It should go without out saying… it takes some work and effort to maintain a healthy looking skin! The beauty industry today offers a multitude of choices when it comes to skincare treatments and products. With so many skincare options on the market these days, it can be a bit of a mind-boggle trying to pin-point which products and treatments are right for your skin.
The skin itself is the largest organ of the body measuring roughly 20 square feet – that’s pretty amazing! The skin protects us from harmful elements by regulating body temperature and permitting the sensations of touch, heat and cold. When our bodies experience stress, the skin shows signs of distress in different ways to help make us aware that something is not quite right somewhere – this can show up as breakouts, swelling, discolouration or redness. To help maintain and repair the rate at which the skin functions, it is important to be mindful about how our bodies and skin changes over time. I have written this blog to help you understand how exfoliation as part of a healthy skincare regime can help you keep on top of some good ‘healthy skin habits’.
Book a facial treatment in Southampton with Endulge Holistic Therapy by calling us on 02380 330 283.
Like flower petals, skin cells naturally shed ultimately revealing a new layer of skin roughly every 28 days – this process is called desquamation. The process of desquamation can be affected by lifestyle, face masks, makeup, shaving, sun exposure, the natural ageing process, and other environmental factors. Through desquamation, the skin’s appearance is improved exposing fresh new cells. This natural process needs to happen to keep the skin looking and feeling younger which helps prevent excessive dryness and other skin conditions that can affect the skin’s appearance and texture.
There are a number of ways to assist the rate at which the process of desquamation happens. These methods generally involve exfoliating the outer-most layer of the skin (the epidermis). Skin exfoliation techniques can be adapted dependant on the skin’s thickness (density) and sensitivity. I have listed below different types of mechanical exfoliation options available nowadays:
- Facial/Body Flannels or Exfoliating Clothes/Gloves – these are the most cost-effective option available on the market! They can be used daily or as frequently as needed. Facial/body flannels are usually the most gentle of the two options making them safe for even the most sensitive of skin types.
- Topical Skin Scrubs – these are usually shop-bought or home-made and consist of an abrasive grain and emollient mixture to create an abrasive paste or solution that can be massaged into the skin. Skin scrubs are a luxurious way to mechanically exfoliate the skin and are generally recommended for use 1-3 times a week depending on the grain density and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Facial/Body Brushes – these can be used daily from 1-3 times a week depending on the type of bristles used however it is always advisable to follow manufacturers’ recommendations.
- Skin Abrasive Treatments e.g. dermaplanning, micro or diamond dermabrasion – this type of treatment usually offers a deeper exfoliation process and can be received 1-4 times a month dependant on your needs. These types of treatments are generally recommended as a course of treatments to treat and refine specific skin conditions like large pores, scars, pigmentation and fine lines over a period of time. It is important to note that due to the abrasive process involved with these types of treatments, some may not be suitable for very sensitive skin types.
Don’t be thrown by the word ‘chemical’ – this is simply a phrase used to describe the consistency, different strengths and combinations of nontoxic acid ingredients used in skincare products and treatments. These nontoxic and noninvasive skin treatments are usually derived from natural sources to exfoliate the skin over a period of time. The rate at which the products/treatments work depends on the type of exfoliating (peeling) agent used. I have listed below a number of different types of peels ranging from very superficial to medium/deep respectively:
- PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acids) e.g. our Bio C Peel Facial – these generally are a combination of different mild peeling agents and work in a similar way to AHA however the difference is that they have larger molecules so they cannot penetrate the skin as deeply. Although they are not as deeply penetrative, PHAs like gluconolactone and lactobionic acid have additional hydrating and antioxidant benefits. PHAs are generally suited to more sensitive skin types and so viewed as less irritating than other chemical exfoliants.
- AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) e.g AHA Resurfacing Lotion 8 – these are water-soluble superficial or “light” peels derived from sugary fruits and created to remove only the top-most outer layer of dead skin called the stratum corneum (glycolic acid – sugar cane, malic acid – apples, tartaric acid – grapes). They are an effective way to manage and improve texture, pigmentation, pores or a lacklustre complexion.
- BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acids) e.g Alpha Beta Gel Toner – these are oil-soluble and therefore able to dive deep into pores to dissolve excess sebum that can mix with dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria to cause blemishes (salicylic acid and citric acid). BHA products and treatments are definitely the ‘go to’ if you have concerns about persistent blackheads, spots, general combination to oily skin types, rosacea-related redness and sun damage.
- TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) e.g our new Noninvasive Anti-Ageing Facial – this is a noninvasive medium to deep skin treatment used to treat skin discolorations, scarring, and deep wrinkles. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used to clear away dead skin cells to reveal the newer and smoother skin layers below. When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off over a period of several days to one week. Lighter TCA peels are usually performed in a series of 2 or 3 for best result. This is similar to other light peels that usually involve AHAs. Medium depth TCA peels are usually done once or twice a year and do require some downtime unless otherwise stated by your therapist/physician (usually about a week). TCA peels may be a good option, particularly if you have melasma, because many lasers are difficult to use when treating melasma.
There is clear evidence that exfoliating the skin regularly provides a plethora of benefits whilst improving blood and lymph circulation. Skin exfoliation is also a great prevention and control for bumps resulting from ingrowing hairs. Individuals with thicker skins and coarse hair tend to be the victims of these annoying breakouts; using a face or body scrub at least 24 hours before waxing, shaving or any other form of hair removal unblocks pores preventing new hair growth from being blocked under the skin.
Full body exfoliation is one of the most effective ways of maintaining a healthy complexion and tan throughout the year. It helps you achieve a healthy and even tan that lasts longer naturally – you won’t have to top-up your tan as frequently! Book in for a Nourishing Body Peel for a Himalayan salt top to toe body exfoliation at least a day before your holiday, tan or body wax treatment.
When the skin has been properly exfoliated, treatment serums, moisturisers and other topical products are absorbed much easier by the freshly exposed skin cells promoting better skin hydration levels and elasticity – this also helps to normalise the skin’s natural protective barrier making it more resilient to irritation and other superficial damage. Did I mention skin exfoliation can help knock back signs of ageing? The mechanism of exfoliation acts as a massage to awaken and stimulate the underlying musculature of the skin – this helps relax tight superficial muscles improving their tone… that’s natural anti-ageing at its finest!
If ever in doubt about what types of exfoliation methods are right for you, get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist and advise as much as we can.
It pays off to do something about it now to prevent serious spinal damage and other acute back conditions.
Is your desk job casuing you back pain?
Fatigue from repetitive strain and bad posture can cause muscles to ache and hurt. Poor lifestyle choices today see many of us sitting stationary for long periods of time. This can putt strain on certain muscle groups like the hamstrings, pecs and hip flexors causing them to spasm and ache as a result – the perfect recipe for back pain and other postural related ailments.
What is pain?
Pain can be experienced as an unpleasant emotional or sensory response that most of us would best agree to stay away from. As a sensory response, pain can be the result of actual or impending muscle tissue damage that could be felt as:
Pain that is often severe, of sudden onset and lasts a relatively short time. It may result from an injury or an infection and resolves once healed.
Pain that continues for a long period of time, medically defined as greater than 3 months.
Pain felt in a different part of the body from its cause.
Neck and shoulder pain, sciatica and back pain are conditions I treat on a regular basis in my experience assisting office based workers, folk-lift drivers, taxi drivers and long distance drivers. Some individuals and employers have invested in ergonomic furnishing and props to help reduce the impact that sedentary lifestyles have on the body.
This method of self-help does not guarantee long-term postural correction for the lumbar, thoracic and cervical portions of the spine because back pain is a common result of a “muscular imbalance”. Muscular imbalances occur when muscles are not working well together. This can cause pain and discomfort in the affected areas putting stress on our joints. It has recently been reported that back pain is an important public health issue today and affects more than 16 million people in the UK alone.
Approximately 80% of the adult population will experience back pain at some time in their life (Gordon and Bloxham, 2016) (Phillips et al, 1992). These statistics could be linked to the rapid development of modern technology which can affect our lifestyle and occupation (Li and Haslegrave, 1999).
