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What is eczema?
What is eczema?

Eczema is a dry skin condition that is associated with itchiness and irritation. Eczema symptoms can include very dry skin, rough patches, and scaling. Eczema generally starts in childhood and affects up to 1 in 4 children. No matter your age, eczema requires treatment during flare-ups and a suitable maintenance routine to manage symptoms.

 

What is eczema? 

Eczema is a common, non-contagious skin condition that is characterized by dry, red, scaly, or itchy skin. In more severe cases, the skin can crack, bleed, and/or crust. Eczema can affect people of all ages.

There are many different types of eczema, or dermatitis. These include:

  • Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, refers to the classic scaly patches that usually begin in childhood and can affect the extensor surfaces of the arms and backs of the knees.
  • Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis is a result of a reaction to a known irritant and/or allergen that comes in contact with the skin.
  • Nummular eczema refers to coin-shaped, scaly patches occurring usually on the extremities. It is caused by allergens or very dry skin.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis occurs in common oil-producing (sebaceous) glands like the upper back, nose and scalp.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema are small, itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet.
  • Stasis dermatitis occurs when there is inadequate blood flow in the veins causing swelling, skin redness and itchiness, often occurring in the legs.

 

What causes eczema? 

While what causes eczema is still unknown, it has been linked to both genetic and environmental factors. Those who develop eczema symptoms are thought to have an immune system that is reactive to certain irritants. Eczema patient’s skin is unable to properly retain moisture, which may be caused by a deficiency in naturally occurring moisturizing factors found in normal skin. To understand this, it is important to understand the function of the skin barrier, the protective, outermost layer of our skin. One of its primary functions is to regulate moisture and to keep harmful substances from entering the skin. It helps keep the good things in and the bad things out.

Eczema-prone skin suffers from dysfunctional skin barrier function. This means that it retains less moisture than healthy skin, resulting in dryness. When moisture loss occurs, irritants or other substances penetrate more easily into the skin. They then stimulate the immune system, which overreacts. This triggers clinical signs of eczema to appear: itchiness, inflammation, and redness. There is increasing research that the skin surface bacteria – collectively known as the skin microbiome – may play a role in the pathology of certain skin conditions, including what causes eczema. A disruption in the natural harmony of skin microbiome is often associated with the symptoms of atopic skin. Certain topical skincare products, particularly those containing “prebiotic” ingredients, may help to promote a balanced skin microbiome. 

Certain external factors can also trigger eczema. The most common are:

 

Irritating products:

  • Fragrances, soaps, laundry detergents
  • Home cleaning products
  • Irritating clothing: wool, synthetic fabrics, etc.

Environmental factors:

  • Dust, dust mites and pollens, which are naturally present in the air
  • Tobacco and pollution
  • Changes in temperature
  • Heat and sweat
  • Very dry air

Lifestyle factors:

  • Pets
  • Emotional stress
  • Food allergies
  • Teething
  • Changes in hormone levels


It is important to note that eczema is a highly individual condition. It affects everyone differently; what causes your eczema or triggers might be something completely different then someone else’s eczema.

 

What are the symptoms of eczema? 

The most common eczema symptoms include:

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Dark colored patches
  • Itchy rash - difficult to detect in infants, but sleeping disorders are an indication
  • Rough, scaly and thickened skin
  • Oozing eczema patches
  • Scabs form on the patches

Eczema symptoms can appear on the face, body, or both as a child or adult. Facial eczema is most common type of eczema in babies and children. As children get older, eczema may manifest mainly on the neck and in the skin folds around the elbows, wrist, and behind the knees. The good news is that eczema symptoms subsides in 40-80% of children before they reach the age of 5. However, even if you did not experience eczema as a child, you may still develop it as an adult.

It is highly encouraged to visit a dermatologist as soon as signs of eczema start to appear. You can also visit your pharmacist for information of how to treat early signs of eczema.

Can sleep affect your immune system?
Can sleep affect your immune system?

