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Living with Atopic Eczema: Our 10 Top Tips

Image: Girl wearing a white tank top scratching her sore red arm

What is Eczema?

Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked. It can affect any part of the body but is most common on hands, the insides of elbows and the back of knees.

  Some may have small patches of dry skin and others may have larger areas of inflammation. People who suffer from eczema usually experience periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe. These are called flare-ups.

Causes of Eczema

No one is entirely sure what exactly causes eczema but The National Eczema Association believes a combination of genes and triggers are involved. Those with eczema tend to have an overactive immune system and when triggered by a substance inside or outside the body, it responds by producing inflammation. This is what causes the red, itchy and painful skin symptoms associated with eczema. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific cure for eczema. Treatment for the condition aims to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms.

Here are our top tips for managing symptoms and keeping them under control.

1. Don’t scratch
Although it can be tempting, when you scratch or even rub, you can make the itch and your eczema worse. Some people scratch so much they bleed, and that's a setup for infection. Instead, try using a cold compress to cool the skin and apply moisturiser to avoid it from drying out. 
2. Keep a food diary
People with eczema can experience inflammation from eating certain foods. Common triggers are citrus fruits, dairy and gluten/wheat but each person will have unique triggers they should avoid. Keep a note of what you are eating and be mindful of how/if your skin reacts. This can help to illuminate what causes your flare-ups and which foods you should try to avoid. 
3. Choose Skincare Products Carefully: 
Choose products that are advertised as “safe for sensitive skin” that won't include irritants that may affect your eczema. Stay away from products that are highly scented as fragrance can be a number one cause for irritation. People with particularly sensitive skin should always introduce new products slowly over a matter of days. It may also be a good idea to perform a patch test on the neck or inside of your arm to ensure your skin reacts well before applying to a large area. If you wash your hair while standing in the shower, using a gentle shampoo and conditioner is worth considering too.
4. Choose soft fabrics.
Material that is rough, too tight, or itchy can trigger eczema. Allowing yourself to get too warm can make you sweat and cause a flare-up as well. Synthetic materials such as nylon, rayon, and polyester tend to be warmer which can cause itchiness and prolong the effects of eczema so are best avoided. Opt for soft clothes that are gentle on your skin and keep it cool.
5. Learn your allergens
Eczema may flare up when you’re around things that may cause an allergic reaction. These can be different for each person, so it’s important to be mindful of things that may cause you to react. Some of the most common allergens are: seasonal pollen, dust mites, fine fur from cats and dogs, mold and dandruff. Taking note of the appearance of your skin each day can help to identify things you should avoid.
6. Manage stress.
Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of yourself. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine.
7. Choose the right form of exercise
Exercising can lower stress, boost the immune system and help to keep you healthy. However, the downside is that sweat can also trigger eczema to flare-up. As sweat evaporates, the skin dries and is left with a salty residue that can irritate eczema and encourage you to itch. If you are suffering from a flare-up,  try low-impact exercises like walking, yoga or pilates. These can be helpful to relieve stress and give your skin a break.
8. Be aware of your environment
Many people with eczema become itchy if they get too hot. This can happen if you get too sweaty or layer up too many clothes. During the cold winter months, it’s important not to allow your skin to dry out from harsh winds, so always make sure to keep skin hydrated with gentle moisturising creams.
9. Avoid Hot Water
When your skin is irritated, a hot shower can often feel like a great way to temporarily relieve itching. However, dermatologists warn that this can actually make eczema worse. Hot water dries out the skin and causes it to crack and become sore. Turn the heat down and soak in luke-warm water instead as this will absorb into the skin. Moisturise straight after bathing to lock in hydration.
10.  Look after your hands
It is important that we wash our hands throughout the day to get rid of any nasty germs and bugs. With the current pandemic, we are all being encouraged to do this as often as possible to reduce the risk of infection. However, it’s important to take care of our skin too. Make sure to pat your hands dry as opposed to rubbing them as this can make them sore. Always follow up with hand creamYou can read more about how to treat sore hands here.

All of ARK Skincare’s products contain a high percentage of natural ingredients and are made without any known irritants, made with sensitive skin in mind. Find out more about our products on our website

References:

8 Top Tips To Help You Stay Connected

Due to current events, many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We know it can be difficult at times without friends and family around, so here are our 8 top tips to help you stay connected!
Title: Tip #1 Pick up your phone!
Image: Person's hand holding a note out in front of them saying "phone a friend"
Let’s be honest, we spend a lot of time on our phones scrolling through social media, but when was the last time you called a friend? Instead of going to visit somebody, make time to sit down and call someone - even just for a few minutes. Checking in with those around you is a good reminder that you're not alone and a great way to keep others company.  Perhaps you could even make a nice plan of what you'll do together when this is all over! 
Title: Tip #2 Write a Letter
Image: Brown envelope with a white sheet of writing paper
There’s nothing better than receiving a personally hand-written letter through the door. Especially when it's from a loved one. The time and thought that goes into letters makes them so special - they can even be a keepsake for years to come!  Dig out the writing paper and jot down a message for a friend or family member. You can guarantee it’ll put a smile on their face.
Title: Tip #3 Send a surprise gift to a loved one!
Image: Gift wrapped up in parcel paper with a string bow and gift card.
    There are so many amazing online stores who are still working during this time, (including ours!) You can find all kinds of different gifts online from letterbox flowers and chocolates to care packages and food parcels! Online orders also eliminate any social contact as you can ship the gift straight to the recipient. 
    Take a look at some of our gifts below. 

