Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy. On average, people wash their hands around eight times a day, and the Global Hygiene Council recommends even more, especially since handwashing can help to prevent the spread of germs.
Repeated handwashing can take a toll on your skin if your chosen soap uses harsh surfactants and strips your hands of moisture.
Thankfully, Forever has found a way to actually soften your hands while washing them. Formulated from 100% stabilized Aloe Vera gel and natural cleansers, the gentle formula in Forever’s ALOE HAND SOAP (Code 523 Price £14.83) cleans your hands whilst also leaving them feeling soft and hydrated.
No doubt you’ve heard countless times from your parents and medical professionals that your immune system is important. Even if it’s never been mentioned outright, it’s been inferred. We all generally have an idea of what the immune system does – it fights infections and illnesses for us – but we may not have an in-depth understanding of exactly how it works and what it’s doing for us day-to-day.
How does the immune system actually work?
Your immune system recognises every cell that makes up your body. If it finds anything it doesn’t recognise, it attacks it. Sometimes it can get this wrong and attack harmless pollen particles (causing hay fever) or donated blood or organs. However, in general your immune system will be pretty good at this.
Your immune system can be divided up into two parts: innate response and acquired response. The innate response is the part that decides whether something is friend or foe. If it decides on foe, it tries to flush out the invader and this is generally what makes you feel feverish or snotty. The acquired response acts when the invaders have been recognised. It identifies which cells in your body can kill the invaders and then sends them in, much like a SWAT team. There are lots of claims online that things like getting more sleep, taking supplements and drinking more water can help to improve your immune system, but often, robust evidence for these quick-fixes can be hard to find. So, what does work?
A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defence
The best method for maintaining a healthy immune system is to keep yourself healthy by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. A varied diet will ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to stay healthy. Certain vitamins and minerals contribute to the normal function of the immune system, including copper, folate, iron, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. Some will be more helpful here than others, but that’s why a balanced diet is the best option here, as you’ll get a bit of everything.
Getting regular exercise is important for your immune system because it increases the activity of helpful immune cells in your body. Improving your circulation and getting your heart beating more sends these cells out to patrol the body, looking for potential problems. The NHS notes that adults between 19 and 64 require both aerobic and strength exercises. It also recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, in addition to separate strength exercises. Whilst both types of activity are important for general wellbeing, which is also important for your immune system, it’s the aerobic activity that will really get those immune cells moving about.
Your microbiota is on your side
I have mentioned in another blog that cultivating the good bacteria in your gut is essential to your overall health and wellbeing, but how does this relate to the immune system? Well, the microbiota in your gut can help to defend you from infection in more ways than one. For one thing, they take up space in your gut, so it’s difficult for disease-causing bugs to find anywhere to establish themselves. They also secrete toxic proteins that kill off potential infections, and, finally, they regulate the signals of our innate response (the one that flushes out invaders). Some scientists have suggested that the reason why you and your friend may react differently to the same infection is down to a difference in microbiota. One way to complement your microbiota is to take Forever Active Pro-B. It’s the perfect high-quality friendly bacteria supplement to assist with your diet and lifestyle goals (Code 610 Price £35.71).
Vaccinations can help prevent problems
We mentioned earlier that the acquired response identifies cells within the body that can attack and kill invaders, well, often this process can take a few days or longer to complete. Vaccines work by introducing your acquired response to harmless versions of the infection, so that your body produces antibodies and learns how to fight it. This way, if you ever come into contact with the disease again, your immune system knows how to fight it and acts a lot quicker.
It’s clear that there’s no quick fix for boosting your immune system. The only real answer is to eat well, exercise regularly, look after your microbiome and make sure you have the correct vaccinations. Not so surprising when you think about it, is it?
Many of us consider our gut to be simply an automated food processing system that, at best, does little more than digest our food and at worst, is the source of discomfort and illness. But have you ever considered that your intestine is your largest organ? Its average length is greater than the width of a tennis court and its surface area is approximately 200 times the surface area of your skin. So why is our gut health so important? There is increasing emerging evidence that the size and complexity of our gut plays a vital role in more than just nutrient absorption; it’s also connected to our immune system, mental health and general wellbeing.
Nutrient absorption – we are what we absorb, not just what we eat
Taking the food we eat and processing it so that we can absorb and utilise the nutrients is the most obvious role of our gut. Having been broken down by the acidic stomach, the majority of nutrient absorption takes place in our small intestine, but this absorption varies between 10-90% depending upon the health of our intestine.
