Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Benefits Of Lemon Water - The How's & Why's?

The benefits of drinking lemon water are bountiful and plenty, but it seems many people are not quite understanding exactly how or why they should be drinking lemon water on a daily basis and there seems to be a few misconceptions. So I thought I'd write a quick post to clear a few things up!

Before moving on to the benefits of drinking water, first lets cover how to drink lemon water. I know this sounds like it should be self explanatory, but from the amount "half a slice of lemon in water" pictures I see, it's clearly not as self explanatory as I'd imagined.

How To Drink Lemon Water


1. When To Drink Lemon Water?


The time of day is important. Ideally it should be first thing in the morning and on an empty stomach. Why? Lemon water helps to wake your digestive system up gently before you throw solids at it or worse, coffee!
Imagine being woke up by your boss suddenly and having the mornings workload thrown at you. I'm guessing a) you wouldn't be very happy about it and b) you probably wouldn't perform as well as you should. 

The same can be said for our digestive system. Although it doesn't completely shutdown while we're asleep, it does slow down considerably. Drinking lemon water first thing in a morning, about 15 minutes before any solids helps to wake it up gently and therefore able to function optimally. 

For additional health benefit, I also drink aloe vera gel. I have a shot of aloe vera first. Followed by my lemon water. Followed by a light breakfast about 15 minutes later.

You can also drink lemon throughout the day. Around 15-30 minutes before meals preferably.

2. How Much Lemon Juice?


This is where most of the confusion seems to start. A half slice of lemon in a large glass of water IS NOT lemon water. It's water with a half slice of lemon in it!

To get the benefits of lemon water you need to be using about half a lemon per large glass of water. Sounds a lot, especially if you're used to using only a slice, but if you want the therapeutic dosage and to reap the benefits, then half a lemon is what you need.

I strongly recommend investing in a lemon press. Like a garlic press, but for lemons. I got mine for about £3 in Aldi. Probably the best find of the year!

If you find the taste too strong, start with a little less and work your way up OR add more water. The additional hydration will be beneficial.


3. Temperature Of The Lemon Water?


There is definitely a divide on this one. Most people say the water should be warm / hot, others say room temperature and some say cold. There are pros and cons to each but ultimately it's personal taste and how weak your digestive system is.

Drinking lemon water room temperature allows for the most enzymatic benefit from the lemons and therefore the most health benefits. If you have a particularly weak digestive system you can drink lemon water warm. I'd avoid using hot water however. Two reasons, firstly boiling hot water will destroy the benefits of the lemon juice and secondly, the hotter the water the more corrosive the acid will be on the enamel on your teeth.

Drinking lemon water cold requires more energy, so if you have a weak digestive system, it's best to avoid. Especially if drinking first thing in the morning. If you have a well performing digestive system though, drinking lemon water iced cold may help burn fat so could be beneficial if drinking throughout the day before meals.

4. Don't Forget To Rinse!


This is really important. You must rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water with plain water to neutralise the acid from the lemon. Lemon juice is a strong acid, with a pH of 1 so will corrode the enamel on your teeth very quickly if you're drinking it everyday.
What ever you do, don't brush your teeth directly after drinking lemon water. This will only enhance the corrosive properties. Neutralise with plain water first.

Benefits Of Drinking Lemon Water


Now we've covered how to drink lemon water. Lets more on to why drink lemon. Drinking lemon water everyday has numerous health benefits. Including;

1. Lemon Water Is Alkalising


You probably know the pH of skin is slightly acidic (between 4.5-5.5) but did you know internally we are slightly alkaline? The pH of blood is 7.4 and it's really important it remains at a constant 7.4! Even slight fluctuations can have a serious impact on our health. For for the blood to remain at a constant 7.4 it stores excess acids in surrounding fat cells and tissues. If the tissues become too acidic, they die. Drinking lemon water has a alkalising effect on the body and helps to lower the pH of the blood, therefore allows acids to be flushed from the tissue, rather than excess being stored. I also get additional alkalising and anti-inflammatory benefits from drinking aloe vera gel.

