Regardless of anything else we do to protect our skin, poor hydration may undermine our efforts, leaving the skin looking noticeably damaged. Over-the-counter creams only temporarily moisturise the skin at the surface rather than providing deep, long-lasting hydration. So, while some of us reach for ever richer moisturisers to apply, others are choosing to inject moisture into their skin!
Most skin boosters in the market are made of hyaluronic acid, and help provide hydration, increase moisture levels, and increase subdermal collagen production. These rehydrating fillers help to deeply hydrate the skin from beneath, firming and plumping your complexion. Eradicating fine facial lines, this treatment is particularly effective around the lips. Skin appears smoother, more luminous, younger and fresher.
No other treatment works within the skin structure to moisturize, plump and increase skin density and elasticity by directly replenishing is rehydrating function. The skin boosting treatment is, “administered through a series of tiny injections that works to plump and hydrate skin, smoothing out roughness and evening out depressions,” Medcare’s Dr Hussain explains. “But the results are subtle and it’s more about age-proofing the face instead of turning back the clock. In Dr Hussain’s opinion, “this rehydration treatment is the perfect choice for those who want to improve their overall skin quality, as it visibly improves luminosity, elasticity and hydration, as well as the appearance of fine lines.”
Dr Hussain uses an award-winning rejuvenation product, Teosyal Redensity 1. It is designed to restore luminosity, hydration and tone to the skin. In this regard, it serves a different purpose than most injectable fillers in the fact that it is a light filling innovation that specifically targets dull complexion, fine lines, and dehydrated skin on your face, neck, décolletage and hands.
Redensity is an extremely PURE product consisting of 8 amino acids, 3 antioxidants, 2 minerals, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and 1 vitamin – all ingredients naturally present in the skin. It is a new concept, developed by Teoxane Laboratories in Geneva, which combines dermal filling techniques and mesotherapy to restore the skin’s ability to reflect light.
At Medcare Dr Hussain can provide you with a skin condition consultation free of charge and you can find out if you could benefit from this innovative skin treatment. The doctor will also discuss any alternatives that she thinks you might benefit from.
Also available at Medcare are cosmetic surgery, GP services, dentistry, osteopathy and psychotherapy. For an appointment call 966 860 258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marrakesh, also known by the French spelling Marrakech, is a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. It is located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains
Like many Moroccan cities, Marrakesh comprises an old fortified city packed with vendors and their stalls bordered by modern neighbourhoods, the most prominent of which is Gueliz. Today it is one of the busiest cities in Africa and serves as a major economic centre and tourist destination. Tourism is strongly advocated by the reigning Moroccan monarch, Mohammed VI, with the goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting Morocco to 20 million by 2020.
A hot semi-arid climate predominates at Marrakesh. Average temperatures range from 12 °C in the winter to 26–30 °C in the summer. The relatively wet winter and dry summer precipitation pattern of Marrakesh mirrors precipitation patterns found in Mediterranean climates. However, the city receives less rain than is typically found in a Mediterranean climate, resulting in a semi-arid climate classification
Marrakesh is a vital component to the economy and culture of Morocco. Improvements to the highways from Marrakesh to Casablanca, Agadir and the local airport have led to a dramatic increase in tourism in the city, which now attracts over two million tourists annually. Because of the importance of tourism to Morocco’s economy, King Mohammed VI has vowed to attract 20 million tourists a year to Morocco by 2020, doubling the number of tourists from 2012.
Trade and crafts are extremely important to the local tourism-fueled economy.
The Jemaa el-Fnaa is one of the best-known squares in Africa and is the centre of city activity and trade. It has been described as a “world-famous square”, “a metaphorical urban icon, a bridge between the past and the present, the place where Moroccan tradition encounters modernity.” Today the square attracts people from a diversity of social and ethnic backgrounds and tourists from all around the world. Snake charmers, acrobats, magicians, mystics, musicians, monkey trainers, herb sellers, story-tellers, dentists, pickpockets, and entertainers in medieval garb still populate the square.
Marrakesh has the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco and the image of the city is closely associated with its souks. Paul Sullivan cites the souks as the principal shopping attraction in the city: “A honeycomb of intricately connected alleyways, this fundamental section of the old city is a micro-medina in itself, comprising a dizzying number of stalls and shops that range from itsy kiosks no bigger than an elf’s wardrobe to scruffy store-fronts that morph into glittering Aladdin’s Caves once you’re inside.” Historically the souks of Marrakesh were divided into retail areas for particular goods such as leather, carpets, metalwork and pottery. These divisions still roughly exist but with significant overlap. Many of the souks sell items like carpets and rugs, traditional Muslim attire, leather bags, and lanterns. Haggling is still a very important part of trade in the souks.
