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All about Maskne


In case you’re wondering is Maskne is a real thing, here’s my short video to explain the what’s and why’s of Maskne… and of course, the how’s of treating this condition at home! 🙂

⛔ As for the morning and night routines, I listed the commonly used product active ingredients to fight maskne. Choose 1product that sits well with you. Don’t use all the ingredients on your face or else you’ll get a really bad case of irritant contact dermatitis!⁣

📽 If you want to know more about Maskne (and Anti-Aging by my friend, Dr. Janelle Padlan-Ramos), head on to this link…

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Acne & Pregnancy

For us women, pregnancy is a beautiful time. People always say, “You’re blooming!” Or “You have a radiant aura!” During pregnancy, there are so many changes going on inside our body, and it is because we are carrying a new life inside of us. So our inner selves really glow? But… what if it’s not just the inner glow that appears during pregnancy? What if acne appears too?

Can this happen?

Well, yes… If you already have acne or are prone to acne, your acne may worsen during pregnancy. If you didn’t have acne previously, there is still a chance that acne can occur during your pregnancy. Why?

Watch the full video here.

Reference for the video:

Vora RV, Gupta R, Mehta MJ, Chaudhari AH, Pilani AP, Patel N. Pregnancy and skin. J Family Med Prim Care. 2014;3(4):318-324. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.148099

Ju Q, Tao T, Hu T, Karadağ AS, Al-Khuzaei S, Chen W. Sex hormones and acne. Clin Dermatol. 2017 Mar-Apr;35(2):130-137. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 27. PMID: 28274349.

Bagatin E, Freitas THP, Rivitti-Machado MC, Machado MCR, Ribeiro BM, Nunes S, Rocha MADD. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. 2019 Jan-Feb;94(1):62-75. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20198203. Erratum in: An Bras Dermatol. 2019 Mar-Apr;94(2):255. Machado MCR [corrected to Rivitti-Machado MC]. PMID: 30726466; PMCID: PMC6360964.

Anna L. Chien, Ji Qi, Barbara Rainer, Dana L. Sachs and Yolanda R. Helfrich. Treatment of acne in pregnancy. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine March 2016, 29 (2) 254-262; DOI:

Jerry KL Tan1 Chemanthi Ediriweera. Efficacy and safety of combined ethinyl estradiol/ drospirenone oral contraceptives in the treatment of acne. University of Western Ontario and Windsor Clinical Research Inc., Windsor, Ontario, Canada; 2 University of Western Ontario, Southwest Ontario Medical Education Network, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Baillargeon J, et al. (2014). Trends in androgen prescribing in the United States, 2001-2011.

Bawor M, et al (2015). Testosterone suppression in opioid users: A systematic review and meta-analysis. DOI:  10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.038

Beking T, et al. (2018). Prenatal and pubertal testosterone affect brain lateralization. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.10.027

Evaluation and management of testosterone deficiency. (2018).

Health encyclopedia. Total testosterone. (n.d.).

McBride J, et al. (2016). Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. DOI: 10.1177/1756287215612961

Matei V, et al. (2014). Prenatal sex hormone exposure and risk of Alzheimer disease: A pilot stud using the 2D: 4D digit length ratio.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Male hypogonadism.

Ostatnikova D, et al. (2015). On the effects of testosterone on brain behavioral functions. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00012

Bozzo P, Chua-Gocheco A, Einarson A. Safety of skin care products during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2011 Jun;57(6):665-7. PMID: 21673209; PMCID: PMC3114665.

Wolverton, S. Comprehensive Dermatologic Drug Therapy, 2nd ed. 2007. Elsevier, Inc., Philadelphia, USA.

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Ellana Calm Skin Balancing Skin Care Line Review

Hello, friends! 

This post is a review of the Ellana Calm Skin Balancing Skin Care Line

I’ve worked with the Ellana Team before the pandemic. They’ve been an absolute joy to work with! Aside from being a local brand (yey!!!), the company has continually pushed to create new and affordable products that have sensible ingredients! So when they contacted me one month ago, I agreed to review their skin care line. They asked me too choose which line I wanted to review, I was considering to review the maturing skin line (never too young to start an anti-aging regimen!)… But in the end, I decided to review the Calm Skin Line for sensitive skin because I wanted to start with milder skin care products since these will all be new to my skin.  

Without much ado, here is my concise review of the Ellana Calm Skin Balancing Skin Care Line.

