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People We Love: Graydon Interviews Carmelinda DiManno

carmelinda

"Movement creates a change in brain chemistry which is fundamental in being a healthy person."

Welcome to our new People We Love series where we sit down with incredible women and men in the health and fitness industry to give you tips on how to live your best life. This week we had the chance to sit down with Carmelinda DiManno, yoga instructor and DJ, to discuss her career and how she stays healthy despite her busy schedule.

Graydon: As someone who's juggling multiple hats, yoga instructor, DJ and chef what don't you do? 

Carmelinda: [laughs] Well these are some of the things I absolutely love and am passionate about. I don't currently work as a chef but I studied chef training. Much like you, I feel like we share a lot of the same educational experiences and interests it seems like. 

G: It definitely does. So you spend your days eating well and it certainly looks like you live a very nutritious lifestyle. You are the picture of health! Do you think your yoga and your music also feeds you to be who you are? 

C: I would say absolutely yes. There have been times in my life where things have popped up frequently where I feel like we are being pulled away from our 'centered self'. Those activities, yoga and DJing, are two things that definitely bring me back if I'm in a funky state of mind. Once I'm in the activity of DJing, I definitely feel more alive and centered, it acts almost like a prayer meditation for me.

G: Do you have a particular type of music you resonate with? 

C: Probably deep-house. Within deep house there's all different types of beats and tempos. I'm particularly drawn to music with female vocals which I find emotionally moving. I notice that sometimes without knowing that people respond really well to that on the dance floor. 

G: How does yoga connect to your music? Are they two separate things in your life? 

C: The reason why I got into DJing is because I started making my own musical recordings for my yoga classes. I wanted to create my own music rather than use someone else's music. And because of my relationships at certain nightclubs, I was invited to play publicly. I see [yoga and DJing] as being quite similar to each other. In both roles I feel like I'm in tuned to what's happening and people's moods. I ask myself, do I need to raise people's energy or bring it down? Is it time to slow down and yin it out a bit?  

G: Tell me a bit about your love of yoga. That's a passion of mine too. Is there a particular type of yoga you are drawn to? 

C: Right now I teach a lot of moksha and flow yoga and I'm currently studying kundalini yoga. 

G: I love kundalini! I find that's a very accessible type of yoga since it can be performed sitting if necessary so people with physical limitations can also do it. It's also super powerful and transformative. It helped get me through a challenging part of my life. 

C: Absolutely. The way you're describing it is similar to how it feels for me too. I've been through some challenging times in my life as well and I have a lot of respect for the science behind it and how prescriptive it is. 

G: Definitely. So aside from doing yoga what does a day in the life of Carmelinda look like? What advice do you have for taking care of your health and wellness on a daily basis? 

C: I'm certainly not following any particular rules about health and wellness. I don't feel like I have a structured way of doing things but it's all about finding balance. What I generally find really beautiful about people is that people who care about their bodies and spiritual well being are also be able to enjoy life! Not being too rigid but still caring is important to living in a radiant way. 

But a day in the life I would say is very scheduled. I'm usually up by 7, teach multiple classes, try to practice once a day. It may be a spin class or yoga but I always try to move everyday to stay active. I'm really social so I'm usually dining or grabbing a coffee with friends.  

G: And you work in the evening as well? 

C: Yes often. I've been getting a lot of invitations to DJ at fitness events, fashion events or night clubs and I don't sleep that much! On average I probably sleep 6 hours but I fill my day with activities that energize me and that keeps my energy level high. 

G: It takes some courage to follow what you love to do. Did you always know you wanted to teach yoga? 

C: For a long time I was working in hospitality. I did like what I was doing but I was also very passionate about yoga. I did my yoga training, expecting to deepen my practice and just fell in love with it. It definitely took courage and it called on me to make some drastic lifestyle changes but it was definitely worth it. I get to spend my days doing something I really love. 

G:Yes and not a lot of people get the chance to do what they love. Is there a message you have for women out there who are struggling to find inspiration or passion projects of their own? 

C: I truly feel women need to find things, activities, hobbies that supports themselves in self expression. By participating in these creative activities is how we find our power. We live in a world that can chip away at our power so it's  important to be passionate about something that reveals the truest part of yourself. 

G: Do you have any tips that you can pass onto our readers that they can incorporate on a daily basis to improve their well being? 

C: I believe starting your day writing in a journal and envisioning what that day is going to be about and list things that you hope to experience in that day or something more specific than that. I try to do that once a day, set the tone for the day in the morning, set an intention and I would suggest some movement practice. Movement creates a change in brain chemistry which is fundamental in being a healthy person. 

