Aug 30

Your path to healthy skin

 

Looking for natural remedies to treat acne, eczema and other skin conditions? The dermatologist and nutritionist share their expert tips.

 

The experts show us how to optimise your diet for clearer, healthier, brighter skin. 

ACNE

» Dermatologist says: “Look for products that are non-comedogenic, so they do not block pores or cause acne. Key pore-clearing ingredients include salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acids) and many vitamin A products. Also look for anti-inflammatory components such as benzoyl peroxide, zinc and niacinamide. You should look for products that are not too creamy or rich. Even without pore-blocking ingredients, oily or excessively moisturising products will have a detrimental effect on the skin. Go for mineral make-up and combination creams like BB and CC creams.”

» Nutritionist says: “Consume a diet low in added sugars and avoid all highly refined, processed foods. Consume three to five cups of bright-coloured vegetables per day and consider supplements such as zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. There are also natural, DIY methods. Antibacterial tea tree oil and witch hazel are often used on acne-prone skin. Or try combining sea salt and coconut oil and using as a natural exfoliate scrub for congested skin.”

ECZEMA 

» Dermatologist says: “Corticosteroids or calcineurin antagonists may be used to help reduce inflammation and itch. Antihistamines may also help reduce the itch, while antibiotics may be required if infections are severe. Stick to cotton clothing, avoiding wool and synthetics, and you can also use wet dressings to help soothe the skin and reduce itchiness. Cosmetics are best avoided, but if necessary, look for ones that are hypoallergenic. Generally, food avoidance is not useful, but avoiding dairy products, nuts, eggs, chocolate, citrus fruits and wheat products may help.”

» Nutritionist says: “Implement an elimination diet to determine possible food triggers, consume an anti-inflammatory, plant-based, whole food diet and consider supplements such as fish oil, vitamin E and probiotics. For eczema, coconut oil may also be of benefit as it’s deeply moisturising and improves skin barrier function. Honey is also great, incorporated into a DIY face mask. It’s antibacterial and a humectant, attracting water to help keep dry skin hydrated.”

COLD SORES

» Dermatologist says: “Overtopical astringents and topical Zovirax (acyclovir), cold sores are best treated by oral treatments of anti-virals like acyclovir, valalcyclovir and Famciclovir.”

» Nutritionist says: “Address aggravating factors like food, lifestyle and stress. Avoid chocolate, peanuts and almonds and try to manage stress levels. Start incorporating foods that are high in lysine such as fish, chicken, beef, lamb, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast and mung bean sprouts and take supplements like lysine, zinc and vitamin C.”

PSORIASIS 

» Dermatologist says: “There is no single treatment that will cure psoriasis. However, it is possible to control it and sometimes clear it. Certain medications can slow down the rate at which the skin cells are produced, but it takes several weeks for your condition to improve. Sunlight helps to clear psoriasis, which is why it usually improves over summer. Remember that psoriatic skin is more easily damaged than normal skin, so you may need to consider skin protection if your job involves hard, manual work.”

» Nutritionist says: “Look into possible food sensitivities and avoid potential triggers such as alcohol, gluten and dairy. Consume three to five cups of fresh vegetables per day and include turmeric, garlic and ginger. Supplements to take alongside may include fish oil, digestive enzymes, vitamin E and vitamin A.”

Check out our health and beauty section for more tips and tricks.

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Aug 30

5 ways to promote a healthy brain

 

A healthy brain is an important aspect to a healthy body. Reflect, play, rest, move and mingle to promote brain health.

 

Reflect

Meditation improves memory, increases brain size, improves cooperation between brain hemispheres and enhances emotional intelligence according to the Exploration of Consciousness Research Institute. A separate study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience concluded that participating in an eight-week meditation training program was evident in brain function outside of meditation sessions.

TRY IT: High Performance Coach Stephanie Kakris, who teaches meditation, recommends starting with a guided meditation using an app such as Relax and Rest, which gives five-, 13- or 20-minute options with music or nature sounds.

Play
Whether cerebral exercises have any long-term effect on mental performance remains inconclusive, but play has been shown to hone brain processes neglected in routine-driven adult life. “The main problem is that although people can train themselves to do better on particular tasks, the performance improvement rarely generalises to other tasks and abilities,” says professor Nick Haslam, of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.

TRY IT: Neuroscientists have designed a series of games called Lumosity to help challenge certain parts of your brain. The online and smartphone resource let’s you exercise core cognitive abilities whenever and wherever you like.

Nap
There’s no greater smart sabotage than undersleeping. Conversely, fixing your sleep habits can give you an instant thinking edge. “Being well rested means you will use your cognitive skills more efficiently because tiredness, anxiety and stress interfere with mental clarity, focus and concentrated effort,” says Prof Haslam.

TRY IT: Sleeping for as little as an hour less than you need to each night incrementally nets a costly sleep debt according to studies at University of Pennsylvania and the Walter Reed Research Institute. Participants who slept for six hours a night for a fortnight exhibited cognitive parallels to being legally drunk. Aim for eight hours.

Move
Vigorous physical exercise has been shown to have long- and short-term brain benefits. Findings published in Behavioural Brain Research suggest certain hormones, which are increased during exercise, may help improve memory and processing speed.

TRY IT: Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into most, if not all, days of the week. You can break it into short bouts such as three 10-minute sessions each day. 

If you’re the adventurous type, Anaconda is here to help you gear up with the latest sports, health and fitness gear. Give your brain a refreshing boost by getting fresh air and stimulate your brain’s function and boost development.

Mingle
Networking serves as intensive training in social intelligence. “A big part of success in life is the ability to build strong interpersonal relationships – be they in a netball team, a family unit or at work,” says Kakris.

TRY IT Mixing with new people, ideas and environments exposes you to new ideas, ways of thinking and perspectives, which can expand the framework within which you think. Face-to-face is ideal, but social media can also serve as a sort of cognitive gym according to Florida behaviour therapist Andrea Kuszewski.

Here are 5 other tips to keep your brain healthy.

 

 

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