Calm Skin Balancing low pH Mineral Powder Cleanser

The key ingredients: 

TAPIOCA STARCH is the first ingredient in this product. It is a natural cosmetic thickener derived from the root of cassava plant. It also helps stabilize emulsions, create gel like like texture and help ingredients penetrate the skin. MAGNESIUM SULFATE or epsom salt is popularly known to ease body and muscle tension. For the skin, it can help balance the natural oils and exfoliate the skin. ALLANTOIN works as a moisturizer and helps soothe the skin.

My experience:

I find this powder cleanser a cute and novel idea. It is cost-effective! You only need a tiny amount, mix with water, let it sud before massaging it onto your face. The skin feels really clean after using this cleanser. I think it’s a good complement to the Calm Skin Balancing Lightweight Cleansing Oil & Waterproof Make-up Remover.

Since this is in powder form, I was careful to not to keep it in the shower. However, on the third week, the inevitable happened. The powder started to clump together, and it was not possible to tap it from the container. I had to remove the strainer to get the powder out. This, of course, carries the risk of wetting the rest of the powder by accident. 

My thoughts: 

Calm Skin Balancing low pH Mineral Powder Cleanser is a good product that removes oil and dirt. However, the packaging can still be improved.

Calm Skin Balancing Lightweight Cleansing Oil & Waterproof Make-up Remover

The key ingredient:

TSUBAKI OIL is a cold-pressed oil from the seeds of Camellia japonica. It is said the tsubaki oil is a prized  beauty ingredient within the Japanese community. Tsubaki oil contains high levels oleic acid, polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins A, D, C, & E making it an excellent moisturizer. It also protects the skin from UV and environmental exposure, arresting the effects of free radical damage. 

My experience:

To be honest, I have not been using make-up much these days… but I do wear mascara and eye liner from time to time. To test this product, I wore BB Cream, eye make-up, blush and lipstick for a few days. I used the cleansing oil to do my first cleanse. It did remove my make-up, especially my eyeliner and mascara with ease. However, I needed to follow this with a second cleanse because the oil sticks to the eye lashes. The Calm Skin Balancing low pH Mineral Powder Cleanser was my second cleanser, and it did make my skin feel tingly clean!

For those who don’t know, a first cleanse is usually done by heavy make-up users to remove by make-up. Oil-based cleansers are used to remove oil-based make-up products. It is then followed by a second cleanser which is water-based to remove all the debris. This is called the double cleansing method.

My thoughts:

Calm Skin Balancing Lightweight Cleansing Oil & Waterproof Make-up Remover is a good product that removes oil-based impurities from the skin. Heavy make-up users will benefit from this cleansing oil the most. I think it’s best to use this as part of a double cleansing routine or as an initial make-up remover.

Calm Skin Balancing Face Oil

The key ingredients:

RICE BRAN OIL (Oryza sativa L.) has many documented benefits when used inside and outside of the body. For the skin, rice bran oil is packed with antioxidants and is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects. SAFFLOWER SEED OIL (Charthamus tinctorius L.) is said to contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and phytochemicals which help block UVB-induced skin photo aging. This is a can be a potential anti-wrinkle agent. TSUBAKI OIL (Camellia japonica), as above, is packed with antioxidants which shield the skin from UV and environmental damage to keep the skin clear and youthful. 

My experience:

This is my favorite product of the lot. I love face and body oils. The Calm Skin Balancing Face Oil really is light weight. Despite being lightweight, you only need 2 to 3 drops for the whole face and neck. The scent is negligible too which I like. 

My facial skin is quite dry. I use this facial oil twice a day. However, I still add a bit of lightweight moisturizer at night. I am not fond of layering too many products on the skin. So I use this face oil with only one or two products at a time. So far, I haven’t had any untoward reactions mixing this oil with my nightly regimen.

My thoughts:

The Calm Skin Balancing Face Oil is a product that I will most likely buy again!

Calm Skin Balancing Balancing Serum

The key ingredients:

CENTELLA ASIATICA or gotu kola is a plant extract known for its hydrating and antioxidant properties. The main active compounds of Centella Asiatica are asiaticoside, madecasosside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid. Researches claim that it can soothe irritated skin while improving the skin barrier. There are products that use Centella Asiatica to heal small wounds and even burns.