How does a sedentary lifestyle affect the body?
When we are sat down, certain group of muscles tense and contract to support movement, stability and grip. Take for example the rib cage muscles… when these muscles contract and shorten, the rib cage compresses downwards while the muscles of upper back perform an opposing action, pulling and rounding the back of the neck and shoulders. This can form a tightness in the chest and shoulders from a hunched neck and back. The opposing action between muscles engaged when sedentary also affect hip flexors and hamstrings – these muscles give support to the pelvis and so can be linked to lower back pain where there are imbalances.
Kuo, Tully and Galea (2009) found that older adults (over 60 years) demonstrated significantly increased thoracic kyphosis and decreased lumbar spine flexion in a study about changes in sagittal spinal posture of healthy older adults.
This suggests that these particular individuals need specific attention to help improve their posture alignment. It is important to note here that sedentary lifestyles raise the risk of chronic back pain; a study by Celik and Mutlu (2013) states that prolonged postural activities such as prolonged desk work like computer typing could contribute to the formation or propagation of a myofascial trigger point as a result of back pain.
Spinal Curvature Examples
What is a Myofascial trigger point (MTrP) ?
If you can imagine the fibres of a muscle… they normally run alongside each other, parallel, neat and tidy. A trigger point causes the fibres to wind and form into what’s called a “muscle knot”. Now imagine a section of those muscle fibres replicating spaghetti all tangled up. Consistent use of the affected muscle could cause muscular stress and a manifestation discomfort or pain.
The stress impacting these muscle is particularly irritating on the muscle which makes it hyper-tonic and hyperactive. The body’s natural reaction to this is to form a trigger point which creates patches of poor circulation in and around the affected muscle. A lack of proper circulation can create pockets of metabolic wastes with high acidity that can cause the affected muscle group to perpetuate at a vicious cycle. (Gerwin, Dommerholt and Shah 2004, pp. 468-475).
Many advanced techniques used in massage therapy can help untangle and distress affected massage through;
- a reduction in physical and psychological stress.
- an improvement to sleep quality and quantity.
- a reduction in muscle pain, tension and discomfort.
- a decrease in toxin and waste buildup.
- a decrease in muscle and joint soreness after exercise and physical activity.
- an increase in muscle flexibility and range of joint motion.
- an enhancement in muscle performance.
- an improvement to recovery time post injury.
Massage therapy is an effective hands-on way for managing physical pain, and is to be encouraged as part of a healthy lifestyle. If you are in pain or discomfort and perhaps relying on short-term remedies like painkillers, consider a sports massage for long-term pain management. Sports massage lends itself as a soft tissue therapy for acute pain relief where your GP might be unable to assist.
During a sports massage appointment, your posture and movement will be examined and assessed to identify weak dysfunctional muscles and other problem areas. This enables your therapist to recommend suitable aftercare and exercises.
We advise that you schedule an appointment for an assessment if you experience frequent back pain and other upper body pain that lasts longer than a week.
Author: Michael Webb-Wood, Sports Massage Therapist.
When it comes to protecting and nourishing dry, brittle hair, hot oil treatments are a popular option. This is why we have added Naturallythinking’s Organic Hair Shots to our Indian head massage treatments, in light of providing you with a well-rounded therapeutic treatment.
What are Naturallythinking Organic Hair Shots?
These powerful hair shots are 100% natural chemical free hair treatment oils formulated with an infusion of botanical extracts to help boost shine, manageability and vitality of your hair. Naturallythinking Hair Shots are designed to be heated and applied directly. Doing this on a weekly basis will restore balance and vitality to hair – here are the blends we have available:
- Argan & Sesame Organic Lush Hair Shot – For shiny hair
- Babassu & Carrot Organic Dry Hair Shot Revive – For dry hair
- Sage & Coconut Hair De-Greasing Hair Shot – For oily hair
At the start of your Indian head massage treatment, your therapist will present a selection of 3 hair shots to choose from that will be applied to your scalp and pulled through your hair strands. Your hair shot will be heated then applied to your hair during your scalp massage to stimulate and encourage healthy hair growth.
