormone imbalances. But no matter the cause of the problem, you can help to improve it by addressing any visible signs of imbalances within your scalp’s microbiome. 

Boost your skincare routine with a face mask
Boost your skincare routine with a face mask

Using a face mask was once considered an occasional indulgence in skincare routines, but today the skincare ritual has evolved. With innovations in textures and ingredients, these target treatments have become an essential part of our weekly (sometimes every other day) skincare routines. We are making your next trip to the beauty aisle a whole lot smoother by breaking down the most popular types of masks and explaining which formulas work best for your skin type.


How do face masks help your skin?

Face masks are like a therapy session for your skin. Whether it is a hydrating face mask or a peeling and glowing face mask, think of them as a booster for your go-to skincare routine. There is no simple answer to “What do face masks do?” but, in a nutshell, they can be an effective way to deliver a powerful rush of skincare ingredients in a concentrated form. Unlike a face serum or day cream, which do not give visible results right away, the best face masks can deliver instant gratification.

Face masks offer a variety of benefits for many skin issues, like removing excess oils, nourishing and hydrating dry skin and shrinking the appearance of pores. However, it is important to note that the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) does a great job of protecting us from the environment, so be realistic about the results from a single treatment. Get the most from your mask by being strategic about what kind you are putting on your skin. Read the label, and make sure the mask has active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and charcoal to ensure that you will see meaningful results.

Do it yourself (DIY) skincare is becoming increasingly popular, but using a homemade mask has its risks. If you are wondering how to make a face mask at home, there are certain ingredients to avoid because some can cause more harm to your skin than good. Do not use lemons (because when it is exposed to the sun, lemon juice on skin can cause sunburn and hyperpigmentation), raw eggs (because it can cause a bacterial infection) and spices (because they can be irritating and stain skin).


Do face masks work for all skin types?

Whether you want to brighten dull skin, treat acne, soothe redness or reduce the appearance of pores, there is a face mask for every skin concern and skin type. Navigating the sea of mask options can be dizzying; a helpful way to cut through the clutter is to stick with a formula that works well with your skin type and has skincare ingredients that will give you the benefits you are after.

Best of all, there is no need to spend a fortune at a spa or a department store to find an effective treatment. Many drugstore masks have an impressive list of ingredients that are acne-targeted, hydrating, brightening, glow-boosting and more. These are the best face masks for every skin type.

  • Best face mask for acne

If you struggle with acne and are prone to breakouts, you are probably already treating blemishes with a spot treatment. Go the extra step and add a charcoal face mask to treat your whole face at once and help prevent future breakouts. Vichy Pureté Thermale Charcoal Mask targets redness and skin inflammation thanks to a blend of kaolin clay and charcoal, which also removes dirt, oil and debris from pores.

  • Best face mask for dry skin

Dry skin can benefit from a moisturizing face mask more than any other skin type because of instant hydrating gratification. Consider adding an aloe vera mask to your weekly routine. The plant-based ingredient is packed with vitamins, and its high-water content gives skin an instant glow. Another great option is a face mask with hyaluronic acid.

  • Best face mask for mature skin

If fine lines and wrinkles are stressing you out, a smoothing formula is just the trick. The best kind of face mask for aging skin is one that is filled with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.

  • Best face mask for dull and dehydrated skin

If your skin is looking dull and flaky, consider adding a moisturizing night face mask to your routine. Overnight masks bring a whole new meaning to the words “beauty sleep.” Think of these nocturnal masks as a souped-up night cream designed to help ingredients penetrate more deeply as you sleep.

  • Best face mask for oily skin

Are clay masks good for skin? Yes! They are gentle enough for most skin types, but they’re especially effective at balancing out oily and combination skin. A good clay face mask draws impurities to the skin’s surface, where the clay soaks up excess sebum, which contributes to blocked pores. If you are looking for a mask for oily and acne-prone skin, Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask combines a clay mask with a deep cleanser and an exfoliator.


How to use a face mask?

Wondering how often you should use a face mask? You can apply one to your cleansed, dried face once or twice a week. Start by pulling your hair back in a ponytail or with a headband and then apply the mask with your fingertips after cleansing your face; be sure to avoid getting the product on your hairline or on the eye contour area and in your mouth, and do not forget to pull the mask down to your neck.

Every face mask is different, so consult the label to determine exactly how long you should leave it on, especially if it is an exfoliating mask. For most formulas, however, the recommended time is 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it using lukewarm water and follow up with your serum and face moisturizer.

In terms of applying in the morning versus the evening, that is really up to you. Some masks make a great prep for makeup, while others have active ingredients, like retinol, that are better used in the evening.

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