If you have ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how a lack of sleep can leave you feeling the next day. We all experience a bad night’s sleep every now and again. But if you are regularly not getting enough, it could do more than leave you feeling grumpy and in desperate need of coffee the next morning. Ever notice that you are prone to sniffling and sneezing when you do not get enough sleep? Turns out it is not in your head. Sleep and a healthy immune system go hand in hand and a lack of good-quality shut-eye can affect our health in many ways.

 

What is the immune system?

The immune system is an army of different cells, tissues, and organs that all work together to protect the body against disease and infection. It works by recognising the difference between your own body cells and foreign cells, destroying anything in your body that could be harmful and make you sick.

 

What happens to the body when we sleep?

We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Although you might not be ticking things off your to-do list whilst you are dreaming away, your body is still working. Even after you have clocked off for the day, it works hard to get important jobs done to keep you performing at your best while you are awake. Your brain sorts and processes everything you have learnt and experienced that day to form new memories. The pituitary gland in the brain releases growth hormones, which help the body to grow and repair itself. The immune system releases cytokines which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation and infection. Pretty incredible right? Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to work at its best.

 

Will a lack of sleep affect my health?

The odd bad night's sleep may make you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it will not harm your long-term health. However, regular sleepless nights can. A lack of good quality sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and can even shorten your life expectancy. Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep every night tend to gain more weight and are at a greater risk of obesity compared to those who get at least seven hours of slumber. The immune system is also affected if you skimp on the shut-eye, as less of the useful cytokine proteins are produced if you’re not sleeping well. To add to the list, it is not just your physical health that is impacted by poor sleep. It can also affect your mental health, increasing the risk of developing long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. If you wake up tired and spend the daydreaming about taking a nap, you're probably not getting enough sleep. Sound familiar? The only way to compensate is by getting more sleep. We know sometimes this is way easier said than done, so to hit the hay happy we have lots of slumber secrets and saviours to help you drift off. If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or you’re not feeling rested when you wake up, chat to your GP.

 

Is there anything else I can do to keep my immune system healthy?

When your immune system is on top form, you probably forget about it working away around the clock to protect you. But to help keep yourself fighting fit, as well as nailing your sleep routine, there are other things you can do to help take care of your immune system.

  • Wash your hands

Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from catching and spreading germs.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Create a rainbow on your plate to help keep your immune system healthy. The more colour on your plate from fruit and vegetables, the more variety of important vitamins and minerals you are likely to get.

  • Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has so many health benefits, including supporting a healthy immune system. Walking, cycling, yoga or dance classes, do whatever works for you.

  • Reduce everyday stress

Stress is annoyingly something we all have to deal with sometimes. What is important is finding ways to manage your everyday stress to keep you healthy and happy.

Choosing the appropriate sunscreen
Choosing the appropriate sunscreen

Sunscreen may not be the flashiest part of your skincare routine, but it is a high performer, delaying the formation of wrinkles, dark spots and other signs of aging while also protecting you from developing skin cancer. With all the good that sun care does, it should be a no-brainer to wear sunscreen every day. Except many of us do not.

If greasy skin or stinging eyes are causing you to skip your SPF, you are not using the right formula. Read on to discover how to choose the best sport sunscreen for you, the difference between sport and regular sunscreen and how much sunscreen to apply when you have got a good sweat going on.

 

How does sunscreen work?

Before you understand how sunscreen works and what SPF is, you need to understand why you need to protect your skin. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun hits skin at wavelengths ranging from 290 to 400 nanometres. These rays expose skin to both UVA, which causes damage like collagen breakdown, skin cancer, and UVB, which causes sunburns. Without a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion (which protects from both UVA and UVB rays), the energy from the radiation goes into the fat and proteins in your skin. This generates free radicals that attack your cellular machinery. In the short term, this damage triggers an inflammatory response such as sunburn. In the long term, the radiation can introduce mutations in your skin cells’ DNA. If these mutations get passed along, they create cancer cells.