City walls and gates
The ramparts of Marrakesh, which stretch for some 19 kilometres around the medina of the city, were built by the Almoravids in the 12th century as protective fortifications. The walls are made of a distinct orange-red clay and chalk, giving the city its nickname as the “red city”; they stand up to 19 feet high and have 20 gates and 200 towers along them. Bab Agnaou was built in the 12th century during the Almohad dynasty. The Berber name Agnaou, like Gnaoua, refers to people of Sub-Saharan African origin .This ornamentation is framed by three panels marked with an inscription from the Quran in Maghrebi script using foliated Kufic letters, which were also used in Al-Andalus. Bab Agnaou was renovated and its opening reduced in size during the rule of sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. Bab Aghmat is located east of the Jewish and Muslim cemeteries, and is near the tomb of Ali ibn Yusuf.
Palaces and Riads
The historic wealth of the city is manifested in palaces, mansions and other lavish residences. The main palaces are El Badi Palace, the Royal Palace and Bahia Palace. Riads (Moroccan mansions) are common in Marrakesh. Based on the design of the Roman villa, they are characterized by an open central garden courtyard surrounded by high walls. This construction provided the occupants with privacy and lowered the temperature within the building.
Fitness tips that do more harm than good
Regular exercise is essential for health, but there's tons of conflicting fitness advice out there. Those
misconceptions range from outdated ideas about weightlifting to popular myths about the proper
amount of time to dedicate to a workout. Make sure you're not falling into any of these common
When even researchers seem conflicted about exercise subjects ranging from the amount of time
we're supposed to dedicate to exercise to the proper time for a workout, it can be tough to feel
motivated enough to get moving.
Because there's so much conflicting advice about health and fitness out there, outlined here are the
biggest workout myths and misconceptions alongside (where possible) with the truth. Learn the
reality about the best time of day to hit the gym, the quickest ticket to six-pack abs, and why running
a marathon isn't the best way to achieve your fitness goals.
Myth: Exercise doesn't help counter the negative effects of aging.
Truth: Regular exercise has key benefits for the brain and body that include helping to counteract
some of the negative effects of aging.
Researchers behind a study published this summer in the Journal of the American Heart Association
found that older people who spent less time sitting and more time moving had fewer signs of
encroaching heart disease as measured by key markers of damage in the blood.
The scientists had 1,600 British volunteers ages 60 to 64 wear heart-rate sensors for five days. They
analyzed the participants' activity levels and compared them with indicators of heart disease such as
cholesterol precursors and a substance called interleukin-6. Overall, the participants with more
activity had lower levels of all the negative biomarkers.
It's important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity," said Ahmed
Elhakeem, a professor of epidemiology at England's University of Bristol who led the study.
Myth: A sluggish metabolism is the main reason you gain weight as you age.
Truth: As far as calorie-burning capacity goes, our metabolisms barely budge after age 30, according
to the National Institutes of Health. That means this frequently vilified component of our bodies is
not the real culprit when it comes to the pounds that seem to creep on with each passing decade.
Instead, age-related weight gain has far more to do with activity patterns, which slowly grind down
over time. The best way to avoid age-related weight gain is simply to move around more.
Myth: To stay in shape, you need to work out only once or twice a week.
Truth: Once or twice a week won't cut it for sustained health benefits.
For your workouts to produce real results, you should be exercising three to five times a week. This
insight is bolstered by a new study published in January in the American Heart Association's journal
Circulation that found that the best results for heart health were gleaned when participants worked
out four or five times a week
Myth: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning.
Truth: The best time for a workout is whatever time allows you to exercise most consistently.
Ideally, you want to make physical fitness a daily habit, so if late-night trips to the gym are your
thing, stick with it. If you prefer a morning run, do that instead.
Don't have a preference? Some research suggests that working out first thing in the morning might
help speed weight loss by priming the body to burn more fat throughout the day.
Myth: Weightlifting turns fat into muscle.
Truth: You can't turn fat into muscle.
Physiologically speaking, they're two different tissues. Adipose (fatty) tissue is found under the skin,
sandwiched between muscles, and around internal organs like the heart. Muscle tissue – which can
be further broken down into three main types – is found throughout the body.
Weight training helps to build up the muscle tissue in and around any fat tissue. The best way to
reduce fat tissue is to eat a diet that incorporates vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and
healthy fats like those found in olive oil and fish.
