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D is for Vitamin D

There are numerous benefits Vitamin D has on your skin and overall health. Unfortunately, unlike other vitamins such as Vitamin C or Vitamin E, Vitamin D is often overlooked despite its importance in dealing with skin care problems.

Why Vitamin D?

The reason why Vitamin D can be easy to obtain is because the main source is simply exposure to sunlight. The sun’s rays contain ultra violet light that acts on unprotected skin (no sunscreen) and allows it to manufacture Vitamin D. Although this is a very easy way to get vitamin d into your body and reap the Vitamin D benefits, sun exposure must be controlled. Too much sun exposure will lead to skin cancer and premature skin aging. Five to ten minutes of daily summer sun exposure on unprotected skin such as the face, hands, arms, and back will provide enough ultra violet light exposure to produce the required amount of vitamin d for the body.

Sources Of Vitamin D

It is difficult for many individuals to get enough Vitamin D via diet alone. Sunlight exposure is the most efficient way to get your Vitamin D intake, although some food do contain Vitamin D. Salmon for example is an excellent source. Our delicious salmon recipe is great for summer, so you can double your intake by having it on a barbeque in the sunshine!

The skin and Vitamin D are closely related because of how vitamin d is produced. However, there are also specific Vitamin D benefits for the skin.

Benefits Of Vitamin D

The main benefit of Vitamin D for the skin is in the treatment of psoriasis. In fact, Vitamin D is widely used around the world to treat this skin problem. Vitamin D plays a role in skin cell metabolism and growth. Therefore, it has shown some effectiveness in treating itching and flaking which are common symptoms of this skin problem. Studies have indicated that over the counter type vitamin d creams are not very effective at treating psoriasis because they do not contain the active vitamin d derivative. The active vitamin d form is only available in prescription creams or supplements. Several weeks of treatment are normally required to relieve the psoriasis symptoms. A big advantage is that vitamin d creams have few side effects, unlike steroid containing creams.

UVB treatments can also help relieve psoriasis. One of the main reasons is that these treatments produce vitamin d and therefore vitamin d benefits in the skin naturally.

In addition, because one of the vitamin d benefits is to act as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin d can play a role in preventing the premature aging of skin and damage to the skin structure.

Mum’s Stuffed Salmon

My lovely Mum won’t mind me sharing this recipe with you.

This recipe is great if you have lots of people coming round for dinner. It can be stuffed with all these delicious ingredients and left to marinate for as long as 8 hours before cooking. Just make sure it is suitably refrigerated. This salmon dish is bursting with flavour and can even be cooked on a barbeque. Just make sure you wrap the fish securely in thick foil. We love it at our bbq’s as it makes a nice change from the usual burnt sausages and is healthy as well delicious.


Whole Salmon (cleaned, butterflied, and boned, leaving head and tail intact)
2 Lemons; zest and juice
4 cloves of garlic crushed
Large bulb of fennel thinly sliced (keep the discarded parts)
Punnet of cherry vine tomatoes chopped in half
Large bunch of basil (roughly chop ¾ and leave the remaining leaves whole)
Large glass of White Wine
3 onions chopped into quarters
Olive Oil
You will also need some string to tie the stuffed fish together


1. Heat the oven to 240 C, 220 C fan, 475 F, gas 9

2. In a bowl add the zest of the lemons, the crushed garlic, roughly chopped basil, tomatoes and chopped fennel. Season with salt and pepper and add just enough olive oil to lightly coat all the vegetables. Then add half the wine and the juice of one lemon.

3. Lay 4 pieces of string over the top of the discarded parts of the fennel and chunks of onion. This will stop the salmon sticking to the tray. Place the salmon in a roasting tray and stuff the fennel, tomato and basil mix inside the salmon. Tie the salmon together.

4. Brush the skin with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil but ensure there’s a gap of air between the salmon and the top of the foil, so that the fish can steam. Pour the remaining wine and lemon juice into the bottom of the tray.

5. Cook in the top of the oven for 40 minutes, and then undo the top of the foil so that the salmon is exposed, and return to the oven for 15 minutes to brown.

6. When the fish is cooked, peel back the foil and, using fish slices, lift the salmon onto a serving plate. Garnish with lemon wedges and the reserved basil leaves.

7. You can pour off the cooking juices and serve with the fish as a sauce. If you’re serving a buffet, the salmon can be left to cool and served at room temperature.

Serve alongside a crisp summer salad or crushed new potatoes and summer asparagus. (And a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc!)

