Category Archives: Beauty & Skincare

Feet Need Pampering Too

After work your feet may need some extra special care and attention, especially if you have been on them all day.

  • At night, try to find the time to lie down, raise your feet and relax for a while. This will ease the pressure off them and improves circulation.
  • To stimulate the circulation, give your feet a good scrub in warm water. A foot spa is perfect. Rub the dry skin with a pumice stone. Some ideas for an extra special foot treat are to put 3 drops each of peppermint and lavender into your foot spa or in a tub of warm water. Alternatively these essential oils may be put into 15g of base cream. And applied whenever you need to.
  • Tinea can be relieved by putting 2 drops each of tea tree oil and myrrh into 15 gm of base cream. Apply to the affected area 2 times per day. You can put the essential oils into some water and bathe the area as well if preferred.
  • Put a handful of epsom salts or baking soda and 3 drops of lavender oil into a foot spa along with a few drops of cider vinegar to also relieve athlete’s foot, itching or tinea.
  • Always dry your feet and toes well to prevent any fungus growing between the toes.
  • Cut the toenails across instead of round the edge of the toe to prevent ingrown nails.
  • Every night massage a good quality moisturiser into the feet to prevent the heels cracking and to protect the skin.
  • Fallen arches or ‘flat feet’ can be caused by bad posture. They cause your feet to roll inwards at the ankle. This can cause pain. An arch support may be used to strengthen the area.
  • Foot odour happens when the feet are most and warm and the sweat cannot dry up. It is better to air your feet than to bombard it with too many strong scents and perfumes. But if it is urgent that the odour be removed, these creams and powders are available from the Pharmacy.

Looking After Your Breasts

It is important to always look after your breast as they have to last you a lifetime and endure your monthly cycle as well as childbirth, breastfeeding and age.

A bra which fits well is imperative. It must support the breasts and not be either too large or too small.  A loose bra will not support you adequately and a bra which is too small will rub against your skin and cause friction.

Always wear a well supporting bra when you are exercising or playing sports. You are able to buy special sports bras for this purpose.

To check your proper bust measurements –

Measure the fullest part of your bust, then measure the area above the bust. The difference between these measurements gives the cup size. They are as follows:-

  • A – between 1 – 4 cm difference
  • B – between 4 – 6 cm difference
  • C – between 6 – 9 cm difference
  • D – between 9 – 12 cm difference

When trying on bras, check the following for a great fit –

  • the cup needs to completely cover the breast (unless the design is more cut away). If your skin is bulging over the top or at the sides of the bra, the cup is too small. The sides of the cup should not be filled with space and wrinkled up because the breast does not fill it up.
  • the bra should fit well around the body – not too tight that it will cause friction and also not too loose so it will not give adequate support. You may also loosen or tighten the hooks at the back of the bra for a better fit. Try to wear a new bra on the loosest fitting as the bra will inevitably stretch with use and you can always tighten it up with time. If you start off on the tightest hook, and the bra stretches it will become useless.
  • The centre of the bra should lie against the breast bone if it lies away from the bone the cup is too small for you.

During Breastfeeding

  • Blocked milk ducts 

sometimes this can occur when the breast hasn’t emptied fully, you are not nursing your child in the correct position, missing feeds or the child is not nursing for long enough periods. Your breasts may feel uncomfortable. You can try to express some milk yourself.

  • Engorgement 

this can occur when your breasts are too full. This usually occurs when the mild first comes in. You can usually relieve it by having a warm shower and expressing some of the milk.

Sometimes the breasts are too tight for the baby to feed properly – just

express a little before feeding to soften them up.

  • Sore nipples –

if your baby is not sucking correctly on your nipples, they can become sore. They will heal quickly if the position is corrected. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, feed on the other side. Nipples tend to heal quickly, so try to keep going with your breast feeding. See our Pharmacist for products that may help the soreness and bring you some relief.

