Health tips and resources, lifestyle advice and product reviews!

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Are you steering clear of the smear???

post-it to-do list
Are you a smear test virgin??                           

Well that was me about a year ago, but then I just got the job done and over with a few months back, which I will tell you about in this post.

The eligible age was raised from 20 to 25 in 2003 and I heard recently that a lot of tests that were done under the age of 25 were discarded and would not be tested by labs due to them being under the age of 25. This was due to an overwhelming response, especially following the Big Brother star Jade Goody's battle.

I personally think the age should have remained at 20 years old, especially when you read the likes of this,

'Research does show that the contraceptive pill increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. But it is important to remember that this increase in risk is small. And if you have regular cervical screening, cervical cancer can be prevented.'
Cancer Research UK

Women as young as 15 are using the contraceptive pill and so for this reason I think the age should be left at 20 for cervical screening.

I was reading Company magazine and saw some interesting stats as to why people avoid smears, made me laugh actually,

  • 28% would refuse a smear if a man was performing it, although some found it a more comfortable experience. 
  • 1 in 10 were worried the tester would think they were hairy or their vagina looks weird.
  • 1 in 5 would like smears combined with STI testing.
  • 8% were scared they would smell down there.
It is easy for me to look at this list now and giggle, but it is the reality of the inner torments out there right now. 

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Caffeine V Cancer

Hey guys,
caffeine in sunscreen
Thought I would share this interesting piece of news I heard today as I sat down with a tea, yes not even a coffee- although tea has caffeine too and I heard once that tea in dry form has a higher measure of caffeine than coffee, but a fully prepared cup of coffee measures up as more.  The longer they are left to steep the more caffeine that is released. 

Although most of us have heard some story or another before about caffeine destroying damaged cells before they become cancerous, it has now been suggested that putting caffeine in sunscreen can protect against skin cancer.
Now how about that, seems like coffee has lots of things going for it, says me who is not an avid coffee drinker, the odd cappucino now and then but that’s it.
But now this, hmm some more coffee for me I think….. although I eat plenty of chocolate no doubt, wonder does that caffeine count, guess so… any excuse to eat chocolate, hehe! 
Wow you never know the cure for cancer could be right under our noses.
But basically these particular findings could be used to create a caffeine based sunscreen.
“Scientists believe the chemical found in coffee absorbs ultraviolet radiation when applied to the skin and prevents tumours after exposure to sunlight.”                                                                                                                       Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent, The Telegraph
I’ve heard so many things about caffeine everything from it preventing Alzheimer's and ageing to possibly increasing women’s sex drive and even two cups supposedly reducing muscle pain by a significant amount. (See some more at the end of this post.)

However- as always there is a BUT-  this was also stated as regards the topical application of caffeine on the skin,
"First one might want to check there is no adverse effect of caffeine on the incidence of other cancers, especially melanoma (pigmented skin cancer), which kills over four times as many people as squamous cell carcinoma. But caffeine lotion might promote tanning a little, since this family of molecules stimulates pigment cells to make more pigment.”                                    
Prof Dot Bennett, Professor of Cell Biology at St George’s, University of London
Some tests have been carried out on mice as usual.  Some mice were genetically engineered to have reduced levels of an enzyme that keeps damaged cells alive. Caffeine was given to suppress this enzyme, thus killing the potentially cancerous cells. When these modified mice were subjected to UV light, they developed less tumours and at a later time than the unmodified mice.

cup of coffee
Coffee Anyone??
So the conclusion for me seems that it is best to just carry on drinking coffee rather than using a caffeine based sunscreen, cos if the damaged cells are in your body, drinking caffeine will catch them anyway. Id rather that than risking elevating any chances of melanomas.

However coffee granules themselves have great beauty benefits:

* Attacking cellulite- mixing grounds with lotion/oil and massaging the area and covering with plastic for up to 30 mins before washing away.  
* Exfoliation- wrapping grounds in plastic and brushing against the skin or just sprinking some grounds in your hand mixed with some lotion in the shower and off you go.
* Happy hair-  dipping your head in cool coffee has been said to deepen hair colour as well as giving it softness and shine. Although I would wonder, if caffeine is said to dehydrate our bodies, would it dry out hair and make it brittle?!
Deodorising- rub the grounds on hands or body and rinse with water.

Sounds like a desert island must have to me!!
What do you think?

Sunday 14 August 2011

My skincare saviours!

Hi everyone!

Well here I am, my first real blog post...hope you can bear with me and drop by and say hello.
Here we go......... some of my product collection!!

