HEALTHY YOU, BEAUTIFUL SKIN, NATURALLY

www.abigailjames.com




Tips for Sexy Spring skin

Clear out - A change of season into spring is a great time to freshen up your beauty bag. The shelf life of a skincare product is not infinite, best results are from the most active ingredients which will be achieved with fresh products, ones that have not been subjected to light, varying bathroom temperatures and humidity, it’s a good idea to swap out products that have not been replaced  since before winter or even older. 

Awaken the skin - A change in season, temperature and atmosphere are all good reason to review what you are doing to your skin. I often recommend to clients to to have a freshen up, in treatment this could be a really gentle fruit acid peel and oxygen. At home this could be adding in a brightening mask, changing their cleansing balm to a mild wash, adding in a bi-weekly exfoliation, all focusing on refreshing the skin and bringing back a bit of spring life to the complexion. 

Boost your cleanse - Increase your daily cleansing, this can be so simple as taking an extra minute to massage you cleanser in rather than just a quick wipe over or even not cleansing morning and night. My new favourite way of increasing the benefits of an at home cleanse is by adding in the Foreo Luna, a unique handheld sonic massage machine, totally waterproof it is the ideal way of increasing the benefits of your cleanser without being harsh and works with all types of cleanser, I personally find it gives a real clarity to the skin.

Nourish - Nourishing the skin with a good moisturiser is key, now the skin is cleansed and exfoliated properly, your moisturiser is going to absorb better, possibly the skin wont need the heavier moisturisers of the colder months so look at changing to a lighter texture during the spring months to allow the skin to later comfortably to the change. 

Way down - Don't forget your décolleté and neck, gone with the polo necks and scarves, this area is going to be more on show, take your cleanser and moisturiser all the way down to your chest. There are some fantastic products specific for this area such as the Liz Earle neck and bust serum. 

Allergens - With the arrival of beautiful blossoms, fresh flowers and green leaves come the arrival of allergens, which can cause sneezing and puffy eyes. To help combat this ensure you take of your eye makeup thoroughly every evening. Optrex eye revive is a handbag must to freshen up the eyes, it is actually intended to hydrate the eyeball as well as the outer skin. Cold used free Tea bags are a great at home eye mask. Brew them then place in the fridge cool then place over eyes for 5 minutes. 




Stress & skin health

Modern life can be at such a pace not many of us escape some level of stress, this can manifest in many different ways, irritable bowl, migraine, irregular sleep patterns, skin breakouts, eczema the list goes on. There is no denying a mind body and skin connection,  on a physical level nerve endings are connected to the skin so when an emotion is played out there is a physical reaction within the skin. Interestingly in the womb the brain and the skin are derived from the same cells! 

When we are stressed we release the stress hormone cortisol which is clinically proven to increase the ageing process and because it’s a hormone it will impact of the other hormones in the body such as oestrogen and testosterone and they try to re balance themselves. These hormones can trigger breakouts acne and eczema. We can look at someone and know from their expression if they are happy or stressed, the skin and face is a reflection of our mood, deep lines can form through frowning and muscles become tense, these tight muscles restrict the free flow of blood and nutrients reducing our natural supply of healthy new cells. 


There are lots we can do to help....



1. Meditate 
A few minutes a day can help ease anxiety and stress. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress as well.
It only need be really simple, Sit up straight with both feet on the floor, or cross legged on a pillow on the floor. Relax your body, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Come up with a positive mantra or few words, such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” I was taught positive words through hypnotherapy when I suffered anxiety when i was 19, these have stayed with me and I still use them in “ Cool, calm, collected, confident and courageous” 

2. Breathe 
So many of us are not breathing correctly, shallow diagram breathing, we need to learn correct belly breathing. Give yourself a 5-minute break from whatever is bothering you and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight or lie down, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth, I like to combine this type of technique with meditation, multi tasking! 

3. Write it down 
Often I can be lay in bed with a head full of thoughts and things I need to do. I have a book by the slide of my bed, before I switch the light of I will empty my thoughts onto paper then very easily drop off to sleep knowing I wont forget anything because its there in writing. 

4. Cut out stimulants 
I love a good soya cappuccino, a glass of wine, dark chocolate, but lets do these things in moderation, I have on occasion enjoyed a bar of green and blacks before bed and wandered why I am wide awake unable to sleep! and lack of sleep in only going to creep those stress levels high the following day. 