The simple fix is to wear sunscreen. There are many ingredients in sunscreens, but the active ingredients mainly fit into two groups: mineral and chemical:

  • Mineral sunscreens that contain physical filters (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) achieve their sun protection factor (SPF) by physically blocking the UV rays from penetrating the skin. To put it simply, they act as a mirror to create a barrier between the skin and the UV rays that directly reflects them from the skin.
  • Chemical filters (such as octocrylene or avobenzone) protect skin by absorbing UV rays. Instead of deflecting the UV rays, chemical filters work like a sponge and absorb them and transform the energy into heat.

 

How to apply sunscreen?

Dermatologists recommend the use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects from UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. The best practice is to apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes prior to venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. If you are planning on exposing a lot of skin (if you’re going to wear a swimsuit or running shorts and a tank, for example), apply the sunscreen while you’re naked. This will help ensure you get complete coverage.

 

How long does sunscreen last?

If you are outside and wondering how often to reapply sunscreen, the benchmark is every two hours—which means if you’re marathon training or planning on running or biking for longer than two hours, bring some sunscreen along. It is two hours because that’s when the sunscreen’s SPF value is fully effective. In other words, after two hours, your sunscreen is not entirely doing its job anymore.

 

How to choose the best sunscreen when practising sports?

The whole point of working out is to get a good sweat going, but perspiration and sunscreen do not always mix. Formulas that are not designed for sports can ball up, sting your eyes and leave your skin covered in white streaks once they are combined with sweat. The best sunscreen for sports features an oil-free, water-resistant, and fragrance-free formula to prevent stinging. Apply your sport sunscreen at least 30 minutes before heading outside to allow it to fully absorb and to be sure you do not skip any areas.

 

What is the difference between sport sunscreen and regular sunscreen?

There is no standardized test that verifies whether a certain type of sunscreen is better for certain activities; however, sunscreen that’s qualified as water-resistant for 80 minutes is the best for outdoor workouts. Unlike regular sunscreen, water-resistant sunscreens continue to protect the skin when wet. Water resistance testing involves having subjects apply sunscreen to the skin and immerse the area in water. After, their skin is tested to be sure the sunscreen is still effective. Water resistance of 80 minutes means that the sunscreen will continue to provide the labelled SPF for 80 minutes of continuous water immersion like swimming or sweating.

 

All you need to know on Vitamin B12
All you need to know on Vitamin B12

Feeling tired all the time? Memory not what it used to be? Struggling to complete physical tasks that you used to normally take in your stride? All these are common complaints that can result from a myriad of different medical problems… but there is often just one cause that links them all – Vitamin B12 deficiency.

We get B12 from animal products such as meat, fish, milk and eggs. It is one of the water-soluble B vitamins which is bound to protein within food. However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut.

 

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 helps the body’s ability to reduce the onset of fatigue and increase concentration levels by contributing to a normal energy metabolism.

Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the development and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, particularly those aspects which determine concentration, learning, memory and reasoning.

 

Sources of vitamin B12

We get B12 from animal products such as:

  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • It can also be found in fortified foods

However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut due to its large molecular size.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12 is a notoriously difficult nutrient to absorb in the gut. At most only 1% of our dietary intake will be absorbed by the body, and that relies on digestive efficiency and the presence of a chemical called intrinsic factor.

Deficiency can occur at any age and in the past, we have associated deficiency with growing older and our inability to extract the large molecule from our diet. However, more and more children and teenagers are being diagnosed with a deficiency. In extreme cases deficiency (known as pernicious anaemia) can cause severe nerve damage.

Our livers hold large stores of B12 and deficiency tends to develop over many years and because symptoms can easily be mistaken, diagnosis is often missed. Symptoms vary but include one or more of the following: fatigue, vague mental fogging and memory problems, depression, weakness, pins and needles in the hands and feet, and an unsteady walk.

 

How do I raise my vitamin B12 levels?

A B12 supplement can be the easiest way to raise your B12 levels. As a water-soluble vitamin there is no upper daily limit to how much you can take. However, because of the difficulty in absorbing such a large molecule, tablets and capsules are notoriously difficult for the gut to break down and digest.

