Get Back to School Right Now


Those lazy mornings lolling around in pyjamas are over; yes, it's that time of year again. Getting the kids ready to go back to school is never easy but with Jonathan's 'stay on top of your game’ strategy, he is going to ensure your child gets to school each day without looking like something the cat dragged in.

Honestly, I cannot wait for it. In fact I will take them all back myself. Whose idea was it for this two to three month holiday during the hottest part of the year anyway? I can tell you the parents don’t want it. Show me someone who loves having their children off school during the summer and I will introduce you to their nanny.

I would like to suggest that we pace the return to school, instead of all the little darlings going back on the same damn day.  The salon basically turns into a playground in the days leading up to the start of the school term and I just can’t cope with it. Parents PLEASE book your offspring in at least 10 days before, allowing us plenty of time to cut the green ends out of their hair. Yes that's right - green! I have already had one Kermit child in this month and I know it won't be the last.

Going green

What do you do if your little cherub's hair now resembles lime jelly? Yes ketchup works up to a point to remove the green, but if your child has spent every waking moment in the pool for three months straight, particularly ones with high chlorine levels, ketchup is going to do sod all.  So don’t be horrified if I end up telling you that I have to bleach the ends back (and, please God, do not try this at home). It’s either that or we shave it all off.  Thankfully, we haven't lost any children's hair due to bleach up to this point (correct at the time of print).

Now what you SHOULD have been doing since the start of summer is using the Paul Mitchell Three Clarifying Shampoo €14,63 which removes chlorine and salt without compromising texture or shine. My good friend (AKA ‘The Death Star’) has been using it religiously on her son all summer and he still has perfectly white hair. She will admit that his hair has been slightly drier due to certain components in the shampoo, however she has compensated for this by using a richer conditioner and his hair has never looked better.

I am dreading it

Do NOT rock up to this salon with your child looking like a part-time Rastafarian and tell me you have been looking after their hair all summer. Because there is nothing I love more than standing for hours on end with a tail comb, trying to unpick a knot so big it could have its own postcode. The only way to deal with those type of horrendous dehydrated knots is to go in with scissors and open them up and, yes, this will result in hair loss. The amount of loss depends totally on the size of the knot. You have been warned.

This takes me back to an incident which happened a few years ago when one particular child with beautiful silky, shiny, waist length hair was dropped off at the salon by her nanny. She was booked in for a 45 minute, under-12s hair cut, so I was totally unprepared for what I found when I parted her hair. Basically the underneath of this poor little sod's hair - from the top of her ear to the nape of her neck - resembled a bird's nest, the likes of which you should only find in a bloody oak tree somewhere. This knot had clearly started off much smaller and there is no way the supervising adults would not have noticed it. They had simply been brushing the remaining hair over the top of the knot. I suspect the lack of hair care started around the third week of June judging the size of it. I mean the kid had her very own, built-in bun ring.

The 45 minute hair cut became a three hour Crystal Maze extravaganza. Just ask Lottie. For it was she that spent those three hours using pure coconut oil and a tail comb to disentangle the matted knot from this child's scalp. The nanny, by the way, returned after 45 minutes and was annoyed to find her charge still at the wash basin. At first she acted shocked upon being shown the monstrous knot, but eventually admitted she might have known about a ‘small’ knot. Oh, and then she had the audacity to tell us we were not allowed to cut any of the little darling's hair off. I didn’t know whether to slap her repeatedly or throw her out. In my opinion that knot was paramount to child abuse. Needless to say there will be NO MORE of those in the salon.

All tangled up

You know my motto that prevention is better than cure. All it would have taken to stop any knots forming were a few key products.  Again Paul Mitchell is a life saver in this department. The Paul Mitchell Dentangler €16,50 works to condition and unknot medium to coarse hair while the Paul Mitchell Conditioner €16,50 can be left in the hair, which at least stops the brats crying because you are ‘riving’ their hair out.

Do we hear rehab calling?

