Health24.com | Can you stay clean using the tiniest bit of water?

Could you imagine cleaning yourself properly without using any water? I am guessing probably not, and neither could I.

I recently found a product created by a young South African named Ludwick Marishane. Marishane created body wash called DryBath. After growing up in rural Limpopo where most people only had the option of a bucket bath, he hoped that his product would bring some relief to his community. See his TED talk here.

Initial concerns

Initially I was concerned that the consistency would be sticky, there would be a residue left on my skin and that I would still feel dirty afterwards. Also, there are few things as bad as the combination of body odour and deodorant trying to mask it. My hope was that DryBath would leave me feeling and smelling fresh.

I tried the product over a weekend to avoid any possible embarrassment if the product didn’t work, and after two days trialling DryBath, I can gladly say there was none.

Waterless washing

The DryBath gel comes in a 250ml bottle with fifteen wipes, as well as a box of seven 15ml gel sachets with seven wipes. 

DryBath has a fresh herbal aroma with a hint of tea tree oil that it is not overbearing. This was a good indication for me because, as Health24 explains, tea tree oil is known for being antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. The gel includes naturally derived Potash Alum (Dode), also known as Tawas, and is an odour-removing rock commonly used in India. There is no alcohol in DryBath.

The gel spreads across a very wide surface area, therefore 15ml could possibly clean an entire adult as DryBath claims. I however would suggest that it is more suitable for a small adult. The gel also moisturises well, and I didn’t feel dry or sticky after using it.

The wipe that accompanies the gel only needs four tablespoons (60ml) of water to open and become sufficiently damp. The non-flushable wipes are 100% cotton and biodegradable, so they can be binned or composted. 

The wipe is useful and I used it in conjunction with the gel each time I “washed”, especially to reach those harder to clean bits. (DryBath has also been dermatologically tested for use on sensitive skin, so it can be used on genitals.) I found that any residue dried quickly enough, and once dry my skin felt clean and moisturised.

My waterless cleaning ritual for the two days was a good experience; however there is nothing like a real water shower – but in the light of needing to save water, using DryBath on the odd occasion is not a bad alternative. 

Note that DryBath body wash cleaned my body but I used water to wash my hair and face.

The 250ml bottle of DryBath gel is currently retailing for R349,79 and the box of DryBath gel sachets are sold for R321,24.

For more information visit the DryBath website

Image credits: iStock and Tarryn Temmers

Health24.com | 7 ways to boost your energy without coffee

Try these natural, science-backed methods to rise and shine when your fourth cup isn’t cutting it – or if you just want to try a chemical-free high.

Read more: This 10-minute trick will wake you up more than caffeine does

1. Rock out on your morning commute

Belting out your favourite song gives you a lift, according to a study in the Journal of Music Therapy. Researchers measured people’s arousal levels after singing along or just listening to one song and found that the subjects felt more energetic after crooning.

Hitting those high notes requires some effort, triggering a stress response that gives you a boost, the researchers say. Too shy to sing? Tapping along to a song can have the same effect.

2. Get your popeye on

Eat more spinach: B vitamins, found in leafy greens, help your body convert the nutrients you eat into energy, says Danielle Omar, MS, RDN, a dietician based in Washington, DC.

Chowing down on a salad won’t amp you up immediately, Omar says, but getting enough B vitamins on a daily basis can help prevent fatigue.

Read more: 9 coffee table books that will class up your living room and show your personality

3. Soak up some rays

Just 15 minutes in the sun may help you feel less sluggish, according to a recent Dutch study. Researchers found that people who saw more daylight felt less fatigued than those who spent more time in the dark.

When your eyes are exposed to natural light, they send a signal to the areas of your brain responsible for alertness, the researchers say. Simply leaving your blinds open or stepping outside may wake you up, too.

4. Stand up to wake up 

A short walk can ward off drowsiness, says Chris Repka, PhD, a professor of fitness wellness at Northern Arizona University. The physical activity boosts your heart rate, metabolism and blood flow, he explains.

