Saturday, October 24, 2020

Maskne, maskne begone! | Sarah Skin Care Review

 


Now that wearing mask has become mandatory, Maskne has become a real problem for many. Maskne, aka mask acne has gained the limelight especially in the humid tropical Malaysian weather. The proper technical term is called "acne mechanica". The constant friction from the mask irritates the skin follices causing inflammation and acne formation. Unsurprisingly, the accumulation of trapped sweat, moisture and sebum underneath the mask also leads to outbreak around the lower facial area, including the nose and around the mouth. I have only suffered from acne during my second pregnancy due to hormonal changes and now it has returned with a vengeance.


As a healthcare worker, I have to be on at least a 3 ply surgical mask all the time, from 8am-5pm, if not a face shield and N95 mask when I perform certain procedures. Honestly speaking, the material of disposable masks has started to irritate my lips as well, causing a flare of my perioral irritant dermatitis (irritating ingredients causing inflamed skin around my lips which can cause chapped lips, itchy and peeling skin around the lips).

As the skin is already sensitive and fragile due to the irritation, conventional acne treatment such as alpha hydroxy acids, chemical peels or Retinoids may worsen the condition. So what can we do?

1. Choose your mask carefully- change to a new disposable mask after sweating. For more environmental friendly alternative, use a good quality cotton mask which is more breathable and can be washed and dried after each use.
2. Use gentle skin care products without ingredients/tools like SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial fragrance, scrubs, loofa.
3. Avoid heavy skincare products in the morning containing cocoa butter, coconut oil, oil based foundation. Save them for nights.
4. Wait for 15-30 mins before wearing surgical mask and N95 after applying moisturiser to allow the ingredients to be absorbed into the skin.
5. Use lip balm or serum. Avoid lip gloss/lipstick that will stick to the mask.
6. If your maskne is really bad and affects your ability to wear masks, please seek advice from your friendly dermatologists.


Sarah Skincare is a Malaysian skincare range designed for Malaysians. Read my previous blogpost about the difference between Asian and Caucasian skin. Therefore, we need a tailormade skincare range. Sarah Skincare uses good quality yet affordable ingredients to empower the average Malaysian girl to the way of healthy and glowing skin.

Sarah Antiacne Cleansing Foam

Thorough cleansing is important to clear clogged pores, gently exfoliate and to prevent breakout. Especially to remove traces of makeup after a day at work.

The active ingredients involve
- Papain Enzyme to remove dead skin
- Menthol helps to eliminate Blackheads & Whiteheads and lighten pigmentation
- Coconut Oil dissolves oil and waterproof makeup, enables cleansing without drying the skin too much

Acne Treatment Duo Serum

This serum simply zaps the zits! It also contains skin loving ingredients to calm and replenish hydration for irritated and tired skin.

The secrets are
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Lignosus Rhinocerus (Tiger’s Milk Mushroom Extract) fights acne and brightens the skin to maintain youthfulness
- Honey Extract (Black BeeOme™) enhances skin renewal to reveal the baby skin
- Humulus Lupulus (Hops Flower Extract) moisturises and faint lines
- Salicylic-Acid performs micro exfoliation

Enhanced Soothing Serum

This serum provides the calming and soothing effect to allow the skin to heal after a beauty sleep.

The skin loving ingredients are

- Allantoin (Comfrey Plant Root Extract) enhances healing
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
- Calamine relieves Irritation
- Sodium Hyaluronate, glycerin and Panthenol (Vitamin B5) replenish and lock moisture in the skin
- Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract (Pricky Pear Cactus) is rich in antioxidant to prevent premature skin aging

How to use Sarah Antiacne Skin Care Range?


– Cleanse at night with Antiacne Cleansing Foam.
– Apply a few drops of Acne Treatment Duo serum on affected sites only.
– Gently tap a few drops of Enhanced Soothing Serum on the whole face.

What does Dr Yingzangel think?