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Best Of British: Jubilee Beauty

The flame for the London Olympics burned brightly on British soil last Friday after David Beckham stepped off a flight from the Games birthplace, Greece, to light a cauldron with the golden torch.

With the UK hosting both the Olympics and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 2012 is set to be truly a celebration of all things British.

Last week the Queen held a mile-long military parade through Windsor as a signal for the Jubilee celebrations to begin. From here the Jubilee spreads across the country. There will be even grander events than this one though, notably the Thames pageant in early June, but perhaps more significantly, thousands of smaller ones.

As the nation embraces the best of British, people across the country plan to hold street parties, commemorations and flower garden openings, as well as thousands of people holding parties at home for friends and family.

With all these parties and gatherings set to dominate our social calendars, it is still not too late to have treatments to ensure you are looking your best.

We are looking at our top three treatments to get you looking royally ready for the coming celebrations.

Skin Rehydration

Restylane Vital is perfect for enhancing the face, neck, chest and hands. It’s not a volume enhancer, but a skin booster that helps to lift the skin from beneath, giving a more natural look.

Titan Skin Tightening

Titan Skin Tightening is a non-surgical treatment that uses a spectrum of infrared light to tighten the skin. Titan delivers a range of light energy to heat the skin’s dermis layer, which is below the skin’s surface. The heating of this layer causes immediate collagen contraction, which results in the tightening of the skin.

Laser Dermabrasion

Laser Dermabrasion treatments – also known as laser peels – are hugely popular and designed for skin that feels lifeless, is patchy or sun-damaged, or has clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, unsightly spots or fine lines and minor scarring. Laser Dermabrasion at Natura Skin Clinic leaves your skin looking smoother and younger.

Call Natura on 01925 398 304 and book your treatment today. All our Summer rejuvenation treatments can be done in time for the coming celebrations in June but book this week to avoid disappointment as results are more effective when they are part of a package of treatments. We offer discounts on all our treatment courses.

(And remember…. If you are a Natura Rewards Card holder you can earn double points on all treatments during May and June.)

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Spring Cleanse With Laser Dermabrasions

Spring/Summer 2012’s trend for minimalistic beauty calls for a flawless complexion. After all, without layers of make-up to hide behind, your skin has to look lovely all on its own. Not to mention trying to win the battle against blemishes, fine lines, and dull skin—but with hot summer days looming, foundation, blush, and cover-up won’t be the steadfast companions they were in winter and spring. To avoid a meltdown (literally), lighten up: treat your skin to a laser dermabrasion treatment.

The popularity of the quick-fix laser treatment is on the up. In fact, the demand for laser treatments and resurfacing is at an all-time high, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, whose 2011 statistics revealed it to be the fifth most common non-surgical procedure performed in the U.S.

The “lunchtime” laser peel (as it’s dubbed by the media) is often said to be responsible for the smooth complexions of many A-List celebrities. It was even reported earlier in the year that the clinics in LA were fully booked the week prior to the Oscars, when hundreds of actresses were having their last minute laser treatments in a final bid to look red carpet ready.

So if you are thinking about boosting your skin using laser dermabrasion there are few things you’ll want to know.

What is Laser Dermabrasion?

Laser Dermabrasion works without the need of chemicals and is extremely simple, virtually painless and for all ages. It’s frequently used on the neck, hands and décolletage, as well as the face. It is designed for skin that feels lifeless, is patchy or sun-damaged, or has clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, unsightly spots or fine lines and minor scarring.

The procedure involves guiding the Erbium Laser hand-piece across the skin to deeply exfoliate the surface. This process improves the tone and texture of the skin and also reveals new, living skin cells giving you a soft and smooth complexion.

Why Laser Dermabrasion?

Unlike chemical peels Laser Dermabrasion is a high tech, sophisticated laser peel does away with the dated chemical peels, which are not suitable for all skin types because of the chemicals they contain. At Natura, our Laser Dermabrasions use a medical grade laser for optimum results; only a doctor can administer this peel.


None, slight redness immediately following treatment. This is gone an hour or so after.

Price: from £250 a session.


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C Is For Chocolate

Chocolate. Another food that often stands accused of causing bad skin, but chocolate actually does just the opposite. Include moderate amounts of dark chocolate in your diet, and your skin will thank you: dark chocolate can increase the density of your skin, which will fight future wrinkles. This is because the linolic acid found in chocolate has anti-aging properties, while its antioxidants protect the collagen.