Why not treat yourself or loved one to a head massage at home?
Pick up your Naturallythinking Hair Shots on your next visit to us, or simply order them online. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform a head massage using a Hair Shot at home:
- Shampoo hair to remove any residue and towel dry.
- Heat your hair shot in a small bowl of very hot water for 3 minutes.
- Gradually work the oil across your scalp massaging thoroughly for 3 – 5 minutes. Work in small circles around hairline and into temples pinching and lifting the scalp from your skull.
- Work the oil outwards to the tips of your hair.
- Cover hair a shower cap and a hot towel to warm and open hair follicles.
- Remove the towel when it is cold and leave the shower cap on for a further 30 minutes.
- Rinse hair with clean warm water to re-activate the oil giving it an extra boost of shine.
- Cool the water down and shampoo your hair
- Let your hair air dry for as long as possible to prevent heat damage from blow drying. Repeat weekly to maintain optimum condition.
Guy’s… this is no fad! Facials are a great way to maintain a healthy looking skin whilst dealing with any underlying male skin problems. Men, just like women, deal with issues like ageing, pigmentation, sensitivity, and acne. Male skin health is shaped not only by genes, but also by lifestyle choices. Treating male skin effectively begins with an understanding of physiology. Like all professional skin care, an effective regime depends ultimately upon one’s specific needs and lifestyle.
The biggest difference between male and female skin is due to the male sex hormones known collectively as androgens. Testosterone is the chief sex hormone of this group – adult males produce about 10 times as much testosterone as women. Testosterone promotes hair growth, triggering the production of terminal body hair (thick, long, dark hair) in areas such as the face, underarms, and genital area right from puberty. This can extend to the arms, legs, chest and the rest of the body.
Male Facial Hair
As a result, facial hair tends to be thicker than scalp hair with a flatter shaped follicle, making it curlier – a distressing quality especially for males who experience razor-burn after shaving. Regular shaving itself has a tendency to irritant the skin causing dryness, redness, and sometimes a rough uneven skin surface. Scheduling a facial from time to time can do wonders in assisting your skin to heal much faster, adding hydration and moisture to targeted areas. Your therapist or barber, can also help advice you on suitable products for shaving, cleansing and male skin protection that you can use at home to maintain healthy results.
Male hair removal
When it comes to facial hair removal, shaving is the most preferred by the majority, however waxing and threading have been known to offer more advantages over shaving. The biggest drawback to waxing and threading is the discomfort, however when done properly, the sensation only lasts a few seconds and gradually reduces with experience. Here are some benefits of facial waxing and threading:
Benefits of male waxing
- It is quick and lasts about three to six weeks before the hair reappears.
- Hair that grows back after a facial wax tends to be lighter and less noticeable.
- It’s a great way to exfoliate your skin.
- It provides more control and precision when it comes to shape-ups.
- It leaves you with more time on your hands to do other things.
- It is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than shaving.
If you are considering a facial wax or threading, we recommend that you book this in before your facial for the best results. A good therapist or barber will normally recommend you to have the treatment in the same appointment so your skin can heal and recover even faster.
High testosterone levels in male skin generally causes male skin to produce more oil than female skin – this is an important factor to bare in mind when it comes to cleansing the skin. Use of suitable male skin cleansers is recommended to prevent pores from clogging up which can lead to blackheads and pimples. We recommend having a professional facial once to twice a month where an extraction is included to remove blackheads and shrink the size of large pores. Extraction is achievable at home however doing it yourself can risk serious skin damage.
Having a facial is also a great way to destress and relax! Aside from pampering and relaxation, a facial can bring about many therapeutic and age-defying effects. Just as you keep up with a regular weight lifting regimen, facial massages stimulate your facial muscles to tone and keep them from sagging with age and stress. This generally helps to increase blood and oxygen supply around the skull flashing toxins away that sometimes lead to things like headaches and migraines. Tense facial muscles create more stress on your skin thereby causing more wrinkles to appear.
If you like what you have read, share this and follow us for weekly tips on how to maintain a healthy skin and body. Checkout our special offers page for a chance to save on your treatments.