A note to the parents: prepare yourselves! You haven't set an alarm for nearly three months and have probably consumed your fair share of vodka during this time, (totally understandable when having to deal with the kids' summer holidays). On the first day of school you are going to feel like the world has ended.  You will be left with a hangover from hell and basically not know what has hit you. I recommend you start by swapping the fags for smoothies and try to wean yourself off the 10am G&Ts as soon as possible.

The boy done good.

As much as Gerry gets on my nerves, I will give praise where it's due. Katie Kane is a long time client of mine and has become sick and tired of using clip-ins in her hair. After going on and on at me, I finally gave in and agreed to hair extensions (mostly just to get a bit of peace and quiet really!) I did her usual colour and then picked out two matching shades of Great Length Extensions which I passed over to Gerry. He flawlessly applied 125, 50cm extensions to give Mrs. Kane a mermaid worthy mane. Gerry finished off by beautifully blending the extensions with Katie's own hair and styling with his new best friend, the In-Styler. The results speak for themselves.

Green For Go!

201703FOC MarchGreen is most likely to be associated with nature, fertility, growth, money and, probably most famously, jealousy.

Psychologically, green is believed to be the great balancer - the perfect mix between head and heart. Red might be associated with extremes, such as love and anger, yellow might be associated with happiness, an eternal ray of sunshine, but green is somewhere in between; equilibrium, a moment of clarity. Some believe that the power of green is so important for our brains that this is why there is so much of it all over the planet. Another theory is that, given the amount of stress we seem keen to endure as humans, it is simply common sense that we would feel the need to surround ourselves with the colour that best represents nature. Green is the colour that takes us right back to that stripped down moment of simplicity and clarity that allows us to remember what it means to be human in the first place. It is the colour of abundance (or wealth, as some interpret it) which is why it may also be interpreted as representative of property, materialism, possessiveness and jealousy. At traffic lights it means 'go'. Green is recognised as a symbol of luck in most Western cultures. In China the colour represents infidelity - a green hat indicates that a man’s wife is cheating on him. In Israel green represents bad news. In Spain a racy joke is 'green'.

The chosen colour for Pantone Colour of the Year is ‘Greenery 15-0343’. According to Pantone: “Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.”

There are many fictional interpretations of the colour green, in the Arthurian poem, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, the knight is considered by some to be a living representation of the Pagan/Celtic Green Man (a symbol of fertility, seasonal renewal and ecological awareness). The Green Knight is portrayed as both good and bad in this particular poem with some even believing he represents the Devil himself. Interestingly J.R.R Tolkien described him as, “the most difficult character to interpret”. The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature with some even associating Robin Hood and Peter Pan with the same folklore. In The Great Gatsby a green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. He reaches out toward the green light in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. In the movie of Stephen King's The Green Mile, the Green Mile itself is a metaphor for death, which to some also signifies new beginnings.

So why, if this colour is historically so important and intriguing to us, do we struggle to place it in our homes? Indoor plants are one thing and we seem to be divided between the love/hate camps on that subject - but furniture? Soft furnishings? Accessories? It seems to be considered risqué to use the colour that can be closely connected to the very beginning of time. Sure, it’s a statement, but will your neighbours really be gossiping if you choose to introduce it to your colour scheme?

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be buying an avocado sofa any time soon but it is still fascinating that the colour could be so taboo when inherently linked to our very existence. With any statement there are right ways to do it and wrong ways and, essentially, if you like the result who is to say which nail you hit on the head? If you’re looking to sell or rent your home it’s probably a risk worth avoiding if you are unsure, but if it’s a case of personal preference then who’s to say if it works or not - after all, creativity is subjective.

Here we have chosen some lovely items that give green a new lease of life and you should never be afraid to do what your instincts tell you. After all, won’t it be fun to give the neighbours something else to gossip about?

Let's Keep It Clean, Folks!


This month Jonathan gets down and dirty, putting the spotlight on unsanitary salons.

