New season multi-tasking masks

New launches seem to come in fits and starts; one minute brands are clamoring to bring out serums, the next everyone is focused on cleansing oils. At the moment it seems to be face masks which are top of the bill, but simply leaving skin soft isn’t enough. A new breed of these products are intent on fixing all your beauty ills at one, so allow us to introduce you to 2016’s multi-tasking mask launches.

Dullness

One of the biggest complaints people who live in cities have about their skin is loss of radiance. Kiehl’s believes dullness is caused in no small part by pollution – it penetrates the skin, damaging the barrier, affecting the way it repairs itself, making it more sensitive and accelerating the ageing process. None of that sounds great, which is why the brand has launched two new masks to combat these effects. The Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque protects the skin from pollution and helps strengthen it in the long term. The Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque helps with dullness instantly, as it works like a mini facial by exfoliating skin and then treating it.

Deep cleansing

Sanctuary Spa’s 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask isn’t new, but its Warming Detox Charcoal Wash is and is the perfect partner for the treatment. The wash was designed to offer deep purification, cleansing the skin and helping get rid of all grease and grime which could clog pores. Then add the mask on to help refine your pores even further – it’s self heating, so perfect for winter too.

Clearing

If you hanker after the feeling of a facial but don’t have the money to splash out on one regularly, Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask is the answer. It has exfoliating enzymes in it which help dissolve dead skin, plus it unclogs pores to help keep the complexion clear and boosts radiance too.

Smoothing

Many of us go for a scrub followed by a mask when we want a real pampering treat, by why use two products when one will suffice? Filorga Scrub & Mask sloughs off dead skin while at the same tightening pores and helping with radiance. Your skin will be left soft and smooth – so much so that in a trial, 100 per cent of people claimed their face was clearer after using it for four weeks.

Overnight

While smoothing on a mask and relaxing in front of the telly is great for some, we don’t always have the time to dedicate to our beauty routine. If you want a treatment hit but don’t have minutes to waste, Origins Plantscription Powerful Lifting Overnight Mask could be right up your street. You should apply every night before you drop off, with the product helping firm and plump skin as you sleep. Fine lines and wrinkles should be less apparent and sagginess will be a thing of the past.

Essentials oils for anti-ageing

As we get older, we start to get more nitpicky and aware of the lines popping up on our face and our skin in general. There are plenty of different creams and serums and treatments to help curb aging, but if you want to start off with a much simpler and more frugal way of getting rid of those wrinkles, essential oils might be the way to go.

When our age increases, the natural oil production in our skin decreases, subsequently creating dry skin and wrinkles. Thus, a way to prevent that from happening is to simply replace the lost oils with new, essential oils.

Essential oils are concentrated aromatic oils extracted from parts of trees and plants, and are full of nutrients and proteins which help cell-regeneration and maintain the bounciness of collagen. And because essential oils are all natural, they can be absorbed into the skin safely and effectively, as opposed to company-made creams and products.

Moreover, essential oils tend to be much cheaper than anti-aging products, and when mixed together can create some super effective serums. Here are just some essential oils that contain great anti-aging properties to rejuvenate your skin.

Frankincense Oil

You’ve probably heard of frankincense before, perhaps around Christmas time in various carols and stories, but what is it exactly? Frankincense itself is an aromatic resin from Boswellia trees, and often used in incense and perfumes. In essential oils, frankincense helps regenerate skin cells, therefore reducing wrinkles and tightening skin. It’s also a natural toner, helping to balance skin’s pH balance and decrease the appearance of pores.

Myrrh Oil

Myrrh is mentioned as much as frankincense in your holiday season, and like frankincense, it also greatly benefits aging skin. Myrrh has anti-inflammatory properties which help improve firmness and skin elasticity. It is typically used to smooth out aging skin and prevents under eye wrinkles from forming.

Sandalwood Oil

The natural astringent properties of sandalwood helps soothe skin, reduce wrinkles and help scars to fade away. It also contains nutrients which help improve circulation and promote smoother skin.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has skin regenerative properties in it, helping to delay sun spots, fine lines, age spots and scarring. Not to mention, it smells great and helps you and your body relax and adapt to stress.

