Action on Eczema

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Skincare


Well in case you missed it, September held  National Eczema Week and I have a number of suggestions for anyone suffering from this distressing condition.

First you are definitely not alone as currently one in five children and one in twelve adults in the UK are affected. The National Eczema Society is offering a free booklet to help patients and carers cope with one of the most distressing symptoms of eczema – the itch. Normally there is a charge for this, unless you are a member, but until 31 October you can get your free copy by emailing or call the very useful National Eczema Society helpline on 0800 089 1122.

Why me?

Bottom line is that skin affected by eczema releases chemicals which stimulate the nerves and the nerves pass the itch sensation to the brain, and so you scratch and make everything worse. But the itching drives you so mad you are prepared to put up with it for the temporary relief.

Much eczema is stress and environment related and for children in particular, tiredness can make it worse. Soaps and detergents, fragrances, temperature changes, sweating, some clothing , such as wool, and irritant substances such as paint and dyes can all add to the mix so finding out what triggers your eczema would be the first step.

Keeping the skin well moisturised is the next step and your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream as these are anti-inflammatory and work well in the short term for some people. However, nothing works for everyone, and steroids do have unpleasant side effects associated with them, particularly with long term use.

Whether your eczema is persistent, or intermittent, you might want to try one of these natural remedies that have proven to be effective.

Natural help

There are several ways you can help yourself with an outbreak of eczema. Essential oils have shown they have the potential to be very effective at clearing up or relieving the symptoms of eczema.

Peppermint is especially effective at relieving the itching that accompanies this skin disorder. To get the most relief simply rub a drop of diluted peppermint oil over the affected area.

Tea Tree Oil is very popular due to its ability to clear up eczema patches, relieve the accompanying itch, and reduce the redness and swelling that results from an outbreak. This oil can be applied topically to the skin, or it can be used as a cleanser, lotion, or cream when purchased as the active ingredient in these items.

Oatmeal can help relieve the constant itching, reduce some of the redness, and help soften the dry skin of eczema. Using it in a bath is quite effective; just tie a handful of natural oatmeal into a piece of cheesecloth and let it circulate in the warm bath water. Soak awhile and DO NOT add anything else, no soap or bath oils.

Aloe vera was used on the skin of burn victims at Hiroshima and has a great reputation as a healing balm for damaged skin. You can either break off a leaf from the plant and squeeze out the gel to put on your skin, and it is a good to use on the affected areas directly after an oatmeal bath.

Ayudara Natural Skin Balm is a new product that I have been trying out on a patch of eczema that has been quite persistent on the side of my nose. It is a non-steroid all natural treatment for dry skin and contains a combination of Chlorophyll-C and marine extract of golden sea cucumber These actively helps the skin’s cell rejuvenation process and can be an effective treatment for ailments like eczema, dermatitis or dry skin.

In Malaysia people have used golden sea cucumber in natural skin remedies for centuries and it certainly cleared up my small patch of irritated skin very fast.

For specialized information on eczema, do have a look at this website at for helpful advice and the newest research.

Spotless at last

July 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Skincare

Elaine Mummery has become an acne specialist through her own suffering which began at the age of 13 and she has explored every available avenue to getting a clear and healthy complexion. Spots don’t just happen to teenagers, they can also be a problem throughout life, particularly for women during menopause. Her excellent, clear, book offers real practical solutions and is sourced from doctors all around the world. She is adamant that you don’t need to invest in expensive creams and lotions to cure your skin, but you do need information to start tackling acne and spots, whether it’s a lifelong problem or an occasional flare up. An ideal present for anyone who wants to see visibly clearer skin within seven days, so head to your bookstore – real or virtual – and buy a copy of Spotless for just £10.

Or visit Amazon – Click on the book cover here:

Yawning isnt always about feeling sleepy

January 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies, Wellness

It’s your body’s way of keeping you cool. Andrew Gallup, a researcher in the Department of Biology at Binghamton University led a study which has shown that if your head is overheated, there’s a good chance you’ll yawn soon, because the primary purpose of yawning is to control brain temperature.

Your brain operates best when cool and we have cleverly adapted our bodies to ensure we make sure it has the right temperature. If you find yourself yawning over a book or a piece of work, we naturally tend to go for fresh air, it’s not just the extra oxygen we need, but the drop in temperature that usually accompanies it. Bertie Wooster, the PG Wodehouse character who certainly had trouble thinking, would call on the faithful Jeeves for a wet flannel to soothe his overheated brain and indeed it’s a good remedy along with taking deep breaths in through the nose and making sure a room is properly ventilated and not stuffy.