I tend to use Sarah acne treatment range at night before I hit the sack. This is because the cleanser contains oil which can effectively cleanse traces of makeup which may also be too heavy to be used in the morning. I have noticed an improvement in skin inflammation and blocked pores after 2 weeks. My face also becomes less oily and more supple. However as the cleanser contains fragrance and alcohol, I will suggest those with sensitive skin to perform a patch test first on your arm before first use. Hope these tips help!

Sarah Skin Care

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

The how and why of drinking Coffee | Mister Coffee Complete Coffee Company Review

Hands up if you are a coffee addict just like me! I love waking up to the aroma of a hot cuppa and on many afternoons, I need a cup to rejuvenate and go through the day. Moderate coffee consumption (1-2cups a day) has been associated with lower risks of developing dementia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, liver cancer and Parkinson’s disease. The scientists are not entirely sure why so and whether this is causative. But no harm making it a habit if it's enjoyable!





There are a few ways of making great coffee. And we have all these at home!

The cheapest way is  manual drip brew which is also more labour intensive. One can either hand brew/manual drip (need to pay attention to the temperature and timing of the brew), paper filters (travel friendly but tend to be light bodies) and the famous Vietnamese stainless steel filter (very rich and full of the aroma of condensed milk too).

If you don't have time, then investing in a coffee maker like my Philips Daily Collection Coffee Maker is the way to go if you prefer long black or flat white. I love how my machine can grind beans fresh every morning. 



If you are really into espresso-- it's worth grabbing a Breville Barista Express. Honestly, we have saved quite some bucks making our own espresso that easily rival famous cafes. These are great for short black, cappuccino, latte and mocha. 


No matter what you prefer, Mister Coffee has a complete range of beans for you to choose from. One can choose to buy whole beans or ground coffee with various level of coraseness. We prefer whole beans so we can grind them fresh just beforehand. Different grind size is suitable for various ways of brewing— with cold brew needing the coarsest size and Turkish brew the finest.

Espresso is strong, potent and great for a caffeine boost to kick start the day. The shot itself is creamy, foamy and rich in texture. An espresso shot is produced when the ground coffee is compacted and subjected to water near boiling point. Milk can usually be frothed and goes really well with the coffee for a perfect cappucino/latte. Mister Coffee has a comprehensive range of espresso beans which contains mainly of blend using robusta beans which has higher caffeine content. 

Espresso Range 

Espresso Classic is full-bodied ans has a strong aftertaste which lingers. When mixed with milk, it actually mimics hot chocolate!

Espresso Bar is strong, acidic and bitter reminiscing coffee lovers of fruit jam and chocolate. 

Espresso Super Bar is more acidic and citrusy.

Espresso Gold tasted aged and mellowed with the fragrance of bread. 

Espresso Pearl, on the other hand, is a robusta and arabica blend that tastes more bitter than acidic.

Espresso Royal gives off a vibrant sultana and chocolate taste. 

When we have more time during the weekend, we will bring out our manual drip brew kit. Drip brew tends to take alot longer to make. It can also be difficult to achieve the same consistency each time as the temperature and pouring technique have to be precise. Drip brew coffee involves pouring hot water over the ground coffee placed in a paper/stainless steel filter. It is therefore, lighter in taste and 'cleaner'. It is also easier to bring out the acidity and refreshing aspect of coffee. 




Mister Coffee's Drip Brew Specialty Coffee include: 

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Grade 1 Kochere is considered the best grown coffee in the highlands of Ethiopia. The beans are dried inside the fruit to allow natural fermentation that results in a more pungent aroma. This yields a floral scent which has a sweet cherry and citrusy taste too. Do you know that Ethiopia is where coffee beans are discovered by a goat herder called Kaldi? 

Costa Rica SHB (Strictly Hard Beans) Tarrazu Finca Tirra don Fernando Coffee beans give an interesting combination of fruity and nutty aroma. This is a fragrant mixture of apricot and almond brittle. The beans are harder and denser as they are grown at altitudes higher than 4500 feet above sea levels, slowing maturation. As they can only be harvested later they are a lot more expensive. 