A daily B12 oral spray, applied directly onto the inner cheek of the mouth, it avoids over-reliance on our digestive system. Absorption commences immediately. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it tastes great. Click here to see what we recommend.

Simple home remedies for fairer, glowing skin
Simple home remedies for fairer, glowing skin

Wondering how to get glowing skin overnight? Is your Google search history overflowing with different variations of the same query – how to get fair skin? We understand your obsession with glowing skin and with numerous sources talking on beauty tips for glowing skin it can be overwhelming.

It's time to concoct your very own skin brightening potions that will reveal your natural lustre. Essentially skin darkening is caused by over exposure to sunlight and the over-production of the pigment melanin in skin. The home remedies for glowing skin will help remove surface dullness and reduce melanin production.

Before we rush on how to get glowing skin at home, let’s talk about the natural ingredients that are known for their skin-lightening benefits:

 

MILK

  • Raw milk is one of the most easily available fairness tips, you’ll find it in every kitchen.
  • Tyrosine is the melanin controlling hormone that can lead to skin darkening. It keeps a check on the secretion of Tyrosine, hence proving to be an unbeaten fairness agent.

 

HONEY

  • An excellent antibacterial agent, honey prevents the occurrence of zits and pimples in the purest form, hence ensuring a spotless complexion in the long run.

 

BESAN

  • Gram flour is a natural exfoliator and removes dead skin cells. As a result, a new layer of skin is brought to the surface which is healthier leading to a naturally glowing complexion.

 

TURMERIC

  • This is due to the powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent called curcumin that is present in turmeric.  Its skin benefits include brightening, improved skin complexion, and overall rejuvenation for dull skin. 

 

LEMON

  • An important part of how to get glowing skin is all about preventing hyperpigmentation, which is why lemon gets one of the prime spots on our glowing skin checklist.
  • Lemon is rich in Vitamin C in its Ascorbyl form, which has been clinically proven to interrupt the action of the enzyme Tyrosinase, which in turn stimulates the melanin production of our skin.

 

YOGHURT

  • Yoghurt is rich with a high amount of lactic acid which has natural bleaching properties. It helps remove dark, dead skin cells and exposes a fresh layer of skin.

 

CUCUMBER

  • Apart from its well-known soothing properties, cucumber contains the same pH level as your skin. This aids in replenishing your skin’s protective and natural acid mantle, promoting glowing skin.

 

POTATO

  • The juice from a raw potato is rich in Vitamin C and has mild bleaching properties.
  • Also, the starch it contains is ideal for removing dark spots on the skin, whether they are due to age or exposure to the sun.

 

ALOE VERA

  • One of the compounds, Anthraquinone, present in raw Aloe extracts are said to increase cell turnover and remove dead cells, which helps reduce hyperpigmentation, leading to glowing skin.

 

PAPAYA

  • The secret beauty nutrient in papaya is papain, an enzyme that has skin-lightening properties and can reduce the visibility of blemishes and acne scars.
  • Together with alpha hydroxy acids, papain also acts as a gentle exfoliator that dissolves inactive protein and dead skin cells.

 

Now that we’re done most effective ingredient-based glowing skin secrets, let’s talk about DIY masks that will put an end to all your worries about how to become fair naturally.  

 

MILK AND HONEY

  • One of the best fairness tips for dry skin, since honey adds a wallop of moisture. You can substitute milk with malai (fresh cream).
  • Mix together one tablespoon each of milk and honey and apply on clean face.
  • Rub into skin with gentle circular motions.
  • Leave to dry and rinse off with tepid water after 15 minutes.
  • This is one of the best home remedies for glowing face. Repeat daily for best results.

 

BESAN AND ROSE WATER

  • Mix together two tablespoon each of besan (gram flour) and rose water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply all over your face and rub into skin in a gentle circular motion.
  • Leave to dry and rinse off with warm water after 15 minutes.
  • The perfect DIY mask for how to get fair skin for oily skin. Use this once week for best results.