Yawning can also be an early warning signal, because if done excessively it precedes the onset of seizures in epileptic patients, and predict the onset of headaches in people who suffer from migraines.

Acupuncture with no needles

January 9, 2009 by  
Filed under featured, Medical Research & Studies, Wellness

I am a great fan of acupuncture for pain relief and boosting the immune system, but I appreciate there are people who don’t like needles. Well, good news for you because scientists at Linkoping University in Sweden have shown that it works just as well without using needles.

They were studying 200 cancer patients and using acupuncture to help relieve nausea during radiotherapy, Half received standard acupuncture and half were given pressure on the same acupuncture points with a blunt placebo needle that just touched the skin, but didn’t go in.

An impressive 95 percent of the patients in both groups felt that the treatment had helped relieve their nausea, and 67 percent had experienced other positive effects such as improved sleep, brighter mood, and less pain.

Oregano for pain cramps and fever

Oregano may not be your first thought for treating any of these conditions, but this traditional Mediterranean herb that you probably add to your pasta sauces has a long been used to treat colds, fevers, sore throats, and coughs as well as menstrual pain. Medical studies have shown it has anti-microbial properties which helps it fight bugs such as MRSA and it helps digestion and soothes your stomach.

If you don’t fancy using the herb neat, which isn’t all that pleasant, then tea experts Whittards have put it into a herbal tea blend, along with apple pieces, rosehips and lemongrass which give a pleasant, rich flavour. Plus you get the added health benefits of added vitamin C from the other ingredients. Buy it for £3.90 for 125g from their shops or via their website at

What’s In Your Lip Balm?

December 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine, Wellness

Now the winter winds are biting, and you are probably licking your lips more than usual to keep them moist, many people use a lipbalm. There are literally hundreds on the market, but some of them contain an ingredient which can actually make your dry lips worse. Why? Because then you have to keep using the lip balm to keep your lips moisturized. Clever, huh?

So what’s the mystery ingredient? It’s phenol and as it is an antibacterial agent you might think that was a good thing, but unfortunately it can also destroy the top layer of skin on your lips and you will be trapped into keeping using it so keep your lips moist and supple.

Healthier alternatives abound, so look for non-phenol balms with ingredients like coconut oil, honey, jojoba oil, and shea butter. A great site for organic lip balms, and I couldn’t resist because they are called Naturally Barmy, will give you plenty of lip -smacking ideas and they even have a kit for making your own. Get cracking now and you can have 10 complete balms in gift tins as stocking fillers.

Visit their website at

Meditation is best for depression – Say Om, not Ah

December 19, 2008 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Natural Medicine, Wellness

If the Christmas season does not fill you with cheer and you find yourself getting low then, rather than head to the doctor, do heed a new piece of research. Published this week in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology it has found that meditation beats antidepressants both short and long-term. Professor Willem Kuyken, from the Mood Disorders Centre at the University of Exeter, found that Buddhist meditation techniques (which are similar to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) can be just as effective at not only combating depression but enabling participants to have lower rates of relapse than those on medication.

The aim of all such meditation is to keep your focus in the present, not dwelling on the past or future. The trial lasted 8 weeks, and fifteen months afterwards they found that 47%pc of people with long-term depression (who had done the meditation) had relapsed, compared to 60% of those taking anti-depressant drugs. What those people gained from just 8 weeks of meditation was life skills that powerfully supported them to stay well.

For details of a group in your area, contact the network of buddhist organisations in the UK who may be able to help. Their website is and if you don’t have access locally, or prefer to meditate at home, you might find my mediation CD useful. It’s in the marketplace section of my website at and contains a simple everyday meditation (Blue Sky) to help you stay focused in the present and let go of any worries and anxieties you may have.

No fumes nail varnish and sweet hairspray

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under At Home, Wellness

A major drawback to nail polish, and remover, to me is the terrible acetone smell, plus the fact that many of the chemicals they contain dry out your nails. If you want to give a natural present then Suncoat Water-based Nail Polish costs £10.95 8ml and is part of a range of eco-friendly and primarily vegan products from Canada.