We are changing the way we massage you – BABOR massage oils will be replaced with our very own blends of deeply nourishing aromatherapy balms!
Handmade Aromatherapy Balms
A small range of high quality organic aromatherapy balms will be introduced this February to compliment the current range of massage treatments – here are the new aromatherapy blends:
Calming and Balancing – Rose, Jasmine and Pachouli
A powerful sweet and spicy ‘heady’ aromatherapy blend useful for restoring energy, calming nerves, relieving anxiety and providing a feeling of confidence.
Calming and Relaxing – Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Sandalwood
A sweet floral aromatherapy blend with deep notes that induce a better quality of sleep and the feeling of inner peace. Helps to alleviate nervous exhaustion, headaches, stress, shock, depression and emotionally fatigue.
Warming and Stimulating – Basil, Camphor, Clove and Petitgrain
A powerful uplifting fresh woody aromatherapy blend that eases congestion and mental fatigue, relieves aches and pains, and clears the mind of worries and clutter aiding concentration for a better sense of freedom.
Why a Balm instead of Oil?
A balm is a solid anhydrous (no water) formulation of fragrant oils, herbs, waxes or butters used to heal, soothe or treat minor skin conditions.
The thick consistency of balms make them excellent travel companions – this is why they are most notably used as baby nappy soothers and for dry and chapped lip therapy. Balms protect the skin’s natural barrier providing strength to thin sensitive skin types.
My passion and love for all things skin-related led me to introduce a select range of multitasking and vegan-friendly balms that work exceptionally well on all skin types. I have handmade these aromatherapy balms to work as massage mediums, as well as dry and sensitive skin soothers for the skin, nails and cuticles – here are some of the other benefits of using the balms:
Provide long-lasting nourishment for skin without clogging pores.
Conditions and softens body hair without making it matt.
Treats and heals a plethora of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Intensely nourishes skin without leaving a greasy feeling.
Skin instantly feels softer with improved elasticity.
Why use Shea butter, Macadamia and Jojoba Oil?
- Contains Vitamins A and E which are particularly helpful for repairing and healing sun damaged skin pollution.
- High quantities of Vitamin F uniquely found in Shea which acts as a rejuvenator on peeling skin.
- Contains mild sunscreen protection to help with overall sun protection and photo damage prevention.
- Softens and heals cracked dry skin conditions.
- Exceptionally high in Palmitoleic acid and Phytosterols which help stimulate and mantain skin collagen production.
- Balances sebum levels of the skin.
- Powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties makes it ideal for use with sunburn.
- Helps reduce trans-epidermal water-loss which helps retain skin moisture.
- Mimics human sebum which makes it supremely nourishing.
- Jojoba also has a natural SPF of 5 which further enhances its skin caring benefits.
- Has anti-fungal properties that treat and prevent infections that often arise from athlete’s foot, warts, eczema and psoriasis rashes.
- Naturally has a long shelf life of 2-3 years.
Buy your own Aromatherpy Balms
Grab your hands on 1 or 2 of our gorgeously scented aromatherapy balms in 15ml trial sizes for only £5.00 whilst stocks last! Order yours today over the phone, or simply pick them up on your next visit. Stock available from Tuesday 6th February, 2018.
Movement is a natural animalistic skill practiced by all of us during the course of our lives. For this reason, stretching exercises play a big part in improving and maintaining our overall health and wellness. Exercise in general is performed for various reasons, including
- increases muscles strength and stamina
- muscle toning and conditioning
- maintaining healthy joint mobility and muscle flexibility
- preventing the signs of aging
- maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system
- weight loss or maintenance
- managing stress and depression
- and also for enjoyment
Stretching your body frequently and regularly also acts to boost the immune system and aids in the prevention of joint restriction and “diseases of affluence” such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, carpal tunnel and obesity.
