Winter Skin Survival Guide

Winter is well and truly upon us – when we’re outside in the dark at 5pm, the wind blows freezing cold air into our faces. And then when we seek comfort and attempt to thaw out indoors, we crank the central heating up, which dries out the atmosphere and drains our poor skin of what little moisture it has left. It’s hardly surprising, then, that lots of us suffer from dry skin in the coldest weather, even if we’re blessed with perfect skin for the rest of the year.

Causes of winter skin problems

So, what does winter weather and central heating actually do to our skin?

Basically, when our skin is exposed to cold or dry air, the fats that prevent water loss and enable skin cells to stick together are lost. And without these magical fats (science bit – lipids,) skin cells flake off and some of our natural defences are lost, and skin is left vulnerable to the elements. Skin in need of extra nourishment and moisture feels tight and uncomfortable, and this can become painful, with very dry skin cracking and even bleeding.

Alleviate winter skin problems

Luckily, though, it’s not all bleak, and there’s no need to suffer for the whole of the winter. It’s not just you versus the elements and there are plenty of things you can do to help. We’ve compiled a list of top tips to help your skin survive the season (other than get on a plane to warmer climes and return home when the sun comes out again, that is...)

  • Up the humidity – combat dry air caused by central heating by using a humidifier. A simple way of doing this is to leave bowls of water near radiators.
  • Eat a healthy diet – essential fatty acids like Omega 3 will help your skin stand up to winter.
  • Turn the central heating down – it won’t dry out the air so much (and will save a few pennies as a bonus!)
  • Bundle up with hats, scarves and gloves when you’re out and about.
  • Use a water free hand cleanser instead of washing your hands with soap and water that can strip away your defences.
  • Cut down on the length of your showers or baths – hot water can wash away natural oils that protect your skin so minimising your exposure will help limit the damage. And when you’re done, pat your skin dry gently rather than vigorously rubbing it.
  • Take collagen supplements – collagen is the natural glue that holds the body together. A totally natural product, premium collagen supplements have been reported to improve skin condition and may benefit skin hydration and elasticity.

Get into good skin care habits – use a high quality moisturiser whilst your skin is still damp from washing. The Perfect Secret Anti-Wrinkle Serum offers a unique blend of ingredients combining new technology peptides, with collagen, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera – to help keep your skin hydrated whilst also reducing the effects of ageing. Bonus!

Read more →

Top 10 tips for festive health

 ‘tis the season to be jolly, etc.etc.! We like to make the most of the festive season as much as the next person, and find ourselves at seasonal parties from the end of November until the New Year. But all that partying – that is, all the eating, drinking, and not sleeping – does take its toll and we can end up feeling a little bit run down.

Luckily, though, we’ve been scouring the internet for the best advice to keep healthy and well throughout the festivities & are pleased to present to you our handy guide to taking care of your body during the festive season:

    1. Pace yourself - starting off with an easy one, but it’s important to remember nonetheless. Try to space out your soirees, and take extra time to look after yourself and get some early nights in between.

    1. Don’t go overboard with alcohol – have non-alcoholic drinks in between alcoholic ones. Supplements like milk thistle are thought to have liver protecting properties.

    1. Stay hydrated – drinking plenty of water keeps your mucous membranes moist so they can keep bugs out of your system.

    1. Wash your hands – at this time of year, colds, flu, and other winter ailments are common. You can protect yourself by washing your hands regularly – when you’re out and about, a hygienic cleanser can kill germs and bacteria when you can’t get to a sink.

    1. Eat well – December is full of temptations, but try to keep your diet somewhat in check. Excessive consumption can lead to digestive problems, which put a dampener on the festivities. Aloe Vera can help to aid digestion and minimise symptoms.

    1. Supplement your diet with superfoodsPure Acai Berry Capsules may benefit your body in many ways, amongst them boosting energy, strengthening the immune system, and cleansing and detoxifying your system.

    1. Look after your skin – using a decent quality moisturiser will help protect your skin against the cold weather and prevent painful dry skin. Stick to your skincare routines even when you get home late from parties!

    1. Book yourself into a spa, or pamper yourself at home. One study found that a single massage session lowered the level of stress hormones and boosted white blood cells, which protect the body against germs.

  1. Keep moving – stick to your existing exercise routine during the holiday season – it’ll help you sleep better, and keep any festive weight gain in check.

