Bare Health

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Defiant Beauty - Skincare with a difference!

At Bare Health we are passionate about Natural Health and are always on the lookout for exciting new product ranges that stand alone among the crowds, offering something unique and different. Innovative products or ideas that support your health, your well being, naturally. And that's why we are thrilled to be launching 'Defiant Beauty' in store and online. 

 A beautiful and very gentle skincare range designed not only for the most sensitive of skins but with a specific group of people in mind. Those with skin issues specifically related to cancer treatment. 

There are so many reports of itchy, very dry, cracked and sensitive skin, which are often unexpected and unwanted side effects that unfortunately can arise during treatment procedures. Nail damage is another common problem. 

As women, we all love to feel and look good inside and out. And as well as making decisions to fuel our bodies with healthy and nutritious food that will nourish our skin from within - we need to be equally conscious of the products that we apply to the outside of our skin and the ingredients they contain. We should all be questioning the harmful chemical ingredients found in many skincare products today, many of which are synthetically produced preservatives that only serve to irritate the skin rather than to nourish, repair and heal. Yes, the packaging may look beautiful and appealing and it may claim to make us all look 20 years younger! But really, some of these products should come with a health warning! Our skin is the body's largest organ and what we put onto it  gets directly absorbed. There are so many wonderful organic and natural skin care products available today that it seems madness to look elsewhere, products that still smell and feel great but go one step further, they help to soothe, nourish, heal and repair the skin. 

'Defiant Beauty' is one of these brands. Effective, luxurious and indulgent skincare without the nasties! But what makes 'Defiant Beauty' different from all of the other natural & organic skincare brands out there? Bare Health owner, Mel Ball speaks to company founder - Jennifer Young.

Jennifer Young and Defiant Beauty - How did it all start?

Jennifer Young has a BSc (Hons) in Biology and is an experienced Micro-biologist, is a qualified and practicing Nutritional Therapist, an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, a qualified Aromatherapist, Beauty Therapist and Product Formulator. She has two post-graduate qualifications in health related fields, has been accepted by the Courts as an expert witness for occupational health cases and has been active in medical research.

Jennifer created British Beauty Brand 'Defiant Beauty Skincare and Beauty Collections' as a result of a request from her local NHS hospital. Ladies who had been through treatment for cancer asked Jennifer to create a range for them. Together, with additional ladies going through treatment,they worked with her to create a skincare range addressing the specific skin issues resulting from some cancer treatments. 

The lead nurses joined the group to provide guidelines as to the ingredients that should not be included in a beauty collection for cancer patients. The patients and ex-patients provided told Jennifer of their skin conditions as well as the types of product and product values they wanted. Jennifer used her scientific background to add to ‘the rules’ and always errs on the side of caution.

With all this in mind Defiant Beauty was born.

Jennifer uses her nutritional knowledge to inform her skincare formulations.The range is specifically formulated using minimal ingredients, which are oil based and offer skin-healing properties. Vitamin E helps stabilize the product, shea butter and mango butter softens skin whilst calendula oil soothes. Other skin-nourishing oils include macadamia, jojoba and rosehip oil.

Bare Health chats to Jennifer Young:

What ingredients should people look for in skincare products, if they are going the natural route?

Cancer patients don’t need me to tell them that they have very sensitive skin. It reacts to all kinds of products that, pre-treatment, had been firm favourites. When deciding on a product to use through and post treatment, simple products with few ingredients is the key.
Ingredients like apricot kernel oil and peach kernel oil are traditionally used for sensitive skins but as anyone can react to anything, there is no guarantee that one won’t react.

Patch tests are vital when deciding upon a product, natural or otherwise. Good manufacturers will facilitate this. Some even allow patch testing of the ingredients. This allows you to identify ingredients that you are sensitive to, thus enabling you to avoid them in all products.

Tell me more about the role of oils

Our Defiant Beauty Skincare collection was created specifically for cancer patients. When formulating the products I wanted to keep them as simple as possible. The fewer ingredients, the less there is for clients to react to. As a result, the products are oil-based. There are no lotion or potions or creams, just oils and balms.

The benefits of this are many – oils are much more concentrated than creams and lotions, which are mostly water. Our products are long lasting and intensively moisturizing, all because we have removed the water.

As soon as water is removed from a product, we are able to discard many other ‘chemical’ ingredients. Even natural creams and lotions contain preservatives, emulsifiers, pH adjustors, conditioners etc. They are required as creams and lotions contain both oil and water. Oil and water don’t mix naturally and so need a helping hand. These helping hands are additional ingredients and increase the likelihood of a sensitive-skinned person reacting to the beauty product.

Defiant Beauty Itchy Skin Oil is one of our most popular products. Cancer patients often suffer itchy skin as a result of their treatment. Our Itchy Skin Oil (named by the patients and survivors that asked me to create the range) contains oils such as Calendula and St John’s Wort. They are known for their healing and soothing properties. Clinical trials have shown Calendula oil to be an effective treatment for radiation damaged skin1

Any techniques for treating rough, dry feet and hands?

The soles of the feet and the palms of the hands are particularly vulnerable to treatment related side-effects. The skin can be lost from both areas, or become very dry and sore.
I was often asked to create a product for hands and feet so I did and they have been our fastest selling products.
I recommend covering the hands and feet in a thick layer of Our hand or foot  balm and the encasing the hands in cotton gloves and cotton socks for the feet. It might not be stylish but it has been shown to improve skin condition 2,3

And What about Nails?
Most cancer patients in the UK are prepared for hair loss and nausea, the changes in skin condition come as a surprise, but not as much as a surprise as the damage suffered by nails – toenails and finger nails.
Our neighbours in the US are better at managing these side-effects and that cooling gloves and slippers are commonly used in the US. They are practically unheard of in the UK! They can only be used with the consent of the medical team as they are not appropriate for use during the treatment of all cancers.

In any case, with or without cooling gloves and slippers, nail care can help to maintain the condition of nails. We recommend using a natural nail oil 4 at least twice a day from the start of chemotherapy.

Any observations about skincare and cancer in general.

Skincare and ‘Beauty’ is very important to most women at all times of their lives. For many it has increasing importance when they are diagnosed. Ironically, it is often denied at this time as their skin becomes sensitive and reactive. There are many steps that can be taken to help one to survive beautifully.

Jennifer’s expert comments are often seen in National Newspapers and magazines and Jennifer’s work has been featured in titles including, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Telegraph, Best Magazine, My Healthy Living, Women’s Weekly, The Health Store Magazine and Predictions.

'Defiant Beauty' is now available in store & online at Bare Health. 

1) Pommier Gomez F, Sunyach MP, D'Hombres A, Carrie C, Montbarbon XJ Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancerClin Oncol.2004 Apr 15;22(8):1447-53.

2      2) Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [Online] Available at <> [Accessed 24 August 2012].

Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer