Skin Support

PRN Care goes through the ultimate guide on skin health, focusing on the best ways to look after your skin and make it look and feel healthy.

Your skin and the sun


When to wear sunscreen


We all know it’s important to wear sunscreen when it’s sunny outside, but did you know that we really should be wearing sunscreen all year round, even when it’s cloudy?

On sunny days, make sure you’re reapplying it regularly throughout the day and avoiding direct sun completely at peak times of the day. This not only helps slow down the signs of ageing and pigmentation, but also reduces the risk of developing skin cancers.

Choosing your sunscreen


There are two different types of sunscreen; physical and chemical. In my opinion, physical sunscreens are better than chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and absorb the ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can not only lead to cell damage, but also means they take 20 minutes to work.

On the other hand, physical sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and deflect UV rays, making them much safer. They also work as soon as you put them on and contain active mineral ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which are naturally broad spectrum, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

And don’t forget to wear your sunglasses. That’s the best way to protect the delicate skin around your eyes and keep yourself from wrinkle-causing squinting.

Avoid sunbeds

This may seem obvious, but please don’t use sunbeds! They give out harmful UV rays that damage your skin and can make it age must faster. The UV rays from sunbeds can also damage the DNA in your skin cells, increasing your risk of skin cancer.

One study found that the average skin cancer risk from sunbeds can be more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun.

As we get older, the amount of UV damage our skin has accumulates. We can’t always see the damage straight away. I can always tell those that have been sun worshippers or sunbed users, even if it was years ago. The skin really doesn’t forget!


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Benefit of Water

11 Benefits of Drinking Water – Backed by Doctors

We can all agree that the benefits of drinking water is fairly obvious. You simply couldn’t survive without it.

That should be enough to encourage you to stay hydrated, right? Of course, it’s also interesting to discover how good old H2O fuels so many of the processes that get your body through the day.

We’ll leave it to our expert nutritionists to explain why drinking water is such an important part of your routine.

Glass of water poured from a jug

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2016 Canadian study

9 Foods That’ll Cut Your Cholesterol

Your heart is a pretty essential part of your body. Looking after it is important. One of the ways you can do this is by monitoring your cholesterol levels.

Our doctors can help with that one, but before we start, we need to deal with the myth that all cholesterol is bad. It’s actually a little more complicated than that. Cholesterol comes in two forms:

  • Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) – This is the stuff that clogs up your arteries and puts you at risk of heart disease, stroke and coronary artery disease
  • High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) – Sends LDL to the liver, where it’s processed out of your body before it can attach itself to artery walls

Rather than cutting out cholesterol completely, you need to make sure you get more HDL cholesterol than LDL. That’s why our doctors have found nine foods you can eat to balance the ‘bad’ cholesterol and look after your heart.

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil

Part of the famously healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil has long been recognised as good for your heart.

Much like cholesterol, fat can be divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Without getting too technical, ‘bad’ saturated fat increases your cholesterol, while ‘good’ unsaturated fat doesn’t.

Of these, monounsaturated fat is considered the healthiest. Out of all the cooking oils you can choose from at the supermarket, olive oil has the highest level of monounsaturated fat.

You can use olive oil for sauteing, grilling and baking, or as a salad dressing. Don’t go crazy though, as despite its heart health advantages, it’s still high in calories.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains

Whole grains, such as brown rice, brown bread and cereals, are very high in fibre.

Fibre increases your body’s levels of good cholesterol by reducing the amount of bile absorbed into the intestines. When this happens, bile has no reason to stick around, so it leaves your body along with all your food waste.

That’s all very nice, but how does it affect cholesterol?

Well, your body needs bile to digest the fat in your diet, so your liver gets to work making more. What does it need to do this? If you guessed LDL cholesterol, have ten points! Taking it out of your bloodstream means it’s not going to hang around in your arteries.

3. Oily Fish

Oily fish

Ah, oily fish. You’ll find it on most lists of foods that are good for you and this is no exception.

It contains omega-3, which has two key benefits. The first is it improves brain function. The second is it’s superb for heart health.

Studies have shown omega-3 can keep blood pressure and heart rate in check, reduce your risk of heart attacks, lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Our bodies can’t make omega-3 either, so we need to get it from our diet.

4. Nuts


Nuts are high in unsaturated fat and fibre, which we’ve already established are great for bringing your cholesterol down.

Walnuts, almonds and pistachios are regarded as the best options. Walnuts even contain omega-3 too, so they’re doubly good at lowering cholesterol.

Plain varieties are, of course, the best. We shouldn’t really have to say this, but anything salted, candied or covered in artificial flavouring will spoil any health benefits.

5. Beans and Pulses


A 2016 Canadian study found that a daily serving of pulses can cut LDL cholesterol by 5%.

They also keep you fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to reach for any unhealthy, fatty snacks that will send your cholesterol soaring again.

Unfortunately, the research also claimed that only 13% of the population was hitting this daily requirement.

6. Avocado


Whether you like yours smashed on toast or turned into guacamole, avocados are one of the best ways to manage your cholesterol balance.

They’re high in monounsaturated fats, so they’ll bring your LDL cholesterol down and boost your HDL cholesterol at the same time.

7. Fruit and Vegetables


We’re sure you’re getting your five-a-day already, so you should already be feeling the heart healthy benefits of fruit and veg. Just in case, here’s what they’re doing for your cholesterol levels.

Many fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples and Brussel sprouts, are high in fibre. We already know this is good for your cholesterol levels.

They also contain plant sterols, which stop the body from absorbing cholesterol. If it can’t be absorbed, it simply leaves the body. Problem solved!

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

It’s not something you’d necessarily find in your kitchen cupboards, but apple cider vinegar could be the cholesterol-busting condiment you’ve been waiting for.

For many years, it was seen as a ‘traditional’ remedy for a variety of health problems, but there was little medical data to back this up. That’s why in 2016, the BBC ran a study for their science show Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, to see if it really worked.

While most of the claims about apple cider vinegar (such as the idea it could promote weight loss) were found to be false, one of them turned out to be true.

The study found that drinking two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar twice a day reduced overall cholesterol levels by 13%.

9. Cheese


Wait, what?

Cheese? The famously high-fat dairy product? Lowering cholesterol?

It sounds hard to believe, but in 2016, researchers at the University of Copenhagen found something pretty surprising . They gave one group of people 80g of regular cheese and another 80g of a low-fat equivalent. A third group ate no cheese at all.

You’d expect a food that’s high in saturated fat to raise cholesterol. It did, but not in the way you might expect. None of the three groups saw an increase in LDL, but the people who ate the high-fat cheese had higher levels of HDL.

In practice, this means their body was better prepared to get rid of ‘bad’ cholesterol. While cheese doesn’t lower cholesterol in the way other foods on this list do, it may have the power to improve the ratio of HDL to LDL.

Alternatives to Antacids

Most people suffer from some form of indigestion each year. The most common method of short-term treatment for indigestion symptoms is antacids, but could a natural alternative be just as effective?

While antacids usually work, some people experience side effects or find that their symptoms don’t improve. Additionally, if you suffer from frequent bouts of indigestion, buying antacids each time can quickly become quite costly.

Our experts have gathered together five natural alternatives to antacids that you can use to prevent and treat indigestion effectively.

Woman taking antacids

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Power of the Brain

When you think about it, your brain is pretty incredible. It contains around 100 billion nerve cells (neurons), each connected by around 100 trillion synapses, which pass messages from one part of the brain to the other. It’s like your own personal supercomputer.

This month, our Mind Matters campaign will celebrate the power of your brain and show you how to give it the care it deserves.

While these days our lives have been improved by some very impressive technological devices, none of them come close to the awesome power of your brain. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why.

Your brain can't feel pain

While it processes signals from elsewhere in your body, your brain itself has no pain response.

On the other hand, as anyone who has ever dropped their phone will know, technology can have quite a low tolerance of pain.

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Healthy Habits

How many times have you started a New Year’s resolution, only to have failed miserably by week 2? That’s because faddy diets, detoxes and extreme exercise routines generally don’t work.

Instead, follow our nutritionist and exercise physiologist’s advice and create some new realistic and achievable healthy habits in 2018, which you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Whether it’s eating better, or getting more exercise, our tips below will help you get started.

1. Set an emotional goal

By setting yourself an emotional goal, you’re 30% more likely to stick to a new healthy habit. So, really think about the reason why you want to eat healthier or get fitter.

It’s best to aim for something long-term, rather than a quick fix. For example, it could be that you want to live longer for your children, or maybe you’d like to feel more energised to help improve your productivity at work.

Write this goal down, stick it up around your house, or pop a post-it note on your screen at work to give yourself regular reminders of what it is you want to achieve.

2. Start small


Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to figure out how you’re going to do it.

It’s really important to be realistic, so don’t set the bar too high. Your long-term goal is not going to happen overnight, so set small, achievable targets to help you get there.

Maybe it could be that you’re going to try one new exercise every week, or increase the distance you run by ¼ mile each training session.

When it comes to healthier eating habits, you could start out by trying one new recipe a week, or testing out one new ingredient you’ve never had before – you’ll be amazed at how quickly your confidence and cooking repertoire grows!

Doing it this way means it’s maintainable and these little successes will help you stay on track.

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Student Health Hack

Student Health Hacks You’ll Need At University

Whether you’re in your first week of university or your fiftieth, there’s always plenty to learn about student life. When it comes to your health, these aren’t lessons you want to learn the hard way!

To help you stay at the top of your game, our health experts have provided 22 quick health tips just for you. Enjoy!

1. See a doctor without leaving your bed

If you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to do is get out of your warm, comfy bed. You don’t want to get dressed, go outside, or share a waiting room with other ill people.

With PRN Care, you don’t have to do any of those things! You can download our app and have your appointment on your phone, tablet or computer without having to drag yourself to a GP surgery.


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Alcohol Effects on the Body

From nights out with friends to office parties, alcohol is often a central part of a person’s social life.

When you’re out enjoying yourself, you’re probably not thinking about what alcohol is actually doing to your body. Sure, you know it’s bad for you. But do you know why?

Our experienced GPs are here to highlight the short and long-term dangers of drinking too much and help you make sensible choices about your alcohol consumption.

Two friends sharing a beer.

What are the short-term effects of drinking?

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you know the short-term effects of alcohol all too well.

These are things you notice during your drinking session, or when you’re nursing your hangover the next morning. But why do they happen? Let’s find out.


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