These revolutionary and award-winning products are fast-drying, long-lasting and have a wonderful range of colours using natural mineral pigments to produce pearlised, matt and soft metallic finishes. They don’t smell like conventional nail polish because water vapour is released instead of fumes from chemical solvents and, uniquely, they do not contain any harmful chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, toluene, alcohol or even acetates and are non-flammable. You can then take them off with no fumes either as their Nail Polish Remover, can be used for both Suncoat water -based and conventional nail varnishes. It is gentle, moisturising and virtually odour free and will costyou £12.95 for 60ml. If you don’t do nail varnish, another great natural idea from the same people is a Sugar-based Hair Spray, which I admit doesn’t sound immediately appealing but has some great benefits. It has all the long-lasting hold, volume and versatility of a conventional hairspray but without synthetic resins or alcohol. Enriched with vitamin E so it will not dry the hair, brushes out easily and is suitable for all hair types. And the sugar? Well it uses sugar-biopolymers (polysaccharides) to give body and medium hold to hair, without harming us or the environment and provides antioxidant protection for hair and scalp. A sweet price too at 8.95 for 60ml.

These products are only available by mail order from, so if you want to buy a great stocking filler give them a ring on 01580 201 687 and cross one more person off your list!

Upset stomach at Xmas – help!

December 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Natural Medicine, Wellness

Now I know you are going to be entirely sensible over the next few weeks, and those Christmas parties and drinks won’t tempt you to overindulge. But, if you do then it’s as well to be prepared. If you get an upset stomach that remains sensitive then slippery elm is a good supplement to help soothe any irritation – it’s also a good thing to line your stomach with if you know you are going to be faced with food or drink that might be a bit much for your system. If you are offered coffee after the meal, see if you can’t get peppermint or green tea instead as they will help you digest better. If by any mischance you need more help then there is a very good Ayurvedic recipe for tea which will help those feelings of being bloated and sluggish from too many mince pies or slices of Christmas cake. It is a blend of aniseed, fennel, cardamom, coriander and celery seeds to help purify your system, clear your mind and help your body to recover it’s normal balance. You can find Ayurvedic teas in many supermarkets and health stores, and if you have a Whittard of Chelsea’s store near you then their own Ayurvedic Detox tea will put you on the road to recovery for a very reasonable £2.30 for 20 teabags.

Steady on the perfume or aftershave spray!

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Lifestyle, Skincare, Strange But True

To my mind, perfume adds a great deal of pleasure to life – but like most things a little moderation is not a bad idea – and the fact I have one for each day of the week seems pretty moderate to me. However, we have probably all suffered in the proximity of someone who has overdone it and extends the wearing of it to everyone in a 6 foot radius. I was working in London at the time Christian Dior launched his perfume Poison, and my daily journey up the escalator at Green Park was an exercise in holding my breath and trying not to feel faint at the overpowering waves it that surrounded me.

It’s not pleasant for the passive receiver, but it may actually legally constitute at health hazard – it has just been found guilty in the USA and a case is going forward as we speak. A Judge in Detroit heard a case where city planner Susan McBride alleged that perfume from a co-worker was so overwhelming she couldn’t breathe properly. This she claims created a hazardous work environment and actually prevented her from working properly.

The city council went to court to have the claim dismissed, but the Judge agreed with McBride that her breathing difficulties had a legitimate basis and so qualified for protection under federal laws that protect the disabled from workplace discrimination. I don’t know what the court case is based on, but certainly synthetic perfume chemicals have been linked to asthma, infertility and cancer. Because they are applied directly to the skin they are absorbed into the bloodstream and then have to be processed by the liver, where they can do damage.

We are already exposed to a number of toxic chemicals in our everyday environment from air fresheners to hairspray, and the day might come when perfume in the workplace might be banned on health grounds in the same way that smoking was. You might also wonder why it went to court and they didn’t just have a quiet word with the offender, but maybe – as is often the case when wearing perfume – she (or perhaps he for all I know) was just immune to the smell and kept putting on more.

If you want to be sure you are not poisoning the atmosphere, what about switching to natural perfumes with no nasty chemicals?

Tsi~La (pronounced chee-la), is a collection of delicate, sophisticated, 100% natural perfumes with no alcohol, preservatives, artificial fragrances or colourings. Just pure, natural perfumes made from the world’s finest essential oils and plant botanicals, and if you were wondering, the name means “flower” in Cherokee.

You have a choice of six different and distinctive scents, you just have to decide which is the most appropriate – though for most women buying at least two for our varying moods would be a good idea. You will know what will suit them best: Fiori d’Arancio (flirtatious), Fleur Sauvage (alluring), Ilang Ilang (exotic), Kesu (mysterious), Kizes (spontaneous) and Saqui (sensual). Personally, as a woman of many and diverse moods, I am asking Santa for the Tsi-La mini collection because a) I get four of them, and b) they come in a handy roll on so no spillage in the dark cavernous recesses of my handbag. To have a look at these, and other wonderful natural fragrances, visit

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