Last month, Society Marbella ran an article about hygiene, or the lack of it, in the make-up industry and, although I was disgusted by what I was reading, I wasn't unsurprised. Over the years I have seen disinfection practices so poorly adhered to by salon professionals that I was expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out and shout, “You’ve been punked!” Many technicians simply don’t think it’s important enough, while others don't even know the correct procedures. I have found that, especially here on the Coast, salon sanitation doesn’t seem to be a big enough issue to most technicians when, in fact, it should be one of the top priorities in every salon. There are hair salons from hell and there are hair salons which are very diligent about practicing sound sanitation and cleanliness habits. Your best choice? The latter, of course, as your health depends on it.

Let’s start with cross infection. One would hope that the days of contagious skin conditions such as scabies and impetigo have disappeared, but this is not actually the case. When dealing with someone who has a serious skin condition, the stylist should NEVER go onto the next client without properly sanitising their hands. My hands look like they belong to a 100 year old, as they are constantly either in water or being washed.

All instruments and tools should be thoroughly sanitized in between clients (or sterilized where required). If your hairdresser starts to use a brush that’s still full of someone else's hair, run for the hills. If you have freshly washed hair why would you want someone to start blow-drying it with a dirty brush? It would be like cleaning the floor with a filthy mop. Remember, you are always within your rights to demand that a stylist clean any utensil before using it on your person.

When dealing with barbering tools I use my ‘anti-everything’ spray, which gets rid of anything nasty - I might have to try it on Gerry, come to think of it! Since any barbering service requires direct contact with the customers skin, scalp and hair sanitation cannot be overemphasized. Barbering is a serious matter when it comes to health and safety. Think about it; if the stylist isn’t concentrating and takes the top off a client's spot, their blade will then be contaminated with the client's blood. If this isn’t dealt with the correct way and used on the next client the repercussions could be extremely serious.

In most salons you SHOULD see jars of Barbicide which, in our salon, will usually be found near Gerry's station, as he likes to think it's for his use only. While on the subject of Gerry - have you seen what he has done to himself now? As if the sun-in episode wasn't bad enough, he has recently updated his hairstyle to include a quiff. He has the audacity to accuse me of being trapped in the 80s when this new do makes him look like a cross between Bros and Nick Kamen!

Anyway back to the Barbicide, I can promise you I know of hairdressers that can’t even tell you where the Barbicide jar is in their salon, so always look out for one on the salon floor and that will give you an indication to how health and safety conscious the salon is.

One of the most common health issues that we have to deal in hairdressing is, of course, head lice. They are a nightmare for a salon and can spread like wildfire. If a client comes in with this condition you have immediately to disinfect the gown, towel, basically whatever went near their head and the whole surrounding area. You see, head lice is a contraindication which means it is so contagious you cannot carry on with the service. I remember working at a client's wedding and she had a gorgeous flower girl as part of her bridal party. When I started styling her hair, I swear to God her hair was actually moving. I pulled my client aside and explained I wouldn't be able to do the flower girl hair as they seemed to have a case of head lice. She turned to me and said, “Has she got eggs?” It’s like she has the bloody lice Olympics on top of her head! It is very embarrassing having to tell a client why you can’t treat them that day, but you have to do it, so handle it in a quiet, professional manner. What you do not do is what a certain stylist from a local salon I know did, carry on cutting the client's hair, as she was too mortified to tell them they had nits, only for herself and two of the receptionists to become infected soon after. She was not in the staff's good books, let me tell you.

Back to nature

Regular readers will know that I have a slight obsession with Kérastase. I pretty much LOVE all their products and honestly they never let me down. So I am super excited that they have just launched the Aura Botanica collection, the brand’s most natural line to date.

Kérastase Aura Botanica is a range of natural hair products enriched with a blend of botanicals and plant actives for exceptionally clean, weightless and radiant hair without the use of silicones, sulfates and parabens. I am so glad that the brand has finally listened to what their clients have been asking for.

Our shining star

I have to do a shout out to my special little friend, Kazumi. She has been awarded the most improved educator within Fantasy Nails and rightly so. This is no more than she deserves, as anyone who is aware of her work as a nail technician will know that it is second to none. In fact technician doesn't describe what she does – she is a ‘nail artist’.

Do you really know the importance of a gynecological checkup?


Prevention in time; this is the goal of the gynecological health campaign launched by HC Marbella, 'I have an appointment'. To remind all women with an active or non-active sex life, in any situation or stage of life, of the importance of detecting pathologies in time, in order to save lives.

