Natural products secret to great skin in desert climate

Updated 10 July 2013
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Natural products secret to great skin in desert climate

Desert climates have plenty of sunshine but they are usually dry and arid and you need to take extra special care of your skin to keep it looking fresh and wrinkle free.
Like me, most women have many pots of creams and lotions in their bathrooms. I do like my morning ritual of preparing my face for the day and again pampering my face at night.
The skin care market has become over-scientific and can be confusing. The cosmetic industry’s main aim is to create a market so that customers keep on buying new products that promise eternal youth and flawless skin. Aging is seen to be avoided at all costs and we are all encouraged to spend vast amounts of money on anti-ageing preparations.
What we can do is look after ourselves and accept that life is a journey with different joys at different ages; but taking sensible care of ourselves without being slaves to the dream of forever sixteen. Skin care in the Gulf is extremely important as the sun can age the skin very rapidly, especially if you sunbathe.
Sun damage
The sun is the number one cause of wrinkling, pigment changes and skin cancer. A little light sunshine is a valuable source of Vitamin D, but prolonged sun exposure damages the skin and ages it prematurely. Expatriates who sunbathe for a pastime age quickly and the damage shows up suddenly. So always use a sunscreen on your face and hands. Look for a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Always protect your eyes too with good quality sunglasses.
How can natural products be an answer to eternal youth?
Skin care manufacturers would like to believe that they have found the answer in a little pot of hope but there is no single solution; to have beautiful skin you need to work from the inside out.
I am from the whole health school that believes that skin is cared for internally and there is a direct correlation between what we feed our bodies and what shows up in our skin.
I am a great believer in moisturising the skin with natural products because Mother Nature provides everything we need to improve the skin. Go in for natural ingredients that work with the skin, rather than applying chemically refined products that contain elements that you may never have heard of.
Food always counts.
Everything you do or do not put into your mouth affects the quality of your skin. For example; eat junk food and you will not have healthy skin. The amazing news is that you can transform your skin by making simple changes to your eating habits. Eat simple fresh food and drink plenty of water.
Plump out your skin with water
Your body is made up of 80 percent water and your skin loves it. Dehydration shows first on your skin. Drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. You can provide an external boost to your skin by applying a morning spray of mineral water before moisturizing. 
Caffeine can cause dehydration so think of coffee, tea, and cola as occasional treats.
Practice good skin care
It is important to know what is in the products that you are putting on your skin; many cosmetic manufacturers focus on only telling the customer what the creams will do for them, not what is in them. In the hot sun there are products that you should use very carefully.
Retin A products should not be used when going out in the sunshine as skin will burn more easily and can be damaged long-term. If you use a Retin A product only use it at night and then use a Sun Protection Factor (spf) of 30. Retin A products should not be used during pregnancy.
Use gentle products to cleanse, moisturize and gently exfoliate.
Air conditioning is dehydrating and causes dry skin — you may need to use a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin so that your moisturizer can do some work. Exfoliators should only be used at night as the new skin can be easily damaged by sunshine. It is very important to moisturize your skin at night and I recommend a skin oil, as oils are more easily absorbed than creams; then you can wake up to lovely soft skin. It is also important to use a moisturizer on your lips such as Vaseline, which keeps the moisture in; and always have a bottle of water by your bed.
Exercise your facial muscles for a natural face lift. Facial exercises keep the muscles toned and work better than any cream. As we grow older our facial muscles need exercising to counter the effects of degenerating connective tissue that lead to sagging around the jaw line, and drooping eyelids. Facial exercise is also vital following weight loss. If you would like to receive my complete facial workout, and a fact sheet on skin care in harsh climate you can e-mail to [email protected] for a free copy.
During the hot summer months, with the air conditioning on full, it can dry the top layer of skin, which can leave it dry and flaky, making the pores prone to clogging, leading to spots.
My healthy recipe of the week
Enjoy very simple lemon drizzle loaf cake
Ingredients
Serves: 12
• 110g (4 oz.) butter
• 170g (6 oz.) self-raising flour
• 4 tablespoons milk
• 170g (6 oz.) caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons icing sugar
Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas mark 4.
Grease and line a medium size loaf tin.
Beat the first 5 ingredients and the lemon zest together until smooth and creamy.
Pour cake mixture into prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Heat the lemon juice in the microwave for 45 seconds, and stir in the icing sugar.
While the loaf cake is hot in the tin, pour the lemon mixture over. Enjoy.
Ask Alva
I have a habit of drinking daily about 10 cans of soft drinks and cola. Is this harmful? Nabila
Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages can deliver up to 12 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, with no other useful nutrients. These beverages offer no health or nutritional benefits. Start to cut down slowly and work toward only having canned drinks as occasional treats.
— Alva


Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

Updated 21 April 2018
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Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

JEDDAH: There is a growing need for dietary supplements in Saudi Arabia, given the increasing popularity of junk food and the effective role supplements can play in treating diseases caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A recent study found that 22 percent of Saudi people take nutritional supplements. It is no surprise, then, that many Saudi businesses have forged partnerships with international dietary-supplement companies.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss, a Saudi dietitian with a Ph.D. in nutrition, said dietary supplements can be defined as substances that provide the human body with a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet. However, she stressed that they are not intended to replace healthy eating.

She also warned against taking them without first talking to a doctor or dietitian, as some products can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. 

“They can also cause problems if someone has a history of certain health issues,” she added.

A blood test can determine which nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet, and therefore which supplements might be beneficial. Nutritional supplements are also used to help treat certain health conditions. 

“Vitamin C, for example, is often used to reduce cold symptoms,” said Idriss. “Fish oil is taken to lower elevated blood triglycerides.”

She suggested four daily essentials that can bridge nutritional gaps in our diet: a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

“I routinely recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to my clients after consulting with their doctors,” she said. 

“For menstruating women, who require 18 milligrams of iron each day, a daily supplement helps boost iron intake.”

She said people over the age of 50 are advised to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting enough B12, which plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. 

“Older adults are more vulnerable to B12 deficiency because they are more likely to have decreased production of stomach acid, which is needed to release B12 from the proteins in food.” said Idriss. 

“It is also a good idea to take a daily multivitamin if one is following a low-calorie diet.”

She also pointed out that a high intake of DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of DHA might also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

“A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of both DHA and EPA is equivalent to eating 12 ounces of salmon a week,” said Idriss.

The dietitian believes that the Saudis who take food supplements often do so more to benefit their appearance than their health. 

“Saudi women consume more dietary supplements than other people in Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“They do so either to lose weight or to care for their hair and nails. Bodybuilders also take large amounts of supplements.”

However, both groups, according to Idriss, tend to take supplements on the recommendation of friends and trainers, not doctors. 

She warned that commercials and social-media rumors can persuade people to buy supplements online that may not be approved as safe by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and advised people to get as much of their daily nutrient needs as possible from healthy eating.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss

“Along with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet provides fiber and hundreds of protective phytochemicals, something a supplement cannot do,” she said, adding that the body absorbs natural food more effectively than supplements.

In addition, combining supplements with medications can have dangerous, even life-threatening, effects. 

“Drugs for heart disease and depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth-control pills are less effective when taken with herbal supplements,” she said.

“Taking an anticoagulant, aspirin, and a vitamin E supplement together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or even stroke.”

 

Natural sources

With the spread of fast-food restaurants and their alluring ads, the long-term health of the Saudi people is in danger, as children and young people snub natural sources of nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables. 

“This can lead to many deficiency diseases. Moreover, vegetarians can develop similar illnesses due to the absence of meat in their diet,” she said.
Dr. Ashraf Ameer, a family-medicine consultant, said the importance of nutritional supplements lies in treating mineral and vitamin deficiency, especially for pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly. 

“However, these products should come from reliable companies and meet Saudi food and drug requirements,”he added.

Mohammed Yaseen, who has a food supplements business, said his company works with a leading British health-care company to provide the Saudi market with high quality products.

“With this we hope we can contribute to the national transformation program by raising private-sector spending in health care from 25 percent to 35 percent, which in turn would lead to the sector’s financial sustainability and boost economic and social development in the Kingdom,” Yaseen said.

Decoder

Vitamin Terms

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid.  Phytochemical is a biologically active compound found in plants.