 

HOME MADE FRUIT PACK

  • The answer to how to get fair skin naturally lies in your favorite fruits.
  • Mash together a piece of ripe banana, papaya and mix with two teaspoons of cream.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to the mix and apply all over face for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water. Repeat this once week for best results.

 

TURMERIC, LEMON JUICE AND YOGHURT

  • The perfect remedy about how to make face glow and fair at home for oily skins.  
  • Mix together one teaspoon of turmeric powder, two teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of yoghurt. Apply all over face for 15 minutes.  
  • Apply a little water on your face and gently massage into skin before rinsing with cool water.
  • This is the most effective natural remedies for glowing skin. Do this twice a week for best results.

 

SANDALWOOD POWDER, CUCUMBER AND ROSE WATER

  • Mix together one tablespoon each of sandalwood powder, grated cucumber and rose water.
  • Apply on your face and leave to dry for 15 minutes a paste.
  • Sandalwood powder lightens age spots, blemishes, and pigmentation.
  • This is an excellent cooling face pack and works wonders on oily, sensitive skins as well. Repeat twice a week.

 

POTATO, HONEY AND ROSE WATER

  • Grate a small raw potato and mix with one teaspoon of honey and a few drops of rose water.
  • Apply all over face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
  • You can safely use this potato pack on alternate days as a part of home remedies for fair skin. How to become fair naturally finally has an answer.
What is heartburn?
What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a common digestive symptom, which occurs when stomach acid backs up, or refluxes, into the oesophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. It causes a painful burning feeling in your chest or upper abdomen, and may spread to your neck or throat, or even arms. Early pregnancy, certain foods (especially large meals), a hiatal hernia, alcohol and side effects of some medication can trigger heartburn. It is also a symptom of indigestion, which can be brought on by stress or anxiety.

If you have symptoms more than twice a week, you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD), chronic acid reflux that can lead to complications, such as oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus), bleeding and narrowing of the oesophagus, and rarely oesophageal cancer.  

 

What are its symptoms?

Heartburn symptoms include:

  • A sour taste in your mouth that creeps up the throat
  • A burning sensation in the chest after eating
  • Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over.

If symptoms are more severe, you will need to see your doctor. These include:

  • Heartburn occurs more than twice a week
  • Heartburn persists despite use of over-the-counter medications
  • You have difficulty swallowing
  • You have persistent nausea or vomiting
  • You experience weight loss because of poor appetite or difficulty swallowing.

 

How is it diagnosed?

A doctor will start a heartburn diagnosis with a detailed health history, questioning you about your symptoms, as well as other factors, such as whether or not you smoke. Then they will conduct a routine physical examination. If the symptoms are very troublesome, and the doctor suspects something more serious than mild heartburn, he or she might recommend a gastroscopy or upper endoscopy (commonly known as “swallowing the camera”).

 

What are your treatment options?

Occasional heartburn is very common. Most people can manage the discomfort with simple remedies, these include certain lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication, like antacids.

 

Lifestyle changes include:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoid eating before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen and caffeine
  • Stop smoking
  • Elevate the head of your bed (or use two or three pillows) to allow gravity to keep acid in the stomach and avoid reflux.

There is a wide variety of over-the-counter medication to choose from. Antacids can be taken after meals, at bedtime, or when needed, to bind excess acid in the stomach and to coat the oesophagus. Visit your pharmacy for an advice.

 

Can it be prevented?

Adjusting your diet is effective when it comes to prevention as certain foods and drink can aggravate heartburn. These include:

  • Alcohol, which relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter
  • Coffee and orange juice, plus other acidic juices, which can worsen or trigger heartburn
  • Fatty foods, fried foods, and some acidic foods (oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes) as well as spicy foods.

You can also take some over-the-counter medications before you eat to prevent heartburn. Leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can also help to prevent heartburn symptoms.

How to care for eczema-prone skin when you are constantly washing your hands?
How to care for eczema-prone skin when you are constantly washing your hands?