    ARK Skincare's Uplifting Care Package

      Product Image: ARK Skincare's Uplift Care Package including: ARK Skincare Travel bag, Mini Hydrating Beauty Mist, Vitality Body Wash & Hand and Nail Cream

      Includes: 

      • ARK Skincare Travel bag
      • Mini Hydrating Beauty Mist
      • Vitality Body Wash 
      • Nourishing Hand and Nail Cream

      Facial Massage Set

        Product Image: ARK Skincare's Facial Massage Set Including: Hydration Injection Masque & Jade Tool with a velvet pouch.

        Includes: 

        •  Hydration Injection Masque
        • Jade Tool & Velvet Pouch

        You can find lots of our thoughtful gifts here.

        Title: Tip #4 Get Creative!Image: Apple mac book on an oak table next to a coffee and notepad

          We know it can be hard to find things to talk about now everyone is spending so much more time at home; so it’s time to think outside the box! Why not plan a virtual pub quiz evening with friends and family, or perhaps watch a film together via zoom? There are still ways of keeping things light-hearted and fun! 

          Title: Tip #5 Have a virtual dinner date!
          Image: Dinner table with a plate of spaghetti bolognese and red wine

            If you want some company at dinner time, why not schedule a ‘dinner date’ with a friend or family member? (A fun idea for couples too!) Spend some getting ready, choose a nice outfit like you would if you were going out, then prepare a yummy meal before calling your date! They can still be at the opposite end of the table, even if they are a little further away...  Don’t forget dessert!

            Title: Tip #6 Go to an online workout class with a friend!
            Image: Woman practicing stretches in front of her laptop, watching a live workout

              While we can’t go to the gym, why not sign up to an online workout class with a friend? It will give you something to commit to and you can encourage each other to stay motivated. It’s a great way to keep active, and you can catch up afterwards about how you found it! 

              Title: Tip #7 Join an online community!Image: Laptop on a desk with a notebook and pen

              If you're looking for something to keep you occupied, why not find an online community to join? There are so many online groups for all sorts of different things from blogging and baking to fitness and beauty. 

              Search for a hashtag online and find like-minded people who share your interests. You can find recipes, DIY's and tutorials for all kinds of things. You can guarantee to find something that will keep you busy!

              Title: Remember to take time for yourself, too.
              Image: Girl resting her reading book and cup of tea on her lap.
              We know how important it is to keep in touch with our loved ones and make sure they’re keeping well and coping okay, but remember you’re entitled to some time for yourself too.
              We’re living in a very strange time at the moment - it's almost as if we’ve come to a grounding halt. Although, while life has slowed down a lot for many of us, it can be a great opportunity to do the things that we might not usually have time for. 
               Most importantly, we have to do what we can to keep ourselves and each other safe, help those who need us, and stay home to save lives and support the NHS.
              Take care & stay safe! x

              The facts about SPF, UVA & UVB - get sun protection savvy

              From a young age, we’re all told to ‘remember your sunscreen!’ - but what does it do and why is protecting ourselves so important?

               

              Image showing a field full of flowers during the sunset with warm sunlight shining over them.

              What types of sunlight rays are there and how can they affect my skin?

              UVA Rays
              UVA rays are associated with skin ageing. 95% of these rays reach the earth's surface, causing short-term effects such as immediate tanning and possible sunburn. They affect the inner cells in the top layer of skin and are responsible for causing premature ageing, pigmentation, and are even linked to some types of skin cancer. 
              UVA rays present themselves all day long, all year round. They can penetrate through clouds and windows too, so even on the cloudy days that you spend indoors, you’re still exposed and should always remember your SPF!
              UVB Rays
              UVB rays have shorter wavelengths, so only 5% of these reach the earth’s surface. However, they have a considerably higher energy level meaning their damage can be a lot more severe. Overexposure to UVB rays is what can cause your skin to blister and burn. It is also the cause for most skin cancers, so it is essential to protect your skin and ensure you aren’t putting yourself at risk. 
               
              Image showing rose-gold sunglasses resting on a sun bed with the ocean in the background

              How does SPF work?

              A sunscreen acts as a filter, reducing how much UV radiation we’re exposed to. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is the measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect your skin from harmful UVB rays.
               There are two main parts to all sun protection. The active ingredient and the emulsion. The active ingredient does the sun protection work and either absorbs or reflects the UV rays. 
               The sun protection factor is calculated by how much of the UVB gets through the screen.  The British Association of Dermatologists recommend SPF 30 is a good level to use to keep skin protected. 

              What makes ARK Skincare's Skin Protecting SPF 30 Primer so special?

              Product Image of ARK Skincare's SPF 30 Primer on a cream background next to a sunflower and vibrant yellow petals.
              Our Skin protecting SPF 30 Primer is the ultimate multi-tasker - Award winning make up primer; sunscreen; and light weight moisturiser in one. It offers 'broad-spectrum’ UV protection which means unlike many products, it protects from both UVA & UVB rays.
              By making this part of your daily skincare routine, you’ll keep your skin protected without even having to think about it!

              You can find out more about this product here.

              References:

              NHS - Sunscreen & Sun Safety

              ColorScience -  How Does Sunscreen Work To Protect Your Skin?