Myth: Puzzles and games are great workouts for your brain.
Truth: Plain old physical exercise seems to be better for brain health than any type of mental puzzle
available, according to a wealth of research. A spate of recent studies suggests that aerobic exercise
– any kind of activity that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained
period – has a significant, overwhelmingly beneficial effect on the brain.
When it comes to boosting your mood, improving your memory, and protecting your brain against
age-related cognitive decline, exercise may be as close to a wonder drug as we'll get. Aerobic
exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart.
Myth: Exercise is the best way to lose weight.
Truth: If you're looking to lose weight, don't assume you can simply "work off" whatever you eat.
Experts say that slimming down almost always starts with significant changes to your eating habits.
In terms of weight loss, diet plays a much bigger role than exercise. That said, regular activity is an
important part of any healthy lifestyle.
Myth: Sit-ups are the quickest ticket to a six-pack.
Truth: As opposed to sit-ups, which target only your abdominal muscles, planks recruit several
groups of muscles along your sides, front, and back. If you want a strong core – especially the kind
that would give you six-pack-like definition – you need to challenge all of these muscles.
Sit-ups or crunches strengthen just a few muscle groups. Through dynamic patterns of movement, a
good core workout helps strengthen the entire set of core muscles you use every day.
Myth: Weight training is for men.
Truth: Weight training is a great way to strengthen muscles and has nothing to do with gender.
That said, women produce less testosterone on average than men do, and studies suggest that
hormone plays a role in determining how we build muscle.
Myth: It takes at least a couple of weeks to get "out of shape."
Truth: For most people, muscle tissue can start to break down within a week without regular
If you stop training, you actually do get noticeable de-conditioning, or the beginnings of de-
conditioning, with as little as seven days of complete rest. It very much is an issue of use it or lose it.
Myth: Running a marathon is the ideal way to get fit.
Truth: You can get many of the benefits of long-distance running without ever passing the five-mile
Not ready to conquer a marathon? No problem. Running fast and hard for just five to 10 minutes a
day can provide some of the same health outcomes as running for hours. In fact, people who run for
less than an hour a week – as long as they get in those few minutes each day – see similar heart-
health benefits compared with those who run more than three hours a week.
Plus, years of recent research suggest that short bursts of intense exercise can provide some of the
same health benefits as long, endurance-style workouts – and they also tend to be more fun.
Myth: Keeping a food diary is a reliable way of monitoring and controlling what you eat.
Truth: Even when we're making an effort to be conscious about what we're putting into our bodies
and how active we're being, we often give ourselves more credit than we deserve.
People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate how much food they eat. They
consistently think they've worked out more and consistently think they've eaten less
Myth: Sports drinks are the best way to rehydrate after a workout.
Truth: Most sports drinks are just sugar and water.
Instead, experts recommend refueling with plain old water and a high-protein snack, since studies
suggest protein helps recondition muscles after a workout. (Because the contents of supplements
like protein powders can be largely unregulated, however, your best bet is to eat real protein-packed
Myth: Your body mass index is an accurate way to size up your overall health.
Truth: BMI is an outdated metric for assessing overall health; measuring your waistline is more
That's because the amount of fat we hold around our waistlines indicates whether we're over- or
underweight and is strongly linked to the health of our hearts, our risk for diseases like diabetes, and
potentially even our cognitive performance as we age.
Overuse of Omeprazol sparks GP concerns
Doctors in Spain have warned against ‘excessive and inappropriate use’ of the stomach-protector pill Omeprazol, saying it can lead to infections in the digestive system, reduced absorption of vitamins and even cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. One in three patients who take Omeprazol regularly should not be doing so, GPs reveal.
Although prescriptions for it have not increased in the last few years – quite the opposite, says digestion specialist Dr Mercedes Ricote – it can be purchased over the counter, leading to many taking it without medical advice.
Dr Ricote, of the Digestion Working Group wing of the Spanish General Practitioners’ Society (SEMERGEN), says Omeprazol is one of the most-consumed anti-acid drugs in Spain, both as a treatment for stomach acid itself, or taken prior to doses of other medication which can cause nausea and burning.
According to the ministry of national health, nearly 54.4 million boxes of Omeprazol were sold on prescription in 2013; then 53.6 million in 2014 and 52.3 million in 2015, showing that although fewer GPs are advising patients to take it, the drug is still being taken ‘excessively’.