Some good products for your breasts while breastfeeding are – either honey or almond oil and calendula ointment.

Homoeopathic remedies include arnica, and calendula taken internally as well as in the form of an ointment. These are available from our pharmacy

 

Fungal Nail Infections and Brittle Nails

These are conditions in which a white, cheese-like material appears under the nail and the nail itself may crumble. Conventional treatment requires you to use anti-fungal preparations. If you want to try natural approaches, you can bathe the nail in a calendula solution, eat more natural yoghurts as well as brewer’s yeast.  This problem usually occurs when the skin under the nail is wet or damp for too long.

Brittle nails may be the result of a weakness in your digestive processes and you may try a teaspoon of apple-cider vinegar before each meal

Keeping Your Nails In Good Condition

You will keep your nails in top shape by following these few simple procedures  –

  • If your nails break often, keep them fairly short.
  • Never use your nails to open tins and other containers with.
  • Do not cut nails with scissors as this tends to weaken them. Use a nail file or emery board. File in one direction from the side to the centre. Do not rub back and forth. Have the emery board on a slight angle while filing the nail.
  • Use a good quality nail polish remover and don’t pick at old nail polish. Do not use straight acetate to remove old nail polish – use the cosmetic types as they have inbuilt moisturisers which condition the nail and do not cause nail damage.
  • There are numerous great nail moisturisers on the market that harden and condition the nail at the same time.
  • A more natural approach is to soak your nails in a basin of hot almond or wheatgerm oil for 10 minutes. Of course ensure that the oil is not too hot or you will be burnt.
  • You can push back your cuticles with special cuticle removers and a special hand cream – available at your local pharmacy. Do not ever cut your cuticles.
  • When polishing nails, use a base and a top coat, which gives extra protection and thickness. Be sure to ‘tip’ the top edge to seal the nail.
  • Apply the polish sparingly. It is better to apply a thin coat as it will not chip as quickly.
  • Remember, pale or natural shades of colour tend to make the hands look older, so wear more daring colours for a more youthful appearance.

About Your Nails

Your nails are produced by living skin cells however the nail itself is dead.   The part of the nail you can see is called the nail body and the shape of it is a result of hereditary factors. The bottom of the nail is called the ‘root’ of the nail and is firmly embedded in a groove in the skin. The ‘cuticle’ overlaps the root and this is where the nail grows from.

As the nail cells divide and move upwards, they become thicker and tougher with keratin and when they die, they become part of the nail.

This dead cell material which is the nail as we know it, can vary in texture, strength and flexibility depending on the condition of the original living cells, the nail bed and your general health.

If your nails are not as strong and healthy looking as you would like, this may be an indication that your overall health and nutrition needs to be examined.

If you have ridges going lengthwise along the nail, you may have an iron deficiency, if there are white spots on the nails, a zinc or vitamin A deficiency may be the cause, while white pits or grooves can indicate anaemia or a calcium imbalance may be evident. You will need to see a professional to confirm this.

There are other factors which may weaken the nails, such as strong detergents, and constant barrage of chemicals from nail preparations.

Dry and Chapped Lips

This can result from too much exposure to the sun, dehydration or low sebum oils released into the skin.

You may also be lacking in folic acid and vitamins B2B6 and B12.   You could try and eat more green, leafy vegetables, potatoes, citrus fruits, liver and kidney, yeast extract.

Also using a moisturiser on your lips may help with dryness

Hair Removal

There are places that you just do not want to have hair – your bikini line, under your arms, your lips and other facial areas and legs.

Waxing

Hot waxing is very popular. Beauticians use hot wax to remove unwanted hairs.   The wax is placed on the area with a thick blunt knife and left for a few moments to harden, and then pulled off (along with the hairs). This process is relatively quick and lasts for up to a few weeks or a month depending on how quickly your hair grows.

Problems can be that it is painful in sensitive areas and some people are prone to ingrown hairs.

