Ask an Expert

Welcome to Ask an Expert, your go to spot for the latest in heath and beauty topics.  We partner with local experts to provide you with a place to not only read about the latest in beauty and health, but also to provide a forum for asking the experts your your questions yourselves.  Due to the volume of requests, we apologize in advance for not being able to respond to every inquiry, but will provide responses to the most frequently asked questions and topics as well as keeping up to date in publishing relevant new articles.

This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a qualified health practitioner in a clinical setting. Self diagnosis is not advised, as it is well known to be very difficult. Self medicating is not advised without the agreement of your qualified health care provider. In the beginning of a learning journey, with limited knowledge, we have the biggest capacity for mistakes.

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Vanessa’s Second Blog – Adult Acne & Aging Skin

suzanne : January 24, 2012 11:47 pm : Ask An Expert, Vanessa Grutman

Finally…a solution against adult acne and aging!

Are you struggling with enlarged pores, hormonal breakouts and fine lines? Have you tried everything on the market and you still can’t find a product that will regulate and clear your skin?

SkinCeuticals might have something for you – a technological breakthrough that compares to the leading acne prescription drug but that is Benzoyl Peroxide free!

Before talking about the solution, do you actually know where the problem comes from? Here are a couple factors that have been shown to contribute to blemishes in adults;

  • Hormonal changes, including pregnancy and menopause
  • Stress
  • Over exfoliation with harsh scrubs
  • Pore-clogging skin and hair products
  • Inflammation

Do you recognize one of those contributors? Can you identify which one(s) is causing your blemishes?  Don’t forget that in addition to those contributors, environmental factors such as sun exposure, smoke and pollution also accelerates skin damages and the overall aging process.

I know, all of this sounds depressing but the good news is there are actually solutions available on the market to give you the skin you are dreaming of.

Our new line is called BLEMISH + AGE and is made of 3 different products; a cleanser, a toner and a powerful serum for night-time use. The serum is called Blemish + Age Defense and is the main piece in this line – it’s this product that will give you quick results. When I say quick, I mean really quick.  Our clinical studies are showing reduced blemishes and appearance of pore size, smoothed texture and brightened skin tone within 1 week of using this line!

It is made of 3 types of acids;

-         BHAs (Salicilyc acid – 1,5% + LHA– 0,3%) which are used to speed up cellular turnover and decongest pores.

-         AHAs (Glycolic acid – 3,5% + Citric acid – 0,5%) which are used for proven exfoliating properties, reducing rough texture and wrinkles.

-         Dioic acid – 2%, which is mainly used for its ability to control sebum production and for its antiseptic properties. Dioic acid also has been shown to prevent hyperpigmentation and give you a brighter complexion.

This powerful mix of acids in a clear hydro-alcohol serum is created for optimized anti-acne and anti-aging results. The formulation is light weight, non-greasy and absorbs quickly. It is oil-free and preservative free.

For optimal results, I recommend using in the morning our Phloretin CF (antioxidant which prevents the build-up of damages caused by environmental factors) and Sheer Physical SPF 50 (broad-spectrum chemical-free sunscreen) and to use those 3 new Blemish + Age products at night only.

What are you waiting for? Come to Avello Spa to try those new products and the new related medical facial!


We do not recommend using Blemish + Age Defense along with vitamin A the same day/night.  If the patient wants to continue using retinol, it is recommended to alternate every other night or to decrease retinol use to twice a week for less drying effects.

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Leah’s first blog – Dry Brushing

suzanne : January 3, 2012 8:30 pm : Ask An Expert, Leah Morgan

Quick and Easy Ways to Detox after the Holidays!

We all know that we tend to over indulge during the holidays… Despite our best intentions not to… it’s always hard to resist those tasty treats and not make it to the gym or our favorite exercise class.

January is the perfect time to start our year off right by implementing some new healthy habits. An incredibly easy habit to start is a daily dry brushing routine. A good dry brush costs under $20 and they last for a very long time. It only takes between 5-10 minutes every morning and the benefits are astounding!

Why Skin Brushing is so important:

Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest, most eliminative organ?

It is the last organ to receive nourishment from the body but the first organ to show any signs of malfunction, deficiency or disease.

The skin receives one third of all of the blood circulated within the body. It is sometimes referred to as the third kidney and on average the skin eliminates over one pound of waste acids every day. This equates to 10-15% of the body’s total daily eliminations.

One of the most important benefits of dry skin brushing is its’ gentle stimulation of your lymphatic system. It is actually considered to be one of the best natural lymphatic cleansing and stimulation techniques available.

Your lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels, nodes, and organs. It is an integral part of your body’s defense system. Your lymph nodes remove microorganisms and other foreign substances and they act as a filtration system that keeps bacteria from entering the bloodstream.