And relax – planning for Christmas can prove stressful, there are lists for food and presents, last minute things to buy, huge queues in shops to join the back of and last posting dates to remember. Don’t be afraid to accept offers of help –after all, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”, so take it easy and enjoy!

Read more →

Menopause - The Facts

Often called the ‘change of life’, menopause basically means the end of menstruation for a woman, and happens when her body stops releasing an egg every four weeks. The menopause can affect women of different ages – the average age to go through the menopause is 52, but some experience what’s called a ‘premature menopause’ in their 30s or 40s.

So, what is actually happening when a woman is going through the menopause? The whole thing is related to the levels of oestrogen in a woman’s body. During the menopause, a woman’s oestrogen levels decrease. And without this oestrogen, her ovaries will no longer release an egg each month – so she’ll no longer experience the joys of a monthly period. This can sometimes happen suddenly, with a woman’s periods stopping abruptly – but is more likely to happen gradually over a period of time.

How will going through the menopause affect me?

With hormone levels going through some massive changes, it’s no surprise that going through the menopause can have some side effects. Certainly, if you’ve ever suffered with PMT, you’ll understand the influence that hormones can have both physically and emotionally!

Some common symptoms include:

—     Periods becoming more (or less!) frequent

—     Periods becoming lighter (or heavier!) than usual

—     Hot flushes

—     Vaginal discomfort

—     Palpitations

—     Mood changes

—     Insomnia or other sleeping problems

—     Night sweats

—     Weight gain

So, that’s the bad news – it doesn’t sound like tremendous fun, does it? The good news is that the menopause doesn’t last forever, and symptoms are usually only a problem for between two and five years. The best news of all, thought, is that there are things you can do to help alleviate symptoms and make the transition smoother.

Minimising the effects of the menopause

A lot of women find that making changes to their lifestyle and diet help them to cope with the effects of the menopause. Simple things like exercising and de-stressing can make a massive difference, so making time to focus on your favourite exercise and methods for relaxation will really pay off!

Sometimes, though, the menopause hits suddenly and symptoms come on faster than you can say ‘yoga mat.’ What’s a girl to do, then? Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is available on prescription, but many women find that it doesn’t work well for them, or simply do not want to go down an overly pharmaceutical/medical route for coping what is essentially a natural part of the ageing process. For those women, some great natural HRT alternatives are available – Perfect Harmony tablets are one example, and aim to provide relief from the major symptoms of menopause. Perfect Harmony works by combining 6 key natural ingredients, including:

Soy Isoflavones – a natural plant oestrogen that protects against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Natural Vitamin E - powerful anti-oxidant that can provide relief from hot flushes and vaginal problems associated with the menopause.

Feverfew – been used for centuries for a range of conditions including those associated with menstruation. Recently Feverfew has been used for migraine headaches.

Read more →

Superfoods - The Champions of Health

Acai Berry - Maui

The world is full of hazards. Carcinogens, pollution, processed foods, saturated fats; staying healthy isn’t easy. Whilst there are no miracles, adopting a healthy diet and making wise lifestyle choices can help you make the most of the precious life you’ve been blessed with.

In recent years, the rise of the “superfood” has promised to help you stay healthy and keep those nasty free radicals at bay. But, what’s it really all about? Can these amazing foods really change your life? Or is this little more than a fabulous PR campaign?

What is a superfood?

There is no official or legal classification for a superfood, but basically superfoods are foods that have a high nutritional or phytochemical content, and therefore can provide some fabulous and vital vitamins and minerals for your diet. These foods are also all considered to contain high levels of antioxidants.

Green Tea Bin

The antioxidants you’re likely to find in superfoods are beta-carotene, Vitamins A, C and E; flavanoids and selenium; you’ll also often find omega-3 fatty acids, too. These delightful vitamins and minerals are vital for health, and you’ll certainly find plenty of them in superfoods, which is no bad thing.

The list of superfoods seems to be growing by the day, but some of the most well-known ones are:

—     blueberries

—     goji berries

—     pomegranate juice

—     oily fish

—     wheatgrass

—     green tea

—     baked beans

—     olive oil

—     kale

—     apples

—     salmon

—     kale

—     quinola

—     acai berries

—     beetroot

And what about free radicals?