Quick note on internal pH. A rough guide to testing your internal pH, is how bitter you find the taste of lemon water. The more acidic you are internally, the more bitter you'll find the taste. In other words, the more you dislike the taste, the more you need it! To learn more about this, I definitely recommend reading the "Acid / Alkaline Diet".

2. Lemon Water Eliminates Toxins & Waste Products.


Lemon water increases the detoxifying capability of the liver, by encouraging toxins to be flushed by the body and increasing enzyme function. 

3. Lemon Water Aids Digestion


Lemon water encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins from digestive tract and also helps relieve symptoms of indigestion.

4. Lemon Water Is Rich In Vitamins & Minerals


Lemon water is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, riboflavin and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.

5. Lemon Water Helps To Loose Weight


If the liver and digestive tract are functioning optimally and the body's toxic load is reduced, it's better able to burn fat as it's energy source for effectively. Drinking lemon water cold would increase the fat burning potential!

6. Lemon Water Improves Skin Health.


It's only natural that by reducing internal inflammation and acidity, it would also have a positive effect on the skin. The skin is one of our elimination organs, therefore by reducing the amount of strain on the liver and digestive tract, will also reduce the strain on our skin. Meaning a clearer complexion!


There we have it. The how's & why's of drinking lemon water. Hope this clears a few things up and explains why everyone can benefit from including this simple but effective drink in their daily diet for better skin health and ultimately, better over all health.

Andy

Saturday, 26 July 2014

PaPPs Accreditation in Association with MARSTE Academy



It's a been a little while since my last blog post, between starting a new job and also working on a couple of other projects, I just haven't had as much time as I'd like to update this blog! As I have a spare 5 minutes though, I thought I'd share with you a quick "what I've up to" type blog post. 

Last week I had the honour and pleasure of being invited along to my first (of many I hope) MARSTE Academy training course, PaPPs Accreditation in association with The Wright Initiative

The course has been created by founder of The Wright Initiative, Norman Wright and is designed to champion client safety, health and well-being. PaPPs stands for Pre and Post-Procedure support and is essential for any ethical therapist, nurse or doctor who is serious about looking after their clients, beyond the physical element of the treatment itself.

PaPPs Accreditation is designed for professional therapists and medical professionals alike, so they are better equipped to deal with the Emotional, Relational & Psychological (ERP) well-bring of their client.

So why be PaPPs Accredited?


"With an increasing number of people seeking advanced beauty and aesthetic treatments, the demand for psycho-emotional support has risen. Pre and Post Procedure Support and evaluation is essential in helping professional therapists, salons, spas, surgeons, dentists, nurses and clinics to assess the Emotional, Relational & Psychological (ERP) well-being of the client.
This, in turn, has inspired Norman to look at ways in which professional therapists, salons, spas, surgeons, dentists, nurses and clinics can enhance their client journey, never turn a client away, greatly reduce the risk of litigation, ensure satisfied clients for life and most importantly, see the person behind the client."
Once training is complete and you're registered as a PaPPs Accredited professional, you get access to guidance, advice and support from the PaPPs Accreditation helpline so there is help along the way.

The course itself is really interesting and enjoyable, which lots of group participation (so definitely not one of these dead by powerpoint courses). It gets you thinking about things differently and how to be empathetic about how your client may be feeling in certain situations or even their reasons for treatment. I'd definitely recommend it to any therapists who are looking to development their personal and professional skills.


To learn more or to register for the training course, please see MARSTEAcademy/papps-accreditation.

Andy

P.S. See below my Instagram image of me accepting my PaPPs Accreditation certificate. Both Norman & I seem to to have closed our eyes at the exact moment the picture was taken!


Friday, 11 July 2014

Introducing NCN Professional Skin Care!


NCN Professional Skin Care are a brand, which until recently I hadn't heard of but are a brand, I wish I'd heard of sooner!

I had the pleasure of meeting Katy from Treat The Skin You're In, the UK's official distributor of NCN Professional Skin Care. We met at the Anti-Ageing Show, at Kensington Olympia in May.