You can wax at home and there are products available at our pharmacy for this purpose. You need some patience and time to get the correct technique going. Always test the wax on your hand first as hot wax may burn you. If you don’t get all the hairs out in one go, let the skin cool for a minute before reapplying.

Sugaring

This is a relatively messy technique yet some believe it is less painful than waxing and cleaner. Probably best to see a qualified sugaring therapist. This technique has been used since Cleopatra’s day.

Shaving

This is quick, cheap, done at home and is very commonly used by a lot of women. There can be problems however with cuts, ingrown hairs. Always use sharp razors. Apparently it is a myth that shaving makes the hairs grow back thicker and stronger. The hair will grow back exactly as it always has – shaving or no shaving.

Laser Hair Removal

This is relatively new on the hair removal scene. It involves light energy being beamed from a laser. The melanin absorbs the light energy in the hair follicles and is destroyed. The follicle stops producing hairs. But before you all rush out and try this technique – the hair goes through three phases – growing, intermediate and resting.

The melanin is only present during the growing phase. Therefore not all the follicles can be treated at the same time. Only the visible hairs can be destroyed at any one time.

This technique is best on people with white skin and black hairs. The more colour you have in your skin, the more pain and reaction you can expect to have. See someone qualified to give you a run down on this new technique.

Aromatherapy For Hair Care

Aromatherapy is ideal for use in the hair and can improve the condition of the scalp. Use one of the following blends before you shampoo your hair.   Pick the blend which best matches your hair type. Mix the essential oils into a base or carrier oil, then massage the scalp. Put a shower cap on (to trap the heat) and then wrap hair and shower cap in a towel to condition and strengthen the hair.

Wait at least 1 hour before washing your hair.

The following blends should be mixed into 20 ml (1 tablespoon) of carrier oil. A good carrier oil for hair is jojoba.

Oily Hair –

Blend 4 drops of basil essential oil, 4 drops of cypress oil and 2 drops of rosemary oil into the carrier oil.

Dry Hair –

3 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops of sandalwood oil and 3 drops of geranium oil.

Normal Hair –

3 drops of rosemary oil, 3 drops of lemon oil and 4 drops of geranium oil.

Dandruff –

4 drops lavender oil, 4 drops geranium oil, 2 drops of sandalwood oil.

Greasy dandruff –

3 drops of tea tree oil, 1 drop rosemary oil, 2 drops juniper oil, 2 drops cedarwood oil and 2 drops lemon oil.


Tips For Great Hair

  • Have regular haircuts to keep your hair in great condition and style.
  • Condition your hair regularly and once per week give it an intensive treatment  – these are available from your local pharmacy.
  • Do not blow dry your hair if it is ringing wet as this can cause too much damage.
  • Use products which protect your hair before blow drying.
  • Don’t brush wet hair
  • If you colour your own hair, always do a patch test before applying the colour all over.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the advice of a hairdresser or one of the trained professionals at our pharmacy before applying a colour yourself
  • Don’t choose a colour too much darker than your natural colour as you can always go darker later on. Do it gradually.
  • If your hair is in poor condition, do not colour it. Ask our advice.
  • Products to have on hand at home are – mousse, hairdryer, hairspray and velcro rollers.

Caring For Your Hair

Good hair care starts with how you treat your hair, body and scalp.  

Most hair problems are essentially problems with the scalp which can be affected by the over-production or under-production of oils, dermatitis and infections. Stress and how well your body absorbs the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients also affects the hair growth. If your hair is over-oily, too dry, brittle, falling out,  splitting or the general condition is poor – this can be an indication that your general health may need to be examined. 

A nutritional deficiency may be the cause of some hair problems. Some say that our hair is a reflection of our general health.

Your Hair Type

Hair tends to fall into certain categories. Some people have oily hair which means that the sebaceous glands are slightly overactive, producing more oil. This extra oil lubricates the hair and skin and gives them a more ‘greasy’ appearance. Your hair may also be dry with split ends. This is the result of an underactive sebaceous gland. You also may have dry hair as a result of excessive use of chemical products on your hair. You may be one of the lucky ones and have normal hair which is neither too oily or too dry.

