Save your skin in the sun

Once again there is evidence that sun creams can cause health issues  even though they are essential to prevent skin cancer.  The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has conducted research (on mice) and found that many of the chemicals in sun creams cause eczema, allergies, asthma and even cancer.  One of the ingredients the researchers urged manufacturers to ban is  methyl dibromo glutaronitrile.

There’s a mixed message about the sun – the skin needs exposure to the sun to make that vital Vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones and teeth,  immune system and cognitive function – pretty important!  Yet we have been receiving a message for years that too much sun (and exposure to sunbeds) can cause skin cancer. View Skin Cancer Rates High in the UK.

For a great  natural range of sun care products go to Neals Yard Remedies – click here or on the ads on the right.

The problem starts when we are young and we think we’re invincible, and despite what they say, we still love a tan.  Children’s skin is more at risk than adults and it is from a young age that we need to be protected – so why not take a leaf out of the Australians’ book? The Slip, Slap, Slop campaign A very successful advertising campaign in Australia was Slip Slap Slop: • Slip on a T-shirt • Slap on a cap • Slop on the sunscreen!

Why the sun is good for us

No wonder people get fed up with conflicting messages but it is true that exposure to the sun without sunscreen enables the skin to manufacture Vitamin D. It is also a fact that many of us are deficient in Vitamin D, according to recent research. Vitamin D helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth, and regulates calcium and phosphorus levels which ensure good muscle function.  Read more in Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun.

This doesn’t therefore mean that spending hours in the sun without sunscreen is a good idea when it’s exceptionally hot. Good judgement helps most of us to know how much sun is enough depending on the temperature outside. But of course children cannot make this decision for themselves and are usually so busy playing that they don’t think about it. There are other reasons why too much sun isn’t that good for us – everyone has seen people who have tanned so much that their skin becomes tough, old and wrinkly. Also too much sun on a very hot day can bring on sunstroke which results in headaches, dehydration and sickness and can be dangerous.

Sunscreen yes – chemicals no! Once you become keen to avoid pesticides in your food, and start looking at cosmetics to see what they contain, you become aware of what’s in sun creams.  There are a range of different chemicals in them including  phthalates, PABA, BPA and parabens. There are also said to be chemicals in them (xenoestrogens) that mimic or disrupt hormones and these can be in the ‘parfum’, a cocktail of chemicals or oxybenzone.

One of the worst chemicals is parabens which is usually found in well known brands of sun tan lotion. It appears in many different forms: methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, butyl paraben, propyl paraben, and propul paraben. Research studies found that propyl paraben has been found to decrease sperm production and traces of parabens have been found in human breast tissue. There are now plenty of healthier alternatives which are good for the skin, make it moist and also prevent sunburning. Given that it’s not a good idea to spend hours and hour in hot sun, these sunscreens are perfectly adequate. Parfum too is a strange term that covers a whole gamut of fragrance chemicals, the names of which are not listed. People with allergies often have a reaction to parfum. It’s perfectly possible to buy sunscreens that use natural ingredients up to about 46 F.  Some contain essential oils, several contain aloe vera. They smell great, they work and they keep your skin soft and protected, without allowing harsh chemicals into the bloodstream – particularly suitable for kids.


Featured products
Aloe Vera Sun Lotion SPF25 Aloe Pura 200ml £10.67
Mineral Kids’ Sun Block SPF 45 Jason Natural 113g £14.26
Children’s Sun Lotion  SPF 30 Scent Free Green People 150ml £16.72
Edelweiss Sun Lotion SPF15 Green People 200ml £10.33
Aloe Vera After Sun Aloe Pura 200ml £10.66
Use this code to get 5% discount from  HSoul1 

Why dark chocolate is good for you

Dark chocolate is good for you as flavonols, natural compounds in the cocoa bean, have neuro-protective effects.  Therefore, they  improve blood flow to the brain, especially the hippocampus that controls memory and becomes less efficient as we age*. Apparently flavonols also help to maintain heart health.

Apparently the effect is more pronounced in women and can help those who have had a bad night’s sleep.

