written by Dayle Larter, founder of Nuni Wellness.
Hi Dayle! Nuni Wellness is one of our longest standing, most loved brands, so we couldn’t be more excited to share your story. Can you tell us what inspired you to start Nuni?
Firstly - thank you! I’m so honoured that Nuni is part of the family at Prae! The idea behind the Nüni range was conceived as a result of finding out that I had tested positive for an abnormal BRCA2 gene – which predisposes me to a very high lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancers (yep, like Angelina Jolie). A few years ago, after having my second baby, I decided to have a risk reduction double mastectomy and reconstruction – which lowered my chances of breast cancer from the 80% I was facing, down to around 4%. I feel very lucky to have been in the position to make this choice in my own time – a luxury that many women don’t ever get the chance to make.
The thing that kept playing on my mind is that only 10% of breast cancers are a result of a genetic fault, which means that the vast majority of women have no reason to believe that they could benefit from getting to know their boobs a little better. Many young women are under the impression that it’s not relevant to them until they turn 50, and others avoid checking (or sometimes even touching!) their boobs for fear that they aren’t doing it right or might find something they wish they hadn’t. I decided to do whatever is within my power to help change this mindset by helping increase self-awareness around women’s breast health in a modern, fun way. Boob care is the new self-care, with the added bonus of placing women in a much better position to recognise any changes.
You’ve created such a niche product that is so relevant to women of all ages. Can you tell us about the process of creating your Boob Oil and Scar Serum?
Thank you! I truly believe Nuni and it’s message is for all women, so it was important to create products that appeal to the younger demographic, while at the same time being relevant and sympathetic to the more mature ladies out there who are interested in preventative wellness and breast health.
After my mastectomy, I guess I realised that someone needed to meet what I felt was a rising need for a natural breast care range, and inspire women to be proactive about preventative health and breast wellness – and it might as well be me.
I knew that in order to help women create a regular breast care ritual, it needed to feel like a treat rather than a chore. Incorporating Boob Oil makes the practise enjoyable and extra luscious. The serum is silky & fast absorbed, and the heavenly scent transports you to another realm! I truly believe that if we can make the idea of breast care enjoyable and clearly explain the many benefits of doing so, we can quite literally have a positive impact on statistics!
Scar Serum came about after recognising a real need for a completely natural, toxin-free scar treatment after my surgery. It seems so counterintuitive to use a product to ‘heal’ something when it’s chock-full of nasty ingredients, especially on an area such as your breasts. Our Scar Serum contains the most coveted botanical oils from around the world, with potent healing properties that help to diminish the appearance of scars, support skin renewal, and fade discolouration. Although it was designed for use on breast surgery scars (augmentation, explant, mastectomy, breast lift, reduction etc) it’s effective on scars from other cuts, injuries and blemishes, too.
We love how passionate you are about breast wellness and how you share so much valuable information with your community. What is your best advice for women who are just understanding the importance of breast care?
My advice is to touch your boobs. Touch your boobs. Touch your boobs. Firstly, for wellness. The physical benefits of massaging the breast area are reason enough! Regular massage stimulates lymphatic drainage and promotes fresh blood flow into the area, it can help improve the tone and texture of the breasts and also be helpful in reducing hormonal tenderness. Our breast care elixir has been specifically formulated with botanical oils that carry with them a host of very nourishing and healing properties which permeate the skin’s surface and get to work on a deeper level.
Touch your boobs for connection - in Taoist and Tantric traditions, the breasts are seen as the physical manifestation of the heart centre, and breast massage is seen as a powerful way to connect with qualities such as love, compassion and connection. Hormonally, this makes sense – stimulating your breasts releases oxytocin, the neuro chemical associated with love, affection and bonding. I’ve been blown away by how many women have contacted us thanking Nuni for helping them reconnect with themselves and their femininity, especially after any type of breast surgery that can leave women feeling detached from their chest.
Touch your boobs for self-awareness. The more we cultivate a greater awareness of our breasts and nurture them as part of our everyday routine, the less fearful we are of anything going wrong, because we feel more intuitively connected to our bodies. Being proactive gives us peace of mind and eliminates the dread sometimes caused by more clinical self-checks, which tend to feel like a search and destroy mission.
Touch your boobs for prevention: breast cancer is on the rise in Australia. We truly need to be proactive with our breast care, particularly women under 40 who have dense breast tissue and mammography isn’t considered an effective screening measure. This means that hands-on self-awareness is our best defence. I truly believe that prevention is a modern-day way of caring for ourselves. The more we educate, gain knowledge, practise self-care and nourish our bodies both inside and out, the greater peace of mind we can achieve.
Can you share some simple and effective ways that young women can introduce breast care into their self-care routine?