I was then very lucky to meet Katy again the following week at the Beauty Show UK, at Birmingham's NEC. Katy was lovely enough to have also brought along two products from the NCN Professional Skin Care range for me to try. Two very potent serums from the range, an antioxidant Vitamin C serum for the daytime and a copper peptide plus epidermal growth factor serum for the evening.

NCN Professional Skin Care - Vitamin C+ Serum

I already briefly mentioned this serum in my 'Top 3 Products for Pigmentation' post, but I'll go into the product in a little more detail here.
As the name suggests it's a Vitamin C serum, so primarily it's an antioxidant serum, designed for daytime use to protect from free radical damage during the day. 
Vitamin C is important for so much more than antioxidant protection however. Vitamin C is a precursor for collagen production, it's a fantastic anti-inflammatory and it's great at reducing pigmentation.

The problem with Vitamin C is it's a highly unstable ingredient and oxides very quickly. The other issue with Vitamin C is it can be very irritating on the skin, due to it's low pH. NCN Professional Skin Care Vitamin C+ Serum has combated these two issues by including other ingredients to stabilise the Vitamin C, but to also reduce the irritation, namely Glutathione and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP). Both powerful antioxidants in their own right providing great benefit to the skin, as well as stabilising the main source of Vitamin C which is L-Ascorbic Acid (a whopping 20%).

The serum itself is a fluid liquid which comes in a spray bottle. They recommend 3-4 pumps. Personally I found two pumps was more than enough for face and neck. The only thing to mention, is on the days I'd shaved, the serum did sting my open skin a little. It was absolutely fine on my non-shaving days however and obviously this wouldn't be an issue for my female readers!

It's a fantastic little serum and I highly recommend for anyone wanting a powerful Vitamin C serum, that a) actually contains enough Vitamin C to be effective and b) wants it in a stable form, again so it's effective!

NCN Professional Skin Care - Vitamin C+ Serum retails at £31.99 for 36ml and is available from treattheskinyourein.com

NCN Professional Skin Care - GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF

I didn't feature this in my 'Top 3 Products for Pigmentation' blog post, but I really should have! Basically this is a 'Swiss army knife' type product, so has something for every job or rather every skin type and / or concern.

The GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF ingredients list is fairly modest, comprising basically of, well, GHK-Cu Copper Tri-Peptide and EGF or epidermal growth factor (both ingredients are listed in my 'Top 10 Anti-Ageing Ingredients That Really Work' post). Also, some extracts like liquorice, aloe, radish and sea kelp.

GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF is great for increasing cell turn over, stimulating collagen production, firming skin, reducing lines & wrinkles, evening skin tone, evening skin texture, balancing oil production and is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Like I said, Swiss Army Knife Serum!

It's an absolutely dream to use too, it's an almost water-like consistency, which absorbs instantly in to the skin. I use after an acid toner and follow up a facial oil or balm to seal it in and add hydration.
I've really noticed a huge improvement in my skin since using it too. The tone is more even, the lines around my eyes have pretty much disappeared and the deep lines on my forehead are much less prominent. I absolutely love this serum and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a powerful multi-tasking anti-ageing serum, to use at night. It's also really good value! Not the cheapest serum to buy, however you only use such a tiny amount, 2-3 drops is all that is needed, so the 70ml will last a really long time. I've had mine for over 7 weeks and I've hardly dented it!

There are a few things to note with this product. Firstly, it definitely fits in to my 'Restorative Anti-Ageing' category, so I'd only recommend using this ONCE you're at an age you need it, not an age you think you need it. You're also advised to give your skin one day a week rest from using the product and to ensure you exfoliate while using the product, due to the increased cell turn over.

NCN Professional Skin Care - GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF retails at £52.99 and is available from treattheskinyourein.com

If these two products are anything to go by, I'm really looking forward to trying more from the range. I love the almost medical-looking labelling, the cosmeceutical ingredients without the nasty irritants that are often included, but most importantly I love the results. They remind me a little of CosMedix, which is obviously a brand very close to my heart!