And lastly I would say drinking a lot of water. Brain is sharper with water, we have more energy with water, and we look more beautiful. Making hydration a habit is important. 

G: And now the flip side of that question, what habits have you eliminated that no longer serve you? Because it's hard to let go of things that no longer serve you. 

C: That's a great question. I think that there are still things I'm working on. For example, its hard to change your mental habits and your tendencies on how you perceive situations. So one of the things I'm working on right now are replacing any self sabotaging attitudes and riding myself of those things and replacing it with attitudes that elevate me and that takes effort.

And I think especially in relationships your value system might change and sometimes you recognize "we're not on the same frequency so why am I spending time with someone I'm not inspired by?" Life is short. Spend time with people who are supportive of your well being so I've made some changes in relationships as well. 

G: That's great advice. But sometimes that's harder said than done and there are certain people you can't let go of so easily. How do you deal with challenging people? I try to practice good vibes but sometimes it's hard.

C: For me I try to pause. I don't react or respond in that moment and I try to practice pausing. Time supports processing which helps diffuse a tense chemistry and I come back when I feel a little softer. I try not to make any decision until I've taken time away from the situation. 

G: I really think positive energy attracts positive energy so it's no surprise that we met! Is there a daily mantra you have that might be helpful for other people to repeat? Because mantras -the words and the sounds- can heal you without even knowing. 

C: I'm a firm believer in mantras. It's a big part of the kundalini practice. There's the idea that moving your tongue at a certain way is hitting certain meridian points in your mouth and can benefit you a lot mentally. The mantras I work with on a daily basis tend to change depends on what I'm experiencing in life but one I've repeating a lot as I'm DJing is 'Spirit, shine your love and light through me... into the music... onto the crowd and into their hearts. Wash us with your joy and peace.' I have a visualization I do and repeat during a set when I feel like I need to recenter myself. I feel that it influences things.

G: Is this something our readers can also do to visualize channeling light through themselves? 

C: Yes of course. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this interview. To watch the full video make sure to check out our IGTV channel on Instagram! 

 

How To Calm Down Skin Inflammation

red burns

If your skin is looking a little red and irritated your first thought may be to panic and start slathering on all the products in your bathroom cabinet. But creams can only do so much if you don’t treat the root of the problem.

Often times inflamed skin is actually a signal from your body that means it’s recognizing an attack (whether it be an infection or sunburn) and the manifestation of inflammation is what helps to kick-start a healing process. Yes, turning beet red is just your bodies way of saying that help is on the way.

Skin inflammation (or as we say skinflammationcan fall under one of two camps: acute and chronic. Acute is when inflammation is temporary and is usually linked to things like acne, sunburns, and allergic reactions. This can result in redness, swelling sensitivity or pain but won’t last for very long.

It’s only when one develops chronic inflammation that you should get worried. If your inflamed skin lasts for more than 6 months, that means you’re in chronic territory. Rather than dismissing your ruddy complexion as forgetting to apply sunscreen on a hot day, you are most likely to have a skin condition like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.

Once your skin barrier has been compromised, chronic inflammation eventually leads to a breakdown in collagen. Collagen is naturally produced in the body and is responsible for keeping our skin looking plump and wrinkle-free. Once collagen production decreases, fine lines and wrinkles will begin to appear.

And yes you guessed it: Chronic inflammation can also cause us to age faster.

So how do we make sure that doesn’t happen? Well if you want to keep your inflamed skin under control, try to minimize stress in your life. Changes in temperature can also cause inflammation along with hormonal changes too. Cutting out dairy and caffeine from your diet (which are common triggers) can also make a big difference.

Main skincare ingredient culprits are usually ones with SLS or fragrance. Creams with synthetic fragrances can cause a reaction for more sensitive skin types.

Look for gentle ingredients like willow bark, chamomile, green tea, and aloe vera instead to battle inflammation.

When cleansing, make sure to use lukewarm water as hot water can dry out your skin. Use a gentle and pH balancing cleanser like our Face Foam which contains ingredients like white willow bark is brilliant at battling redness and inflammation.

Soothing ingredients like chamomile can also improve your complexion. Chamomile tea has long been a natural remedy to soothe and protect your gut health. When applied topically, it benefits your skin with powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It can even help with acne scars, dark spots and combat breakouts. You can find chamomile in our Putty moisturizer and All Over Elixir Oil.

Aloe vera is also a great ingredient to look out for. We have that of course in our Aloe Milk Cleanser but also in our Green Cream and Face Glow as well. 