Free radicals are atoms with an odd number of electrons - they’re unstable and they’re not happy about it. This essentially means they spend their days searching for another electron to complete their set. They want to steal that electron, and it’s this stealing that can result in ageing, tissue damage and potentially some diseases, too. Antioxidants can give these atoms a stern talking to and help them change their ways. So antioxidants are really important.

Superfoods but not super heroes

Whilst superfoods are certainly great to include in your diet, let’s make one thing clear. These foods aren’t superheroes! Eating these foods doesn’t compensate for unhealthy eating, nor can they undo damage that has already been done. You need to consider your diet and lifestyle as a whole to make the most of the lovely antioxidants and other wonderful vitamins and minerals.

As well as including superfoods into your diet, you can make sure you’re getting all the antioxidants you need by taking a natural supplement. Stay away from synthetic or artificial compounds, instead choose natural supplements and buy from a reputable supplier - like us!

Read more →

Breastfeeding and your breasts - the truth!


Before we even begin, let’s clear one thing up; breastfeeding doesn’t cause your breasts to droop or sag. However, unfortunately, pregnancy and post-breastfeeding can. There are also various nutritional, genetic and lifestyle factors that can affect how pert your breasts are, and how much you can expect them to droop over time. If it makes you feel any better, the majority of women will find that their breasts change, sag, droop and just generally lose that youthful perkiness as they get older, so if you’re worried about your breasts, you’re not alone.

One very important thing to consider when it comes to breasts is that they’re lacking in one rather fundamental anti-sagging ingredient. Muscle. Your breasts are made up of fat, glands, milk ducts, lobules, and ligaments; but no anatomical scaffolding. The ligaments (called Coopers ligaments) do offer a small amount of support, but essentially your breasts are fighting a constant battle with gravity. And, as we know, gravity inevitably wins.

So, if breastfeeding itself doesn’t cause sagging, what does? When it comes to babies, it’s the period before and after breastfeeding that causes all the trouble. Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy can really take their toll on your breasts, but the main “structural” change happens once breastfeeding stops.

When you stop breastfeeding, if you choose not to breastfeed, or when you reach menopause, your magical milk-making system shrinks. The lobules and ducts are no longer needed, so they shrink away. Your body will deposit some extra fat back into your boobs, but the “damage” has already been done. Because your skin doesn’t shrink, the result can be looser skin, less bounce and almost always some degree of sagging.


As you age, you’ll also be fighting against a loss of elastin, reduction in collagen production, and stretched or even torn ligaments. If you smoke, or lack vital vitamins and minerals in your diet, you’ll find that your even more prone to sagging as these factors affect your elastin and collagen production.

Hey, it’s not all doom and gloom! Look after your breasts and they’ll do their very best not to let you down. When you exercise, make sure you wear a really fantastic sports bra. All that bouncing about can cause your delicate Coopers ligaments to stretch or even tear - no good for those in search of forever-perky boobs. Nutritionally, make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin C, and that you’re keeping things healthy food-wise. Smoking is a complete no-no - the chemicals can drastically affect your elastin production, so quit the habit or at least take steps to cut down - your doctor can help you find a programme that works for you.

There are some fabulous supplements that can help you make sure you’re treating your boobs as well as you can - just stay away from products that contain synthetic compounds, artificial additives or fillers - these are unlikely to do you any harm, but they certainly won’t do you any good, either. Natural products and extracts that contain plenty of flavonoids, phyto-oestrogens or GLA (gamma linolenic acid) are perfect for helping you keep your breasts firm, youthful and perky for as long as you can!

Read more →

Wonderful Aloe!!

 For over four thousand years, a cactus-like plant with thick, fleshy leaves, serrated edges and yellow, pendulous flowers has been hailed the “healing plant” due to its fabulous remedial qualities. Aloe Vera is, in fact, a member of the lily family, and its amazing adaptability means this incredible plant, native to northern Africa, can be grown from deserts to humid jungles, and is commercially grown in Texas, California, Florida and even in specialist greenhouses in Oklahoma.

Aloe aloe aloe, what have we here then?

Teeming with over 200 active components, Aloe Vera gel is antibiotic, antimicrobial, germicidal, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral. The amazing, pure gel is found within the fleshy lower leaves of the plant and is extracted by slicing them open. Both the leaves and the seeds of an Aloe Vera plant are edible, although it is the Aloe latex, a thin, bitter membrane just under the skin of the leaves, is what is used to make aloe juice.