Andy
*Gifted Samples

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

H30 Night Repair


As you know, I'm a big believer in treating the skin from the inside, as well as topically. I'm also a huge fan of Collagen Shots from Rejuvenated, which is the absolute best collagen drink in the world!

The clever people at Rejuvenated have recently released a new product called H3O Night Repair, a night time supplement to complement the H3O Hydration Drink which was released earlier this year. The supplement contains all the benefits of the hydration drink, plus lots more which couldn't be added to the drink (because of their taste). The answer, is a convenient supplement which you take at night. Of course, I've been taking mine alongside my nightly Collagen Shot!

Collagen Shots contains hyaluronic acid, so is already hydrating on it's own but H30 Night Repair takes it to a whole new level of skin hydration! Designed to boost cellular hydration and provide vital nutrients to help skin repair and renew overnight, while the skin is at it's most productive.

The key ingredients in H30 Night Repair are Astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants for protecting the entire cell; Ionic Minerals, allowing optimum absorption of the water you drink, (or Collagen Shots in my case); Astragalus, increases telomere length and stimulates the immune system by increasing blood cell production from the bone marrow; Pine Bark Extract, a powerful anti-inflammatory; Grape Seed Extract, a powerful antioxidant; Hyaluronic Acid, a fantastic water-binder that holds collagen and elastin in place; plus Vitamins A, B, C, D & E!

The results are fantastic! I have oily skin, which is prone to dehydration. Within a couple of days of taking H3O Night Repair I could see the difference. My skin was much more hydrated, the surface epidermal line had gone and my pores were more refined due to having plump and hydrated skin. I definitely recommend it!

Skin Tip: If you're currently considering skin treatments such as medium-to-deep depth peels, laser micro-needling etc, anything that triggers skin repair from the wounding process, then I highly recommend trying H3O Night Repair. Skin hydration is the number one beneficial factor, when it comes to recovery from such treatments. Also, because of the anti-inflammatory benefits of Astaxanthin, Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract, plus Vitamans A & C, your skin will be able to renew much faster. I'd recommend taking H3O Night Repair prior to your treatment and continuing afterwards.

Retailing at £30 for 30 capsules, so works out at £1 a day. If dehydration is a concern and it doesn't seem to matter how much water you drink (you'll just pee excess out anyway), then I highly recommend giving H3O Night Repair a try.

Available from Rejuvenated.

Andy
*Gifted Sample

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

MARSTE Academy



Yesterday saw the launch of the brilliant MARSTE Academy, a specialised post graduate study and practical training academy for beauty and holistic therapists, looking to advance their knowledge in specialised areas.

Founded by the fabulous Marie Reynolds and Stephanie Collins, both extremely experienced therapists and educators within the industry. Their vision;

"MARSTE Academy aims deliver a standard of excellence in training through a series of online courses of study and practical skills workshops and training.  Courses have been created with therapists in mind by a panel of impressive experts from all areas of the beauty and holistic industries.  An innovative virtual learning network allows students to study theoretical courses online at their own pace, at the fraction of what these courses would costs if they were classroom based.  Blending learning options are in place for practical skills courses, whereby the student can study the theoretical side of the course and revise essential A&P applicable to their practical course before they attend the hands on training – ensuring that the trainer spends their time focussing on technique and practical skills – making the most of the students time and ensuring they leave with a full working knowledge that can be introduced to their business."

If you're a therapist reading this, and you're looking to further your career and advanced your knowledge and skills, then I highly recommend taking a look at MARSTE Academy. On their you'll find both online and practical courses in advanced skin care, holistic, body and beauty, plus personal development courses. I already have my eye on a couple of the courses!

"To succeed and stay relevant in the beauty industry, you must embark on a path of continuous learning and development. "

A long side the fabulous training course, MARSTE Academy also has it's own blog, with posts from the industry experts.

Marie invited me to join the team as a MARSTE blogger! Having someone who you admire and aspire to, give such recognition and invite you to be part of such an amazing training academy is a great honour. You can see my first blog post for MARSTE here, along with posts from Marie Reynolds and Pilates and Fitness Expert, Christos Georghiades.