Single Origin Coffee refers to coffee beans harvested from a particular geographical area. It is usually done so to ensure a higher quality of beans. The single origin coffee beans often allow coffee lovers to bring back fond memories of the place of origin as it contains certain unique aroma. We have tried the following single origin coffee from Mister Coffee:

Rwanda Coop Korera Kawa is a medium roast which makes creamy and buttery coffee with lemony and orangey aroma. It is neither bitter nor acidic. 

Indonesian Bali Kintamani Ulian is grown in Ulian Village, planted in between orange trees to shelter coffee trees at least 10 years old, hand picked upon ripening. This unique bean makes the coffee taste like caramel and grapefruit. 

Grab your own coffee beans from

Mister Coffee 


Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfection in Households

    

 The coronavirus global health crisis has made everyone at a heightened awareness about cleanliness and sanitization. Covid 19 mainly spreads via droplets from coughing, sneezing and may become suspended in the air during certain high risk medical procedures such as nebulisation, suction of the mouth and airway. The Malaysian government endorses the mantra of avoiding 3Cs (Crowded places, Confined spaces, Close conversation) and do 3Ws (Wash hands, Warn and Wear masks). The current covid situation is very worrying, especially in Sabah and Kedah. Malaysians ought to be more vigilant and continue to follow SOPs, even if we are not in the red zone.



Detailed guidelines about cleaning and disinfecting our homes can be found on the CDC website.

Hand washing or sanitising if not possible is one of the keys in preventing  germ transmission, not just corona virus.  Alcohol and chlorhexidine based hand sanitisers have the longest track record based on effectiveness and safety. But these ingredients can be harsh on the skin. Working as a fulltime medical specialist means that I am constantly washing or sanitising my hands -- at least 20-30 times/day. This leaves my hands dry and irritated. Therefore, I have started to search for alternatives. Nanosilver has emerged as a potent sanitising agent as summarised in this research paper in which A+ protect spray by Antah Wellness is what I have been using recently. 


A+ protect spray  is a safe, effective non-alcohol antiseptic spray containing <10ppm Nanosilver colloidal particles. At this level of concentration, Nanosilver is proven to kill multiple micro-organisms and to promote wound healing within a minute of application. The shapes of the nanomolecules used in A+ Protect Spray are consistent in spheres, making it highly effective. Silver, at high concentration, is potentially toxic to human but A+ protect spray is safe for everyone's use-- including children and expecting mothers. It is useful for minor burns, wounds, sores, irritation, pimples and body odor. This spray makes wound cleansing painfree, is colourless and tasteless-- I have tried for my boys and they did not complain of stinging at all. 

Drinking Clorox is definitely not the way to safely mitigate against the risk of catching infections. But there are many ways of disinfecting the air around us using clorine dioxide gas. ClO2  Besides spraying sodium clorite solutions, do you know that you can now wear what is called a healthtag?has been proven to be effective as a rapid disinfectant which can also deodorises. However, it is non hazardous and is environmentally friendly, approved internationally by US-EPA, FDA, UK, Japan and most Health Authorities.


A+ Defend Tag by Antah Wellness is a creative way of wearing a tag containing a sachet of stabilised 5g Sodium Chlorite (naclo2) which slowly release  Chlorine Dioxide gas (Clo2). The concentration of the gas emitted is below  0.1 ppm which makes it safe-- it does have a slightly pungent order similar to the smell of swimming pool water but studies have shown no adverse effects like eyes irritations, respiratory discomfort or breathing difficulties. Each tag can be used up to 45 days in humid countries like Malaysia. And a study done by Nishimura et al has shown that it works optimally at a minimum humidity of 50% and best at relative humidity 70%. Malaysia, at its hottest and driest month has an average humidity of 70-80%, which is just great! I place my tag just next to my mini hand satiniser hanging from my work sling bag. Whenever I encounter the 3Cs, I will unseal the tag and protect myself. 