Three ways to increase nutrient absorption:
- Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before each meal. This will prime the digestive system
- Chew your food for longer. This will boost the digestion process and food will taste better
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol whilst eating
The gut-brain axis – your gut instinct
Our gut contains a network of neurones equivalent in complexity and size to the brain of a cat, and we all know how intelligent cats are! This neural-network, known as the ‘Enteric Nervous System’, not only controls digestion but it also connects directly to our brainstem to provide two-way communication with the unconscious part of our inbuilt master computer. One of the key messengers in this network is serotonin. In the brain, this messenger is well known for producing feelings of positive wellbeing and happiness, yet approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract.
This ‘second brain’ in our gut determines not just our digestive health, but it also affects our mood and even the way we think and therefore behave. Maybe our ‘gut instinct’ has a more rational basis than we previously realised!
The immune system – battling the bugs
The immune system is our body’s natural defence force. Ready, armed and willing to attack any foreign invaders, the immune cells are housed in our lymphoid tissue. Examples include our lymph nodes and spleen, but 70% of lymphoid is in our intestine which makes it the body’s largest immune organ.
Our micro-biome – the good, the bad and the ugly
We now understand that our gut factory is not fully automated, it actually houses a huge workforce! Bacteria are often considered the bad boys of biology causing infection, disease and illness, and whilst for some bacterial strains this is true, there are many other bacterial strains that are vitally important for us to survive. They co-habit in our bodies, living and working in our large intestine – the micro-biome.
There are over 40 trillion bacteria in our gut, making up 1-3% of our body weight and in fact, there is more bacterial genetic material in our gut than there are human genes in our body! These good bacteria support our immune, gut-brain axis and digestive system in many ways, including producing enzymes, vitamins and hormones we cannot make, and enhancing the absorption of certain minerals. Ensuring we cultivate our good gut bacteria, encouraging their growth and productivity is essential to our overall health and wellbeing.
Three steps to boost your micro-biome:
- Exercise regularly
- Vary your diet with lots of nutrient dense vegetables and berries
- Avoid refined sugar and processed food.
Making the right choices on a daily basis to promote good gut health will not only improve your digestive health but it will also support your immune system and mental health. Optimal intestinal health truly is the key to good general wellbeing.
A handy disinfectant that can kill 99.99% of all germs, bacteria & viruses
Enriched with soothing Aloe and nourishing Honey, one squirt of this handy disinfectant can kill 99.99% of all germs, bacteria & viruses – reassuring to know if you’re networking and/or shaking hands & meeting with lots of people every day.
Unlike other ‘Hand gels’ on the market which dry your skin
Forever Hand Sanitizer softens and moisturises hands as it cleans. With a refreshing scent of lemon and lavender. A must-have for your pocket and bag. (Code 318 Price £3.63)
Here’s one product we wanted to matchmake specifically with you – yes, YOU – because we think it’s bound to be love at first sight. We’re talking, of course, about Aloe Lips – our rich and nourishing lip balm, great for protecting lips all-year round. Why do we think it’s such be a good match, you ask? Just take a look at its ingredients…
As with most of our products, the key ingredient in Aloe Lips is our own-grown Aloe Barbadensis Miller leaf extract. Aloe has many properties which make it ideally placed in a lip balm. As well as having a high water content, which makes it nice and moisturising to help soothe and soften lips, Aloe Vera is also naturally cooling, which can help to relieve painful chapped lips.
During the winter months, the cold can make our lips dry, cracked, sore and in desperate need of moisture. In the summer, unprotected lips are at risk of sunburn, which dries out the skin and lips and can leave them peeling and flaky.
The hydrating properties of jojoba can help to prevent skin flaking and help to deliver moisture, making Aloe Lips a treat come rain or shine.
Wax is often used in skin-softening treatments due to the way it helps to smooth. It also works as a barrier between the skin and other contaminants. Aloe Lips contains several different kinds of wax to provide maximum luxury, including beeswax – a natural skin protectant which soothes and hydrates without clogging pores.
But you don’t need to take our word for it! Good Housekeeping recently reviewed our Aloe Lips and it seems they share our love for this pocket-sized wonder! Their expert testers loved the flavour and the fact that the condition of their lips “improved within two to three days”.
