Products we love: Holiday essentials

travel packing guide

by nutritionist Maxine Sheils BSc (Hons) 

It’s been a while since our last Products We Love feature; among many delaying factors, staff holidays have played their part. As it’s that season (and we like to think we’re quite experienced in the area), it seems fitting to share our top holiday product essentials. Whilst many of our customers strive to eat a healthy diet and take supplements to support their health, there are many other things we can include to support the health of our bodies – using products that reduce toxic chemical exposure, for example. Here are our top tips for keeping the body healthy from the inside out over the summer months.  

To protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays – Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30

While some are a lot more prone to burning in the sun, it’s important to provide protection to the skin all year round to guard against the sun’s harmful UV rays. There are many sunscreen options available, so it’s important to understand the function of your sunscreen. When choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to find a product that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are associated with skin ageing while UVB rays are associated with burning. Although it’s commonly believed that using a high sun protection (SPF) factor will protect the skin from all skin damage, the SPF is only an indicator of UVB protection, but not UVA. Therefore, whilst no surface burning may be apparent, this does not mean that the deeper layers of skin are also being protected against ageing. Finding a product that contains minerals is also important as they sit on the outer layer of the skin to provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Finally, chemicals such as silicone which can block pores, leading to prickly heat, are often found in sunscreen; they may also affect the healthy balance of hormones such as oestrogen within the body and should be avoided.

Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 is an organic alternative, containing minerals to ensure protection of the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, as well as vitamins and antioxidants to further support the health of the skin. Green People’s sunscreen also protects the hormone system from the damaging effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals with its chemical free formula.  

To protect the cells from oxidative damage – Pure & Essential Astaxanthin

Not only does exposure to the sun’s UV rays leave the skin tanned, the rays can also lead to oxidative damage in the skin; in fact, if the skin becomes reddened (even slightly), this is a sign of inflammation that has occurred due to damage to the skin’s cells.

Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidative damage, and whilst many factors, including poor diet, stress and pollution exposure, cause oxidative damage in the cells of the body, the sun’s UV rays can be particularly harmful, even during the winter months. Long term, oxidative damage is associated with major health conditions including cancer, autoimmune conditions and neurological conditions.

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant which has an affinity for the skin, where it is able to span the whole cell membrane to provide protection from the varying factors that can cause oxidative damage, including the sun’s UV rays. Each bottle of Pure & Essential Astaxanthin contains 90 capsules and should provide a 3-month supply for those supplementing with 1 per day for general health.

To keep hydrated – Elete electrolyte

With both increased sun exposure and increased perspiration, the body can quickly deplete its levels of essential minerals required to maintain the healthy balance of hydration within the body and cells. The minerals required for hydration include calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, with symptoms of dehydration including increased thirst, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Whilst drinking water is important, it is vital to ensure you are consuming essential minerals in order to hydrate the cells, as water that is void of essential minerals is often expelled via the urine as the minerals are not there to help the water to cross through cell membranes.

Checking the colour of urine is a really important way to ensure you are hydrated; if the urine is clear, it would suggest that you are lacking the minerals to provide proper hydration (this can often happen with filtered water), whereas darker urine would suggest that you are not drinking enough water at all. It can be trickier to check the colour of your urine when you are in hot climates, as a lot of water can be lost through sweat, thereby reducing urine output. Therefore, ensure you are drinking lots of mineral-rich water to replace lost water and minerals by using an electrolyte solution such as Elete electrolyte, which can easily be added to your water to provide the essential minerals required to aid hydration.  

To ensure you smell fresh all day long – Salt of the Earth Crystal travel deodorant

You don’t need to be travelling to somewhere exotic to benefit from this advice thanks to the glorious sunshine and heat we have been blessed with in the UK this summer. Many of us dread the consequences of the hot weather as it can lead to embarrassing sweat patches and sometimes less than sociaable smells too. It’s important to understand that sweating is a normal bodily process required to regulate the body’s temperature, so the last thing you should be doing is using a deodorant that blocks the pores. Many antiperspirant deodorants contain aluminium chlorohydrate (check the ingredients label on your deodorant) which works by blocking the pores, and whilst this may seem ideal to many, it has the undesirable effect of disrupting normal skin/sweat gland function and has also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Other artificial chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, including parabens, can also enter the bloodstream if applied to the skin (as with a deodorant) and can disrupt the healthy balance of hormones within the body.

Salt of the Earth’s natural deodorant contains no added alcohol, aluminium chlorohydrate or chemicals, just pure mineral salt. It works by killing off the bacteria that can live in the armpits and emit bad scents, allowing for natural perspiration without the worry.

To repel mosquitoes – Incognito insect repellent spray

We all know those pesky mosquitoes can put a bit of a dampener on the holiday, and if you’re travelling to somewhere tropical where malaria and more recently, the Zika virus, is a risk, you’ll want to do as much as you can to avoid being bitten in the first place. The recommendation is to use a product containing DEET (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), a chemical that works as a pesticide to ward off mosquitoes. Whilst DEET can be effective at repelling mosquitoes, it has been found that they are building a resistance to the chemical. Furthermore, studies suggest that DEET can also affect the functioning of the nervous system, specifically the body’s ability to degrade the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, as well as generating free radical damage to DNA.

Incognito’s insect repellent spray uses the active ingredient PMD (oil extracted from lemon eucalyptus) to repel insects from the body’s natural odour, as it is body odour and bacteria found on the skin that attract mosquitoes. Furthermore, studies suggest that PMD provide 100% effectiveness from mosquito bites.  

To support the good bugs in your tummy – Optibac for travelling abroad

It is not uncommon when travelling to new and exciting destinations to be hit with a terrible case of ‘Delhi belly’ or something similar. Each of us has a unique microbiome (community of bacteria that lives on the skin and in the body) that is shaped to a certain degree by our environment. When that environment changes (such as when we travel to new destinations), the exposure to different bacteria can often upset the natural balance of your microbiome, and lead to stomach upsets. There are many things you can do to minimise the risk of being hit by a stomach bug – ensuring your water has either been treated or comes from a sealed bottle, applying the same principles to ice and salads washed in water, eating at a restaurant that is busy and doesn’t have food lying around in the heat exposed to flies and so on – but for some, digestive upsets are simply unavoidable. Unlike many probiotics, For travelling abroad does not have to be kept in the fridge and can withstand warmer climates, thereby supporting the health of your digestive tract whilst on holiday to help ward off any digestive complaints.

To keep those lips luscious – Burt’s Bees All Weather SPF15 Lip Balm

For many women, makeup bags are often condensed for the summer season; however, one product we would recommend is a lip balm. The face can be very vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays, and a good quality SPF and a hat can go a long way to protecting the face and lips. With increased water intake, however, it is easy for your SPF to have reduced effectiveness on the lip area so a lip balm containing SPF is a quick way to keep your lips protected all day long.

Lip balms are another product that can often be laden with endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as parabens and phthalates. Burt’s Bees lip balms use zinc oxide to provide SPF15 to the lips, whilst also moisturising and nourishing your lips with ingredients such as beeswax, olive oil and cocoa butter. Not only does zinc oxide work as an SPF to the lips, it also supports protein production required for skin health.

Above all else, don’t forget your sunglasses and sunhat

Whilst we have highlighted some of our favourite products, there are so many more that we could have added to the list. Feel free to share your favourite products with us so that we can try them out on our next escape. We wish you all a wonderful summer holiday full of health, happiness and hydration, with no burning, bugs or bites.

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If you require more support, feel free to contact our approachable team of nutrition professionals who will be more than happy to support you further or point you in the right direction.

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