              The Explainer - What Does SPF Mean & How Is It Measured

              April is Rosacea Awareness Month - Here Are Our Top Tips for dealing with Rosacea

              Feeling flushed? Suffering from persistent redness? It may be rosacea, which is more common than you think. It is, unfortunately, not something you can cure, but you may like to try our top tips for keeping it under control.

               

              1. Protect your skin from damaging UV rays

              UV rays are the number one cause of rosacea flare-ups, so it's important to use a good quality SPF all year round and ensure to cover up when in direct sunlight. Take a look at our SPF 30 Primer here - it's the perfect product to protect your skin and it creates a smooth base for makeup application too.Artwork image of ARK Skincare's SPF 30 Primer next to a sunflower and pretty flower petals

              2.Consider the environment around you. Extremes of temperature and pollution can aggravate rosacea. Hot weather, cold winds, high humidity, and urban pollution can all be problematic. Keep cool, avoid steam, wrap up against cold winds, and protect from pollution. 

              3. Manage stress levels.

              Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of your whole self. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine. This will help you not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself and help to calm your mind and body.

              Image of somebody holding a polaroid image of a neon yellow light saying "and breathe"


              4. Keep well

               Being unwell can show on your skin. Fever, coughs and colds, high blood pressure, and serious illness can cause rosacea to flare up. Occasionally long term medication can affect the sensitivity of your skin. If you take medication and suffer from redness discuss it with your GP and explore alternatives. Consider taking multivitamins to keep well especially those with vitamin C and Zinc.


              5. Wash your make up brushes

              In an independent survey of 1000 people 44% said they had never cleaned their make up brushes! Several studies have shown that makeup brushes can be contaminated with dangerously high levels of bacteria, and in some cases carried more bacteria than was found on a loo brush! Clean those brushes to prevent skin irritations and redness flare-ups.

              Image of freshly washed make-up brushes in a pretty white pencil pot
              6. Go make up free

              Consider having a break from makeup and see if your redness comes down. Some ingredients in cosmetics can cause irritation. If you have a break from makeup and your skin improves reintroduce your products one by one to see which ones cause a flare-up. You may be able to identify key ingredients to avoid.


              7. Avoid scent

              Scent can be a major cause of skin irritation. Stop using perfumes and avoid facial, body, and bath products that are highly scented. Even some essential oils can be irritating to the skin, so it's important to choose products that are as natural as possible as these won't contain any harsh chemicals. 

               

              8. Alter your exercise routine

              Exercise is reported by many rosacea sufferers as a cause of flare-ups. But don’t stop exercising! It is essential to your stress management and overall wellbeing. Instead, alter the way you exercise. Consider short blasts of high-intensity workouts rather than prolonged sessions. Avoid working out in a stuffy hot room, but instead, make sure the gym is well ventilated and ideally air-conditioned. Try using a beauty mist to keep cool during classes. Try swimming. AND always keep hydrated. It is essential to keep your water consumption up.Image of a lady stood on the pavement wearing her grey trainers

              9. Skincare Products can help but choose carefully. Select products that are created for sensitive skin as these will be free of known irritants and strong fragrances. It's also important to keep your skincare routine simple– “less is more” as they say. Don't chop and change your products either, introduce products one by one over a matter of weeks to avoid over-stimulating the skin. When applying products be gentle. Do not rub your face, or use harsh exfoliators or scrubs, and when cleansing with water avoid extremes of temperature - use hand warm water and a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to wash your face when in a power shower. The strong jets can cause sensitivity and redness to flare.

              Product Image of ARK Skincare's Anti-Redness Serum with 3 Badges for vegan friendly, beauty shortlist award winner 2019 & beauty global awards 2019.
              Our soothing Anti-Redness Serum contains a botanical complex clinically proven to calm and protect sensitive, and regularly receives 5-star reviews. It has also been featured by Talontedlex, a popular skincare blogger who openly talks about her favourite products to help rosacea. You can find out more about this award-winning product here.


              Controlling rosacea involves looking at all aspects of your lifestyle. Follow these tips to help keep your skin calm. Don’t be disheartened or allow it to upset you. You are not alone. In fact, you are in good company with film stars, princes, and presidents reportedly suffering. You can always chat with us on socials @arkskincare or email sales@arkskincare.com for help and product advice. We love hearing from you!

               

              How To Keep Active Indoors

              Header banner with text: 7 tips to stay active indoors
              We hope you’re all doing well and are keeping healthy going into the third week of lockdown. Despite being a few weeks in now, we know it can still seem strange and feel tricky to deal with sometimes. During this time, we hope our content can help to uplift and inspire, or even just take things off your mind for five minutes!
              As lots of us are staying at home and are unable to be able to go to the gym or get as much exercise in, we thought we would suggest some ideas on how to keep active indoors. So, if you’re feeling a little bit stuck for something to do, this could be the post for you!

               

              1. Online Workout VideosImage of a woman sat cross legged on a exercise mat with dumbbells and smoothie

              There are thousands of workout classes on YouTube which are fab as they are free to access and you can search for exactly what you want. Whether that be cardio, strength, high/low intensity or even just some stretches, there is so much content to choose from.
              The channel SELF has some great cardio workouts, or, if you’re looking for something low-intensity, Lucy Wyndham-Read has a channel full of great “walking workouts” which are a great way to get you moving!