Rose Oil

Rose oil is helpful in maintaining skin elasticity by stopping the breakdown of collagen, which prevents wrinkles from popping up. It also is great for dry skin, refining skin texture and tone, and aids in managing conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

Runny eggs OK during pregnancy

Here’s some good news for pregnant women out there, the runny egg is back on the menu. For around 30 years expectant ladies in Britain have been warned against cracking into undercooked eggs and advised to avoid hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise and mousse.

However, anyone yearning for a runny boiled egg to dip your toast soldiers into will be happy to know a year-long review conducted by government approved scientists has determined that the risk of contracting salmonella from a British egg is “very low”.

Salmonella is caused by bacteria living in hens and can be very serious in pregnancy, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature labor. In some cases it can also be fatal for toddlers or older people.

The advice now being issued is that pregnant women, toddlers and elderly people can enjoy soft yolks from eggs bearing the British Lion kitemark on the shell. It is reassuring to know that 90 per cent of the eggs produced in the UK do carry this stamp of approval.

“The Working Group is in agreement that there has been a major reduction in the microbiological risk from Salmonella in UK shell eggs from hens since the 2001 report,” states the report by the British Government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.

“The very low risk level means that eggs produced under the Lion Code, or produced under demonstrably equivalent comprehensive schemes, can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society, including those that are more vulnerable to infection, in both domestic and commercial settings, including care homes and hospitals.

“The group’s view is that this is especially the case for those eggs produced under the Lion Code Scheme, which comprises a suite of measures including: vaccination, a cool chain from farm to retail outlets, enhanced testing for Salmonella, improved farm hygiene, better rodent control, independent auditing, date stamping on the eggs and traceability.”

However, those individuals previously deemed to be at risk have been warned that eating runny eggs from cafes or restaurants should be avoided as they can’t guarantee the eggs will have the kitemark.

The British government first issued warnings about eating eggs following a salmonella scare in 1988, when everyone was told to only eat thoroughly cooked eggs. A decade later the advice was relaxed and aimed at groups deemed a greater risk, such as pregnant women, toddlers, those with long-term illnesses and elderly people.

Nutritionists have welcomed the news, explaining eggs offer a vital source of high quality protein and Vitamin D which are beneficial during pregnancy.

What to know about the Zika virus

The Zika virus is spreading like wildfire through the media, causing mass panic around the globe. But how much do we actually know about the condition? Before you find yourself in a frenzy, here’s some pointers on what to be familiar with.

1. Humans catch it through mosquitoes

It’s well known that these bugs carry diseases, and the Zika virus is one of them. But it’s only the Aedes species of mosquito which transmits it, the same species that can give people the dengue fever that can cause illness and death in tropical locations. While many mosquitoes come out at night, these ones are more active during the day and have a more aggressive bite.

2. It can be transmitted through blood or sexual contact

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haven’t given a warning about this as the evidence is quite limited, there have been a few cases documented. They showed Zika had been transmitted through a blood transfusion, and it was also found in semen even after leaving the infected person’s blood stream. Add an extra barrier by wearing a condom if you feel wary.

3. Pregnant women be careful

Zika has been linked to major birth defects as the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus, or even to newborns, although this is more rare.

“The major concern with Zika virus and pregnancy is possibly a link to a condition known as microcephaly,” Niket Sonpal, M.D., associate clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City, states, according to shape.com. “With this condition, the baby’s head is much smaller than expected, which can lead to many neurological problems.”

4. It’s spreading rapidly

There were only a few cases of the Vika virus in humans up until 2007, but nine years later the illness appears to be spreading eastwards. It’s hitting the Caribbean, South America and Central America, and is now deemed as a pandemic. It’s even causing travel bans.

5. But it might not be serious

The severe symptoms of Zika are extremely rare for women who are not pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out. More common effects are joint pain, rash, fever and conjunctivitis which last between a couple of days to a week. Only one in five people who contract the illness will really suffer, with Niket sharing recovery tips.