5. laugh 
You would be amazed how helpful laughing can be, we release happy hormones when we laugh and it can be contagious also lifting someone else's mood. 

6. Massage 
A good massage obviously feels great, it is easing muscle tension, there are also nerve endings in the skin when send relax mental messages to the brain. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami is an amazing place they do many studies on touch, how it reduces stress in adults, pregnancy, and also children one study showed that a group of children suffering with skin conditions their mood and activity levels improved after massage, as did all measures of their skin conditions including redness and itching, interestingly their Parents’ anxiety also decreased! happy children happy mums. 

7: Take some me time 
Get outside for a walk, run a warm bath,  sit in the park, do a yoga class, find a cafe and sit outside,, draw, have a quite 15minutes for Tea break and a flick through a magazine, anything which is just you and you alone, no phone, computer, children, partner or work colleague. 

8: Find time to meet friends.
Friends can help us see things in a different way, just voicing your stresses can be therapy in its self, often friends can put a funny spin on things or even have some great in site from personal experience, they can also help you put your worries to one side and just be yourself. 


Top 5 quick tips for New Year skin health


1. Ditch the morning latte, that amount of milk daily is just not good for the skin, and this is what we are starting the day with.
2. Book a facial, not just on your birthday; make it a regular appointment, ideally once every 4 weeks but 6 generally fits into peoples lives easier. I have personally seen the benefit of this to many clients.
3. Add in some retinol, either in the form of plant based Vitamin A or something a bit more technical, it speeds up skin cell turnover renewing and keeping the skin fresh and youthful looking.
4. Alkalize the body; a few tweaks to your daily food intake can make a huge difference, not just to your complexion but your whole health. Our blood pH level ideally should be between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. The more acidic our diet, the more we work against our natural bodies state. It can make us feel tired, and compromise our immune system and natural detoxification process. A good rule of thumb is that 60-80% of our diet is from more alkaline foods, and 20-40% more acidic.
5. Cleanse morning and night – It doesn’t matter how late in the evening or early in the morning it is, a face wipe is not going to do the job or not cleansing at all. Skin needs to breath, getting rid of the sweat from the night before and starting with a clean base is giving the skin the best start to be clear and function at its best. 

Detox tips for overindulged skin


Over indulgence can make the skin congested, lacking luster and on the puffy side. There are certain foods that are good for general detox which are going to benefit the skin as well, a detox is the best place to begin. Starting the day with a hot water and lemon with a slice of ginger, mid afternoon fresh mint leaves tea and green or white tea are cleansing and packed with antioxidants and a great replacement to a latte or good old British  cuppa. 
You could look at a one off cleanse program or how about a New Year life change to have a green juice every day or 5 out of 7 days.  Cucumber, lemon, celery, fennel, ginger, pear, spinach are all good for alkalizing the whole body and will improve the brightness and clarity of your complexion.
A good combination of nutrition is key, greens, especially watercress and kale, coloured fruit, berries and vegetables, with healthy proteins such as quinoa, nuts and healthy oils from brazil nuts, fish, avocado should make up the basics of a diet best suited to skin clarity. Avoid the obvious things like pasta, breads, cakes, cheese, and processed meats. And for sweat treats fill your boots with dark chocolate, high in skin friendly antioxidants.
New year skin supplements should include Vitamin D essential for all over health especially in the UK during the winter months, Vitamin C works on so many levels as well as assisting the liver drive away toxins. Milk thistle for liver function and will help keep those breakouts at bay, an effective probiotic to help re balance an over indulged stomach and re balance good gut flora.
Organic pharmacy - phytonutrients capsules are an amazing all round skin health supplements with MSM and good for digestion.
Organic burst – spiralina is so easy to add to juices and breakfasts, ideal for alkalizing, improving the immune system, packed with protein and amino acids
Wild nutrition – food stat skin hair and nails has the staple everything you need for general skin health and all ingredients the skin is going to recognise and use to its best.
Biocare - liquid Vitamin D, real easy to take and absorb