Eating chocolate regularly can also help improve the overall texture and tone of your skin because the skin cells are able to repair themselves easily. According to a study in The Journal Of Nutrition, participants who drank a special chocolate drink every day for 12 weeks experienced a 25% reduction in skin redness from UV exposure, and also reported improved skin tone.

 Charlotte’s Chocolate Crackle Cookies

“I know these cookies aren’t exactly low fat, but if you share them they become half fat!”

These cookies are not difficult to make but they look great. The main thing to remember is that this dough needs to be chilled, because at first it’s so soft that you can’t roll it into balls. That’s down to the (warm) melted dark chocolate, but the extra wait in the fridge is worth it for all that chocolatey goodness.

The coating of icing sugar crackles so prettily in the oven – you really don’t have to do anything – it just happens. The contrast makes for a beautiful cookie that’s not fussy at all.

Oh, and a little warning from me to you: these cookies require a glass of cold milk. Hot coffee or tea might work too…someone will have to let me know on that one. I ran out before I could try!


30g melted dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
1 ¼ cup of flour
½ cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
115g butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup icing sugar, for rolling


1.Don’t preheat the oven yet, this dough will need to chill for 2 hours or so.

2.Melt dark chocolate gently.

3.Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt).

4.Cream sugar and butter together, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour melted dark chocolate over the creamed butter and sugar, blend, then add dry ingredients & milk (alternating between the two so puffs of flour don’t cover your kitchen!)

5.The dough will be very sticky. Cover the bowl loosely in cling film and chill for approximately 2 hours, or until dough is hardened and can be handled.

6.Preheat oven to 180. Scoop out spoonfuls of the dough, roll between your palms to form a ball, then toss the ball into a bowl of icing sugar to coat it. If the dough gets too sticky to handle, pop it back in the fridge or freezer to cool it back down.

7.Line cookies up on the baking sheet (not too closely – they spread) and bake at 180 for 12-15 minutes.


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Brides After The Royal Treatment

With the Queen set to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in just a few weeks, it seems that Britain has once again become patriotic beyond normal measures. For over half a century our Queen has shown ceaseless devotion to this tiny island, enduring hours of deferential small talk whilst opening hospitals and libraries and all with stoicism and grace. But it was one ‘ordinary girl’ last year that seemed to propel the Great British public into patriotic meltdown.

In the short months following the couple’s engagement, the magnitude of her influence on the public could not have been anticipated. It seemed every woman in the country was looking for ways to emulate the future queen. Dubbed the so-called “Kate Middleton Effect” by the media- almost every garment Kate wears appears to sell out in days, if not hours. And this is still the case today.

On April 26th Kate wore a blue tweed Rebecca Taylor skirt-suit. Within just 30 minutes the outfit had completely sold out online. Kate is often praised for “reinvigorating the British monarchy”, but she has also been named as one of the reasons for the sudden surge of brides to be under-going cosmetic treatments. Far beyond dressing like Kate, it seems today’s modern brides are keen to go even further to have their own fairy tale wedding, much like the Duchess.


According to a survey of 5000 brides by confetti.co.uk we are in the midst of an epidemic of pre-wedding cosmetic surgery. Blushing brides are seeing their wedding as an opportunity to fix what they don’t like about their appearance. An increasing number of women are turning to so-called Bridalplasty to enhance their looks for their big day.

In fact, out of those surveyed, 51% have opted for tooth whitening treatments and veneers to ensure their teeth sparkle like the Duchess of Cambridge’s pearly whites at her wedding to Prince William last year.

The survey also found that one in 10 women are opting for Botox in the pursuit of the ultimate wedding aesthetic.

According to Confetti wedding expert, Kate Thompson, she believes that ‘bridalplasty’ may be largely down to the vision of beauty Kate and Pippa Middleton wowed us all with last year.

‘For a great many modern brides, the wedding becomes a catalyst for those who have something that bothers them about their appearance.

But it is important that if you are looking to have non-surgical treatments before your wedding, you ensure that it is carried out by professionals. Only seek advice and treatments from fully qualified doctors. At Natura, our doctor, Dr. Xavier has helped hundreds brides enhance their appearance before their big day. Listen to our patient, Dena talk about how Natura helped her get ready for her big day.


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Even Supermodels Have Bad Skin Days

She is more used to being seen gracing the covers of Vogue, but when supermodel Lily Cole stepped out for lunch this week she proved that even supermodels have bad skin days.

The 23 year old recently admitted that she preferred the ‘natural look’, and the model turned actress certainly showed that when she dined out wearing little or no makeup. Her natural look revealed a less than perfect complexion, with her skin appearing red and spotty.