March down to your co-worker’s office instead of picking up the phone, take the stairs to your team meeting or head outside for a longer stroll if you have the time, Repka says. (Bonus: walking is also the easiest way to kill a sugar craving.)

Read more: 7 things you’ll only experience if you wake up before 4am

5. Kiss your coffee breath goodbye 

Gum can boost your alertness, attention span and mood, a recent British study found. Chewing triggers an increase in your heart rate and cortisol levels, which are both linked to energy, the researchers say.

Opt for peppermint flavour to get the most bang for your buck. Other studies have found its scent can boost memory and processing speeds.

6. Let her rev your engine 

Just thinking about your girlfriend or wife can act as an all-natural upper, according to Canadian researchers. Daydreaming about her triggers a chemical reaction that increases your levels of blood sugar, resulting in a jolt of energy, the researchers say.

Next time you feel yourself nodding off, close your eyes and think about your favourite memories (keep it clean!) while visualising her in as much detail as you can. You should feel a little perkier afterward, the researchers say.

Read more: Why working out with your girlfriend helps you build muscle faster

7. Laugh off your afternoon slump

Just tell your boss that viral cat video will give you loads of brainpower in your afternoon meeting. Watching something funny may increase blood flow to your entire body, boosting your energy, Japanese researchers find. (Go ahead and enjoy those montages of people falling on YouTube – it’s actually healthy to laugh at other people’s pain.)

Read more: Doing this in the afternoon will leave you more alert than a giant cup of coffee

This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za

Image credit: iStock 

This Is The Best Age For Sex For Men And Women

Age ain’t nothing but a number, especially when it comes to having truly satisfying sex. 

According to Match.com’s annual Singles in America report, it’s not Tinder- and Grindr-using millennials who are having the best sex of their lives. It’s their parents: On average, single women reported having their best sex at age 66. For single men, the sweet spot was 64.

The findings, based on a survey of 5,000 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels across the U.S, come as no surprise to sex therapists. Sex tends to improve once you’ve learned that your sex appeal isn’t based entirely on your physical appearance. Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that takes most people years to learn, said Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and the creator of Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women.

“With my clients in their 20s and 30s, self-consciousness is a huge factor in why they aren’t able to enjoy sex: Younger people are too in their heads about what their bodies look like, how they’re performing and what their partner is thinking. Eventually, that wears off,” Marin told HuffPost. “Even between the 20s and the 30s, there’s already a significant decrease in self-consciousness.”

The survey finding is a welcome counterpoint to commonly held beliefs about sex in our 50s and beyond. Why do we worry it’s all downhill once we hit a certain age?

In part, it’s because our bodies do change as we age, and as a result, so does sex, said Celeste Hirschman, a sex therapist who co-authored the book Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion with her business partner Danielle Harel.

Come mid-life, our bodies may not be as taut as they once were. Sex itself may be full of new challenges: Women may grapple with pain or dryness brought on by menopause, and many older men have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. 

Still, there are workarounds that, in many cases, make sex just as enjoyable, if not more than, it was before, Hirschman said. 

“Yes, some kinds of sex become more difficult, but the plus is that these changes generally make communication and creativity much more essential,” Hirschman said. “When we’re young, sex is often a swift race to penetrative sex without much foreplay or fantasy added in. When penetrative sex is less of a goal, people can become more creative and sex can actually get a lot better.”

Realizing that an orgasm and penetration isn’t the be-all-end-all-of sex can be a game changer, regardless of age. In fact, Hirschman said a client once boasted that the best sex she’d ever had was with a partner with erectile dysfunction.

“They were together for a year and she said she had the best orgasms of her life, and he had great ones, too, just not from penetration.”

Another reason post-50 sex may be so fulfilling? The older you get, the less compelled you feel to put up with rigid sexual expectations and roles, said Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles.

That’s especially true of older women, many of whom spent their 20s and 30s searching for a partner to start a family with some day.

“That search often shapes what women in their 20s and 30s are willing to do and tolerate with their partners,” Resnick Anderson said. “As women age, they become more selfish, in a good way: No more worries about getting pregnant, no more worries about their kids barging in on them. Plus, many have an increased comfort with their bodies and a healthy sense of entitlement to sexual satisfaction.”

“Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it is more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’” Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles

As Resnick Anderson explained, post-50 women (and men) are finally “taking ownership of their sexuality” and reaping the benefits. More modern and progressive views about sex allow women to celebrate their sexuality in a way that they couldn’t 30 or 40 years ago, the therapist added, pointing to one of her clients as an example. 

“After 40 years of faking orgasms, a 63-year-old client of mine actually got to know her body and what genuinely felt good to her,” Resnick Anderson said. “Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it’s more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’”

Younger people would be wise to adopt the same sexual confidence, Hirshman added. 

“As a sex therapist, I hope people start to get to know themselves sexually at a younger age and feel comfortable asking for what they want from their partners,” Hirshman said. “Lowering shame and judgement around sex will mean more people having great sex at every age!”

Health24.com | Why some people are terrified of clowns

Can you remember the first time you saw a clown? For most children they are figures of fun and amusement. They entertain us with their tricks and juggling and you can’t help but smile when you see their slapstick and bright colours.

But this is not the case for everyone. Some people experience intense fear and anxiety when they see a clown. Think of Stephen King’s hit-movie It. Just like Pennywise scared the living daylights out of moviegoers, some of us can’t stand being around a real-life clown, or even seeing pictures of a person dressed up as one. But why is this the case, and what is life like for sufferers?

What is it?

Although not a formally recognised disorder, coulrophobia, as it is commonly known, has been studied by researchers. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) does however include coulrophobia in the “specific phobia” group.

A recent study defined the phenomenon as “an irrational fear of clowns”, and it’s estimated that 1.2% of hospitalised children experience a fear of clowns.

Interestingly, four out of 14 paediatricians and paediatric residents who took part in the study consider themselves to be afraid of clowns. Unfortunately, statistics for other groups are scarce.

Why the negative reaction?

But why are people so afraid of clowns? Is it because some real-life serial killers (such as John Gacy) have dressed up like clowns, or because we have seen too many horror movies featuring them?

Yes, and no, says scientists. Clowns often set off negative reactions that occur deep within our brains.

One study suggests the following factors influence whether we are creeped out or not:

  • Gender. Males are generally perceived to be creepier. Most clowns are male.
  • Unpredictability. If there’s no set pattern of behaviour we get scared. You never know what he is going to do next.
  • Unusual visual contact. Sometimes a clown stares at you, and other times he only briefly looks in your direction. Your brain picks up on these nonverbal behaviours. 

Rami Nader, a Canadian psychologist, believes clowns are inherently deceptive and it is this quality that can elicit fear. They wear make-up and disguise their true identities and feelings, and we find it difficult to relate to them on a human level.

‘The uncanny theory’

In 1919 psychiatrist Sigmund Freud postulated that we are terrified of things that are both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. For example: Some people might react negatively to a person with a severed head or limb (the unfamiliar) even though the biggest part of the person’s body is still intact (familiar).

Similarly, a clown has familiar features such as a mouth, ears, nose and feet, but their body parts are exaggerated and thus unfamiliar.

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When to seek help

“If someone has a clown phobia, they might have an anxiety response just from looking at a picture of a clown,” Kristin Kunkle, a clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, told Live Science.

Health24 previously reported that a clinical phobia differs from everyday anxiety in terms of the severity of the emotional response and to what extent the phobia disrupts a person’s day-to-day functioning.

Scott Woodruff, a psychologist with the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City, says clowns don’t feature much in the life of the average person.

“Experiencing fear when seeing clowns once or twice a year probably wouldn’t merit treatment,” Woodruff told Live Science.

“On the other hand, a father who avoids all child birthday parties just in case a clown shows up very well might want help.”

Treatment

There are several ways to treat coulrophobia, which largely overlap with the treatment of other phobias.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This treatment, also known as CBT, aims to desensitise the patient to the stimulus, in this case clowns. This can be accomplished by systematic desensitisation (the person is slowly introduced to clowns). In the video above the therapist methodically works through the subject’s fear. Exposure therapy can also be part of the process, when the person is introduced to clowns without doing it gradually.
  • Relaxation. Psychologists help the person with breathing and relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety.
  • Medication. In some instances, medication is needed. Anti-anxiety medication and serotonin reuptake inhibiters can help in severe cases.