For skin detoxification its not juts what you are applying to the face, whole body is going to impact on the clarity of your facial complexion. You could go fully natural for a 6-week skin detox product period. Avoiding perfumed, heavy creams, synthetic ingredients and go natural, organic, raw or just cold formulated all this is going to give your lymphatic system the best space to be healthy and clear the skin. 
It’s important to cleanse morning and night Kiehls ultra facial oil free cleanser is a good city skin cleanser without stripping, or their ultra facial cleanser is more suited to a more sensitive skin.
Body brushing and skin exfoliating is a tried and tested method of improving the bodies natural detoxification process, sloughing off the tired dead skin cells on the surface to stimulate fresh cell growth, allow products to penetrate better and bring back some health to the skins surface.
Aesop tea tree facial exfoliator is perfect, powdered tea tree leaves; crushed nutshells and purifying clays tick all the boxes for skin detox.
Liz Earle Brightening mask is just magical, it really does do something, contains a blend of camphor oil, white clay which draws out impurities, mineral silt high in magnesium, calcium and iron all really important for the skin along with almond oil and aloe very.
Suki pure facial oil, I just love, non complicated with a delicate chamomile scent, absorbs beautifully and great for re-balancing and hydrating the skin without over powering, use at night as a hydrator 
For whole body and face detox Epsom salt baths are old fashioned but work, magnesium and sulphate absorbed through the skin. Great for restoring the body after over indulgence, they naturally rehydrate and restore.

Post sun skincare


Feeling the heat of the sun on our face feels divine, but we know too well the adverse effects of prolonged sun exposure and the impact this has on the skin's appearance, drying it out, increasing lines and damaging cells.  I am an advocate of balance in life and we need sun exposure for our bodies to function healthily. Holiday’s in the sun or after the beautiful sunny summer we have had, you may have seen a little more sun that would be considered healthy.

Free radical damage, a bi product of sun exposure is the primary contributor to the visible effects of ageing. They attack collagen, elastin and DNA resulting in increased skin ageing and pigmentation. Ingredients in skincare products can be really helpful in the fight against premature ageing, preventing and restoring this damage. 

Ingredients to pack in your post holiday skin kit must contain high antioxidants to work on this increased free radical attack. Antioxidants are the biggie when it comes to fighting free radical damage, stimulating blood flow and encourage the growth of new healthy cells make sun-damaged skin appear younger and prevent against further damage. Many antioxidant-rich beauty products are available for treating sun damage, including cleansers, serums and  moisturisers that you can use on the body as well as the face. Look for ingredients such as L-ascorbic acid, aka Vitamin C, this plays a crucial role in two processes that become very important as we get older—collagen synthesis and helping to normalise hyper-pigmentation.
Skin serums - Layer up your post sun skincare with a power punching antioxidant serum, there are many available, a personal favourite Medik8’s CE Tetra, feels great on the skin and absorbs beautifully.
Moisturise - Up your miniaturisation morning and night to rehydrate skin cells. There are many cell repairing ingredients and hydrating oils, look for vitamin E which is the  chief fat-soluble antioxidant. When Vitamin E quenches free radicals it becomes a Vitamin E radical, which then uses Vitamin C to return it to its antioxidant state. Combining Vitamin C and E gives a powerful combination in skincare. Sisley’s Sisleÿa Global Anti-Age cream is a dream. 

Mask it - a supper quick and easy way to restore sun exposed skin is with a good face mask, choose something with aha’s or fruit acids to gently exfoliate and brighten, then some mega moisture aspect and anti-age ingredients. Natura Bisse Diamond ice-lift DNA cry-mask is a real power house of ingredients. 
Brush up your body - Dry body brushing not only aids your health, stimulating blood and lymph circulation it brightens and boosts the outer appearance of the skin. Combine with a gentle body exfoliator that contains alpha-hydroxy acids or fruit enzymes, this will help get rid of any product build-up and remove dead skin cells. Natura bisse C+C vitamin body scrub, this is going to make your moisturiser absorb further, so moisturise your body daily, these can also be packed with antioxidants not just essential oil.

Dry Hair treatment
You really can't over-condition hair after a summer of sun, salt and chlorine. Load up on conditioners that hydrate with coconut or olive oil, or Shea butter. If you have the time, leave it on for as long as possible and just rinse thoroughly. I have fallen in Love with Liz Earl Botanical shine hair oil, this has single handedly turned my hair around from rough candy floss to soft and smooth locks. 