To understand why this is, it is importance to take a look at the development of exercise through history. Since the dawn of humankind, physical development has followed a natural path that was determined by the practical demands of life in a wild like avoiding threats to survive. Primeval times presented harsher environments full of natural and human obstacles which meant that early man had to know not only how to run, but also walk, balance, jump, crawl, climb, lift, carry, throw, catch, and fight. Between 4,000 BC and 476 AD, civilizations rose and fell through war and conquest imposing physical training on boys and young men in preparing for battle. Later, civilized populations valued the physical culture for sports – seeing the birth of the first Olympic games created by the ancient Greeks. These early sports were all based on practical, natural movement skills and were fundamentally related to the preparedness needed for war. Later, the Romans celebrated the body’s beauty and strength embracing physical training as a philosophical ideal, and an essential part of a complete education; they celebrated the idea of having a sound mind in a sound body. Physical culture started to rise beyond practical necessities to become a means to an end — an “art de vivre”!
During the dark ages (5th – 15th century), education was centered around the Church, focusing on cultivating the mind rather than training the body. It is in this period that the body was seen as sinful and unimportant, spreading the belief that the primary concern of one’s lifetime was preparing for the afterlife. In 1553, the first book to exclusively address the benefits of physical exercise was published classifying, analyzing, and describing exercises, games, and sports from a medical standpoint. Advice was also offered on how to prevent and recover from injuries resulting from these physical pursuits. Over the years, the more civilized populations saw the introduction of modern gyms and workout programs.
The advancements in technology over the course of the last century has majorly impacted the modern lifestyle, making fitness an accessory to the modern man and woman through a luck of motivation; it is up to each of us to exercise or not! Generally most people don’t, and being out of shape has become both ubiquitous and commonly accepted. Despite the plethora of health and fitness methods, programs, and resources we have today, the general population has never been so physically sedentary and out-of-shape resulting in a decline in health today.
“A pattern that had been familiar throughout history is that after a war is fought and won, the tendency is for society to relax, enjoy life, and exercise less. … It appears that as societies become too enamored with wealth, prosperity and self-entertainment, fitness levels drop. In addition, as technology has advanced with man, the levels of physical fitness have decreased.” –Lance C. Dalleck and Len Kravitz
With today’s modern working lifestyles and demands, we find ourselves glued to our desks more frequently, spending longer hours at our desks and in the workplace with a luck of a wide range of movement. This also relates to the cultural changes we have seen and experienced through the advancements in technology where some of us may find ourselves spending long periods of time using mobile phones, watching television or driving for long hours at a time. Our luck of movement generally creates stresses on certain muscles groups that should be stretched and exercised more frequently. Below is a video I found that I feel explains different types of movement and training programs that help us increase our range of movement for a more resilient and balanced body.
As a holistic therapist, I have had the opportunity to experience and treat some common ailments that many of us live with on a daily basis such as neck ache, backache, headaches, shoulder pain and fatigue through the lifestyle choices we all make. Today, stretching and exercising comes in many forms as we have seen in the video above. Through physical exercises like Pilates, Yoga, Ballet and Martial Arts, we can rip some of the many benefits to be experienced from these activities to gradually improve our physical postures for an improved mental and spiritual well being. Practicing these exercises for at least 15 minutes a day may also help increase quality of sleep and act as a non-pharmaceutical sleep aid to treat diseases such as insomnia, help promote or maintain positive self-esteem, improve mental health, maintain steady digestion and treat constipation and gas, regulate fertility health, and augment an individual’s sex appeal or body image, which has been found to be linked with higher levels of self-esteem.
I have demonstrated some stretching exercises above that I feel work quite well in keeping the upper body flexible and well-balanced. These exercises relieve tension pains caused by being stationery and using the hands when typing at a computer desk or using mobile phones for long periods of time. I recommend practicing these particular exercises for at least 3 minutes every 2 hours to keep neck ache, shoulder pain and backache at bay. Massages are also a great way to stretch and elongate the muscles to prevent and relieve the body from aches and pains that arise from lifestyle and injuries. For further advice on safe stretching exercises that can help improve your flexibility and general physical condition, please feel free to get in touch. If you are considering taking up an activity like Pilates, Yoga or Ballet, simply get in touch with Cherry’s Fitness Suite for more information on individual or group classes.
Source: Wikipedia, Art of manliness, Youtube
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Tel: 02380 330 283