But Lily isn’t alone. Thousands of women still suffer from mild acne long after their teenage years, when the problem is more common.

Most skin experts believe that an increase in the male hormone, testosterone, is one of the main causes. It creates an excess of sebum — an oily/waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands to lubricate the skin. Too much sebum causes a build-up of oil and dead skin cells in hair follicle pores. Bacteria make their way to the blockage, and the growth in bacteria causes acne.

Many facets of modern life are also thought to exacerbate it, including junk food, the excessive consumption of sugar, hormone imbalances and stress. Interestingly, there’s also a growing school of thought that acne is genetic.

Lily was recently named as the Body Shop’s first brand ambassador and has since launched her own make up line, as she refuses to wear anything that has been tested on animals. She said she doesn’t often change her beauty products and tends to opt for the ‘less is more approach’.

‘I like to go for taupe colours, a really natural look. I like products that enhance, rather than mask your face. I don’t tend to experiment a lot with make-up, I just do what I do, but I like to play with different lip colours.’

However, the model should perhaps look at her daily skin care routine if she wants to try and manage her outbreaks. French pharmaceutical company Avene has a great range for treating skin prone to spots. Here is a step-by-step guide to how to use The Avene Cleanance range for problematic skin.

Step- 1

Splash face with water and wash with Cleanance Soap Free Gel Cleanser, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. This Soap-free cleanser eliminates impurities and excess sebum without stripping the skin.

Step- 2

Using Cleanance Ani-Shine Purifying Lotion, apply to the face with a cotton pad, after thoroughly cleansing. This Astringent toner purifies skin and tightens pores without stinging or irritating sensation. Mattifying powders help absorb excess sebum and leave skin shine-free.

Step- 3

Spray a fine mist of Avene Thermal Spring Water and wait a few moments for face to dry.

Step- 4

Follow with one of the 3 mosturisers. Choose the one which best describes the way your skin behaves.

Cleanance Anti-shine regulating lotion

Moisturiser absorbs oil and provides long lasting mattification.


A hydrating and soothing moisturiser for skin that is irritated or dehydrated by acne treatments. Complementary care to dermatological medications and treatments.

Cleanance K Oil control lotion

Daily treatment helps eliminate clogged pores, blackheads, blemishes to reveal a brighter, clearer complexion. Non-irritating formulations clinically proven to change the pattern of cycle causing acne breakouts, reduce excess sebum, and restore skin’s balance.


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Teosyal Covering Repair For After Rehydration Fillers

Following rehydration filler treatment, it is fairly common for some patients to experience some degree of redness or bruising. This is down to the nature of the treatment which involves administering multiple pin pricks of this finer, thiner rehydration filler.

Teosyal a company which produces the filler have recently launched a range of complementary makeup products for concealing the redness and bruising. Made in Switzerland – this range is also great for sensitive skin. These products are receiving great press and have been nominated for awards for their effectiveness. They all have anti-ageing properties, as the products contain Hyaluronic acid, renowned for its youth enhancing benefits.

Teosyal Covering Repair Concealer

In the range is a 4 shade covering repair concealer, which is a makeup containing hyaluronic acid. It is suitable for covering redness, dark spots, under eye circles and also for post wrinkle injection treatment. The four shades mean that you can get exactly the right colour for your skin tone, as well as covering up any post treatment redness or bruising . It is fairly common for patients to excperience some degree of redness or brusing, which is down to the nature of the treatment. The treatment involves administering multiple pin pricks of the finer, thiner rehydration filler.

This make up will appear to be thinner than others but this is because it does not dry the skin out. Too heavy and it would be quite obvious and noticeably sit on top of the skin. The hydrating nature and smooth application of this product means it sits invisibly on the surface of the skin whilst at the same time providing skin with great coverage.

For larger areas there is a sponge, which you can use to ‘dab’ the product lightly on to the imperfections. Then use a concealer brush to apply the product to smaller areas such as under eye circles and blemishes and blend the product gently into the skin. Make sure your brush is not too hard though. If the bristles aren’t soft enough you could irritate the skin, this is especially important if you have recently had treatment.

The Teosyal Covering Repair Kit is great for honeymoons and holidays as the palette of colours means you can always have the right colour makeup- even with a tan. The unique formula means imperfections are subtly and effectively corrected. Leaving skin looking enhanced, bright and radiant.


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Blueberries For Great Skin

This Week…. B is for Blueberries

So this week we are looking at blueberries. Perhaps less popular than the nations favourite- strawberries, this unsung hero of the fruit bowl is a great addition to many dishes. Throw on your cereal in the morning, or why not try our delicious muffins. Made with blueberries and yogurt, these cakes are low in fat and high in taste!