“The point of Omeprazol is to protect the stomach against harsh medication, but the general public uses it because they believe it makes them feel better or that it stops the side-effects of drugs altogether,” Dr Ricote explains.
“Some mistakenly take it as a solution for stomach acid, and many even do so to avoid feeling bloated and full before a heavy meal or drinking session – which is definitely not what it’s for.
“It’s not designed to be used as an occasional treatment for one-off incidences of acid; it is for when the patient suffers acid two or more days a week, and in that case, it will be prescribed as part of a continual treatment programme and only when your GP sees fit.”
Omeprazol abuse alters the Ph balance in the digestive system, which can lead to infections such as salmonella, cause severe diarrhoea, and prevent crucial vitamins – particularly B12 – from being absorbed.
Also, patients who buy it over the counter to treat stomach acid instead of seeing their doctor are, effectively, delaying diagnosis of the real cause of their discomfort – which, although rare, could be as severe as gullet or stomach cancer, Dr Ricote warns.
“Although not a frequent side-effect, overuse of Omeprazol can lead to magnesium and calcium levels dropping – especially if it is taken for a long time – and this can be so severe as to lead to risks of fractures.
“We’ve seen patients who have used the drug to excess and suffered broken hips, wrists and even vertebrae as a result.”
Dr Ricote says GPs need to try to ‘educate’ patients about the correct use of Omeprazol and pharmacists should quiz customers about why they are buying it to ascertain whether they really need it.
Our relationship expert answers your questions
Feelings for old flame
Out of the blue, an ex boyfriend from my past contacted me on Facebook. All the old feelings I felt for this guy have returned. He dumped me all those years ago for another woman – the one he married. I suppose I shouldn’t have encouraged the exchanges of conversations, but I did and now I am confused about my feelings for him. Before he got in touch, I was happy with my husband, and we have children together. He is divorced and has no ties.
Cultivating relationships on social media can be quite seductive, and can put otherwise happy relationships under threat. You say you never doubted your relationship with your husband before this ex got in touch? You risk losing your happy marriage if you don’t sever ties with this man. Your behaviour may have changed, and it is possible your husband may suspect something. You also say this ex boyfriend dumped you to marry someone else. Is this man really what you want? He got in touch with you again only after his divorce. Please do some hard thinking about how you proceed.
I can’t live like this
My wife and I have been married for three years. Our relationship has been heading downhill since we wed. She rarely wants to be intimate, and that side of things has been very infrequent. I’ve talked to her about it, but she says we are different in that respect, and she doesn’t need it. Now she has said she wants a baby, ‘to bring us together’ and I am against it. I don’t think a child will mend things between us, and I think I will regret being tied down for the rest of my life. I have remained faithful to my wife but she doesn’t understand that that part of my life is vital to me.
Bringing a child into an unhappy relationship is never a good idea. If you can’t patch things up and get your libidos in tune, then the relationship is heading for the rocks. I would recommend counselling if you feel you want to try to save the relationship. Otherwise, if your heart really is not in your marriage, then you should consider going your separate ways. Either way, talk things through with your wife.
Write to Sara in confidence. A pseudonym will be used if you wish. Sara reads all letters and can give a personal reply. Email your question to email@example.com or Sara is available for private consultations, telephone 650 054 467.
Use nature to keep well this winter
Beating the winter blues
With the change in weather comes the inevitable coughs, colds and sore throats of the winter months. These herbs can ease the symptoms and some may help prevent illness altogether. According to leading herbalists using teas, extracts and supplements from natural-foods stores will help keep us fighting fit over the festive season.
A go-to herb for colds, this plant (Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia) may help support your immune system to fight viruses. The root, leaves, and flowers are all medicinal.
How to use: Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tincture (herbal extract) every two hours until symptoms are gone. Echinacea also comes in tea blends
The classic form for elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a tasty syrup: European studies have shown it to be helpful for seasonal flus (talk to your doctor before using it for H1N1, or swine flu).
How to use: Follow package directions for the syrup at the first sign of symptoms.
The flower form of the elder plant (Sambucus nigra) can induce sweating, which may help reduce fever.
How to use: Look for elder in cold formulas. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a teaspoon of dried elderflower. Steep 10 to 15 minutes then strain. Drink up to three cups per day. Or make a tea that combines elder, echinacea, and a pinch of peppermint.
A cup of tea made with ginger (Zingiber officinale) can help ease congestion and warm the body, which helps your system fight infection. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good sore-throat remedy, too.
How to use: Simmer fresh or dried ginger for 20 minutes; strain and add a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Incorporate ginger liberally into stir-fries and soups.