"Every woman should be aware that a periodic gynecological check can prevent diseases and detect others that do not present initial symptoms, but that can lead to problems over time," warn HC Marbella medical specialists.

Our medical team from the Gynecology Unit of HC Marbella International Hospital answers the most common questions regarding a gynecological examination.

Are you among the women who skip their check-ups because going to the gynaecologist is an unpleasant experience?

At HC Marbella, we suggest that you let go of this myth because regular gynaecology check-ups are very important for one’s health and they can even be lifesaving. A timely check-up can prevent long gynaecologic illnesses such as cancer, as well the complications they imply. The good news is that regular check-ups do precisely that: they detect possible changes in the reproductive system and prevent potential diseases from developing. Therefore, you are better off facing your fear, since a gynaecologist is, in the end, just another specialised doctor.

How often should check-ups take place?

There is no fixed answer, as it depends on each woman: her age, her risk factors, and her family medical history. At HC Marbella we will suggest what is most appropriate for your specific case, but to be safe and avoid risks, the ideal would be to visit a gynaecologist once every year.

What does a gynaecology exam consist of?

The first step is to get to know you. During the appointment, we will ask you a series of questions to check your personal and family medical history. Afterwards, we will proceed to the physical examination and additional tests which include:

Physical examination of the breasts, vulva, vagina, and uterine cervix.
Cervical screening to detect pre-malignant changes in the cells of the cervix, which can eventually lead to cancer.
Transvaginal pelvic ultrasound scan to examine the internal genital organs: the uterus and the ovaries.

Afterwards, our gynaecologists will explain what they found. Therefore, they will tell you the next steps to follow, which can involve a new appointment to pick up the results.

Further diagnostic tests, depending on the discoveries made during the physical examination and the ultrasound, such as:

 Mammogram/breast ultrasound: If you do not have a history of breast cancer, you should start undergoing mammograms between the ages of 40 and 45. If on the other hand, you have a family history of breast cancer, you should start them at the age of 35.

For your convenience, we can take all the necessary tests the same day at HC Marbella and therefore avoid having to make any unnecessary trips.

What you need to know:

Regular check-up examinations don’t hurt, don’t take long, and can protect you from much worse situations.

If you notice any change in menstruation or vaginal discharge, any irregularities in the genitals or a lump in the breast, go and see your gynaecologist right away, without waiting for the next check-up.

• The best time for a gynaecological exam is in the days following the menstrual period. The exam cannot take place during menstruation since samples cannot be collected.

HC Marbella International Hospital

Gynaecology Unit

Book your appointment NOW!

Tlf 952 908 628

Lung Cancer: Keeping It Away

201703HC MarchLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide.

Each year, more than 1.200.000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer worldwide (30.000 in Spain) and 70 per cent of these cases are diagnosed at advanced stages, when the cancer is unlikely to be cured.

The Most Common Risk Factor for Lung Cancer

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer as 80 per cent of the cases are linked to smoking.

The risk of lung cancer increases according to the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per year, as well as the duration of exposure to tobacco smoke.

How to Prevent Lung Cancer

To this date quitting smoking is the best way to reduce mortality, which is why medical advice, nicotine replacement therapy and anti-smoking advertising campaigns are so important.

Late diagnosis of cancer is caused by a lack of symptoms in earlier stages. For this reason, developing population-screening tools can help diagnose the disease in its early stages in people at risk of lung cancer.

Prospective trials of lung cancer screening using chest radiography or sputum cytology have yielded negative results and are therefore not recommended methods at this time.

The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was conducted on 53.454 patients aged 55-74, who smoked 30 packs/year or had quit smoking less than 15 years prior. The results were published in 2011.

Participants who underwent low-dose computed tomographic screening had a 20 per cent lower risk of death than those who only underwent chest radiography.

Therefore, lung cancer screening can reduce mortality in high-risk patients.

The greatest risk is obtaining false-positive results, which could lead to unnecessary biopsies, but a PET scan could confirm the results without having to resort to the biopsy.