Image credit: iStock

Health24.com | Should we be using wet wipes and waterless sanitisers?

Soon the Western Cape will be living off the dregs of its freshwater reservoirs, and taking a daily shower may be a thing of the past. Many people are concerned about cleanliness and maintaining their personal hygiene.

Some have considered and others have already started using waterless methods to replace their daily showers. Many have already stockpiled wet wipes and waterless sanitiser.

We asked two skin experts whether showering every day is a necessity and if these substitutes are suitable or not.

Showering: A social cultural norm

Dr Suretha Kannenberg, a dermatologist at Netcare Kuilsriver, said: “We’re used to showering daily and this is because it is a social cultural norm, but there isn’t really a physiological need for one to shower every day.

“Many people don’t shower every day, but this depends on factors, like climate, the type of work one does and how much physical activity one engages in.”

Dr Kannenberg added that it’s perfectly fine if you shower once or twice a week. Generally, we shower or bath to remove dirt from our bodies.

The skin’s flora

“We have a microbiome consisting of different bacteria and viruses, which are basically harmless and live happily on our skin. When we wash too often, we tend to disturb the balance of this microbiome and it takes some time to recover.

“Many people in Europe skip a day or two when washing and while many may think ill of the practice, it’s beneficial for those who do not wash every day, like those who are prone to recurrent skin infections,” said Dr Kannenberg.

Beware the allergens

If you are prone to skin infections, you may need to pass on the chemical solutions and waterless options, and wash with soap and water instead.

Dr Kannenberg added that many wet wipes contain a chemical which is meant to preserve the wipes, but it could be an allergen. Even sensitive wet wipes are said to contain this chemical.

The quick wash

Washing with a few litres of water is completely doable. Dr Kannenberg advises that we don’t use face cloths, sponges or loofahs because they absorb too much water, and could become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, mainly because we can’t keep things as clean as we used to.

“If we use a light soap, which doesn’t foam too much, and simply wash with our hands, we would be able to clean ourselves quite well. There is quite a bit one can do with one or two litres of water,” said Dr Kannenberg.

Dermatologist and lecturer at the University of Cape Town, Dr Rannakoe Lehloenya, echoed Dr Kannenberg’s sentiments.

No harm done

“Skipping a wash every few days does not harm the body in any way, apart from hands, of course, as these can transmit germs.

“The major reason we need to wash frequently is due to the smell and this is mainly a result of bacteria breaking down body secretions, like sweat. It takes a few weeks for the dead skin cells to visibly accumulate,” said Dr Lehloenya.

Your skin would naturally shed by itself and often doesn’t need much assistance from you, but if your work is hard, manual labour or you lead an active lifestyle you may want to clean up a bit.

When it comes to hygiene, using things like waterless sanitisers and certain wet wipes in sensitive areas could cause immense discomfort and may lead to conditions like groin infections.

Be mindful of young skin

When it comes to taking care of our babies’ and children’s skin, Dr Lehloenya said that excessive washing for babies and young children does more harm than good.

“An important hygienic considering in babies is to avoid irritation of the skin by prolonged exposure to urine and stools – both of which are corrosive.

“The eroded skin then serves as a conduit for entry of bugs. It is important for caregivers to maintain adequate hand hygiene, especially when preparing food,” said Dr Lehloenya.

When it comes to using wet wipes or waterless solutions on babies and young children’s skin, Dr Lehloenya advised that because these products differ in their composition, they also have differing potential to damage the skin.

Dr Lehloenya said, “It’s wise to check the ingredients and use the gentlest forms for babies.

“When it comes our skin’s health and our personal hygiene, do not compromise on hand washing or disinfecting, especially after ablution and when preparing food. Also, take care of open wounds and damaged skin adequately.”

How will you take care of you and your family’s personal hygiene while saving water at the same time? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences with us by emailing healthnews@health24.com and we may publish them. Please indicate if you would like to remain anonymous.

Image credit: iStock