              2. Live Workouts 

              Image of Instagram app on an iphone

              Lots of celebrities and online influencers are using their platform positively by live-streaming with their personal trainers and inviting their following to join in too! A great way to feel part of something and get a real sense of community, while getting some exercise in too! Here are some ideas for people to follow...

              @thebodycoach

              @zannavandijk

              @nobsguides

              3. Fitness Apps

              Image of a woman practicing yoga at home on a workout mat
              Don’t forget about fitness apps! Why not have a break from scrolling through socials and find a workout to do on your phone?
              Chris Hemsworth has recently announced he is offering a 6-month free subscription of his fitness app Centre which you can find out more about here
              Fiit is another app where you can link your phone to your tv screen. You can wear a tracking belt during your workout and see your stats on the screen while you do your exercise. You can also invite friends to workout with you and compete for the most 'fiit points' which is lots of fun and a great way to increase your motivation!

              4. Yoga & Pilates

              If you fancy the idea of learning a new skill, why not give yoga or pilates a go? It has lots of different benefits such as increasing your flexibility, strength and posture. It can help to relax and calm the mind. One of our favourites is Karen Eccles @pilatesfromwithin, who is hosting live workout classes. A nice therapeutic way to start or end the day!

              5. Get Creative!Image of staircase in house

              You don’t need to commit to a whole workout to stay active, it's just about finding ways to keep yourself moving. Do some star jumps in the garden, have a dance in the kitchen while you cook dinner or even just walk up and down the stairs a few times - that'll get your heart rate up! Improvise with what you have available. Who needs dumbbells? Grab a bottle of water or a few cans of beans!

              6. Walking/Running/Cycling

              Image of a person wearing trainers walking on the grass

              We all know it’s very important to stay at home as much as possible at the moment. However, we are still allowed our hours of exercise per day which is worth taking advantage of! While keeping a distance from others who may be out and about, why not take a walk, run or cycle? Fresh air is still as important as ever to keep brain fog away!

              7. Take your chair away!

              Image of a wooden desk with an apple macbook

              Is sitting at a desk or on the sofa all day is making you feel sluggish? Sitting down for long periods of time is thought to slow the metabolism and make us feel tired.

              Why not create a standing desk to work at instead? Some say it can even improve productivity and focus as it keeps you more alert! 

              Wrapping Up With A Gentle Reminder...

              While keeping active is great for both the body and the mind, please don’t pressure yourself. Lots of online content is all about being productive 24/7 at the moment and while that might be great for some, we must remember this time isn’t about becoming a fitness guru, eating kale for every meal or working 10 hour days. It's a strange time for everyone and the most important thing we can do is take each day as it comes and do what feels right for us. Whether that be going for a run or having a PJ day, all are important. Take care of yourself. 

                Sources: 

              https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/why-sitting-too-much-is-bad-for-us/

              https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/health/health-advice/a31697332/staying-fit-healthy-self-isolating/

              http://theconversation.com/how-to-stay-fit-and-active-at-home-during-the-coronavirus-self-isolation-134044

              The Benefits of Gua Sha

               

              What is Gua Sha?

              Gua sha is a natural ancient self-care beauty ritual, originated from China. This facial massage technique has been used for several thousand years to achieve skin health and provide a youthful, radiant complexion.

              The natural therapy involves sweeping the skin with a massage tool. These strokes help to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow and encourages lymphatic drainage. With regular practice facial tension is relieved, the jawline becomes more defined, fine lines are reduced, the skin is lifted and de-puffed.

              How to use

              Cleanse the skin and gently pat dry before applying your favourite serum, moisturiser or masque. Simply apply your product as normal and then use the tool to make sweeping motions over the contours of your face. The layer of product is important to ensure the tool does not tug at the skin.

              You should work through this seven-step routine on one side of the face, then repeat on the other side, making sure to repeat each stroke 3-5 times. Repeat 2-3 times a week to see the full benefits.

              1. Neck – Start at the collar bone and sweep up the neck.
              2. Under the chin – sweep from the soft part of the under the chin towards the earlobe.
              3. Jawline – start from the middle of the chin, move under the lower lip up towards the ear.
              4. Under cheeks – sweep from the corner of the mouth under the cheekbones to the hairline. 
              5. Over cheeks - sweep from the corner of the nose over the cheekbone to the hairline, by the top of the ear.
              6. Under eyes - be very gentle in this area. Sweep from the corner of the eye to the hairline. Use less pressure than on the rest of the face. 
              7. Over eyebrows - start from between the eyebrows, sweep out towards the hairline 
              8. Forehead - sweep upwards from the eyebrows the top of the head.

              Clean and dry the tool after use. 

              What are the benefits?

              This natural therapy can help to activate the immune system, allowing the body to speed up its natural healing process. Gua Sha is performed on the back of the neck, shoulders and mid-back where the lymphatic system and drains the lymphatics which assists in decongestion. This has huge benefits for cold and flu symptoms. Gua sha is an anti-inflammatory therapy, great for dealing with chronic pain and sore muscles. Additionally, it is able to firm the skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and plump skin to give it a youthful glow.

              Pro Tips

              •  Try keeping your jade tool in the fridge. This will intensify the cooling sensation, leaving you feeling refreshed.
              • Use the tool to massage your head. Wiggling it against your scalp through your hair can help to relieve tension. 
              • Once you have mastered the basics, feel free to experiment. You may want to focus on certain areas more than others.