You could look at the blog as snippets of advanced education for free! So I highly recommend adding it to your blogroll / subscribing, so you never miss a post!

Andy

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Top 3 Products For Pigmentation


When it comes to anti-ageing, most people think of 'lines & wrinkles'. However, L&W's aren't the only factor that ages our appearance, but rather a multitude of factors including loss of firmness i.e. sagging, loss of luminosity i.e. dull / lacklustre skin and uneven skin tone i.e. pigmentation!

Focusing on pigmentation, I've put together my Top 3 Products For Pigmentation, both preventing and treating hyper-pigmentation, the darker patches of skin that robs us of the more even tone we once had!

Firstly, lets cover what is hyper-pigmentation and what causes it?

Hyper-pigmentation is effectively a patch or area of skin where the melanocytes, responsible for melanin production, have gone into overdrive and produce too much melanin. Resulting in a darkening of the skin. The causes can include;

  • Excessive exposure to UV radiation
  • Hormonal changes i.e. Melasma
  • Medication
  • Trauma to the skin or use of topical steroid creams i.e. PIH or Post-Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation

They all have one thing in common, UV exposure. As the melanocyte is stimulated by an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is activated by UV exposure. However in the case of hormonal changes, medication and trauma / topical steroid creams, it's not a case of excessive exposure, but rather your skin has been over-sensitised to UV, so even a small amount of exposure could cause pigmentation issues.

With that in mind, lets move on to my top 3 products for treating and preventing pigmentation.


Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation Face SPF50+

Considering UV exposure if the number 1 factor in hyper-pigmentation, it comes to no surprise that a good, high factor sunscreen is essential. I've also used the Ultrasun Anti-Ageing Face SPF50+ formula before, which includes ECTOIN and Superoxide Dismutase, a free radical scavenger. The new anti-pigmentation formulation contains everything the anti-ageing formulation does, plus additional anti-pigmentation ingredients. It can be used to not only prevent pigmentation from forming but also treat existing superficial pigmentation.
Of course, being Ultrasun it's a once a day, high stable formulation. It's rich but non-greasy, so can replace your antioxidant serum, daily moisturiser + sunscreen in one step (depending on skin type).

Retailing at £32 for 50ml and available from ultrasun.co.uk.


NCN Professional - Vitamin C+ Serum

Vitamin C is a proven and effective antioxidant in treating pigmentation. The only problem with the ingredient, is it can be very irritating on the skin. The issue with a lot of 'vitamin C' serums on the high street, is they simply don't contain enough vitamin C to be effective. Add in the fact, it's also a highly unstable ingredient and oxidises quickly. 
The NCN Professional Vitamin C+ Serum has a massive 20% vitamin C, in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid but to it, they've added Glutathione to help stabilise it, plus Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a more stable and non-irritating version of vitamin C. Plus sea kelp, hyaluronic acid, vitamin e and beta glucans makes this more than just a Vitamin C serum!
It's very effective. My only caution for men using this, is it can sting on freshly shaved skin.

Retailing at £31.99 for 36ml and available from Treat The Skin You're In.


CosMedix Simply Brilliant

For more advanced pigmentation issues, that are maybe a little deeper. You may want to consider using a tyrosinase inhibitor. As mentioned, tyrosinase is the enzyme within the body which instructs the melanocyte to produce more melanin / pigment. Therefore by inhibiting the tyroinase, it prevents the message from getting through.
There are however some rather dangerous tyrosinase inhibitors out there such as hydroquinone, which essentially is TOO effective. Melanin is what protects our skin from UV radiation, so stripping the skin of it completely is obviously never going to be a good thing. 
CosMedix Simply Brilliant is hydroquinone-free and instead uses safer tyrosinase inhibitors;  Whitonyl, Nonapeptide & Waltheria. I prefer the term 'tyrosinase regulators' i.e. regulating production rather than inhibiting.
Along with 7 other natural skin brightening ingredients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, salicylic acid, green tea, daisy flower extract and liquorice root extract.

Retailing at £45.24 for 15ml and available from Medico Beauty.