Loaded with antibacterial compounds, fresh or dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a cold-season powerhouse.
How to use: Use fresh or dried thyme in stews and soups. To make a steam, pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a pinch of fresh or dried thyme, turn off heat, and create a tent by draping a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe in steam for five minutes.
With antibacterial and expectorant properties, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) can loosen congestion and help you breathe easier.
How to use: Pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, turn off heat, and drape a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe for five minutes. Safety note: Do not use essential oils internally.
Also known as Siberian ginseng, this well-studied herb (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help your body resist the effects of stress and boost your immune system.
How to use: Take in tincture or capsule form, or make an immunity chai by blending eleuthero with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain; drink two to three cups daily.
Common culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) can help to ease sore throats and dry up sinuses.
How to use: For a sore throat, make a strong tea by pouring 4 ounces of water over 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh sage. Cool to room temperature. Gargle until the mixture is gone. Repeat three times daily. For drippy sinuses, drink a cup of regular-strength sage tea.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has immune-boosting and throat-soothing properties that make it an excellent addition to cough and cold formulas.
How to use: For coughs, make a tea that combines mullein leaf with a pinch of licorice. People who have high blood pressure should avoid this herb
Dry and flaky skin is a common complaint in the winter time. Cold, dry winter air sucks the life out of silky, smooth skin. There are many lotions and moisturisers, but most come with a hefty price tag. Natural home remedies are not only cheap, but also quite effective in nourishing and hydrating dry skin back to a healthy state.
Olive oil contains many antioxidants and healthy fatty acids that are good for your skin. It can soothe and condition dry skin all over your body.
About a half an hour before taking a shower, rub some olive oil on your hands, legs and other areas with dry skin and massage lightly. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturizer.
Mix two tablespoons of olive oil, four tablespoons of fine brown sugar, and one tablespoon of honey. Rub this homemade scrub on your dry skin using light, circular motions for a few minutes. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturiser.
Honey is considered one of the best natural moisturisers loaded with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. It helps lock in moisture to make your skin extra soft and smooth. Plus, honey has many essential vitamins and minerals that help improve your skin’s health.
Before taking a bath or shower, rub honey all over your body and leave it on for five to 10 minutes. Repeat daily to enjoy well-moisturised skin.
Mix honey and olive oil with brown sugar and gentle rub in circles onto your face as a exfoliating scrub.
Yogurt is an excellent skin-hydrating agent. Plus, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe dry and itchy skin. Also, its lactic acid content helps get rid of any germs or bacteria that may cause dryness or itchiness.
Apply fresh yogurt on your hands, face and legs and gently massaging it into your skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then take a bath or shower. The mild exfoliating action of yogurt will remove dry skin and leave your skin refreshed. Do this once every day for irritated skin conditions.
Mix one-half cup of yogurt and three tablespoons of mashed or blended papaya. Stir in a few drops each of honey and lemon juice. Apply it on your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Do this once a week for added hydration.
Coconut oil is really good for treating dry skin. It has a good amount of fatty acids that make up for any loss of moisture from the skin.
Liberally apply warm coconut oil all over your body before going to sleep. Wash it off in the morning. Do this daily to make your skin soft, smooth and silky to the touch.
Or apply coconut oil on your dry skin after you take a bath or shower. When the skin is warm and supple from your bath, coconut oil is more readily absorbed.
Avocado is packed with fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that help improve skin from the inside and out. The high vitamin A content helps in skin maintenance and repair to restore smooth skin.
Mash the pulp of an avocado into a smooth paste. Rub the paste all over your dry skin. Let it sit on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse it off with cold water. Repeat the process once a day.
Mash one-half of a ripe avocado and stir in one-half cup of honey. Apply the mixture on your dry skin and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Apply this hydrating face mask once or twice a week but not more often than that as it may cause breakouts.
You can also drink a glass of an avocado smoothie daily to increase your intake of healthy fats that will help keep your skin hydrated and moisturised.
You can also use oatmeal to moisturise and relieve dry skin. The high protein content in oatmeal leaves a protective barrier on the skin, which prevents water loss and helps maintain moisture. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are good for the overall health of your skin.
Pour one cup of plain oatmeal into your bathtub filled with warm water. Add a few drops of lavender oil. Soak in the bath water for 15 to 30 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath once a week.
Make a face mask by mixing one mashed ripe banana with one cup of ground oatmeal and then adding a little bit of lukewarm milk. Apply this smooth mixture on your dry skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Use this face mask once a week.