As you can see, your skin may be more important to pay attention to than you think. Healthy breathing skin greatly contributes to overall body health. Adding dry skin brushing to your daily routine improves the overall health of your skin as well as helping your body to release unwanted toxins.

The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture, cell renewal and help prevent premature aging.

  • Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores.
  • Dry skin brushing also rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.
  • As increased blood flow begins entering the areas that you have brushed you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy. This can leave you feeling energized and invigorated. This is fantastic first thing in the morning!
  • Dry skin brushing helps with muscle tone and more even distribution of fatty deposits.
  • Dry skin brushing tightens and tones your skin by increasing the flow of blood to your skin’s outer layers. This increased circulation can also help lessen the appearance of cellulite.
  • Cellulite is toxic matter that accumulates in your body’s fat cells’ as they are unable to be eliminated. Implementing a regular dry skin brushing technique coupled with an alkaline diet program and a good exercise routine will break down these unwelcome toxic fatty deposits.
  • Your newly increased circulation encourages your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of your entire body. When your body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas.
  • Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into your colon, thereby purifying your entire system. This enables your lymph to perform its “house-cleaning” duties by keeping your blood and other vital tissues detoxified. After several days of dry brushing, you may notice the gelatinous mucoid material in your stools.

  Dry Brushing Technique

Purchase a brush made with natural fibers. You can choose one with a strap for your hand or one that has a strap for your hand as well as a removable handle. These are available at

A systematic dry brushing session will take about 10 minutes. It’s best to do this before your morning bath or shower. If you are unable to dedicate 10 minutes of your morning, 5 minutes is better than nothing!

Note: Dry brush in the morning and the evening if you are sick. This will speed up your body’s elimination process and you will feel better more quickly.

Your lymph moves towards your heart, so this is an important detail to be strict about. Always brush in long strokes towards your heart! Brush between 10 to 20 times in each area. Overlapping as you go.

Start from the bottom of your feet and move upwards towards your heart. Brush both the front and the back of your legs. You can concentrate more time on the back of your thighs and your buttocks to help to break up cellulite. Lift your arms above your head and brush from your hands towards your shoulders. Brush both sides of your torso in an upward direction. Brush in light circles around your breasts.

After brushing your skin, shower as you normally would. If you are so inclined, alternating the water temperature from hot to cold will further invigorate your skin. It will stimulate blood circulation and bring more blood to the outer layers of your skin.

After your shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with one of Healingscents five Signature Organic Hydration Oils. These oils will moisturize your skin on multiple levels and are specially formulated to restore your skins’ lipid barrier.

Clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing, dry your skin brush in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.

Caution: Do not brush on or over skin rashes, wounds, cuts, infections, poison oak or poison ivy.

Note: Any “well designed” program will take about 30 days to see and experience the changes. For a thorough lymphatic cleansing, perform skin brushing daily for a minimum of three months. Please be patient and stay dedicated! It’s worth it!

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Kendra’s First Blog – Chinese Face Reading

suzanne : November 30, 2011 7:15 pm : Ask An Expert, Kendra Starr

Hi Everyone,

This is a huge time of change we are living through. There is a lot of excitement, confusion, fear and uncertainty around these days. In these chaotic times, many are looking at their belief systems and wondering “Who am I, really?”. “Are these my beliefs I have been holding, or are they created from my upbringing or from the society I am a part of?” The truth is, the answer has been there for you all along, all you have to do is look in the mirror and be able to read the blueprint of who you are, right there on your face!

Chinese face reading is an ancient tradition that became a bit of a fortune telling fancy for a while in China. Now the science behind it has been shown and people are understanding and embracing the beauty of the Old Knowledge, which is pure and non judgmental. Your face shows from the time you are born the elements that are strong or weak for each person. This tapestry of elements clearly shows that which is a part of your true nature.

As many of us go through life, we recognize things about ourselves that we might think are flaws, or things that we should change. For instance, a child who has a lot of fire might be told to be quiet and sit still so much in their youth, that then they reach adulthood they feel that their bubbly, excitable nature is something to be ashamed of and they allow their inner fire to be diminished. In fact, the more this person expresses their fire and passion, the happier they will be because they will be living in accordance with their original design.

If you have a big nose, be proud of it! It shows a good ability to hold power and assert yourself, a wonderful decade in your 40′s and a strong spine. It also shows you some of the metal element in your make up. This suggests attention to detail, high standards and ideals, sensitivity to energy, and many other things.

Big ears show you will probably have a long life, and have wisdom. This feature shows more of the Water Element in you. Water is the element of the kidneys, and a vital essence called Jing. If you have strong Water Elements, you may not wrinkle as much, your may be wavy and lustrous even well into your years. This element allows deep ancestral knowledge to be accessed, especially if you also have a a domed forehead – you may even my psychic or very intuitive. You may be a night owl and find the hours of the night to be your most creative time.

