How To Choose The Right Hydration for the Season

As we reach for different, more hydrating skin care products to off set the dry, cold air of this season, I would like to highlight some skin care ingredients you should be introducing, and point out which ingredients that could be sabotaging your efforts at obtaining smooth clear skin.

Reading labels and choosing clean green products play an important part in maintaining a clear glowing complexion. I realize navigating your way through an ingredient list can be intimidating with so many long and often unpronounceable scientific words. Keep in mind the first 5 ingredients will make up the bulk of the formula. That is most often where the hydrating ingredients will be listed. One bonus of choosing green beauty products, is the labels are much easier to read!

Watch out for ingredients like Phthalates and Parabens as they play different roles in their outcome of how they affect your skin. They both enter the blood stream through absorption of the skin and as a result, are proven to alter hormonal balance in our bodies and act as endocrine system disruptors. Those of you who suffer from acne breakouts close to your period should be extra cautious to choose clean, non-toxic beauty products! When reading labels watch out for Phthalates as they are usually noted on ingredient lists as acronyms like DBP (dibutylphthalate) and DMP (dimethylphthalate). Parabens are usually easier to spot as the word “paraben” will be within the ingredient listed like Methylparaben, and Ethylparaben to name a few.

Another ingredient to be aware of is Propylene Glycol. This is a strong skin irritant, and has been implicated in contact dermatitis. The ingredient can inhibit skin cell growth and damage cell membranes, causing rashes, dry skin, and surface damage. Definitely not what we want in our skin care products if we are looking to promote healthy glowing skin.

Did you know that our skin needs 70% water and 30% oil to maintain its balance? So, what can we do to have happy healthy and balanced skin? Apart from drinking half our body weight in ounces of clean filtered water daily. A great choice to increase water content in the skin is Hyaluronic Acid!  

This is an amazing ingredient to look for in facial products. The name makes it look like it could be really aggressive and irritating, but it’s not. It is naturally found in our skin and has the ability to hold 1000 times it’s weight in water! As we age our cells loose the ability to hold moisture, because our natural stores decline. Applying Hyaluronic Acid products daily will help plump the surface of the skin and soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Adding this to your skincare routine will make your skin feel hydrated, soft and comfortable in the cold winter months. Find this on the ingredient list as Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid.

Providing your skin with ultimate hydration can have positive impact, especially for oily, problematic skin. The belief that drying out the skin’s surface will assist in clearing up acne breakouts, is not the case! Dryness and dehydration can cause your skin to overproduce oil, which in turn, can aggravate problem skin. This condition of dehydrated, tight skin will hold on to blackheads and make them nearly impossible to remove! if you want to get the most out of your facials, and have nice clear glowing skin, it’s imperative to keep your skin hydrated with the right water to oil ratio. Applying the right oils and moisturizers topically, will help to soften skin along with loosening congestion like blackheads, making them easier to remove. When a blemish is left in the skin to fester for too long, inflammation can damage the surrounding cells and stretch out the pore. These two elements combined with time, could leave behind an unsightly scar. Who wants that? Nobody!

I need to talk about coconut oil, ahhh we all love coconut oil. It is super trendy, everyone is using it! Cooking with it, and slathering it on head to toe. It is a fantastic moisturizer for those with severely dry skin with absolutely no risk of developing acne. Read your skin care product ingredient list, as it can be hidden in your products under different names, look for Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Caprylic/Capric/Coco Glycerides, and Cocoglycerides just to name a few.

For those of you who break out, but want all the wonderful antibacterial benefits of coconut oil, look for MCT oil; which stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride. It is the unsaturated version of coconut oil, that is liquid at room temperature. I personally love this oil, it is odourless, doesn’t stain, and absorbs completely with no oily residue. Read the labels as there are some MCT oils that are made from sunflower seed. This is still ok to apply on acne prone skin, but with out the added antibacterial, antifungal benefits. MCT oil in products is labeled as Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride.

Pro Tip: For the ultimate hydration boost, always apply oil, serum, or moisturizer on top of moist skin! Using a alcohol free toning mist makes this an easy thing to do. Just spray and work quickly before the mist evaporates, and apply your first layer of hydration. I recommend applying the lightest texture serum to the heaviest cream.