Firstly, it’s important that we start to consider this type of care as a ‘ritual’ rather than a chore. Breast checks don’t need to feel like a search and destroy mission - this is preventative care, and should be an enjoyable part of our self-care routines! We suggest a two-pronged approach - checking them monthly but touching them daily. Getting handsy for 5 minutes per breast, at least 3-4 times a week does wonders for keeping the skin nourished, lymph pumping, fresh blood supply flowing, and breast tenderness at bay; and then it’s recommended that we take a little more time once a month to conduct a more thorough check of the breasts and surrounding tissue.
Aside from making breast checks a regular part of your self-care routine, what are some other ways that women can decrease the risk of breast cancer?
The really positive news is that The World Cancer Research Foundation estimate that around 40% of breast cancers could be prevented with some simple lifestyle steps including regular exercise, increasing fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthy weight. That’s more than a THIRD of all breast cancers! There are so many small, amazing shifts we can make to minimise our risk of breast cancer, and the majority of these changes translate to better overall health and disease prevention, too:
Dayle's tips to reducing the risk of breast cancer:
Being mindful of what goes into and onto your body – minimising toxins and chemicals in our food and skincare wherever possible, including natural perfume. Switching to natural cleaning products.
Ditch the plastics.
we’re all familiar with the dangers of plastics, and in particular BPA’s. Direct links have been made between breast cancer and endocrine disrupting chemicals found in plastics, and in fact these chemicals have been found in tumours. Gradually replace plastics with glass & stainless.
so long as they are strapped in and comfy, our boobs LOVE exercise. There are quite a few studies now that show a significant decrease in the likelihood of breast cancer in women who exercise regularly – and also a decrease in recurrence. The guidelines are 2.5-5 hours of moderate activity (walking, yoga) per week, or 1.5-2.5 hours of vigorous activity (HIIT, Crossfit, dynamic yoga or Pilates, cardio etc), with some muscle strengthening work twice a week.
Sleep & stress.
studies show an increased risk of breast cancer in women who sleep less than 6 hours per night, with interesting research also showing an elevated risk in women who work night shift and as a result have different sleeping patterns to that of our natural circadian rhythm. So the key takeout is to aim for 7+ hours solid sleep each and every night, and doing whatever needs to be done in order to achieve that – whether it be putting devices down an hour or more before bed, getting block-out curtains, having a candlelit bath, listening to a guided bedtime meditation etc.
I could talk about this all day but following the same guidelines for overall health also apply to minimising breast cancer risk - limiting highly processed foods, not overdoing the sugar or trans fats (margarine, hydrogenated oils etc) and then boosting your diet with happy boob foods such as anti-cancer powerhouses like ground flax (linseed), blueberries, cruciferous veg (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), dark green leafy veg (spinach + kale), fatty fish or a good quality fish oil (or algae supplement), mushrooms, green tea.
Limit alcohol intake.
as someone who’s quite partial to a Friday chilli margarita or two, it’s a tough pill to swallow - but alcohol and its connection to breast cancer has been very well studied, and the results are confronting for anyone partial to a few drinks. Basically, as one’s alcohol intake increases, so does the risk of BC, and quite dramatically so. A good rule of thumb is to consume it in moderation, and keep your alcohol intake to less than 5 drinks per week.
the body’s lymphatic system is highly concentrated in the underarm and chest regions. Beast massage is a reliable means of flushing out toxins from the body's lymphatic system. Because toxins impede healthy circulation in the breasts, toxic build-up could account for an increased chance of developing cancer. Breast massage can stimulate drainage of the breasts' lymphatic system, which eliminates harmful waste products and allows nutrient-rich blood to travel to the breast tissue. So taking off your bra and massaging your boobs at the end of the day is an ideal way to keep things moving. Regular breast massage, coupled with monthly self-breast examinations, is the perfect way to check in with your breasts for changes or irregularities. If you’re in touch with the shape and feel of your boobs, you’ll be the first one to notice if something’s different (discomfort or lumps).
What's next for Nuni Wellness?
We are in the R&D phase of some epic new products to complement our existing range, and help the breast-care message reach ladies far and wide. I’m so excited for all that’s to come for Nuni.
Aside from expanding our product range, a key component of my mission for Nuni is to make mammary chat more mainstream. As our platform grows I’m really interested in using it in a way that allows women from all walks of life and ages to share and read personal stories, like a Boob Bible. We are all united by boob stories yet we tend to move through these experiences alone, tucking them away into our bras and not mentioning them! I’ve come to realise that our relationship with our breasts is complex, maybe more-so than any other part of our body! I’m in a position where women do tell me their boob stories - whether it be in regards to their physical appearance, a breastfeeding journey, stories of long yearned for reductions, of having implant or explant procedures, or whether it be other women like me sharing their stories of having healthy breasts removed at a young age and the repercussions in terms of relationships and intimacy. I can’t help but think that if we all spoke more openly about our girls, that there would be a collective sigh of relief, and a realisation that our boobs deserve proactive love and care, just in the same way we consciously look after our skin health, gut health and dental health.