Thick or large eyebrows show you have the Wood Element in  your character and therefore possess ambition, motivation and self confidence. It is also good to know that if you have large or bushy eyebrows you may be prone to feelings of anger and frustration, and it would be valuable to find an avenue that allows you to let off steam in a non damaging way (if you are on a demolition crew in a construction company – that’s perfect!).

Crows Feet are great. Yes, it’s true! Those lines you have been trying to get rid of are actually beauty marks. They are a sign of an open heard and can only be made by an authentic smile or laughter. They show some of the Fire Element is present. Fire shows up as passion for life and everything one finds excitable, boisterous and active. It is hard for a fire person to sit still for long and they often move their hands and bodies a lot when they speak.

A full or large mouth is a sign of the Earth element and means that relationships are very important to you. You will do anything to help a friend or family member ad you hold those relationships very dear. Also comfort, home and good food are important for Earth people, as these are all about nourishment.

Everyone has all of the elements in them, so if you relate to more than one of these, you are not alone. We tend to have a Home Base Element or even a few, and we also tend to be weak in one or two areas. These weak areas may show up as health issues that keep arising, or as recurring issues in other aspects of your life, such as relationships. Maybe your relationships are causing you problems, or maybe you have attracted someone who has the qualities you are lacking – and this is a beautiful, harmonious thing! We are all a tapestry of elements, but it really can be affirming to know your original blue print.

On a side note, your wrinkles are road maps of your life. They show lessons learned and events that  you have lived through. So think before you try to remove them, you may have to learn those lessons all over again.

Kendra Starr, DrTCM

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Vanessa’s First Blog – Prevent, Protect, Correct

suzanne : November 30, 2011 6:39 pm : Ask An Expert, Vanessa Grutman

Hello All,

Have you ever heard of SkinCeuticals before? Maybe you’ve seen it in your Dermatologist office? Or heard of it on Dr. Oz? Maybe you saw Natalie Portman tweeting about it on Oscar night?

SkinCeuticals is a medical and professional skincare brand dedicated to improving skin health. Our products are fully backed by science which is one of the reasons physicians across the world are embracing and trusting this line. We have been on the market in the United States since 1997, and recently introduced the line here in Canada.

SkinCeuticals was founded by Dr. Pinnell, a Dermatologist internationally known for pioneering an original topical Vitamin C formula that protects the skin from premature signs of aging caused by environmental damage.

To maintain and improve skin health, an effective skin care regimen must contain three fundamental aims:

  1. Prevent future damage
  2. Protect healthy skin
  3. Correct previous damage
At SkinCeuticals, achieving results means more than than restoring youthful, radiant skin – it means preventing serious skin conditions, like skin cancer.
You’ve all been told how important it is to protect your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen. The question is; do you actually do it? Everyday? Even when it is raining? I know, I know, this is is a tough one to implement into your daily routine. My recommendation would be to find a sunscreen that is your daily moisturizer at the same time – this way, you don’t even have to think about it. And don’t forget to get into the habit of wearing it everyday.  This is probably the best gift you can give your skin for Christmas!
Our formulations:
  1. UV Defense SPF 30 – your 2 in 1. Daily moisturizer with built-in SPF 30
  2. Sheer Physical SPF 50 - A chemical-free sunscreen providing revolutionary ultra-fluid texture and fully matt finish. If you hate sunscreens and you think they will make you break out, make sure to try this one as it doesn’t feel like anything else available on the market!
You know about sunscreens, but do you know about antioxidants? You may know they are good to consume through foods, but have you head of antioxidants through topical serums? That’s what SkinCeuticals is known for – developing high concentrations of topical antioxidant serums with optimized delivery and penetration systems.
We could talk about the benefits of antioxidants all day but essentially, if they are penetrating the skin they will help to prevent build-up of future damage in the skin by neutralizing free radicals (unstable molecules known to cause premature aging).
These serums are designed to be used once a day, in the morning, under sunscreens to get the optimal photoprotection and get the best results! I will be talking more about antioxidants, more specifically Vitamin C, in my future blogs.

Our forumlations:

  1. CE Ferulic - our gold standard. Perfect for dryer or more mature skin types
  2. Phloreting CF – our new formulation designed for oilier or more problematic skin complexions
  3. Serum 10 – This serum is designed for more sensitive skin types
This winter, make sure to fight against free radicals with both your antioxidant and your sunscreen. That way, you will protecting your skin from the inside and outside.
You will notice a difference in your complexion in less than 8 weeks!
To better understand the synergistic action between antioxidants and sunscreen, see this short video of Dr. Pinnell.