One last thing on oils, you only need a 1-4 drops! You would need less if your skin is oily, more if your skin is dry. Using too much of a good thing can sabotage your beautiful complexion, so use oil sparingly.

I hope this helps you find comfort in the cold dry winter months ahead. Please contact me if you have any additional questions! I’m here to help!

Yours truly, Mei-Lana RHN

Expert Advice: How to Eat Healthy and Feel Great Over The Holidays! 

There are times like the holiday season where we need a little help to stay on track. I have listed some helpful tips on how to avoid the dreaded belly bulge, post sugar break outs and that holiday hangover.

  • Don’t show up to the party starving! you will be more likely to reach for the sugary and heavy carb dishes
  • Load your plate up with the healthier options from the classic veggie platter
  • If it’s a pot luck your in luck! This is your opportunity to bring your own healthy dish to share.
  • Start your day off right with warm lemon water, and a breakfast that is high in protein and full of fibre.
  • Drink water after every cocktail! The more of a buzz you get, the more likely you will be reach for the unhealthy options.
  • Supplement with the mineral Chromium, this helps to balance blood sugar and prevent those spikes that make you want more sugar. 600 micrograms daily, do not exceed 1000 micrograms in a day.
  • kukicha tea is a twig tea that helps to alkalize and restore the minerals in your body. This is great for when you have eaten too much white sugar, to sooth digestion and release trapped gas, to reduce heartburn, and cure that holiday hangover.
  • Exercise! Yoga, Pilates, running, skipping, walking, what ever it is, just move. Burn off all those extra calories!
  • Enjoy! If you stress yourself out with self depreciating thoughts of all the junk you consumed, it can cause more inflammation and have a more negative impact on your body!  Brush yourself off and make better choices starting tomorrow.

Hope you all have a Happy and GLOWY Holiday Season! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me at glowwithmei@gmail.com, I’m here to help!

Yours truly,
Mei-Lana Chow RHN xoxo

Eat like your skin depends on it!

Want healthy Glowing skin? Create a healthy body!

How do you create a healthy body? By making smart food and lifestyle choices. We’ve all heard it before… stay out of the sun, don’t smoke, or drink alcohol, don’t eat refined sugar, or processed foods. Why eliminate these things? Because they cause inflammation in the body.

Inflammation is a beauty killer, and this occurs when your body is stressed. The trigger could be stress from work, it could be from eating nutrient deficient processed foods, or it could be from eating foods that you’re allergic to, the list goes on. Everyone is exposed to things that can stress their bodies out, let me help you find more balance and bring back your personal power of choice.
Below I have listed 4 healthy food groups that reduce inflammation, are packed with nutrients, and that contribute to clear, youthful skin. Incorporating all these foods daily and eliminating the beauty killer’s REALLY does make your body healthy and skin more radiant!

#1 Greens! Ohh those glorious greens! Green leafy vegetables give you a nutritional boost!
Greens are totally affordable, easy to prepare, and gives you basically every micronutrient your body will need! Greens are full of antioxidants and anticancer compounds, proven to fight Heart disease, Diabetes, Arthritis, Alzheimers, Stroke. The antioxidants are especially important for your skin because they neutralize free radicals! The vitamin content in greens goes through the roof with A and B vitamins, that help to fight acne, and repair damaged skin. Greens are also rich in Folate, Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. These are all the beauty vitamins in one place!!
Fatten up those greens! Add grass fed butter, ghee, raw olive oil to assist the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, and add satiating power!
Eat more: Broccoli, Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach, Kale, Collards, Dandelion greens, Beet greens, Spinach, Watercress, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, bok choy. Eat raw, add to smoothies, sautéed, baked/roasted.

#2 Don’t be afraid of the sugar in fruit! Second to greens, fruit is the most nutrient dense beauty superfood!
If you want glowing radiant skin, always eat the whole fruit! When the whole fruit is eaten, it has lots a fibre to slow down the absorption of sugar. The fibre and water content in fruit helps to fill you up, aids digestion, and keeps energy levels up. Avoid “dead” pasteurized fruit juice in the grocery store which contains only sugar, artificial colour and flavours. FRESH juice is the only exception to the rule, which still contains some enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Be careful with consuming these liquid calories, as it won’t provide you with that same feeling of fullness the whole fruit would.