At HC Marbella we use automatic exposure control systems for dose reduction in chest computed tomography (Siemens CARE Dose4D™), which reduce the side effects of radiation. Not all patients need the same dosage to obtain optimal images for analysis. Therefore, we make sure that no patient receives a higher radiation dose than is strictly necessary.

Who is a good candidate for screening?

In the guidelines from the main health organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), there is some discrepancy about who would most benefit from low-dose CT scans.

In summary, the ideal candidates are:

  • Patients aged 55-80
  • Patients who smoke more than 30 packs per year. You can calculate your cigarette consumption by looking on the internet.
  • Patients in good health, with no comorbidities that would require curative surgical operations.

Patients at high risk for cancer must discuss the pros and cons of the screening with their doctor, who will ultimately be the one to prescribe the test.

How often should I undergo screening?

CT scans must be performed annually until the patient reaches the age limit or a comorbidity emerges that would impede curative surgical treatment.

In addition to screening, we offer 'quit smoking' medication to all active smokers, in order to eliminate the main risk factor.

Here at the Pneumology Department of HC Marbella, we recommend you consult your doctor if you have any current lifestyle risk factors.

HC Marbella International Hospital

tlf 952 908 628

New Treatments to Promote Patients' Well Being


Improving quality of life should be the first concern when treating patients.

We are also aware that many illnesses considerably diminish it. Therefore, it’s

necessary to help reduce, relieve or cope with the symptoms that can appear in

cancer patients or other seriously ill people. For this we can turn to complementary therapies, which can also help to treat infertility.

Do We Really Know What Complementary Therapies are?

Complementary therapies are a series of practices and products that are used alongside conventional medical treatments. The purpose is to find alternatives (supported by scientific evidence) that reduce some of the illness's symptoms (depression, fatigue etc.) as well as some of the side effects of conventional

treatments, for example, the nausea and weakness caused by chemotherapy.

The practices that fall within the realm of complementary therapies can vary from

yoga to reiki to acupuncture, etc. More specifically, we want to talk about the

practices that we currently offer in our new Integrative and Complementary Medicine

Unit at HC Marbella International Hospital.

The creation of this unit is in response to the increasing demand for this type of

treatment, because we believe that it is important to create a close bond with every patient. Therefore, we aim to treat the person as a complete individual and not as

a personification of an illness taken from a medical book.

How does the Integrative and Complementary Medicine Unit Work?

To carry out these treatments successfully, a doctor plays the role of consultant and coordinator and begins a dialogue with the patient so that together they can determine the needs on both sides and find a solution among the many practices that we offer. These are the Five Practices that Can Help Improve Your Quality of Life When You are Ill.

For example, you could request services from the Nutrition Centre to create a meal plan that would meet your needs and also reduce certain symptoms, nausea, loss of appetite and so on. We also offer nutrition workshops with various themes, such as dietary guidelines and culinary skills adapted to each patient, healthy eating after cancer, etc.

Our workshops take place in small groups in order to give patients the opportunity to create ties with others who are going through similar experiences and to share advice.

Continuing with the idea of creating a dialogue and sharing of experiences, we believe it is important to create discussion groups, led by our psychologist, where patients and their families learn, among other things, how to cope with and reduce physical and psychological pain.

Other alternative therapies, generally known by patients as yoga and acupuncture, have also proven efficient in alleviating symptoms such as pain, dry mouth, digestive problems, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia, fatigue, fibromyalgia, menopause, infertility, pelvic floor disorders, back pain, arthrosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, tumour symptoms and side effects of treatments.

But we also wanted to invest in the newest technique that has proved to be of great

use not only in the world of medicine but also in social circles and the work field: mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice which consists of focusing one’s attention on the present moment with the purpose of clearing the mind and appreciating life. It aims at focusing on feeling better and allows patients to focus on the now without worrying about tomorrow, which can, at times, seem uncertain and distressing. In most cases, we obtain positive and highly visible results.

Here at HC Marbella International Hospital, we encourage you to learn more about these complementary therapies. A better quality of life may be more accessible than you think. We are with you during your time of need to improve your quality of life.

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