If you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, constantly washing your hands can easily irritate your skin's sensitive barrier. Never before has washing our hands and face been so vitally important. However, for those living with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema - or even just very sensitive skin - the constant cleansing can cause irritation and flare-ups.

 

It's all about your skin's barrier

The skin acts as a barrier between the outside environment and the underlying soft tissue. Its role is to prevent moisture from escaping while preventing irritants from getting in. Excessive cleansing and exfoliating can rid the skin of its natural oils and can cause an overly dry, inflamed and sensitive skin.

 

Bring back the balance

You can look out for cleansers specially formulated for sensitive skin. Keep an eye out for those that contain soothing, hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, ceramides, vitamin E and panthenol. Also, if you’re in the middle of a flare-up, now is not the time to use exfoliants. Only once your skin has recovered can you gradually introduce them back into your routine.

 

Pat your hands dry – don’t rub

After washing your hands, pat it dry with a disposable paper towel or tissue rather than rubbing it with a towel, etc. Rubbing can be traumatic to the skin, especially if it is tender and inflamed to begin with.

 

Re-hydrate cleverly

After cleansing, it’s important that you restore your skin’s moisture levels, but you have to be careful about what you use. Hydrating, soothing ingredients are great, but if they’re mixed with potentially harsh ingredients like high strength retinol or alpha hydroxy acids, they might re-ignite a flare-up. Pay attention to what’s on your moisturisers ingredients list. Ideally, you want to ensure your products are free of potential irritants like sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances.

Following these guidelines will allow you to lessen the impact of regular hand washing on your delicate skin barrier. If your skin condition is very serious and you find that these measures are not effective enough, it is recommended that you get in touch with your treating dermatologist to seek expert advice. 

Easy At-Home hair treatments to rescue your hair and scalp
Easy At-Home hair treatments to rescue your hair and scalp

Looking to tackle pesky hair concerns without blowing your budget? These easy, affordable DIY hair masks use household remedies that you probably already have at home.

 

The problem: Thinning hair

The fix: Make a “banana protein smoothie,” which consists of amino acid-rich bananas and eggs to enhance hair elasticity, strengthen, and add thickness.

How to use it: Blend two egg yolks, two ripe bananas, two to three tablespoons of honey, half cup of conditioner, and two tablespoons of olive oil, until fully pureed. Slather all over and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes; rinse with cool water.

 

The problem: Brittle hair

The fix:  While dry, brittle hair is a struggle on its own, it can also lead to increased breakage and dullness. Egg yolks are an easy fix, they will help strengthen and nourish hair follicles.

How to use it: Mix a little lemon into the yolks to lessen the egg smell. When applying, put the mixture on hair from roots to ends and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to really penetrate into hair.

 

The problem: Messy waves or curls

The fix: Honey and syrup are natural humectants (ingredients that attract and lock in moisture) and can treat curls while hydrating thirsty hair.

How to use it: Mix a half-cup of molasses or maple syrup, 1/4 cup of olive oil, four tablespoons of honey, two bananas, half-cup of water, four tablespoons of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of all-purpose flour (adjust according to desired thickness). Mix together ingredients, removing any lumps, and warm over the stovetop. Separate hair into four sections, evenly apply the sweet concoction, and cover it up with a shower cap; let sit for 45 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

 

The problem: Dry, damaged tresses

The fix: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Otherwise, you’re only a hair away from split ends, frizz, and breakage. Opt for an intensive overnight treatment if your average conditioner isn’t cutting it.

How to use it: Take a tablespoon of coconut oil, warm it in the microwave, massage into damp hair, and sleep on it. Wear a shower cap and lay a towel on your pillow to prevent a greasy mess. In the morning, shampoo it out. Only use coconut oil on dry and damaged areas, which typically occur from the mid-shaft to the end. If you have finer hair, pick a lighter oil, like olive or avocado, as coconut oil can weigh strands down.

 

The problem: Itchy scalp

The fix: Soothe and moisturize. An itchy scalp can be caused by myriad problems, from something as serious as psoriasis or as minor as dryness. Your solution? Tea tree oil.