              Our in house therapist Kate Hardy performs gua sha using our jade tool in her treatments, so we asked her to tell us what she likes about it and why she uses this particular form of therapy. 

              "I've been working the jade tool myself for several months now & have recently introduced it into facial treatments for clients. The jade tool really helps to stimulate the facial muscles. It's also great for increasing lymphatic drainage, helping the skin get rid of toxins. It gives the skin a natural boost with a lifting and firming effect, brightening the skin and reducing puffiness. It leaves you with a wonderful fresh-faced glow and is also super relaxing to do".

              Where can you find out more?

              You can view our Gua Sha tool here. Until the end of March 2020, this is also part of a discounted duo alongside our Hydration Injection Masque, saving you £17. This is part of our spring offers range which you can view here. 

               

              his is

              What We Have Learnt From Isolation... So Far

              The world has temporarily changed and we are learning how to adjust to our new way of life. Here we share tips to help us all get through this together and stay positive...
               
              Do not watch the news nonstop! Decide on one update a day and make sure it is a reliable source. Perhaps you enjoy a particular TV or radio news bulletin, or maybe you watch the daily government briefing? Stick to one, otherwise, it becomes overwhelming. 
              Do not lose your day to social media scaremongering! Now is the time to make sure you are following only positive social media accounts and avoid any inaccurate information. Social media will be so important to us to keep in touch over the next few weeks, but it can also be incredibly negative. Follow the positive hashtags #positives #postivevibes #positivenews #goodnews .. and maybe the odd cute animal site!
              It is really easy to slip into poor habits and to move only a few steps each day. Pick a time to exercise and stick to it. There are so many free videos and fitness challenges available on YouTube and Social media. No gyms required! 
              This is no time to start an extreme eating plan! Eat a balanced diet and make sure you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Don't start panic taking new supplements, but perhaps a daily dose of Vitamin C will help. Also, ensure you get exposure to light rays for a short time each day to top up your Vitamin D levels. You can achieve this by sitting at an open window if you can't get out. But don't forget your SPF if you are in sunlight for any length of time!
              This is a great opportunity to check-in with old friends and extended family whom you may not have seen recently. Re-establish old links. A 'phone call now could really make someone's day. 
              There are lots of community groups starting up to offer local assistance. Check-in with your neighbours (whilst staying two meters apart) even if you don't know them, and make sure they are OK. 
              You can't become the world's best teacher overnight! If you are trying to work from home as well as managing homeschooling it is a pretty impossible task. Cut yourself some slack. Do the best you can. Use all the school resources provided but if you need to resort to online tutorials, videos, and films, that is fine.
              Remember that body brush you bought but never really used? .. Or a Jade tool you planned to learn how to perfect the art of facial massage with? Do you have other products you never really got to grips with? Now is the time. Create a great facial and body skincare regime and get into the habit whilst you have the time. You will see the physical improvements, as well as feel the psychological benefits of a good self-care regime. Plus there is nothing quite like a soak in the bath at the end of the day to ease away stress.
              "Keep a diary and someday it will keep you" Mae West was very wise... but even if you don't manage to create a best seller, writing your feelings down can be very cathartic and help you organise your thoughts and feelings. Getting the negatives off your chest is good but write down the good stuff too and focus on all the positives. It will help!
              Over the coming weeks we will be sharing lots of tips and ideas, and hopefully spreading some positivity. Our office is closed as our staff are now all working from home, but please do keep in touch via social media or email. We will get back to all messages in turn. Please share anything which has made you feel good and we will pass it on to the rest of the ARK Skincare community. 
              Our delivery service remains fully operational. All orders are processed in our distribution centre which is adhering to all the latest government safety protocols. Parcels will be safely delivered and left at your door. No signatures or contact will be required. If you have any concerns please get in touch office@arkskincare.com
              Stay home. Stay safe. Keep well.

              What happens when we sleep?

              The Science of Sleep

              We all know how important rest is and the struggle we can face without it. So, what happens when we sleep and why do we need it?

              Sleep is incredibly important as it helps the brain to function properly. Without it, we are unable to properly process what we’re told and remember things we learned throughout the day. This is why it can be hard to focus on what would usually be fairly straight forward.

              Bad or little sleep can lead to many different complications. Some are physical, such as seizures, high blood pressure and increased likelihood of illness and infection. It can also increase the risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

              Despite knowing all of the factors that are associated with lack of sleep, I was interested to find out what actually happens when we slumber. So, with that in mind, I went away and did some research of my own.

              So, What Did I Find?

              Sleep is regulated by our circadian rhythm (also known as our body clock). It responds to light cues and ramps up the production of melatonin – a natural hormone known as the ‘sleep hormone’ which tells our body it’s night time. Once the sun starts to go down and we are exposed to less light, melatonin is released into the bloodstream and as levels begin to rise, we start to feel sleepy. (This definitely makes me feel less guilty about feeling so sluggish in wintertime!)

              When we sleep, we experience a four-stage cycle. These cycles are often repeated 3-4 times during the night, depending on how good of a sleep we get.

              Stage One

              This stage is the transition between being awake and falling asleep once we get comfortable, close our eyes and begin to relax. This usually lasts about 5-10 minutes.

              Stage Two

              This is when our heart rate and breathing begins to slow down, body temperature drops and our muscles may twitch. This stage is still fairly light and the brain produces sudden increases in brain wave frequency known as sleep spindles.