Did you know that consuming too much refined sugar is linked to sagging skin, wrinkles and also acne? eeek! There is something that happens in your skin when you consume too much white refined sugar, this my friends, is appropriately called Advanced Glycation End (AGE) This is when sugar molecules bind to proteins in the skin, creating inflammation, causing collagen and elastin to harden, clump up, weaken and breakdown.

The solution? Really, really try hard to eliminate candies, pastries, and cakes etc. Once your taste buds readjust, you will enjoy fruit soooo much more! Try to alternate your fruits. The rotation of different varieties will expose you to the different combinations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A great way to start your day is with fresh or frozen fruit! Add to smoothies, top granola, or organic unsweetened yogurt or dairy free yogurt, and add hemp seeds, or nuts.
Keep in mind serving size does count here. Aim for 1 cup of fruit per serving and consume no more than 5 servings of fruit per day.
Eat more: Apples, Peaches, Pears, Papaya, Pineapple, Mango, Berries, Banana, Grapes, Cherries, Oranges, Lemon, Cantaloupe, Plums, Papaya, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Avocado, Tomatoes.

#3 Fats keep your Skin Plump and Radiant! Eating the right kinds of fats are crucial to having amazing skin!
They call them essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are essential to life, and are only available from food sources. These are the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, helping your body to produce healthy cells, including skin cells. They also aid the production of sebum, which keeps your skin hydrated and youthful.
If your not consuming enough in your diet, your skin will be dry, dehydrated, inflamed, and more prone to breakouts and eczema. Inflammation in the body is the underlying link to acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. Eating too much processed foods will result in an imbalance of these oils as they contain mostly Omega-6 fatty acids. When the balance of 3 and 6 are off, inflammation runs rampant in your body.
The solution? Avoid processed foods and focus on consuming NATURAL, whole, fatty foods!
Eat more: Fatty fish, Coconuts, Olive oil, Organic Grass fed Butter and Ghee, Avocados, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Flax, Hemp, Sunflower, or Pumpkin seeds. Eat nuts and seeds raw, and cook with high flash point oils like Avocado or Coconut, Grape Seed Oil.

#4 Funky Fermented Foods! Healthy skin starts with a healthy digestive tract.
When you begin to consume fermented foods on a daily basis, you are flooding your body with feel good probiotics, vitamins and live enzymes. Fermented foods have been used for centuries to heal us from the inside out by aiding digestion, fighting disease and bringing us vital nutrition. They provide your body with good bacteria, which we want plenty of in our intestines. This good bacteria is extremely beneficial for the entire body by giving us strength, vitality, reducing signs of early aging and creating a brighter, more clear even skin tone.
Eat More: Kombucha, Miso, Organic unsweetened yogurt, unpasteurized Kimchi and Sauerkraut from the refrigeration section in the grocery store.

Just one more thing…

Stay hydrated with plain old filtered Water! Ok, I know water is not a food, but I have to mention it, because we would not exist without water!

We are made of 70% water. If we did not have clean water to drink, then we would die. Now think about what happens to your body when it’s dehydrated, you become groggy, headache set in, energy decreases, your lips crack, your mouth feels dry like sand paper, you become lethargic and moody. Every cell in your body is suffering a slow death!
Water yourself! To stay hydrated you need to drink half your body weight in ounces in a day. The key is to drink water before you feel any signs of dehydration. Caffeine, salt and sugar will dehydrate your body, you will need to drink 2 glasses of water to replace the lost water from consuming just one of these beverages. I’m not saying caffeine is bad, just replace the water so your body doesn’t suffer.
Matcha tea and Moringa leaf powder have an abundance of minerals, vitamins and are packed with antioxidant power! These drinks will protect cells and skin from damaging effects of free radicals and can decrease wrinkles and promote the quality and quantity of collagen and elastin. If you want to drink something to provide an energy boost, choose these healthy drinks in place of coffee.
I hope this post has provided some inspiration and knowledge for you to start eating like your skin depends on it! Keep in mind, I would like to see you all eating more of these foods listed above, however, I encourage these as high lights to reduce overall inflammation. A balanced diet with lean protein, whole grains and vegetables are necessary for building your healthy body. Balance is key!
Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions at glowwithmei@gmail.com
Yours truly,
Mei-Lana Chow RHN xo