A 50g bar of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) contains the same concentration of flavonols as two glasses of red wine, six apples or seven onions.  Future You, supplements manufacturer, has developed what has been dubbed a ‘chocolate pill’, Blood Flow+  which contains CocoActiv, a highly potent cocoa flavanol extract.  This is equivalent to a giant bar of chocolate but only has  five calories. CocoActiv, the active ingredient in Blood Flow+ has been officially recognised by the European Food Safety Authority following studies which show that the high-quality cocoa flavanols help to maintain the flexibility of blood vessels and contribute to normal blood flow and circulation.

Milk chocolate is not as high in cocoa but is much higher in sugar, so it does not have the same effect.  But the health warning is that chocolate contains fat so it will also help you to gain weight, if you don’t stick to the moderate amount of two or three squares a day.  And it contains caffeine so too much too late in the day can have the opposite effect and stop you sleeping.

In the past, research at Harvard Medical School showed that cocoa flavanols can lower blood pressure by producing nitric oxide in the body, with benefits equal to that of aspirin. Similarly flavanols can improve the cardiovascular system and prevent heart disease, and deep vein thrombosis, which can occur when you fly.

One of the other chemical compounds in chocolate is phenylethylamine, which is a stimulant similar to dopamine and adrenaline in the body. It is said to induce the feelings of falling in love, so maybe that’s why chocolate is so popular!


* (Source: Frontiers In Nutrition, 2017; 4: doi: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00019)


Natural beauty


Some shocking facts about cosmetics

Do you ever think about what you put on your face every day as you do your make up?  And do you expect them to be tested on animals?  Here are a few facts:

• Everything you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.
• Many cosmetics contain chemicals that can have harmful side-effects.
• One ingredient, ‘Parfum’ is a very vague term but often consists of several chemicals that can accumulate in body tissue.
• Ninety-three per cent of women use lipstick BUT in their lifetimes they consume about 2lb of it through their mouths.
• Lipstick colouring is often made from cochineal – crushed beetle-like insects.

  • A long list of the best known cosmetics manufacturers still test their products on animals. 

If we used these cosmetics occasionally they wouldn’t cause many problems but the cumulative use of them over years of our lives means that the chemicals are embedded in our bodies and may be weakening our defence systems.

The cumulative effect of many of these chemicals can cause premature ageing, disruption to hormones, allergic reactions, birth defects in babies and serious skin conditions and illnesses.

What are the chemicals?


Healthy  Soul recommends:  LoveLula_Logo_High_Res_gif

Heaven Age Defiance Cream, 50ml, £55
Barefoot Botanicals Hourglass Lifting & Firming Body Lotion, £27.95
Barefoot Botanicals SOS Foot Soldier Refreshing Foot Balm, 75ml, £13.95
Lavera Cleansing Milk 2 in 1, 125ml, £6.45
Lavera Hand Cream, Rose Garden, 75ml, £5.75
Faith in Nature Aloe Vera Shampoo, 400ml, £4.59
Faith in Nature Aloe Vera Conditioner, 400ml, £4.59
Dr Hauschka Volume Mascara, £19.95
Bellapierre Eyeliner Trio, £29.99
Dr Hauschka Lip Gloss, £14.95
Alva Fluid Foundation, £18.85
Spirit of Beauty, Dancing Orchid, Sun Orchid and Bird of Paradise Facial Spritz, made with essential oils, 100ml,  £17.95

Quit smoking

SmokingWednesday, March 14th is National No Smoking Day.  Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or this day it gives an incentive to cut it out.  Smoking is SO expensive these days, plus Smoking Kills.

Smoking Statistics

  • There are 9 million smokers in the UK, the majority of whom are young people.
  • That means that 19 per cent of smokers are men and 15 per cent are women.
  • Two thirds of smokers took up the habit before the age of 18.
  • Every year 96,000 people in the UK die due to smoking related diseases.  Half of all smokers will die because of their habit.
  • One in seven 15 year olds smoke, with more girls smoking than boys.
  • Smoking related diseases cost the NHS £2 billion a year.
  • 80 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis are directly attributable to smoking.

However, some progress has been made over the years –

 In 1948 82 per cent of British men smoked, and 41 per cent of women.