So why are they good for us?

The antioxidants found in blueberries help prevent long-term cell damage. Antioxidants fight free radicals to protect your skin from environmental factors, which can cause skin to age.

A diet containing food high in antioxidants is one of the simplest, most natural things you can do when it comes to enhancing your health and beauty.

Anthocyanin’s, members of the phytochemical group known as bioflavonoids, give blueberries their characteristic pigmentation. More importantly, these colouring agents possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that promote overall health. If you’re concerned about blotchy, dull or sun-damaged skin, eating blueberries and other anthocyanin-rich plant foods on a regular basis could help clear up problem areas and leave your skin looking clearer, firmer and younger looking.

These cakes are a healthy alternative to the usual high calorie equivalents you can buy in supermarkets and coffee shops.

By replacing caster sugar with maple syrup, you can dramatically reduce the sugar content as a teaspoon of maple syrup has half the sugar content of a teaspoon of sugar.

Though relatively small, by replacing white flour with wholemeal you slightly increase the fibre content of the cake.

And perhaps most importantly? The blueberries, which not only make the cakes wonderfully moist in texture, but also keep the skin looking younger and healthier.

Great for breakfast with fresh fruit or as healthy snack during the day.

Wonderfully Moist Blueberry Cakes

Keeps for 24 hours in the fridge


2 large free-range eggs, separated
50g maple syrup sugar
25g wholemeal flour
200g strained Greek yoghurt
Lemon zest and juice of half a lemon
100g blueberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and fill a muffin tray with muffin cases.

2. Mix the eggs yolks with the maple syrup well. Beat in the flour, then the yoghurt, lemon zest and lemon juice until throughly blended.

3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the yoghurt mixture.

4. Add a third of the mix to each of the cake cases, then add a few blueberries to each.

5. Divide the remaining blueberries to the mixture and very gently fold. Add the mixture between the cake cases.

6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top is brown. The cakes will rise like a souffles and then subside. Allow to cool before lifting out.

Serve with greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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H & M In Hot Water Over Summer Campaign

High street favourite H & M have been slammed by doctors after their latest summer campaign features an alarmingly tanned model.

Cancer experts have said that the retail giants have irresponsibly advertised their new swimwear collection by using a model with an incredibly deep bronzed appearance. The adverts have been used across Europe in magazines, on TV, on billboards, as well as the company’s website.

The model at the centre of the controversy is 28 year old Brazilian model, Isabeli Fontana. It is not yet clear how the model achieved her deep tan, doctors are unsure whether it was from fake tan or whether she achieved it by lying in the sun. However, it seems that either way, the company is being accused of promoting an unhealthy and potentially life threatening approach to safety in the sun.

Dr Ralph Braun, from the Early Skin Cancer Centre at Zurich University Hospital, said: ‘I find this advertisement very alarming and borderline.

‘Many people, especially the young, will try to emulate this and will try to be just as brown, although with some skin types this is just not possible.’ Swiss Cancer League spokeswoman Cornelia Egli said: ‘This completely contradicts our advertising efforts.

H&M have been quick to defend the campaign and told the Swiss press they chose a model with darker skin in order to best show the strong colours on sale this season. They claim Fontana, the model featured in the controversial campaign, was selected for her naturally dark skin and that her Brazilian nationality is another contributing factor.

However, pictures published of the model appearing in other campaigns show her with a considerably lighter skin tone. Representatives for H & M went on to say, “Of course we think that this is an important subject, however the aim with our campaign is to show our swimwear collection, which we think that Isabeli Fontana is doing in a good and inspiring way,”

Inspirational or not, there is no denying that in order to achieve a tan like Isabeli’s in the campaign, one would be putting themselves at high risk of burns and more seriously, skin cancers.

The story comes just a few weeks after a New Jersey mother was summoned to court after her 5 year old daughter was subjected to dangerous UV rays as a result of accompanying her mother whilst she used a sunbed. The mother is now facing charges after police said she brought her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.

It caused the girl to suffer burns to her body, according to the Essex County prosecutor’s office. Patricia Krentcil, who herself is very tanned, was charged with second-degree child endangerment. No one under the age of 14 is allowed to use a tanning booth, according to New Jersey state law.

Krentcil, 44, told The Associated Press her daughter got sunburned by being outside on a recent warm day. She said her daughter, however, had mentioned to school officials when she complained of itching that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother.


Natura Skin Clinic