History repeating

Aloe Vera has been used to treat all manner of ailments since the days of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans; there’s even mention of these fabled plants in the Bible. Since antiquity Aloe has been used as a topical treatment for minor wounds, bruises and skin irritations. Ancient Egyptian Queens used Aloe in early cosmetics and Roman physicians would combine Aloe gel with hot water to create a vapour for treating respiratory problems. Although Aloe Vera does not have much in the way of an official standing within the medical community, it is still one of the most widely used treatments for burns and bruises, and d is also sometimes used to treat ailments such as ulcers, diabetes, IBS, headaches, and arthritis. In the US the FDA has even approved development of medical research that is aimed at eventually using Aloe Vera in the treatment of cancer and even AIDS.

Making Aloe work for you

According to Aloe enthusiasts, this magical plant can aid digestion, assist with detoxification, boost your immune system, and even help alkalize your body - perfect for people with an acidic diet. Aloe Vera is considered to be an adaptogen - boosting your body’s ability to adapt to external changes and even resist illness. Aloe is an effective moisturiser, an anti-inflammatory and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

When you’re considering using Aloe, particularly internally, it’s important to respect the potency of the product. Users should follow the Aloe Vera product manufacturers guide to consumption. High levels of Aloe Vera consumption should generally be limited to a few weeks, however lower doses can be used for maintenance and general well being. A convenient way to take Aloe Vera is in capsule form such as those sold by Sanctum Health

If you are pregnant, menstruating, have hemorrhoids, or are suffering from any degeneration of the liver or gall bladder then you shouldn’t ingest Aloe Vera without first contacting your doctor.

Read more →

Ayurveda - India's Ancient Healer

It is often said that a holistic approach to health and wellness is the most beneficial. By considering the body and mind as one, rather than treating them separately, the ancient Indian lifestyle practice of Ayurveda claims to be able to provide balance and emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

The Ayurvedic Approach

Ayurvedic medicine works on the principle that the five main elements (space, air, water, fire, earth) exist within the body as three components (known as doshas): Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Your combination of these three doshas is supposed to be determined at conception, and it is an imbalance of these doshas that Ayurvedic practitioners claim leads to mental and physical illness.

What’s your dosha?

Why not take this simple test to find out how your basic nature affects your dosha?

If you’re mostly Vata, then with balance you’re lively and creative, but imbalance can result in anxieties, insomnia and indigestion.

Pitta people tend to be friendly, smart and strong, but imbalances can lead them to be critical, aggressive and irritable.

A Kapha person is said to be sweet, loyal and serene. However, an imbalance can result in weight gain, congestion and resistance to change.

Flowers and herbs

Working in harmony

Ayurvedic medicine combines herbal supplements with yoga, meditation, massage and a healthy diet to promote balanced doshas and a stress-free existence. Whilst that may seem a little far-fetched, Ayurvedic principles have been used successfully to assist with the treatment of asthma, high blood pressure and even arthritis. Ayurvedic massage Ayurvedic massage focuses on tapping, kneading, squeezing and traditional massage techniques to promote calm, relieve tension and balance chakras. An Ayurvedic massage will utilise essential oils specifically chosen to complement your dosha. Using these techniques, Ayurvedic massage is said to help eliminate toxins, relax and rejuvenate the body and mind, whilst acting as a spiritually cleansing experience. Practitioners focus on specific “marma points”, which are similar to the pressure points of acupuncture, reflexology and acupressure.

Finding out more

When considering adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle, it’s important to make sure that you also continue to maintain links with mainstream medicine. You may find that your GP can offer some advice about successfully combining holistic and mainstream medicines, but if the term “Ayurveda” leaves your doctor with a blank expression, then there’s lots you can find out about the subject online or in books. A local alternative health bookshop may be able to help, or an online search for Ayurvedic practitioners in your local area may prove fruitful if you’re looking for guidance and advice.

A healthy balance

Maintaining a balanced life can be tricky. If you often feel tired, sluggish and achy then Ayurvedic medicine would suggest that your dosha is out of balance. Ailments such as IBS, diabetes, allergies, skin complaints, and joint inflammation can affect you as much psychologically as they can physically. A natural, good-quality supplement such as Aloe Vera can really help promote a healthy lifestyle and help you take your first steps on the path to a happier, healthier you.

