When it comes to holiday prep, we tend to focus on the essentials: clothes, passport and every skincare and makeup product imaginable, but less thought goes into packing for our health and wellbeing. We’ve all feared traveller's diarrhoea and have fallen victim to the odd hangover or four, but should we be taking extra precautions by packing products that boost our health while we’re jet setting?
We know you've got the plasters, the bite cream and the Immodium covered, but you might not have thought of these 8 pharmacist-approved extras that will protect your skin from DNA damage and help you sail through jet lag
“Fulvic acid is a unique compound (it cannot be made in a lab) that holds more than 65 minerals and trace elements to deeply nourish the scalp and hair follicles which helps restore healthy shine and silkiness especially after hair has been exposed to the sun. It's also a chelator of heavy metals (ie it binds to them) so removes these minerals from hair exposed to hard water. Fulvic Acid Shampoo, £25 , and Fulvic Acid Conditioner, £25 are suitable for all hair types."
For sun protection the ocean-friendly way
“Increasingly, some of the holiday hotspots with delicate marine life are banning sunscreens which feature ingredients such as avobenzone and octinoxate. The reason is that these sunscreens have been shown to cause coral bleaching and it affects the marine life within these areas. Additionally, we are finding out that some of these sunscreens actually pass into the bloodstream and can disturb our hormonal processes. Some of these sunscreens may still claim to be bio-degradable but their ingredients may still bio-degrade into compounds that are detrimental to marine life.
“ Aethic Sovee sunscreens, from £48, have a triple filter system that is highly water-resistant and does not contain these detrimental sun filters and is eco-compatible meaning that the ingredients are certified marine-positive in that they do not affect the marine environment. So Aethic sunscreens protect you and the environment.”
For beating hangovers
“We have always thought of hangovers as being worse if you drank darker drinks such as whisky and red wine because of congeners (chemical by-products of the fermentation process commonly found in liquors, brandy and darker alcohols, including red wine) which are toxins known to cause a headache. Scientists still do not fully understand what causes a hangover and so people have often come up with their own rituals such as drinking water in between alcohol and rules on when to drink which type of alcohol such as 'beer before wine'.
"A new study carried out over a two-year period by the University of Cambridge came up with the conclusion that no matter what type of alcohol you drink first, your hangover will be the same. Just in case you do indulge excessively, Blooming Blends Hangover tincture, £22 , works to enhance liver function to detoxify any alcohol in the body as well as brain-boosting herbs such as Gotu Kola to bring back focus."
For settling an upset stomach
“While most people take a general probiotic to prevent stomach distress, it might be prudent to consider a specialised probiotic strain that has been shown in studies to calm down inflammation in the gut responsible for diarrhoea and to enhance the flourishing of the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut.
"The natural yeast species is called saccharomyces boulardii and this particular species has completely different effects to other yeast species such as bakers yeast and brewer’s yeast. Unlike other beneficial bacteria, this species does not colonise or adhere to the gut and has a variety of mechanisms that aid in the control of Spanish tummy (an upset stomach aka traveller's diarrhoea) and its associated symptoms. It prevents pathogens from adhering to the gut lining.
"It also enhances the secretion of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds and it helps degrade harmful toxins released by the infective bacteria. The supplement is called Travel-Biotic, £24.95 , and I would recommend taking it seven days before any holiday and during."
For constipation relief
“Travelling can often affect some routines – one of them being the regularity of bowel movement resulting in constipation. Although diarrhoea, upset stomach and bloating are more likely, constipation can be an issue for some people and this may be associated with travelling across time zones which change the time of the motion, dehydration due to air quality in planes, not drinking enough water and possibly indulging in alcohol (which leads to dehydration).
"So while the key here is to hydrate the body, it might also be prudent to use a fibre supplement to clear the bowels such as Complete Fibre Cleanse, £21 , which you mix in with water (further helps dehydration) to cleanse the bowel region before constipation becomes an issue.
"Some people have 'bathroom anxiety' - they are uncomfortable using hotel bathrooms and public washrooms - which often results in 'holding on'. This causes a 'drying out' effect and hence constipation. There is also a suggestion based on small studies that motility in the gut may follow a circadian rhythm, like many other processes within our bodies, and this becomes apparent in frequent flyers and shift workers. If you are one of these, you may wish to consider the use of a quick relaxant such as De-Stress tincture by Blooming Blend, £22 .
"The supplement Shade Factor, £35 , contains powerful phenolic antioxidants from red oranges and specific extract from polypodium, a fern which has been shown to by Harvard researchers in one study to protect skin against redness caused by inflammation. Inflammatory chemicals are released in response to any kind of trauma (think of how the body puffs up at the site of injury) and that includes sun damage. We have a protective mechanism against damaging radiation which in some people shows itself as redness and itching (erythema). Others may not experience the full-blown itchiness and may simply turn slightly red but the damage to the skin and the cells is still occurring.
"Three red-orange extracts provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits especially to the keratinocytes which are the cells in the epidermis that release histamine and other inflammatory chemical compounds such as cortisol.
"Shade Factor is able to block UV and infrared radiation at a cellular level. Remember that sunscreens only function at the skin surface by limiting the amount of radiation that penetrates into deeper layers. The combination of a sunscreen alongside Shade Factor will provide a broader protective effect against the DNA damage caused by UV and other types of radiation.
"Take it at least one week before you travel as well as during your holiday but remember that ideally, it would be good to take all year round because UV radiation still reaches the earth, and hence on our skin, even on partially cloudy days.
"Also, I would suggest GoW for VH Neurophroline Serum, £18 , as a holiday and post-holiday skincare essential – it has been clinically tested and found to reduce the production of inflammatory cortisol (which ages our skin) which is produced as a direct result of UV exposure."