“For people who do get sick, the illness is usually mild and self-limited. Rest, getting enough fluids, and time will take care of it,” Niket said. “If you don’t get better after a few days, see your doctor right away.”

More siblings = behavioural problems?

Growing up with siblings can teach you many lessons about sharing, looking after others and making sure you get to the biscuit tin first. But while there might be plenty of benefits to having brothers and sisters, new research now suggests people who come from a large family face problems at school.

According to a study from the University of Houston, children from big families are more likely to suffer behavioural issues and fall behind in class.

“Families face a substantial quantity-quality trade-off: increases in family size decrease parental investment, decrease childhood performance on cognitive tests and measures of social behaviour,” the research claims.

“Importantly, we find that these negative effects are not merely temporary disruptions following a birth but in fact persist throughout childhood.” The worrying thing is that the scientists think the issues could persist into early adulthood. If this is true, these early experiences could shape people for the rest of their lives.

“A lot of what happens in early childhood has lasting impacts,” co-author Dr Chinhui Juhn said.

“In many respects, this matters more than a lot of things that happen later in (a child’s) life.”

To draw their conclusions, experts looked at data from older children, investigating the time before and after their younger siblings were born.

The more children, the less ‘parental investment’, which is the time spent with individual children, the environment and the resources available, including money and books.

The study also scored mothers on the Armed Force Qualification Test, which reveals information about socioeconomic factors. Mothers with a low score are more likely to be in financial difficulty. The findings were not straightforward, as those with a mother with a median score were less affected by siblings. The study also neglected to investigate fathers.

In conclusion, it seemed that children from large families with financial difficulties suffered the most.

“If you are in a well-resourced family, some of these things don’t apply,” Dr Juhn summarized.

“When the second child comes along, there is less time and attention. But in an environment with more resources, it’s not as binding.”

Fizzy drink consumption = Organs wrapped in fat

We all know that snacking on bags of crisps and bars of chocolate washed down with a litre of something fizzy is no good for our waistline or insides. In fact, very few people need another study to tell them the dangers of a diet high in sugar and fat, but unfortunately it’s an area of growing concern as obesity continues to soar across the world.

This time, latest research highlights the damage fizzy drinks cause to our insides, with those consuming the sugary beverages daily finding their organs wrapped in fat.

Scientists at the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Massachusetts followed 1,000 middle-aged participants for six years to conclude their results. Everyone in the study was asked how often they drank fizzy drinks and underwent X-rays to determine how much visceral fat they had.

Visceral fat is harmful fat stored within the abdominal cavity, which means it lingers around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. As well as making people pile on the pounds, visceral fat plays an important part in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

The results have been published in medical journal Circulation, with the team finding those who drank sugary or fizzy drinks every day put on nearly a litre in extra visceral fat over the six years. That’s 30 per cent more than those who never consumed the beverage.

Diet drinks didn’t yield the same results, which suggests it’s sugar that causes the problem. The team suggests that insulin resistance triggered by added sugar could be to blame for fat increase.

“There is evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” Dr Caroline Fox, who led the new study, explained.

“Our message to consumers is to follow the current dietary guidelines and to be mindful of how much sugar-sweetened beverages they drink. To policy makers, this study adds another piece of evidence to the growing body of research suggesting sugar-sweetened beverages may be harmful to our health.”

Talk of a sugar tax is ongoing in Britain, with the latest study poised to add even more weight to the argument to make sugary treats more expensive.

5 warning signs you’ve picked the wrong diet

When it comes to dieting, the choices appear to be endless; from Atkins to 5:2, paleo to Weight Watchers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking one at random.

But selecting any old meal plan could prove disastrous, setting off strange reactions in your body and making it more tempting than ever to quit and reach for that bar of chocolate.

Shaun T, host of American ABC show, ‘My Diet Is Better Than Yours’, has summed up the top five warning signs your diet isn’t right for you on Shape.com.

  1. You’re not enjoying it

Eating is supposed to be fun, and while eating kale might not be as exciting as crisps, you shouldn’t be dreading mealtimes. It’s important to find a diet that is sustainable in the long term, which means including at least some foods you look forward to eating.