              Stage Three

              This is known as the “delta” stage of sleep due to the delta slow brain waves which take place. It is at this particular stage in sleep that the most growth hormone is produced to service bones, muscles and repair the body. At this point, it becomes a little harder for us to be awakened because we become less responsive to outside stimuli. 

              Stage Four

              Stage four is known as REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), the deepest stage of sleep which we usually enter about 90 minutes after initially falling asleep. This is the stage where the brain is most active, the eyes dart back and forth and breathing becomes fast and shallow. It’s also when our dreams take place. Chemicals that are released within the body render it temporarily paralyzed so that we don’t act them out in our sleep. Each REM stage can last up to an hour and an average adult has five to six a night.

              ARK Skincare’s Brand-New Night Treatments

              After some extensive research into the science of sleep over the past two years, ARK skincare has recently released two new night treatments. Each is packed full of active ingredients that help to aid the body’s natural repair process when we sleep, allowing us to wake up feeling rested and glowing. You can find more information about these here.

              Sources

              This informative video from The Economist explains each stage of sleep in detail which you can watch here 

              NHS - How To Beat Insomnia

              Product Focus: ARK Skincare's Intensive Hand & Nail Cream

              How do you keep your hands soft and supple? - A good hand cream!

              Without mentioning what is going on right now, it's easy to say that we're all adamant about washing our hands a lot more. While this is extremely important, it's very easy to let your hands get dry, especially in the cold weather. So, as a gift from us to you, we're adding in a free hand cream to every order placed over £5. 

              To help you to understand what makes this product a multi-award winning staple in our range, we thought we would share the ingredients that make it up, what they do and how they benefit the skin. 

              Raspberry Seed Oil

              Raspberry seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids such as omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9. It also contains high levels of vitamin E making it the perfect lipid choice for daily protection as it provides protection and moisture retention for the skin. 

                   Shea Butter & Cocoa Butter     

              Shea butter melts at skin temperature, helping to moisturise the skin as it easily absorbed without leaving the skin feeling sticky. It is well-known for overcoming dry, irritated and sensitized skin and cocoa butter can help to improve elasticity. 

                 Kiwi & Avocado Oil 

              Kiwi oil helps to maintain moisture in the skin and prevent drying and scaling. It can also help aid in the relief of itchy, scaly, irritated skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. The fatty acids within avocado oil have excellent moisturising properties that help regenerate and rejuvenate the skin. 

               Grapeseed Oil 

               Grapeseed Oil is rich in both Omega 6 and vitamin E, which helps to moisturise the skin and give it the ability to bounce back. It is easily absorbed by the skin and leaves it feeling soft and silky. This oil also contains a powerful antioxidant ingredient called proanthocyanidin. This antioxidant may even out skin tone when it’s used on your skin consistently.

                            

              Red Algae

              Red algae is known for its amazing skin benefits including increasing moisture, moisture retention and promoting smooth skin. It also has the ability to block UV rays, protecting the skin against pigmentation, sun damage, and dark spots. It has also been clinically proven to prevent wrinkles. 

                      

              Blackcurrant Seed Oil 

              A rich natural source of Vitamin C, Blackcurrant Seed Oil is a powerful antioxidant-rich plant oil that contains therapeutic properties, making it a wonderful healing oil for inflammation. The oil's high antioxidant content helps to protect skin cells from free radical damage which can be caused by the environment. 

              Press & Awards

              Click here to shop and claim your free hand cream now!

              How To Work From Home

              

              What a peculiar time we’re living in. Strange - isn’t it? We at ARK are just trying our best to count our blessings and take each day as it comes. Whether you are at home, at work, or somewhere in between, we hope that you’re okay and keeping well.

              Please do keep in touch with us via social media, or if you wish to contact our customer services team, please email office@arkskincare.com or call 02037403303 and leave a message. We are all working from home but will respond to every message we receive. The ARK Skincare website is still operating as normal and we are continuing to ship orders.

              With a lot of us now staying inside, we thought we would share some tips on working from home. For this, we asked our newest member of the team Lucy, our new sales and marketing assistant, to share what she has learned in her first week from working from home.

              If you’re like me and finding yourself working from home for the first time, you might be still finding out how to adjust. So, I thought it would be a better time than ever to create a guide for working at home and put together some top tips that I’ve learned. 

              1. Establish a routine

              Although you’re at home, there is still work to be done. Of course, your schedule might be a little more relaxed than usual, but it is still important to get a good night's sleep and wake up at a sensible time so you feel fresh and ready for the day. Deciding when you plan to take your lunch and breaks is important too as then you can work around your own guidelines.

              2. Create a workspace 

              While at home, it’s really important to differentiate ‘being at work’ and being at home. Try to find a quiet space to do your work where you aren’t in the way of anybody else. Then, you can create a set up with everything you’ll need. Try your best to keep out of the way of any distractions like the tv, phones or your other family members. 

              3. Write a daily to-do list

              Write yourself a list of things you want to achieve and then order them most to least important. I find starting with the most important first means I can relax a little knowing it's done and don’t rush through any of my other work. It can be really helpful to do this at the end of the working day so you know what has been done and what your priorities are for the next day.

              4. Remember to take breaks

              Be realistic with the goals you set yourself. It’s not healthy to be sat down all day consumed in one thing. Aim to take short breaks every few hours to allow yourself some time away from a screen. This could be when you take a walk, make your lunch or catch up with a family member. 