Lastly, you can never underestimate the power of green tea. High in antioxidants, this incredible superfood can help slow signs of premature aging and protect you from free radicals. Add some of this into your daily regime by using our Matcha Mint Shampoo and on your complexion with our Face Glow

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to dealing with skin inflammation? Comment down below and let us know. 

Why Your Skin Barrier Is Important

It turns out having ‘thick skin’ is not only good for your emotional well-being but also plays a big part in your skin health as well.

skin barrier

So lemme ask you, how is your skin barrier doing? If you don't know how to answer that question, fret not, you're not alone!  

An easy way to think about the health of your skin barrier is to imagine a brick wall. A soundly built brick wall will be stacked and packed with mortar so the structure won't budge. Despite rough elements: wind, rain, hail and even pollution, nothing can penetrate the wall.

But what if the bricks start to crack or if there isn't enough mortar to go around? Eventually, it will start to decay, debris will enter, and inevitable the structure will crumble. 

Well, guess what? The structure of your skin is like a brick wall.

The uppermost layer of your skin, your skin barrier (aka your stratum corneum) is your first line of defense against bacteria and environmental stressors like harmful UV rays, pollution, and toxins. When weakened, it’s easier for irritants to infiltrate and causes your skin to be more prone to sensitivity.

This resilient layer of your skin also happens to have a light film on top of it known as your acid mantle which is made of natural oils and sweat which sounds like no big deal BUT it also consists of proteins and molecules that your skin uses for defense, like UV-absorbers, inflammatory mediators, and antimicrobial peptides.

That's a lot to digest but your takeaway from this is that this outer protective film is critical for its ability to protect your skin and body within from the outside world. 

When everything is going well, your skin barrier works effectively (hello plump and dewy skin) and contains the right amount of lipids that make your skin look healthy and well moisturized.

However, if the skin barrier gets damaged, it becomes easier for skin to experience irritation. Dry patches, redness or breakouts along with flaking or a 'tightness' in the skin are all signs that your skin is having difficulty. 

External stressors like pollution and smog can play a role along with stress, alcohol and just the natural process of aging, but in many cases, you are just using products that are way too harsh for your skin.

Piling on more products can do more harm than good if you’re not looking carefully at the ingredient list. Here's what to look out for and what to avoid. 

Ingredients to Avoid

The next time you’re shopping for personal care products make sure to look out for common irritants like benzoyl peroxide, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate is a common culprit in cleansers), synthetic fragrances and dyes.

SLS, in particular, can have an alkalizing effect on the skin, throwing off your skin’s pH balance which makes your skin more susceptible to bacteria and infections. 

Stay away from acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid until your skin barrier repairs itself. Cleansing is an important step in your skincare regimen but using something gentle is key. Our Face Foam uses apple cider vinegar and white willow bark to gently cleanse the face without stripping away natural oils. 

Ingredients to Look For 

The good news is it’s possible to strengthen your skin barrier and get your skin glowing again with just a few changes. Search for products heavy with antioxidants like our Berry Rich Cream uses blueberry and raspberry oil. and does a great job of repairing your skin.

Certain plant oils also help to increase your lipid count, so your skin barrier is able to retain water better (The result? More radiant looking skin). We use sunflower oil in many of our products and avocado oil in our Green Cream.

Jojoba oil is especially good for those with red or damaged skin. It’s a proven anti-inflammatory and has a high concentration of wax esters that help repair weakened skin barrier. You can find jojoba oil in our Putty, a soothing lotion for red prone and/or dry skin.

Other great ingredients like hyaluronic acid keep moisture locked in, your skin looking 'plump' and encourages collagen synthesis. You can find this in our latest product Moon Serum. This anti-aging serum also includes a botanical collagen to reverse the signs of aging. As we age, our collagen production slows and breaks down so this is the ultimate skin barrier repair product!

Along with loading your beauty regimen with skin-benefiting superfood ingredients, make sure to take preventative measures with your skin health. If you are going to be out in the sun, look for products with sun protective oils and minerals. Remember that even on a cloudy day when it's not hot and sunny, your skin is still susceptible to damage from UVA and UVB.

Our Elements is a daily defense moisturizer that contains non-nano zinc to protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays. If you are wearing make up, apply sunscreen beforehand or use a product that contains sun protective oils like Face Glow that can double as a tinted moisturizer for sheer looking coverage.

Using the right mix of products will help keep your skin barrier strong and your face glowing.  

Hydrate with Vegan Hyaluronic Acid

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The launch of Moon Serum has been highly anticipated and we wanted to share some of the ingredients that make this hydrophilic, oil-free serum unique and exciting. Not only does this potent blue serum contain purposeful targeted age-prevention ingredients such as botanical retinol from Vigna aconitifolia seed and neuro-modulating peptides derived from hibiscus but it also delivers plumping and smoothing hydration using a vegan hyaluronic acid.

