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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #103 - Rachel Varga

Rachel Varga BScN, RN, CANS is a Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist since 2011 with nearly 20,000 procedures performed, an international clinical trainer for other Physicians and Nurses, celebrity skin expert featured on Bulletproof Radio, Ask the Health Expert Podcast with JJ Virgin and more! Rachel is also a speaker and academically published award-winning author in the field of plastic and aesthetic nursing as well as an executive board member and peer reviewer for The Plastic Surgical Nursing Journal. Through education on skin care, skin and laser rejuvenation, non-surgical solutions, healing lifestyle and biohacking practices, Rachel helps inspire others with her unique toolkit to navigate and strategize aging impossibly well – using the Holistic SCIENCE of BEAUTY at RachelVarga.ca where One on One sessions for at-home and in-clinic skin rejuvenation are available.

Insta: @rachelvargaofficial
The Rachel Varga Podcast

Beauty And The Biohacker Podcast


1:55 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At Beautycounter.Com/MelanieAvalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beautycounter Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/CleanBeauty! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

3:05 - IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + LifeJoin Melanie's Facebook Group For A Weekly Episode GIVEAWAY, And To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!

3:30 - Follow Melanie On Instagram To See The Latest Moments, Products, And #AllTheThings! @MelanieAvalon

4:00 - FOOD SENSE GUIDEGet Melanie's App At Melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue Of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Gluten, FODMAP, Lectin, Histamine, Amine, Glutamate, Oxalate, Salicylate, Sulfite, And Thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, Reactions To Look For, Lists Of Foods High And Low In Them, The Ability To Create Your Own Personal Lists, And More!

6:25 - what treatments does Rachel personally do?

FREE Treatment Planning Guide And Sophisticated Skin Cheat Sheet 

7:45 - Dermal Rolling/facial stimulation

10:15 - collagen

13:10 - mixing & Matching your supplements

14:45 - what products does skin truly need?

15:50 - blue lights effect on skin

17:15 - do i need a morning and nighttime routine?

Face Aging with the Science of Beauty – Rachel Varga – #668

19:45 - outdated recommendations from clinicians

23:29 - DRY FARM WINES: Low Sugar, Low Alcohol, Toxin-Free, Mold- Free, Pesticide-Free , Hang-Over Free Natural Wine! Use The Link dryfarmwines.com/melanieavalon To Get A Bottle For A Penny!

25:05 - wearing sunscreen

26:45 - what about sun exposure for vitamin d?

29:00 - supplements for oxidative stress

29:50 - better sunscreen products

32:05 - Retinol

36:35 - retinoid reaction phase

36:45 - skin cell turn over 

38:50 - LMNT: For Fasting Or Low-Carb Diets Electrolytes Are Key For Relieving Hunger, Cramps, Headaches, Tiredness, And Dizziness. With No Sugar, Artificial Ingredients, Coloring, And Only 2 Grams Of Carbs Per Packet, Try LMNT For Complete And Total Hydration. For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/melanieavalon To Get A Sample Pack For Only The Price Of Shipping!

41:30 - puffiness in the face and under-eye bags

Top 3 tips for getting rid of under eye circles FAST!

Providing Optimal Rejuvenation to the Periocular Area Using Botulinum Toxin A Neuromodulators and Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers

47:40 - self Lymphatic drainage

48:30 - measuring Inner Age

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #82 - Sergey Young

49:55 - improving neck skin; tightening and smoothing

Providing Optimal Rejuvenation to the Jawline and Perioral Area Using Neuromodulators and Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers

53:45 - surgical interventions

54:35 - Debunking the "natural" movement

57:20 - Injectables

58:10 - Dermal Fillers

1:01:50 - biohacking resources to protect your skin

unlocking your vitality eBook

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #60 - Wim Hof

1:09:45 - venus treatments

Get 15% Off A One-On-One Consultation With The Coupon Code MelanieAvalon15 at rachelvarga.ca/get-started!

1:11:00 - the future of anti-Aging technology


Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. I am so excited about the conversation that I am about to have. It is a topic that I am personally very passionate about, and I know a huge portion of my audience is passionate about as well. That is skincare beauty from the inside and out, and I am here with honestly one of the go-to authorities on the subject matter. You guys probably know her, but I am here with Rachel Varga. She is BScN, RN, CANS, that's a lot of a lot of letters. She's a board-certified aesthetic nurse specialist since 2011. But she's very, very well known in the whole holistic health, biohacking sphere. She has some fabulous podcasts all over Instagram creates really, really amazing content. Like I said, I'm very passionate about skincare and makeup and all that, but I am in no ways even remotely an expert or authority on the subject matter. So, I wanted to do an episode with listener questions to get into all of the topics and bring on one of the best of the best. So, Rachel, thank you so much for being here.