There are more people in the UK who used to smoke than those who currently maintain the habit. But the good news is that the body recovers reasonably quickly if you are young enough.


Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health

  • 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.
  • 80% of bronchitis and emphesema deaths are due to smoking.
  • 1/3 of cancer deaths are due to smoking.

Positive health prospects

The body is very resilient and health benefits are quick to realise. According to ASH, the anti-smoking public health charity:

•20 minutes after quitting: blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal;
•Two hours later: nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal ;
•24 hours: carbon monoxide eliminated from the body, lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris;
•48 hours: no nicotine left in the body;
•72 hours: breathing easier, bronchial tubes relax and energy levels increase
•2-12 weeks: improved circulation;
•3-9 months: coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10 per cent;
•One year: risk of heart attack halved;
•10 years: risk of lung cancer halved;
•15 years: risk of heart attack falls to level of a permanent non-smoker.

Around 70 per cent of adult smokers want to quit and 86 per cent have already tried but failed. The benefits are all too obvious, not just in health terms but also to the smokers’ wallet – a 20 a day smoker spends almost £1,700 every year on their habit.

The good news is there is plenty of help at hand. Anyone can go to an NHS Stop Smoking clinic by referral from a GP, midwife or pharmacist (Local Stop Smoking Services, 0800 169 0169). You get to talk to an adviser and may be offered nicotine replacement therapy or Zyban, a prescription drug.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy:

Published trials claim that using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking doubles your chances compared with plain and simple willpower.  You can see your doctor about NRT.

•There is a wide variety of choice of NRT methods available on prescription including patches, gum, sprays, inhalers, tablets and lozenges.
•They all provide lower levels of nicotine than cigarettes which is absorbed into the bloodstream and is enough to relieve craving and withdrawal symptoms.
Available on prescription and over the counter at chemists.

Dispelling the illusion the Easyway

Boasting a 90 per cent success rate the Allen Carr Easyway method incorporates just one four and a half hour session with a trained therapist who:

•Dispels common misconceptions about smoking, such as its calming and confidence-boosting effects;
•Also included is a brief hypnotherapy session to reinforce the message.

Those people who give up smoking as a result of Allen Carr sessions claim that they come out of the session with a completely changed view about the habit, and the majority don’t revert to smoking.

For details of the nearest Allen Carr clinic contact: 0208 944 7761.

Blocking the nicotine

For people who find that they don’t know what to do with their hands when they quit NicoBloc provides a chance to give up gradually.

Drops of NicoBloc are put on each cigarette where it solidifies and blocks the amount of tar and nicotine inhaled.

The gradual build-up starts with one drop in the first week, two drops the next week and so on.

Eventually there is so little nicotine being inhaled and taken into the blood stream that the desire for smoking diminishes.

Available from chemists.

Natural alternatives

It might be possible to get complementary therapies for quitting smoking on the NHS, at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, for instance where they use aromatherapy, reflexology, hypnotherapy and acupuncture as part of their smoking cessation programme.

Acupuncture can help

Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins which help to induce a sense of calm and relaxation.

•Needles are usually placed in the ear during a session – this is often called auricular acupuncture.

•Sometimes one or more is left in to help people cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

For acupuncturists in your area contact the British Acupuncture Council: 020 8735 0400,

Changing behaviour – Hypnosis and NLP

A study of 6,000 smokers found that hypnosis was three times as successful as nicotine replacement therapy in helping people to give up.

Sometimes available on the NHS but mostly you have to pay for these.  The combination of hypnosis and NLP is often used to help people quit smoking as hypnosis works on the sub-conscious mind, and NLP provides ways of changing behaviour on a conscious level.

National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists: 01282 716839),

More information on giving up smoking: and


Lose weight – stand at work

Stand at your desk all day and you burn an extra 50 calories per hour, 52,000 calories a year and it’s the same as running 20 marathons!  You also can avoid back pain which is such a problem for computer users and boost your health.

Standing at work






The way to do this is to have a standing desk and leading companies have installed them.

Benefits of standing at work

  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Decreases the risk of blood clots
  • Improves circulation.
  • Helps to shed pounds.
  • Improves and prevents back pain.