Remember, for the best results, think about PREVENT-CORRECT. Once you do that, it will make sense to CORRECT.

More to come….. stay tuned!



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Michelle’s First Blog – Boosting Your Immune System Through Whole Foods

suzanne : November 28, 2011 7:52 pm : Ask An Expert, Michelle Pascal

Boosting your Immune System through Whole Foods:

If you are often getting sick with the flu or a cold the first thing to look at is what you are eating.

Refined sugar and flour and processed food suppresses the Immune System and it limits the ability of white blood cells to fight viral and bacterial invasions, therefore suppressing the Immune System’s ability to fight off infections, sickness and disease.

Reducing or eliminating sugar and processed foods from your diet is the foundation that maximizes your Immune System. Include more Alkaline foods in your diet as these play a role in cleansing the body of toxins, therefore strengthening the Immune System. That being said, we do need a certain amount of acidic food to create a balanced environment, so try to incorporate a good percentage of alkalizing foods. Having lemon juice in room temperature water in the morning is alkalizing on the body, not to mention assisting the liver with digestion.

Free radicals can interfere with your Immune System. Antioxidants fight the damage caused by free radicals helping keep your immune system strong to ward off infections, such as cold and flu.  It is always best to obtain immune-boosting antioxidants from foods instead of supplements. Best sources of antioxidants are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange and yellow hues.

The Canadian climate challenges us to find local vegetables in the winter months. Growing sprouts is like having an indoors garden all year round. Sprouts are a complete protein that assist in the building of nerves, tissue, bones and blood. Sprouted seeds have more enzymes than vegetables or fruits, and are a great source of Vitamin C, Carotenoid A, B vitamins and minerals.! 

I buy my sprouts online at Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds Certified Organic Canadian Seeds. They not only have plenty of sprouts, but have all the equipment you may need to get started.

Essential Fatty Acids feed our Immune Cells and help kill infectious foreign invaders. In the winter months, take 2 grams of fish oil with added Vitamin D.

My personal weapon against cold and flu is juicing. Whenever I start feeling rundown or feel the early signs of a cold, I make a large glass of carrot, apple, beet juice. Having fresh juices saturates your body with all the wonderful antioxidants in fresh vegetables. I drink a large glass 1-2 times a day until I am feeling better.

When you drink fresh vegetable and fruit juices you are getting nutrient dense juice that is easily digested. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes in fresh found in fresh juice are easily transported across the intestine walls and into the bloodstream, where they become available for use by the body.

Whenever my son is around other sick children or his nose starts to run, I always make him a fresh carrot & apple juice. I give him up to 2 large glasses twice a day until his symptoms are gone (usually 1-2 days), this always results in either no cold, or a very short lived cold that never becomes fully developed.

Finally, food is only one element that effects your immune system. Other things to consider when you are getting sick are your stress levels, sleep quality and length, and exercise (neither too little or too much). Stress, over exercising and lack of sleep stresses your adrenal glands causing an acidic environment in your body, which depletes your Immune System.



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Katrine’s First Blog – Skincare for the Winter Season

suzanne : November 28, 2011 5:59 pm : Ask An Expert, Katrine Stebbene

Hello Avello Spa, Whistler, and Skincare fans!

Welcome to my first blog. I am so excited that I will be able to interact with you.

I want to make sure that everybody is getting their skincare ready for the winter season. Here are the best tips that will get through the ski season:
Wear sunscreen, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…. And reapply sunscreen! It’s that easy!

Every winter I see people getting major sunburn and windburn from enjoying their favorite sport, and sometimes it can be the type of redness that doesn’t go away. You don’t want that to happen to you, believe me.

Did you know that snow reflects the UV rays of the sun even more than the sand and water at the beach? Yes, that’s right. If you are concerned with signs of aging, sun spots, or just want to keep your skin healthy, you should be even more careful in winter and apply, and reapply your sunscreen.

For winter (and summer) sort, I recommend you use the G.M. Collin Mineral SPF 25 or the SPF 30. They are perfect even for the most sensitive skin. They are both water/sweat resistant and 100% mineral sunscreen. You should still reapply every 2-3 hours. Pack it in your bah and reapply when you go to lunch. Keep it simple! You will thank me later.

Some of my favorite moisturizers to use when hitting the slopes are: Nutrivital, Nutriderm and Hydramucine Cream. If you are looking for something rich that will keep your skin hydrated and feeling good, these are the definitely the must haves.

For more information,  visit our website ( and our Facebook Page.  Please ask me any questions that you might have about your skin.

Enjoy the start of the season!!

Katrine :)

PS:  If you are looking for a good eye cream, look at what the Vancouver editor from the Vitamin Daily has to say about one of our products:



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