How to use it: Drip three drops of the oil on a cotton swab and dab onto the scalp. If the oil is irritating, dilute 1 ½ tablespoons of oil to one cup of warm water. To combat dryness, break a Vitamin E capsule and rub the oil on itchy areas to help moisturize skin, slough off dead skin cells, and unclog hair follicles. Leave the oil on overnight and rinse out in the morning.

 

The problem: Faded dye job

The fix: Intensify vibrancy. Add a jolt of red with a cranberry juice rinse. To warm up ashy blonde hair, substitute the cranberry juice rinse for chamomile tea. Or bring out golden tones with some champagne.

How to use it: Tilt your head back over the sink and carefully pour the juice over clean, detangled hair. Once every section is soaked, dry your hair section by section on low heat to lock color in place. Rinse and condition after.

 

The problem: Dullness

The fix: Lock in shine. Think of the outermost layer of your hair, the cuticles, as shingles on a roof; and those shingles must lie as flat as possible for shiny strands. Anything from friction to hot water to humidity can ruffle up the cuticles, resulting in a lackluster mane. Residue and product buildup are also culprits of sapping shine.

How to use it: To clarify and smooth cuticles, pour an apple cider vinegar rinse (a tablespoon of vinegar to half cup of water) over damp hair and comb through. Let it sink in for five minutes, rinse with cool water, and follow up with conditioner.

 

The problem: Dandruff

The fix: Keep flakes under control. Dandruff is a scalp disorder that involves rapidly shedding dead skin cells. How to slow down cell turnover and fight dandruff? A ginger root scalp spritzer: ginger has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the scalp and keep dandruff in check.

How to use it: Finely grate half a ginger root into two cups of water and boil until it’s one cup of tea. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and olive oil. Mist the brew directly onto scalp, let dry, and shampoo out.

 

The problem: Excessive shedding

The fix: Treat the scalp and strengthen the hair follicle. Serious hair fallout can be caused by a multitude of things: stress, a major life change, illness and pregnancy to name a few. We suggest doing a mayonnaise-based mask one to two times per week to help prevent shedding and heal the scalp, which is often the root of the problem.

How to use it: In a small bowl, combine three tablespoons of mayonnaise, one teaspoon of honey, three drops of rosemary oil and three drops of lavender oil. Mix until smooth. Apply onto clean, damp hair and massage into your scalp. Place a shower cap on your hair and allow to sit for up to an hour. The combo of ingredients includes nutrients that will smooth the hair, boost shine and strengthen the hair follicle. The essential oils and honey also have anti-inflammatory benefits to calm the scalp and prevent additional fallout.

 

The problem: Flat hair

The fix: Add some bounce. Give lifeless hair a boost with an oatmeal and almond oil hair mask.

How to use it: Combine ½ cup of oats, 2 tablespoons of almond oil and ½ cup of milk (regular milk is best). Mix ingredients well. Apply the mask all over hair and leave it on for 20 to 40 minutes — the longer the better. Then wash out and style your hair as usual. Your hair will look full and super bouncy.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?
What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes can feel like an information minefield but understanding the condition can be the first step towards managing it. We are here to simplify the subject and help you grasp the basics.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood glucose (AKA blood sugar) to become too high. The amount of sugar in someone’s blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. For someone without diabetes, food is digested and enters into the bloodstream. As this happens, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy. However, when someone has diabetes, their body is unable to break down the glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.

What are the different types of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

This is where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, meaning you have to inject insulin to control blood glucose levels. There are different types of insulin that can be injected at different times. There is the long-acting, basal insulin that keeps blood glucose stable overnight or in between meals, then there’s the fast-acting, bolus insulin taken before eating or drinking something that contains carbohydrates.