What is Vegan Hyaluronic Acid?

The vegan hyaluronic acid we have included in the Moon Serum is derived from Cassia augustifolia (aka senna). This polysaccharide is a water-binding sugar that retains moisture within the skin. In addition, it restores hydration and radiance to the skin by mediating the impact of stress on the skin by suppressing cutaneous cortisol. Increased levels of stress and cortisol cause the skin to become dehydrated, accelerate transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and prematurely ages the skin by making fine lines and wrinkles more pronounced. Topical application mimics the effects of hyaluronic acid to moisturize and soften the skin, plump fine lines and wrinkles, and provide long-lasting hydration.

Benefits of Vegan Hyaluronic Acid:

  • Reduces cutaneous cortisol levels
  • Highly moisturizing and skin conditioning
  • Reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles
  • Softens and plumps the skin
  • Soothes inflammation and skin irritations

Research on Vegan Hyaluronic Acid:

Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide has been clinically proven to be a more potent hydrator than Hyaluronic Acid (the industry gold standard hydration ingredient), over the course of 24 hours. 

Some of the most interesting research was done to illustrate the benefits of Cassia augustifolia in stressed skin. Stress was found to increase dullness and dryness of skin. The topical application of polysaccharides from Cassia augustifolia was found to reduce cortisol and dramatically increase enzymes that suppress cortisol within the skin. The other outcome was improvements in skin hydration and radiance.

Who should use skincare products with vegan hyaluronic acid?

Pretty much everyone can benefit from including a vegan hyaluronic acid in his or her skincare routine. This gentle and effective moisturizer restores hydration deep within the skin and helps to mitigate the effects of stress on the health of the skin. Combined with the other innovative ingredients in the Moon Serum, vegan hyaluronic acid amplifies the skin nourishing impact of this serum and provides another layer of age-prevention and soothing. This serum is ideal for anyone looking to slow the signs of aging, hydrate sensitive skin or enhance their natural healthy glow.

What else is in the Moon Serum? Learn more about our anti-pollution complex, peptides, collagen and retinol

 Dr. Jen Newell is the founder of Naturopathic Skin Care Clinic at the Integrative Health Institute. Also Graydon Skincare's resident ND! :) 

Anti-Pollution Complex – Protect Your Skin From the World You Live In

moringa seed

One of the really amazing ingredients that we included in the Moon Serum is an Anti-Pollution Complex to shield you against environmental pollutants and oxidative stress.

What is Anti-Pollution Complex?

Anti-Pollution Complex is derived from moringa seed extract. It prevents the adhesion of particles to the skin and prevents against oxidative damage caused by contact with environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke and toxic heavy metals. It essentially creates a protective shield on the skin.

The inclusion of an anti-pollution complex within skincare is the latest advancement in anti-aging. Your skin is particularly susceptible to the impact of environmental pollution. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are tiny particles, emitted primarily by cars and other vehicles, which penetrate through the outer layers of the skin. These PAHs alter the skin barrier and disrupts the connections between healthy cells. By weakening the dermal barrier, these PAHs penetrate even deeper within the skin where they cause oxidative stress and trigger chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation leads to unwanted pigmentation and the destruction of collagen; it essentially ages the skin more rapidly.

Anti-Pollution Complex Benefits:

  • Decreases reactive oxygen species/oxidative stress
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Detoxifies the skin and reduces the adhesion of pollution
  • Protects the skin from premature aging
  • Prevents the development of acne blemishes by inhibiting lipid peroxidation (oxidation of sebum)

Anti-Pollution Complex Research:

Some of the most promising research in the use of the Anti-Pollution Complex in skincare showed that it reduced pollution-induced inflammation by ~50% and oxidative stress by ~51%.

Who should use skincare products with Anti-Pollution Complex?

Skincare products that contain ingredients like the Anti-Pollution Complex that create a protective barrier on the skin are idea for those living in urban centres or those with sensitive or reactive skin. The Anti-Pollution Complex included in the Moon Serum is also beneficial for those wanting to slow the signs of aging as well as those struggling with acne or other inflammatory skin conditions. This unique anti aging serum is the perfect complement to a number of targeted skincare routines.

What else is in the Moon Serum? Learn more about collagen, peptides, hyaluronic acid and retinol

 Dr. Jen Newell is the founder of Naturopathic Skin Care Clinic at the Integrative Health Institute. Also Graydon Skincare's resident ND! :) 



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