As a complementary medicine, it is important to remember that Ayurvedic practices and herbal medicines are not a replacement for mainstream medical treatment.

Read more →

Ageing - What does it mean for your skin?

Age is a funny old thing (if you’ll excuse the pun). With age comes wisdom, confidence, experience; but, age also comes with some physical changes that aren’t so endearing. Ageing can have a dramatic effect on your skin, but there are things you can do to help. First, though, it’s important to understand how your skin works, and what changes ageing can bring.

Beauty is only skin deep?

Let’s start with the basics. Your skin has three main layers; epidermis, dermis and a subcutaneous layer. Your epidermis is the skin you see - full of cells, proteins and blood vessels; this layer protects you from the elements and helps keep moisture and warmth inside your body. Your dermis and subcutaneous skin lay beneath your epidermis and house more blood vessels, sweat and oil glands, nerves and hair follicles.

The passage of time

As you age, there are a number of ways your skin will change. For starters, your epidermis will begin to thin out, and your pigment cells will reduce in size - with the remaining pigment increasing in size. What does this mean for your appearance? Paler, more transparent skin, and an increased likelihood of age spots, particularly in sun-exposed areas.

Beware the sun!

Sun damage really is the most prevalent cause of premature ageing, and even in the UK where the sunshine rarely feels particularly strong, it’s actually vital that you’re protecting your skin each and every day. You should be using a hydrating facial moisturiser with SPF 30+, even if you wear makeup with additional SPF protection. Also use SPF protection on your hands and forearms - key ageing areas due to prolonged exposure.

Stretching it out

Now, let’s talk elasticity. Collagen fibres nestle within your skin structure to provide support whilst elastin fibres are there to provide flexibility and support. Ageing, as well as genetic factors and life events like swift weight loss/gain or pregnancy, can put the elasticity of your body under strain. Over time (from as early as your mid-20s)  you’ll begin to produce less collagen and you body’s elastin begins to lose its durable strength. The result? Loose, sagging skin, wrinkles and folds.

Fighting for time

Whilst there are no miracle cures for the ageing process (yet!), one of the keys to fighting Father Time is hydration. Drinking plenty of water and gentle exfoliation twice a week are simple but effective ways of staying hydrated and keeping your skin cells in tip-top condition. Investing in products containing hyaluronic acid and aloe vera is a good place to start when it comes to combating ageing. Hyaluronic acid offers incredibly deep hydration, and aloe vera combines natural healing properties with great hydration.

Supply and demand

Taking a supplement of 100% pure collagen can also help benefit your skin as well as promoting healthy joints. Whilst collagen supplements won’t directly replace lost collagen, it is claimed that these supplements can help stimulate production.  As you get older it’s also beneficial to take a daily supplement of vitamins and minerals designed for yout sex and age range, and of course maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle!

Read more →

Revolutionary Perfect Aloe Matrix now available at Sanctum Health

With all the benefits of a high quality Aloe Vera Juice packed into a small capsule, Perfect Aloe Matrix_x000D_ (PMA) is truly revolutionary. Developed by Dr Ivan Danhof the world’s leading expert on Aloe Vera, this_x000D_ herbal dietary supplement is now believed to be the finest and most effective Aloe Vera Product currently_x000D_ available, with just one capsule being equivalent to 120 mls of high grade aloe juice. If you think it’s time to_x000D_ end your digestive misery and take back control of your life? It's time to try the Perfect Aloe Matrix

Read more →

Sanctum Health welcomes Mango-Trim Ultra to the family

Sanctum Health is pleased to announce a new product for Summer 2013.

Mango Trim Ultra is a superb addition to our weight loss range of supplements. This powerful combination of African Mango, Raspberry Ketone, Green Tea, Caffeine, Apple Cider Vinegar, Grapefruit, Resveratol, and Kelp is manufactured in the UK, and aims to help boost your weight loss efforts, whether you are just starting a weight loss program, or just need an extra boost to lose the last few pounds. Mango-Trim Ultra helps to maintain normal appetite control, fat digestion, metabolism and cholesterol levels. It also helps increase antioxidant activity in the blood, which may decrease harmful free radicals that can attack body cells, and thus aids in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Read more →