              5. Get some exercise

              Without the need to get yourself to your workplace and with gyms being closed, it can be very easy to forget to keep active, but exercise is so important for both physical and mental health. This article by the NHS explains why sitting too much is bad for us and why it is so important to stay active. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a little bit of sun where you are, it's definitely worth getting out and making the most of it, even if it is just for a short walk!

              There are also some great pre-filmed workouts online and even some live workout classes being aired on youtube and Instagram which give a great sense of community and encouragement for those who feel like they need a pick me up. 

              6. Communicate 

              Please don’t allow yourself to get lonely. This is a difficult time for everybody, but we are so blessed to live in a world where we have technology and phones to be able to keep in contact with those around us. Make sure to keep in touch with family and friends by sending pictures and sharing the things that make you smile to keep the conversation flowing!

              7. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. This is something new for everyone and we are all still learning to adjust. Some days are bound to be easier than others and that is okay. Try your best to focus on all the little things that bring you joy and be proud of all the things you are able to achieve. We must keep finding the positives and remember that we will get through this. 

               

              In the next few posts we will be sharing some ideas of what you can do in your free time while being at home, so keep an eye out if you're in need of some inspiration!

              Also, while we're all washing our hands constantly, we have decided to put together a little gift. A free hand & nail cream will be added to any orders £5 or over - helping you to avoid getting dry hands! 

               Click here to shop now 

               

              Sources: 

              BBC: Coronavirus - 5 Ways to Work From Home

              The Independent: How to Be Productive When Working From Home

              NHS: Why Too Much Sitting Is Bad For Us

              https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/why-sitting-too-much-is-bad-for-us/

               

              Mothers Day Gift Ideas

              

               

               

               

              Award Winners!

              We are delighted to announce that we were awarded 7 accolades at the Beauty Shortlist Awards last week.

              The Beauty Shortlist Awards was founded in 2012 by beauty journalist Fiona Klonarides and went global in 2017. All entries are independently tried and tested to reveal the 'best in class' of global beauty, so we are thrilled to be recognised.

              As proud winners, we wanted to share our exciting news with you and a little about the products which were awarded.

               

              Best Daily Moisturiser WINNER

              Agedefend Replenishing Moisturiser

               

              One of ARK’s best-sellers & loved by celebs including Lisa Falkner, this treatment moisturiser is packed full of Olive oil and Shea butter to moisturise and protect the skin against UV rays. It also includes clinically-proven anti-ageing peptides such as Matrixyl which smoothes out wrinkles, diminishing signs of premature ageing, whilst Vitamin A keeps skin strong and increases collagen production.

              How & When: Apply to cleansed skin every morning.

               

              Best Day Skincare Product for age 50+ WINNER

              Agedefy Nourishing Moisturiser 

               

              Our best-selling product. This powerful moisturiser combats the signs of hormone loss such as dullness, dryness and loss of elasticity. Hyaluronic Acid visibly reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and blackcurrant and Borage Seed Oil contain fatty acids to deeply nourish. The rich, silky texture glides on effortlessly, providing a long-lasting base for make-up.

               

              How & When: Apply to cleansed skin every morning.

               

              Best Face Mask for Hydration WINNER 

              Skin Perfector Hydration Injection Masque

               

               

              This intensive treatment is rich in hyaluronic acid which quenches skin, plumps wrinkles and restores skins vibrancy. It provides 24-hour protection against water loss and can be used as an instant boost to restore a healthy glow to stressed, weather damaged or travel-weary skin.

              How & When:

              Apply a thin layer to cleansed skin. Leave on according to the skin’s age and then remove with a cloth soaked in hand-hot water.

              Age-specific leave on times:

              Teens & twenties – leave on for 5 minutes

              30’s & 40’s – leave on for 10 minutes

              50s onwards – leave on for 20 minutes

              Or use overnight as an intensive treatment.

               

              Best Daily Use SPF Product WINNER

              Skin Essential Skin Protector SPF30 Primer

               

              Your skin-perfecting daily defence. This is a multi-award-winning hero and has clinically proven skin benefits, providing an antioxidant & vitamin boost, while also supplying broad-spectrum UVB protection. The airbrush finish allows make-up to glide on like a dream.

              How & When:

              Apply in the morning over your moisturiser and under makeup.

               

              Best Eye Product for all ages FINALIST

              Skin Essential Reverse Gravity Eye Cream

              This gravity-defying treatment with BeautifulEyeTM from the Persian Silk Tree instantly tightens & hydrates whilst fading dark circles and diminishing puffiness. It contains Aloe Vera & Allantoin which calm and nurture dry, sensitive eyes and Amino Acids to boost moisturise levels and plump skin.

               How & When

              Use morning and evening on cleansed skin. Smooth around the eye contour using the massage ball or ring finger if you prefer.

               

              Best Night Skincare Product for age 50+ WINNER 

              Agedefy Repairing Night Treatment

               

              A night treatment specifically formulated for those in their 50s and onwards. Rejuvenates tired, damaged skin during the night, allowing you to wake up feeling rested and glowing.

              The bio-active ingredients help improve skin tone and cell cohesion. Contains essential nutrients and the building blocks for healthy-looking skin as well as active plant extracts to regenerate the skin's barrier. Intensive rehydration ensures firmness and elasticity are restored while you rest.