Other ingredients of this product are: CHAMOMILE and ROSEMARY which are known to have anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. However, studies on Rosemary also point to its possible application in improving ultra violet light damage and anti-aging effects.

My experience:

While this serum is packed with soothing ingredients, I was not able to fully appreciate it because my skin was not irritated at the time of my review. However, I did notice that this serum is very light on the skin and it did not cause any itchiness or redness. I was able to use it twice a day. In the morning, I can use it prior to the Calm Skin Balancing Face Oil and Clean Screen SPF 40 Oil Control Mineral Sun Protection, and my skin will still feel light despite being covered by a face mask the whole day.

My thoughts:

Although I was not able to fully appreciate the effect of the Calm Skin Balancing Serum, I can definitely say that this is a lightweight serum that you may use for both morning and night skin routine. 

Well, those are the products that I have from the line. I will make a review of the Clean Screen SPF 40 Oil Control Mineral Sun Protection in my next post. Overall, I can say that the company was very thoughtful in the key ingredients they used to make each product. As you may have read, for this line, most of the key ingredients used had anti-inflammatory and skin soothing benefits — the aim of the Ellana Calm Skin Balancing Skin Care Line.

That’s my review for this skin care line. Hope you enjoyed reading it!

** Just to let you know, the products were sent to me by Ellana Mineral Cosmetics for the sole purpose of review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. All information in this post are based on research (see my reference below). This is not to endorse or recommend any brand or product, but to give you my thoughts on the product. **

– MFC 02.26.2021 –


International Journal of Cosmetic Science, June 2003, pages 113-125

Gröber, U, Werner, T, Vormann, J, & Kisters, K, 2017. ‘Myth or Reality-Transdermal Magnesium?’, Nutrients, 9(8), 813.

Johnson, W, et al. 2018. ‘Safety Assessment of Magnesium Sulfate as Used in Cosmetics’, International Journal of Toxicology.

Chandrasekaran, N, et al. 2014. ‘Effects of magnesium deficiency – More than skin deep’, Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 239.

Jung, E. et al. Effect of Camellia japonica oil on human type I procollagen production and skin barrier function. Journal of ethnopharmacology 112.1, 127-131 (2007)

Manosroi A, Chutoprapat R, Abe M, Manosroi W, Manosroi J. Anti-aging efficacy of topical formulations containing niosomes entrapped with rice bran bioactive compounds. Pharm Biol. 2012 Feb;50(2):208-24. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2011.596206. PMID: 22235888.

Jeong EH, Yang H, Kim JE, Lee KW. Safflower Seed Oil and Its Active Compound Acacetin Inhibit UVB-Induced Skin Photoaging. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Oct 28;30(10):1567-1573. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2003.03064. PMID: 32522955.

Bylka W, Znajdek-Awiżeń P, Studzińska-Sroka E, Dańczak-Pazdrowska A, Brzezińska M. Centella asiatica in dermatology: an overview. Phytother Res. 2014 Aug;28(8):1117-24. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5110. Epub 2014 Jan 7. PMID: 24399761.

El-Salamouni NS, Ali MM, Abdelhady SA, Kandil LS, Elbatouti GA, Farid RM. Evaluation of chamomile oil and nanoemulgels as a promising treatment option for atopic dermatitis induced in rats. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2020 Jan;17(1):111-122. doi: 10.1080/17425247.2020.1699054. Epub 2019 Dec 6. PMID: 31782320.

de Macedo LM, Santos ÉMD, Militão L, Tundisi LL, Ataide JA, Souto EB, Mazzola PG. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L., syn Salvia rosmarinus Spenn.) and Its Topical Applications: A Review. Plants (Basel). 2020 May 21;9(5):651. doi: 10.3390/plants9050651. PMID: 32455585; PMCID: PMC7284349.

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How to Choose an Eye Cream

Check out this buying guide review I wrote and reviewed for mybestph. Just to clarify, I researched and provided my insights on the best ingredients that you should look for in an eye cream. I am not affiliated with nor am I endorsing any product mentioned in the article.

Hope you find it useful!!!

PS: The article was written with Ms. Rie Niijima. Click here to go to the full article at the website.

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What’s the diff: The lowdown on Gel vs Foam cleansers

  • Mabelle MD
  • gel vs foam cleanser

What is a gel cleanser?

What is a foam cleanser?

Is there any difference? Does it matter?

Know which cleanser is more suitable for your skin type and condition… Watch my You Tube video to learn more!!!