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Utopia Spa Blog, Sandown, Isle of Wight

Harmful Effects of the Sun

Harmful Effects of the Sun

Despite the Media hype over how harmful excessive exposure of the Sun can be, the Sun also provides us with vitamin D, which is essential for our immune system, bone development and our all-round health. Studies have shown that despite UVA rays being linked with skin cancers such as Melanoma, vitamin D can also help fight cancer, creating a tricky dilemma between scientists and dermatologists as to how much sun exposure is too beneficial or damaging.

The strength of the sun's rays depends on the time of day, season and the distance away from the equator. The Ozone layer helps protect us from these rays, however now that the ozone layer is being destroyed by various chemicals from things such as aerosols and fridges, it's effectiveness in some areas is diminishing.

Sun burn and sun stroke are the most common forms of sun damage... These tend to be instantaneous and visible, however the more severe effects can be hidden from view and even develop at a later date. Premature aging of the skin is caused by the sun's rays weakening the skin's elasticity causing the skin to become wrinkled and saggy, aging some by decades. The severest of these is skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma are all forms of skin cancer that are caused by UV rays.

Sunlight Rays

What to look out for...

Crusty, scaly red bumps which can spread to other parts of the body are characteristics of Squamous cell carcinoma.

Flat small wounds that don't heal but don't spread, should be checked by a GP to ensure it isn't Basal cell carcinoma.

Irregular shaped moles, or moles that change in size, colour or become itchy, could indicate the early signs of the deadliest of the skin cancers – Melanoma.

Be sure that if you are prone to moles and freckles, you check yourself regularly for any of the above signs. The paler the skin tone, the more susceptible it is to sun damage.

Top tips for preventing these effects from the N.H.S

Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
Make sure you never burn.
Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
Remember to take extra care with children.
Then use factor 15+ sunscreen
Also, just because you don't feel hot – if for example in a breeze or in cold climates, if the sun is still out, so are its rays!

Re-Nourish Your Skin

Re-Nourish Your Skin- Utopia Spa Tips

The Softness of Your Skin

The skin is a constantly growing organ, the largest of the human body. New skin is constantly forming, up from its base layers, deep beneath the surface we see. As the cells move up from the basal layers to the top layers, they harden (keratinisation) and if they don't get naturally get removed when they reach the surface, it causes the surface to be hard and callous and need manually exfoliating.

Regular exfoliation all over the body keeps the skin feeling its softest, all year round.

There are various forms of scrubs and body polishes you can get, each depending on the condition of your skin.

For extra hard skin, courser scrubs with particles of salt, sugar, loofah, or crushed seeds are good, however, these can scratch the skin's surface, so are NOT recommended for more delicate skin - e.g the face and neck, unless they are very finely ground particles. Decleor's Relax Intense Fruit Seeds Body Scrub contains Orange peel, Argon and Acai seeds with Essential Oils of Tonka Bean, Ylang Ylang and Vetiver, - Used twice weekly, leaves your skin feeling silkier, soft and supple. When exfoliating the skin on the face, which is far more delicate, it is advisable to use either a very finely ground scrub, or a chemical exfoliator such as AHA's - Alpha Hydroxy Acids, BHA's Beta Hydroxy Acids, Retinol, or Enzymes. These will gently break down the dead skin cells and the 'glue' that holds the cells together, without being too abrasive on the soft skin below.

decleor phytopeelPhytopeel, is Decleor's most delicate facial exfoliator. A rich creamy consistency, that absorbs impurities and dead skin cells, then brushed briskly off the face reveals new, fresh, youthful-looking skin. It contains Essential Oils of Marjoram, Lavender, Thyme and Lemon, Plant Extracts of Burdock, Elder Tree and Mallow, Green Clay.

To maintain or create the optimum softness of your skin, it is imperative, that after the dead skin removal, a moisturiser must be applied, to ensure the skin is re-hydrated and re-nourished. The moisturiser you use will also depend on your skin type. Most skin types these days will nearly always be slightly dehydrated, due to the nature of the environment we live in. A good all-round replenishing serum to use is Decleor's Neroli Aromessance. Voted Best Facial Oil by a panel of beauty experts for the Instyle Magazine Best Beauty Buys Award the fourth consecutive year, it will help improve the efficiency and qualities of ANY moisturiser, by it's 100% pure essential oil blend that penetrates deep into the skin on application

Re-Nourishing Your Skin.

Exfoliation and moisturizing is key to keep your skin looking and feeling great, but to nourish the skin we need to look at what is feeding it and helping it function - the foods we eat/don't eat, fluid intake, and other factors such as medications. Your skin is one of the first things to show if you are feeling run down or unwell, because the body is working over-time and organs like the skin, tend to get neglected. Therefore it is vital that we put into our bodies the foods and liquids that maximize nutrition for the skin.