If you have deep or severe pigmentation you wish to treat, then I'd definitely visiting your local clinic / skin professional, and enquiring about the options available, such as skin peels or laser treatment. However, as I always recommend, start with the mildest form of treatment and work up!

Andy.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

6 Bad Sun Care Habits!


Having just returned from 11 days in the sun, I thought I'd share some of my 'bad sun care observations' from around the pool & walks along the beach, because despite ALL the information out there, it seems a lot of you are still getting the basics wrong and have terrible sun care habits. I was genuinely shocked by the amount of sun burn I saw during such a short time. 

So in no particular order, here are some of the bad sun care habits I observed whilst on holiday and what you really should be doing to protect the health of your skin!


1. Apply sunscreen / sun protection in your hotel room BEFORE going down to the pool / beach. Especially if using chemical sunscreens. It takes between 15-30 minutes (depending on the product) for the active ingredients to settle into the skin and become active. Firstly, if you're applying them in direct sunlight, the effectiveness of the product is dramatically reduced. Furthermore, depending on skin type, you may even burn before your sun protection is active. Physical sunscreens are active instantly, however it's still advisable to apply before going in the sun, as applying in an air conditioned room means you're less likely to be sweating and the sunscreen is able to adhere to the skin better. 

2. Don't forget to reapply! Most sunscreens will need reapplying every 2 hours to keep them effective. Not reapplying regularly enough is the same as not applying any at all. Personally, I use Ultrasun during summer holidays which is once-a-day application, simply because I'm very forgetful and don't want to risk being caught out. If you're like me and likely to forget, invest in a once-a-day application formulation, it will save you time and hassle in the long run.

3. Spray your skin not the air! I'm not a fan of sun protection in a spray formulation, except for my scalp. However, if you are then be aware when reapplying outdoors that the wind is going to blow the product pretty much everywhere except on your skin. Where it matters. Although if you'd listened to my previous 2 points and used a once-a-day and applied indoors, then this wouldn't be applicable!


4. Loose the "I go red then I go brown" mentality! The redness is inflammation, a sign that UV damage has been caused and it's your skins way of trying to repair the damage. It's also your first indicator that you should get out of the sun, quick! Yes your skin will develop a tan over the next coming days, however this would have happened without the pain and damage of burning! The tan comes from UV exposure that triggers melanin production in the skin, not the redness or burning from excessive UV exposure. If you burn, your skin will simply shed / peel, in a last ditch attempt of getting rid of the UV damaged skin cells, which could potentially turn cancerous. You're also likely to loose your tan much more quickly during the process, as your skin is desperately trying to repair the damage.

5. If you do burn, applying a thick layer of sunscreen will not help! (unless using a physical sunscreen). Chemical sunscreens work buy being IN the skin not ON the skin, so any additional product you apply is useless. You just look a white creamy mess! Do your skin a favour, cover up,  stay out the sun and give your skin chance to repair the damage!


6. Don't rely on sunscreen alone! Especially during the hottest times of the day. Depending on your skin type, sunscreen alone may not be enough and good sun protection doesn't necessarily just mean SPF! Consider taking shade under a parasol or covering up with clothing, and always wear a hat to protect delicate scalp and face. I'm also a big believer in diet effecting our skins coping capacity with the sun. I take an astaxanthin & super oxide dismutase supplement from Viridian Nutrition called S.P.F. (Skin Pro Factors) and try to eat a diet rich in antioxidants so lots of bright coloured fruit & vegetables and salmon, all for additional support.

If a tan is your main priority while on holiday, firstly I think you need to check your priorities but secondly, you will achieve a safer, longer lasting tan if you put the health of your skin first and moderate the UV exposure.

Finally, I'm not saying don't enjoy the sun and stay out of it completely. A little bit of sun if beneficial for Vitamin D and Melatonin production (generally 15 minutes daily UV exposure is all that is needed. The amount of time will be increased if wearing sunscreens etc). What I am saying, is enjoy it responsibly and be safe because there is no enjoyment in sun burn, premature ageing or skin cancer! Remember, everything in moderation!!

Andy

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