Banishing sunscreen myths


Myth - The higher the SPF the higher the safer you are in the sun 
The answer is actually yes and no but as you get up into the higher levels the difference is very little in comparison to the huge amount of extra chemicals required to create the higher SPF.  SPF 15 filters around 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filter 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens filter 98%, and SPF 100 filter 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. Sunscreens are classified by the strength of their sun protection factor (SPF). These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays (UVB). However, some sunscreens now include compounds such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide which help protect against UVA rays as well, these are called broad spectrum sunscreens, natural and organic sunscreens widely use these. Personally I don't generally wear sunscreens higher than 30 keeping chemicals down to a minimum. 

Myth - I only need to wear sunscreen when the sun is out or in the summer 
UVA rays are there all year round, these are the ageing rays, they penetrate clouds and glass, they also will penetrate the skins dermis impacting on the collagen elastine damage DNA and impact on your melanin and also cause cancer. 
For those concerned about photo-ageing and skin cancer the trick is to find a moisturiser with an SPF 15 - 20 to wear daily inside and out all year round increasing the SPF when we are into the summer months. I will wear a mineral makeup all year around or a moisturiser wit ha minimum of 15 through the winter months also. 

Myth - Getting a base tan is a good idea before going on holiday
Sunbeds are never a good idea, this is synthetic UVA rays which will only damage, age the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. the tan you get from a tanning bed doesn't protect you, It's a different kind of tan because it's from high amounts of UVA, which darkens the skin quickly rather than a natural tan created from full spectrum sunlight. 

Myth - I have darker skin tone so I don’t need sunscreen 
Being a child of the 80's and one that tans easily  I was regularly thrown out in the Spanish sun with Hawaiian tropic oil plastered on and left to return coffee brown, not something that would happen today. Although darker skin tones do not burn so easily in the sun as fair skin, the sun will still damage and age the skin. Often people who do tan easily will expose them self more to sndamage because their skin does go brown where as the fair skinned who may at best turn a slightly pink shade of red will avoid lying in the sun and therefore be more sun savey and be saving their skin from premature photo-aging and higher risks of skin cancer. 

Myth - I shouldn't wear SPF because I wont get enough Vitamin D
The realistic answer to this is as humans we desperately do need Vitamin D for our bodies to function correctly, it has been proven to be vital in the fight against skin cancer, exposing yourself to full sun for 20 minutes a day is enough to get the level of Vitamin D we require, so no need to sunbath to fill up on Vitamin D. We dont get enough sun exposure in the UK so it should be a must to take a daily supplement of Vitamin D. 





Super Green Juice


I am not shy or quiet about the fact I am a huge fan of juicing, especially of the green variety. What better way
to get your greens than have them easily delivered to your door, this is where Plenish cleanse springs into the speed dial. I recently caught up for a quick juice and Q n A with Kara the brains and beautiful lady behind this juice company with ideas on making juice accessible and just a little bit stylish.

Q. What made you start Plenish?
Juicing has been an extremely powerful tool in transforming my health. When I moved from NYC where cold pressed juices are readily available, I found it hard to find cold pressed juices anywhere. Most of the juices and cleanses on the market were made from mostly sugary fruits and blended, so I decided to start my own raw juice company inspired by the places I loved in New York and Los Angeles.

Q. How long have you been juicing for?
 5 years

Q. Do you have a favourite juice combination?
I love anything green, usually cucumber plus a mixture of leafy greens that are in my fridge with a splash of lime.

Q. How often do you do a cleanse or has it become part of your daily life? 
I cleanse at least 4 times per year (usually with the change of the season) to give my system a 'reboot'. The quarterly cleanse plus the daily juicing is really key to keep your immunity soaring and your skin radiant! When you are consuming super nutrient dense juices, it helps ward off sugar cravings too!

Q. What ingredients would you reccomend to benefit the skin most?
Cucumber is extremely hydrating and most dark leafy greens are chock full of antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage and cellular ageing. That combo helps keep skin glowing from the inside. A little known fact is that the condition of your skin really reflects what's happening in your gut. If you keep your gut healthy, most likely, your skin will look healthy too.

Q. How do you relax?
I either take yoga with Leah Kim, or get in the swimming pool with my two year old daughter Belle!

Q. Do you have a favourite item, old or new you just adore, domestic or work that you could not do without?
My iPhone! It is like a super hero tool to me from finding directions to managing my calendar and I have an app for every function in my life. I fear ever losing it!