              How & When

              Use in the evening. Apply to cleansed skin before bed.

               

              Best Night Skincare Product for age 30+ WINNER

              Agedefend Regenerating Night Treatment

               

              A rich night cream, bursting with hardworking actives. Specifically designed for those in their 30s and 40s, this treatment is packed full of active ingredients which help aid the body’s natural repair process when we sleep. Silk Tree Extract promotes the visible reduction of fatigue: dark circles, under-eye bags and dull complexion and Passionfruit Seed Oil, rich in essential fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to calm skin concerns such as rosacea and acne. 

              How & When

              Use in the evening. Apply to cleanses skin before bed.

              You can view all of these award-winning products here. If you have any other questions regarding any of these products you are more than welcome to get in touch via email or call 0203 740 3303.

              ARK Skincare's New Night Treatments

              How do we brighten up a long, dreary winter? A new product launch

              At the end of last month, ARK Skincare announced the launch of two new night treatment formulations. After extensive research and testing, we are thrilled to be able to share these new additions to our range. 

              Agedefend Regenerating Night Treatment

              A night cream formulated for those in their 30’s and 40’s

              With active ingredients to aid the natural repair process that occurs when we sleep, and to combat the signs of everyday stress which tends to be at its peak at this age.

              The formulation supports the skin’s natural defence system through its enhanced antioxidant and free radical scavenger activity. This in turn helps reduce the appearance of skin aging and wrinkle formation. The advanced delivery system helps to deliver coenzyme Q10 to deeper skin layers, increasing this active ingredient's bioavailability. Ingredients include anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties to help with rosacea and acne; detoxifying properties to help repair dull tired skin; conditioning agents to hydrate and relieve dryness whilst boosting elasticity; and protective properties to help with over sensitized skin. In addition an anti-fatigue and radiance promoter is included to promote a visible reduction of dark circles, under eye bags, dull complexion and drawn features. Key ingredients: Coenzyme Q10, Kiwi Seed Oil; Passionfruit Seed Oil; Shea Butter; Vitamin E; Vitamin A Palmitate; Crodarom Blue Lotus; Prodizia. 97.55% natural. Suitable for vegans. 

              Agedefy Repairing Night Treatment

              A night cream formulated for those 50 onwards

              Rejuvenates tired, damaged skin whilst you sleep. Bioactive ingredients tone, re-densify, and regenerate skin whilst improving the natural barrier function and diminishing the visible signs of ageing.

              Includes a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger which acts to stimulate the production of collagen and increase skin firmness. Aims to reduce inflammation, and to repair dry or damaged skin by improving hydration and suppleness. Includes an energizing cocktail of vitamins and minerals to detoxify and revitalize the appearance of skin. May be use around the eye area to improve the appearance of wrinkles and includes ingredients to reduce the signs of fatigue such as dark circles and under eye bags. Key ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Blackcurrant seed Oil, Borage Oil, Abyssinian Oil, Vitamin E, Goji, Reforcyl. 97.96% natural. Suitable for vegans.

              Here's what our team at head office had to say: 

               


               

              Our brand new night treatments can be purchased here.

              ALL THE BEST PRIMERS - Ayelined

              Trona from Ayelined wrote a blog post all about her favourite primers. "I previously wasn’t a huge fan of primer. I never liked the slippery silicone feel on my skin. But recently primers have got much better. They don’t feel as heavy or slippy anymore. I especially appreciate them a bit more now I’m getting older. A good primer can help makeup look smoother and last longer. I’m reviewing a selection of some of my recent favourite primers."

              This included our ARK Skincare Skin Protector SPF30 Primer ! "If you’re looking for a natural, high end primer that is super multi-tasking ARK Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer* is the one for you! This award-winning primer feels luxurious and is definitely a more refined, sophisticated formula than the previous primers I’ve mentioned (which is reflected in its price tag). My skin feels smoother, brighter and hydrated after applying this primer SPF.

              Makeup goes on easily over the top and lasts a bit longer than usual. What I like most about ARK Skin Protector though is how fresh my skin looks after application plus the SPF protection is a winner for me. "

               

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              Read the full blog post HERE
              Shop our SPF30 Primer HERE

              Back to you Beauty - Mature Skin Series

              Sharon from Back to you Beauty has started a 'Mature Skin Series' and recently did a post about testing the perfect face mists for mature skin. In this post she features our Skin Essential Hydrating Beauty Mist.
              "I use a face mist everyday, a couple of times for different reasons. Sometimes as soon as I wake up – to wake up! Other times I spritz one over a face masque before I remove it, sometimes i use one on the train when I am squashed in like a sardine and always to set my make up."

               

              "If you watch my Instastories Often, you will have seen me using this loads lately. I just love the scent of refreshing Wild Mint and the way my skin feels suddenly cool and calm. This spray is perfect for all ages and stages of skin but I have included it in my mature skin round-up as I think that a hot, flushed skin, dehydrated skin or someone with those fine lines and wrinkles can really benefit from the hydrating properites it offers. The cooling sensation of that Wild Mint and the beautiful ingredients included make this a joy to use. Goji and Blue Lotus (which is in a lot of much higher price point skincare) bring lots of anti-oxidant rich, brightening properties as well as detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties which I think work wonderfully on menopausal skin. I am loving this brand so much and I know you will too."

               

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              Shop our Hydrating Beauty Mist HERE

              Read the full blog post HERE