Foods that are great skin boosters

Almonds - as well as being packed with protein, they contain fatty acids and Vitamin E, which is great for holding back wrinkles!

Apricots - Have an ingredient that fights off the ageing effects of the sun.

Blue berries - are loaded with Vitamin C that helps flush out toxins and boosts the skin's plumping agent Collagen.

Eggs - contain Selenium, an ingredient that boosts the immune system. Copper can be found in eggs, which helps the regeneration of skin tissue and aids with Elastin development.

Salmon (oily fish) - Contains essential fatty acids that help the skin to stay supple.

Turkey - a low fat, high protein meat that is full of Zinc which maintains the Collagen and Elastin that keeps the skin firm. Also Turkey is good for cell reproduction, so keeps the skin looking fresh.

Tomatoes - a simple fruit that is bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C. Anti oxidants are famously known for getting rid of toxins that can age the skin, and also harm the body.

Most brightly coloured fruit and veg - broccoli, tomatoes, berries, carrots, peppers, oranges, grapefruits, spinach all contain Vitamin C and antioxidants, which will help the whole body's immune system too, preventing cough and colds.

The most important that you can do for your skin?

Drink PLENTY of water!

Our body is 60% water and water is essential for all bodily functions - including the skin's functions, so aim to drink about 2-2.5 litres every day. Try and avoid highly sugared/caffeinated drinks, but all drinks count towards this RDA (recommended daily allowance)

Improving the Lymphatic flow and circulation

The Lymphatic System is part of the body's waste removal.The system runs parallel to the Blood Circulatory System but unlike the blood, it doesn't have a heart to pump it around the body. The lymphatic fluid therefore relies solely on manual stimulation/muscle stimulation and gravity to move it.  As lymph is passed around the body, it picks up the unused by-products, debris, toxins and waste from the body's tissue. There are 'nodes' (shown in the picture) that then filter the fluid, so that the waste can be expelled. Exercise (muscle movement) pumps the lymph around the body, so that minimal toxins remain, however if for some reason exercise is not present, the lymph and all its waste products will just sit there, resulting in swelling of the area (Lymphoedema). This will have adverse effects on the body as a whole and including the skin.

MLD - Manual Lymphatic Drainage Manual Lymphatic drainage is a massage where the therapist very gently and slowly moves the Lymphatic fluid towards to the Lymph nodes, optimising the body's toxin removal. This can be done in a Spa or salon, but you can also help the removal yourself.

Body Brushing is an excellent way of not only stimulating the Lymphatic System, but also the Circulatory System - ensuring fresh blood gets to all areas. It also brightens the skin no end by removing all the dead skin cells that cause the skin to look dull and lifeless! When using a body brush, swift, medium pressured stokes are best, but always in the direction towards the heart.


Cellulite or 'Orange Peel Skin' as it's frequently referred to as, is a word that strikes fear into most women's minds and as the Summer is finally here, bodies start to come out of the wintery clothing and into more revealing outfits. Women are unfortunately much more susceptible to cellulite than Men because of the makeup of our bodies and areas of fat, which proves most irritating, when men aren't expected to present themselves in bikinis.

What Causes Cellulite?

Cellulite is caused by the fatty deposits and how they lay just below the skins surface. The causes of this can depend on many factors.

Diet - Fatty foods, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, can all contribute to the build up of cellulite.

Lifestyle - Little exercise, jobs that require sitting or standing for long periods of time and smoking have all been thought to have a link to cellulite

Hormones - certain hormones such as Noradrenalin, Insulin and Estrogen have been thought to help the production of cellulite.

Genetics - unfortunately, some people are just blessed with genes that are prone to cellulite.

How to get rid of it!

Despite people's common belief that dieting or losing will automatically reduce cellulite, this is not the case. Changing the things you eat will help, but exercise is the main aid, as the body is burning fat, reducing the fat content in the cells, prviding a smoother, less lumpy physique.

Fresh, unprocessed foods - Fresh fruit and veg, fresh bread and fresh fruit juices (not concentrated) contain minimal preservatives like E numbers, which enters the body as a potential toxin that can contribute to cellulite. Eggs are also good to eat as they contain Amino Acids, present in eggs, are thought to be potentially helpful in the reduction of cellulite.

Massage not only helps with getting rid of toxins, but it can help also, to break down these fatty deposits that cause the dimpled appearance. So going for a run, having a massage, drinking plenty of water followed by a snack of fresh fruit, could be the way to rid yourself of the bumps you long to lose!

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