  1. You’re bloated

This is a sure-fire sign the food your eating doesn’t agree with you. If you’re experiencing gut-related issues like pain and bloating, start cutting out certain foods to help eliminate the ones that set you off. If the symptoms don’t subside, see a doctor.

  1. You’re tired

Food is fuel! It should keep you energised and help you get through the day, including regular exercise. It’s normal to experience some tiredness after cutting our sugar and/or caffeine, but if the sluggishness persists, you haven’t found the right diet.

  1. You’re moody/hangry

If you’re constantly hungry and/or experiencing mood swings, it could be that the food or portions aren’t quite right for you. Diets should positively impact your life, not mean you snap at everyone around you!

  1. You aren’t losing weight

If you’ve stuck to the diet properly and been working out regularly for 10 days, you should start to see results. If you haven’t lost any weight in this timeframe, you need to reassess.

The most important thing is not to feel rushed when picking a diet. You might feel the pressure is on, but it’s much more effective to find a meal plan you can stick to long term than a crash diet that will end in failure. If you need help, seek the advice of a nutritionist.

Daydreaming = obesity, according to new research

If you find yourself easily distracted you need be careful – scientists have found that daydreaming could increase a person’s risk of obesity.

Apparently, those who get lost in their thoughts fail to recognize how much they’ve eaten, potentially resulting in them tucking into more food than they should.

Data on 38 children aged eight to 13, collected by the ‘Enhanced Nathan Kline Institute – Rockland Sample’, was analysed, with five of the children obese and six overweight. They were weighed and information about their eating habits was gathered, as well as brain scans being performed.

Three areas of the brain were identified, associated to eating habits and weight. The inferior parietal lobe is linked to inhibition and is capable of overriding an automatic response, like eating. The frontal pole is linked to impulsive behaviour, while the nucleus accumbens is focuses on the reward.

Looking at children who ate the most, the experiment found that the part of the brain which is linked to being impulsive was more important than the sector associated with inhibition. In contrast, kids who behaved in a way that kept them from food saw their area of the brain associated with inhibition play a stronger role than the impulsive side.

Researchers think the way to tackle this is to encourage children to practice mindfulness from a young age, with study co-author Dr Ronald Cowan, of Vanderbilt University, adding: “We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity.”

Study co-author, Dr Dr Kevin Niswender, added: “Adults, and especially children, are primed towards eating more. This is great from an evolutionary perspective – they need food to grow and survive.

“But in today’s world, full of readily available, highly advertised, energy dense foods, it is putting children at risk of obesity.”

The study was published in the journal Heliyon.

Breakthrough for back pain sufferers

Whether it’s just a twinge or so severe you can’t move, back pain is one of the biggest health issues going. Most of us have suffered with it at one point in our lives and it’s a big cause of sick leave, which is why a new study is being hailed as one of the most important in years.

It’s been found that regular exercise is the best way to help with back pain, whether that’s stretching, working on stamina or completing easy exercises to strength the muscles. In fact, people who followed an exercise regime were 35 per cent less likely to complain of the pain when tested over a year.

When people were also taught how to do things like lift heavy objects safely, the number rose to 45 per cent. That result is so staggering that experts have suggested if there was a drug which produced the same outcome, it would be pushed around the world.

Lower back pain effects four out of five people at some point, with most cases caused by wrenching the area while lifting something without bending the knees properly. Although the discomfort usually clears within a matter of weeks, some find it returns within a year.

A team at the University of Sydney investigated by checking out the findings of 23 surveys involving over 30,000 people. It was discovered that people who’d exercised managed to cut the likelihood of the pain hitting again within 12 months.

“The current evidence suggests that exercise alone or in combination with education is effective for preventing low back pain,” the authors of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, stated.

“Other interventions, including education alone, back belts, and shoe insoles, do not appear to prevent low back pain.”

It was found that maintaining a level of exercise was also important, so you can’t just do some stretches when you feel a twinge and leave it at that. A concerted effort to exercise the back is needed – if you’re in doubt about what you should be doing, consult an expert at your gym.