Dandruff is also a problem which may be encountered either with oily or dry types. This condition is the result of a disorder in the sebaceous gland in the scalp, which produces more scales of skin than necessary.

Nutrition for Hair

The best way you can care for your hair nutritionally is to…

  • eat plenty of natural foods that come from a balanced diet,
  • get plenty of aerobic exercise,
  • limit your intake of the ‘naughty’ things such as refined foods, alcohol, sugar, caffeine and highly saturated fatty foods.
  • You may consider taking a supplement of essential fatty acids (or eating more apricots, wheatgerm and linseed oils), silica, or a good multivitamin preparation.

Some hair problems can also be caused by a deficiency in zincvitamin Avitamin B12vitamin C or iron. Brewer’s yeast and vitamin B5 are also good for the hair. It is not wise to take the vitamin B’s separately – take them as acomplex or group.

Nutrition for the different hair types-

  • Oily hair types – eat more fresh fruit and foods containing vitamin B2, such as brewer’s yeast, natural yoghurt, cheese, eggs, liver, spinach, brussel sprouts and other green leafed vegetables.
  • Dry hair/split end types – eat more of the essential fatty acids. Such as avocados, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, yeast extract, tomatoes and egg yolk, cheese and natural yoghurt, milk.
  • Dandruff types – eat more brown rice, wholegrain breads and pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables, and rich protein foods such as meat, eggs, nuts and milk.

General Hair Care

  • Brushing –

 

 

It is a good idea to brush your hair before washing it to remove the dead skin cells and to remove any tangles. Always be careful of the ends while brushing, to avoid breakages and splitting. Brush slower through the ends and be gentle. Use bristle brushes as these brushes distribute the oils more evenly, coating and nourishing the ends of your hair.

  • Washing Your Hair –

 

Always choose a good shampoo which is suitable for your hair type. You can also add some aromatherapy essential oils to the shampoo to aid certain conditions and hair types.

To wash hair –

  • Use warm water to wet the hair – water which is too hot can burn your scalp and hair.
  • Use only a small amount of shampoo and place into your palm.
  • Smooth the shampoo over your hair with your fingers.
  • Massage the shampoo into your hair for about 1 – 2 minutes. (the massage is great for your scalp and circulation).
  • If your hair is long – don’t lather up the ends as they will get washed as you rinse your hair.
  • Rinse out the shampoo – if there is a lot of lather, your shampoo may be high in detergent and not as good for your hair. Make sure you rinse all the shampoo out.
  • You do not have to shampoo again unless the hair is particularly dirty.
  • Do not brush your hair at this stage when it is wet as the hair is very weak and can break easily.
  • Condition your hair with a conditioner which suits your hair type as well. If your scalp is oily – don’t put the conditioner on the scalp, use on the ends only.
  • Leave the conditioner on for the required time (usually 1-5 minutes) and rinse out thoroughly.

Note – about once per week, invest in a protein conditioner or a more intensive treatment. This is good for dry hair or hair which has been treated with chemicals.  Comb through and cover with a shower cap and towel. Leave for one hour and shampoo out. 
(
see section on aromatherapy for the hair)

Remember also not to brush hair when it is wet – use a wide toothed comb to get out the tangles. This is when the hair is particularly vulnerable and can break easy.

  • Drying Your Hair –

 

If you wash your hair everyday, it is a good idea not to blow dry it everyday as well. This can cause damage to the hair shaft and split ends. Try to let it dry naturally every second time you wash your hair at least. Put the dryer on a low setting and do not use it too close to your hair.

  • Hair cuts –

 

You should have regular cuts – at least every 6 weeks to remove the longest ends. Speak with your hairdresser about the condition of your hair. He or she may also recommend having a conditioning treatment at the same time.