Whether you’re off out, staying in and cuddling, or celebrating with your friends rather than a romantic partner, your lips could always use a little more love, so don’t forget to keep your Aloe Lips close by. (Code 022 Price £3.07)
Men should never shy away from daily skincare, as like women, their skin is susceptible to age spots, blemishes and uneven skin tone that deserves to be kept under control especially during the winter when temperatures drop. Your skin’s health should be considered just as important as your health in other areas, so put aside any reservations you have about skincare and complete this winter skincare routine on a regular basis to avoid rough and dry winter skin.
Many men start their skincare regime off badly by choosing to wash their face with a bar of soap. Although this removes unwanted dirt and oil from your face, it can be very harsh and drying on the skin. A great cleanser should not contain harsh chemicals or detergents that strip away essential moisture.
Ferndown Business Network member ‘Dr Peter’ has two different cleansers – Infinite Hydrating Cleanser (Code 554) and Sonya Refreshing Gel Cleanser (Code 605) – both are excellent cleansing solutions for men, and the decision on the one you use should be determined by your skin type (dry, oily or combination) and whether you have ageing skin. Once you’ve chosen which skincare collection you’re going to follow, it’s time to start using the products daily so that you instil a habit. Always start with the cleanser, cleansing morning and evening, then follow through with the rest of the products.
The next step after cleansing is to exfoliate the skin. This will remove dead skin cells to make sure your moisturiser is penetrating your skin and working as effectively as possible. Aim to do this two to three times a week with Forever’s Smoothing Exfoliator (Code 559). This gentle exfoliator uses natural jojoba beads and bamboo powder to remove dead skin cells without harming the skin and added lemon essential oils which work as a rich moisturiser to hydrate the new skin beneath the surface.
Once you have removed dead skin cells, you need to add moisture back into your skin. Gentleman’s Pride (Code 070) is a great moisturiser to use each morning as it doubles up as an aftershave balm that’s extremely soothing on freshly shaven and sensitive skin. Feel the icy exhilaration of this unique blend of lubricants and moisturisers combined with pure, stabilised Aloe Vera gel. With conditioning agents like camomile and rosemary, this popular aftershave will leave behind a fresh and clean masculine fragrance that’ll last all day long.
Ideally you should aim to moisturise twice a day after cleansing but obviously an aftershave balm isn’t the best moisturiser just before bed. Instead we’d recommend you give Infinite Firming Serum (Code 555) a go. With powerful natural ingredients and our patented aloe, this cutting edge and rich moisturiser will make your skin feel smooth and firm, and your complexion appear visibly younger.
Whatever products you choose, consistency is key. Establishing a regular routine for the winter months is necessary for long term skin health so try to stick to your skincare schedule daily for noticeable results that last the test of time.
This time of year is hard on your skin, but help is at hand from Ferndown Business Network member ‘Dr Peter’!
Have you noticed that in autumn, almost as soon as you’ve switched on your central heating, your skin becomes unhappy and thirsty, to say the least?
If you, or anyone else in your household has problematically dry skin, you should review your everyday ‘bathroom products’ as these can actually be contributing to the problem. ‘Dr Peter’ recommends the following action:
1. Don’t use biological washing detergent or fabric conditioner. These usually irritate sensitive skin. Try Aloe MPD (Code 307), an environmentally friendly, biodegradable, all-purpose detergent that effectively lifts grime and cuts through grease to remove stains. Its versatile cleaning power can tackle your laundry, floors, bathrooms, tiles, carpets, windows and dishes! This highly concentrated formula only takes a few drops to get many jobs done, so you don’t need a cupboard full of other cleaning products. Incredible value for money long-term.
2. Here are 3 of ‘Dr Peter’s’ moisturising recommendations:
Aloe Lotion (Code 062) This finely-textured moisturiser helps to condition your face & body and contains nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, vitamin E, collagen & elastin to keep the skin smooth and supple. This softening lotion also includes apricot kernel oil which locks in moisture and creates a lightweight barrier on the skin. Contains lanolin.
Aloe Moisturising Lotion (Code 063) A thick, velvety moisturising cream containing nourishing aloe, jojoba oil, collagen & elastin to leave skin feeling soft & supple. This lotion moisturises your face, hands and body whilst maintaining the skin’s natural pH balance. Its easy-to-absorb formula also makes it a great base for makeup application. Does not contain lanolin.
Aloe Propolis Creme (Code 051) A rich, creamy blend of aloe vera, bee propolis and camomile that helps maintain healthy, beautiful skin tone and texture. Its moisturising and conditioning properties make for an excellent everyday moisturiser and helps to soothe irritation. Particular suitable for those with eczema, psoriasis & dermatitis. Contains lanolin.