The A+  Defend Tag is imported from Japan and complies with the following Japanese Health Authorities and Regulations :- Standard Food Addictive Board, Japan Food Research Laboratories, Pharmaceutical Affairs Act,  Water Supply Law,  Swimming Pool Water Regulation and Bathtub Water Regulation. 

What does Dr Yingzangel think?

The coronavirus health crisis is unprecedented and is detrimental to the social and economy development of every nation involved. Unfortunately it is not going away anytime soon until we discover an effective treatment and/or vaccine. Therefore, cleaning and disinfecting practices are even more important than ever to halt the transmission chain. A+ Protect Spray and Defend Tag are interesting and innovative products helping us to get through this challenging time. 



Antah Healthcare is one of the key players in the marketing and distribution of healthcare related products, including disinfectants and sanitisers. Those who are interested can get A+ Protect spray and A+ Defend Tag from most major retail pharmacies throughout Malaysia. 


Get more information about Antah Healthcare here: 

Antah Healthcare Website















Sustainable agriculture in Malaysia | Farm to Home Vegetable Delivery

 

The modern farmers are no longer what is depicted in the movies.  Mass agricultural production involves the use of many heavy machineries like tractors, processes such as tilling the soil, over-grazing, using fossil fuel based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. All these produces vegetables fast to meet the public demand at the cost of leaving carbon footprints and damaging the environment. 

Farm to Home Delivery


An example of my everyday lunch box--full of nutritious salad from my vegetable subscription box!

Have you heard of sustainable agricultural practice called carbon farming? I was lucky enough to be able to learn about this environmentally friendly indoor farm around the Kayu Ara area. PG led me through his farm housed in the city. They produced compost onsite— using withered vegetables, quality soil, rainwater and the powerful decomposing power of earthworms and good bacteria. 



What a wonderful and natural way to farm! Carbon Farming involves implementing practices to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter with a net result of CO2 gain. 

Read here to know more about carbon farming and why we should support it. 




Farm to Home Delivery has also collaborated with UPM to farm purple sweet potato leaves using ozone water. The UPM lab has proven their purple sweet potato leaves have antioxidants levels higher than those contained in grape seed oil. 


We actually asked Lala Chong to help us cook some of the awesome vegetables from the box, absolutely mouthwatering especially the Petai fried rice!

So where does Farm to Home Delivery source their vegetables? The main supplier is a reputable farmer from Cameron Highlands— the vegetables are chemical and pesticide free (CPF). Some vegetables are from Mantin carbon farm whereas the micro greens are from local farmers in Klang Valley. They ensure the vegetables are delivered from the farm to your doorstep within 48hours. If you would like your vegetables to last longer, you can request for them to be washed in ozone water at a minimal cost each box. Unlike many other vegetable delivery service, the customers can customise their orders — hence the tag line healthy, affordable and flexible.

What does Dr Yingzangel think?





I think it’s very important to know where your food come from, especially if you love to have them raw as salads. I have learnt so much recently about the scary facts in mainstream agriculture that I choose to get my vegetables from reliable sources only. I love Farm to Home Delivery because the quality control is good with the ability to exchange unsatisfactory items. Having said that, each box undergoes strict checks and sanitisation before they were being delivered. Even if u stay alone like me, one box can stay fresh up to 2 weeks as it is washed using ozone water— and remember to always cook the outer layer or leafy vegetables first which are more perishable.

Do you know that Farm To Home Delivery is having a Start-Up Pre-order Promo (40% discount!). Limited for the first 60 Customers with more than 27 veggie varieties to choose from and flexible delivery timings. Delivery is free within Klang Valley area; With an additional 10% discount on all PWP purchase. 

To get more freebies in your box besides the huge savings— head to this unique link to get your very own Clean Eating Vegetable Box from Farm to Home Delivery!






Keto Coconut Flour Bread Recipe

High protein and low carbohydrate, gluten and sugar free bread! Ingredients 6 Eggs 2 tsp Vinegar ½ cup Coconut Oil ½ cup Coconut Flour 1 tsp...