Type 2 diabetes 

This is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don’t react to insulin. This is much more common than type 1. Most people need medicines to control their type 2 diabetes, but it can also often be managed through healthy eating, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Gestational diabetes

For some, diabetes and pregnancy go hand in hand. During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes, a condition that usually disappears after giving birth. Gestational diabetes can sometime cause premature birth and other problems for you and your baby if left untreated, but the risks can be reduced if the condition is detected early and managed effectively.

Who can get diabetes?

Although there is nothing you can do to prevent type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and by being active.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

It is super important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible. If left untreated, it can slowly get worse and lead to serious complications, including damage to your kidneys, eyes, and other organs. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of muscle bulk
  • Itching around the penis or vagina
  • Frequent episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision

With type 1 diabetes, these symptoms can appear quickly over several weeks, or in some cases, even days. Alternatively, with type 2 diabetes, these symptoms can appear very gradually, often going unnoticed for long periods of time.

See your GP if you think you have symptoms of high blood sugar.

 

Collagen – The fountain of youth
Collagen – The fountain of youth

Proteins are wonder workers that are crucial to good health. The word ‘protein’ comes from the Greek ‘proteos’, meaning ‘primary’ or ‘first place’. This gives an indication of its importance among nutrients! Proteins are made up of amino acids that join together to form long chains. You can think of a protein as a string of beads in which each bead is an amino acid. Your body uses amino acids to build and repair tissues, and make enzymes, neurotransmitters and hormones that are involved in hundreds of bodily functions. They are an important component of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

For proteins to be properly utilised, we need adequate stomach acid to break them into usable amino acids from animal and plant sources in our diet. The production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach naturally diminishes as we age, and - worryingly - it is also suppressed when we stress a lot. In its wisdom, the body pulls energy, blood and attention away from digestion when our nervous systems enter fight or flight mode and sends all available resources to the muscles in preparation for running or fighting. When we suffer from chronic stress, the stomach simply does not produce sufficient hydrochloric acid to make good use of the proteins we consume. 

Although we tend to eat a lot of protein as a society, we still see many people suffering from arthritis, knee, hip and joint dysfunction, thinning hair, ageing skin, brittle nails, cellulite, anxiety and depression – a good indication that we are not digesting our proteins well.

Is it any wonder then that collagen is so popular? Besides the visible benefits for skin, hair and nail health, collagen has been lauded for its ability to treat intestinal permeability. It is also taken to strengthen joints and increase bone health, boost muscle mass and support heart and nervous system health. 

Good quality collagen is hydrolysed, which means it has already been broken down into very small absorbable particles and is convenient to use. No need to handle questionable animal parts and cook your own broth for days on end.

The three main types of collagen used for supplements are types I, II and III.

 Type I Collagen - 100% found in marine (fish) collagen, and present in smaller amounts in porcine (pig) collagen and some forms of bovine (cattle) collagen. Type I makes up 75 - 90% of the collagen found in your skin, hair, nails, organs, bones and ligaments. For skin and beauty applications, type I collagen is considered to be the best. Type I also stimulates the production of type II in the body.

 Type II Collagen – found in chicken and bovine collagen. Type II collagen makes up the fluids and function of the cartilage and joints. Its main supplemental purpose is for the treatment of joint pain and arthritic conditions, as well as being a dietary protein source. Type II collagen makes up 10% of the total collagen in the body and 50 - 60% of the protein found specifically in our cartilage.  

Type III Collagen - Found together with type I in porcine (pig) and bovine (cattle) collagen if from bovine hide. Type III collagen is the second most abundant collagen in tissues, most commonly in those with elastic properties such as skin, lungs, intestinal walls and walls of blood vessels. It is also found in fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, dentin (a strengthening coating on teeth), tendons and other connective tissues.

Type I and III are mostly found together, and are beneficial for hair, skin and nail health, strong bones and digestive health. Type II is most beneficial for joints. Note that if you take type I, your body can make type II from it. If you decide to use both kinds, be sure to take them at different times of the day: type I and III in the morning, and type II at night before bedtime on an empty stomach.  An important consideration is to always seek out collagen from clean sources - free range and pasture-raised beef or chicken, and fish free from contaminants and heavy metals.