 24 hour naked body butterI LOVE this product. I would happily spend 24 hours naked with this all over me. 

It smells fab, keeps my skin smooth and feeling moisturised. I can still feel the moistened feeling hours later, especally if I have it on my legs and they are bare all day. 97%,natural, that is good enough for me.

Although I havent been using this every day, it is well over a year since I got this.  I love the smell of it, although it seems quite strong when you open the lid and have a whiff, but when its on your skin, it is delicious. 

I even rub some in my palms and run it over a scarf or item of clothing to make them smell nice especially if I throw some clothes together in a suitcase or if they have been in the wardrobe a few weeks!
I also grab some small tubs from boots and scoop some in to have in my handbag, travel or overnight bag!

I got this product in Boots and have been on the lookout again for it, but I havent spotted it, probably because I havent been in a big enough Boots.
I see this product is an award winner at the Beauty Awards 2010 and highly commended by the Natural Health Magazine :)   

Aveeno daily moisturising lotion
I have purchased this fragrance free Aveeno daily moisturising lotion a few times from Boots and I use it on my skin before bed on my hands and any dry patches and if I got any sun on my skin during the day.  It makes my skin feel really soft and I can still feel it when I wake up. It has naturally active colloidal oatmeal that moisturises the skin for 24 hours.

However, I was a bit disappointed that it contained paraffinum liquidum, another name for mineral oil. I have read so much about ingredients and I will share some of my findings throughout this blog.

* Mineral Oil (Paraffin oil), a by product of petroleum is a clear, liquid oil with no scent and does not spoil. It is found in baby oil and vaseline also. What I heard is it creates a thin layer on the skin that clogs the pores and is difficult to absorb slowing down the elimination of toxins.*

However the medical community have condemned its use in medication but that the small grade used in cosmetics is perfectly fine. There are so many debates out there about various ingredients, I will bring some to your attention when I see them.  Well the way I see it, there are harmful things in everything, you cant escape it, but what concerns me is the build up over time.  But it's like this, all the skin cancer scares never stops anyone sunbathing does it?

Although there have been so many different speculations about various ingredients that like anything there is always new findings so we can never take anything as fully conclusive.  Plus, I dont want what I hear to stop me from experiencing some great products out there, once they are not packed full of bad stuff and are somewhat natural, I am happy enough to use them.  Here is more about the Aveeno range.

 Skin Wisdom all day light moisture cream
Skin wisdom is a great brand that I stumbled across created for Tesco in partnership with Bharti Vyas, one of the UK's leading beauty therapists.
This is a light moisturising cream that lasts up to 24 hours. I sometimes use it at night or under foundation.  It contains green tea, chamomile and spring sea water, I am almost refreshed just reading the words. 
I find it a cooling and soothing cream.  It is ideal after cleansing and toning and for use day or night.  It has a light natural scent.

I noticed that it contains titanium dioxide and it is another ones of those ingredients that has been pinpointed as carcinogenic (causing cancer), but again many new natural products on the market continue to use it.
This makes me think well when all these natural skincare companies were researching to create all their products, I am sure whatever information they were given cleared any concerns about its use, meaning it is not seen to be harmful. I have rummaged through almost every major makeup brand on the market and it is present in almost every single one, so that must be telling us something.
Here is more about the extensive range of Bharti Vyas Skin Wisdom products available.

Dr. Organic is a great brand I came across recently at Holland and Barrett.  It was the Beauty Insiders' Choice winner, the 2011 Glosscars: Face and Body Best New Brand.
At first I thought it was quite expensive for small packaging ( about 5pounds for the deodorant and 7pounds for the cream) but I just love how natural they are.

* Dry skin
* Sun exposed skin
* Stretch marks
* Scars
* Uneven skin tone

This aloe vera cream is the one I am using on my face every night at the moment after I cleanse.   It is quite soothing and dries in quite quick so sometimes I use a bit more just to get that rub around massage all over my face, get the blood flowing and alowing my face to absorb all the goodness during the night. All the cell renewal happens quicker at night and active ingredients can penetrate more deeply.
The cream is good for dry skin, sun exposed skin, stretch mars, scars and uneven skin tone. It is lovely and cooling for weather-beaten skin, ie.,after a day out in the sun or if my face is feeling hot after a day in the cold and then coming in to the warm makes my skin flush. This is great for cooling it and makes me feel refreshed.

 Well thats all for today guys. I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my fave products to use. I definitely have some more to tell you about, but I'll save that for another day.

Does anyone have any products or tips they swear by?  I would love to hear all about them so share share share away people!   

Best Wishes


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