Rachel Varga: It's an absolute pleasure to hang out with you here, Melanie, and I'm looking forward to answering the questions from your audience. Yeah, let's get into it. Let's have some fun.

Melanie Avalon: I know I'm so excited. We actually hung out on your show pretty recently. That was the first time we had connected in life, [giggles] in real life. This is exciting to do around to on this show. You have performed over 20,000 procedures. That’s so many things. I'm just overwhelmed by that.

Rachel Varga: Not all on myself. Just to clarify that. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Actually, that's a question. How much of the stuff that do you do to yourself or are you able to do to yourself?

Rachel Varga: This is actually really interesting because through lockdown, I wasn't able to get the treatments that I usually get in the clinic that I'm part of and all of that. I really leaned into my at-home routine. Continued to stay dialed in with my medical-grade skincare routine, products I use are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial dyes, fragrances, not tested on animals. These are companies I've worked with for about 10 years, because that's how long I've been in the industry is over 10 years helping thousands of clients. I do a ton of at-home derma rolling, and no you do not just want to watch somebody on YouTube talk about rolling and buy a roller off a third-party auction website. There's a lot of safety issues with that. I do a ton of biohacking. Red light therapy, I use my Oura ring to track my sleep, I use all sorts of really cool gadgets that are sitting behind me in my office space here from biofield, readers taking a look at my energy scores, my biofield scores, creating coherent fields in and around my home using some pretty sweet talk, getting out in nature a lot. We can definitely dive into how I biohack for beauty, which is pretty fun.

Melanie Avalon: This is why this woman is amazing. I have to ask just because you mentioned it. With the rolling, is that the jade rollers that you buy, or is it something different?

Rachel Varga: Oh, that's such a great question. Because I feel people get this mixed up all the time. What I don't want people to do is buy CRAP, stuff that, looks cute, is going to be postable and shareable on your Instagram. We really want to become more smart and savvy consumers, because a lot of times we buy these products and gimmicks, and they're maybe supporting some not great companies, and then it creates a lot of waste. Am I a fan of jade rollers? No, not really because in fact, I like to recommend that we use our own fingertips to apply our products and get lymphatic drainage, because our fingertips, our palms, and our faces are actually the highest emitters of photons which are packets of light on our bodies. So, I'd much rather you get that actual stimulation using your fingertips on your face to do some of the Gua Sha therapies. But derma rolling is very different. This is a decades-old practice to use a roller that's basically aerating the lawn, but for the face for creating these little micro channels of injury, and what it does is, it then tells the skin to make more collagen and elastin, because we lose collagen as we age. I have a really great interview with JJ Virgin Ask the Health Expert Podcast, where I talk about collagen, and with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci and Dave Asprey. This is really important. It's like the race to get more collagen to be formed in your body, because we lose about 1% to 3% basically every year.

Derma rolling is a great option, but you do need to have proper guide and I'm actually fortunate enough, the city where I live, one of the godfathers of both Biohacking and also derma rolling live where I live. So, I get the best information straight from the horse's mouth. Yeah, not everybody who talks about derma rolling actually knows what they're talking about. There's a lot of really bad technique advice on places like social media and YouTube. That's where a one-on-one session comes in really handy, where I can actually show you exactly how to use it, but also help you figure out if it's the right option for you, because it's actually not the best option for everybody.

Melanie Avalon: Wow, I'm already learning so much, and now, I'm going into my own questions rather than the listener questions, but really quickly about the collagen. Because so many people focus on the importance of collagen and you just talked about it a lot, and I think there's a huge question about the difference between eating collagen, supporting collagen through eating it versus techniques like you just mentioned, where you're you're stimulating collagen production. I know, I have a listener question about the different types of collagen, 1, 2, and 3 collagen. Is there anything else we need to know about it?

Rachel Varga: Yeah, the science around collagen is actually really exciting. I've heard upwards of over 13 different types of collagen in the body. It is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Collagen typically is coming from animal sources. It's coming from beef skin, chicken skin, fish scale skin. Really, you can do gut testing to see which type of collagen is going to be better for your personal physiology. I’ve actually just interviewed Naveen Jain, the founder of Viome. I've interviewed him two times now. As there's some really great tests that you can do to see which type of collagen will work better for you, but what people don't know about the collagen industry is, okay, well, what was the farm that the animal was raised on? I actually like to support a fantastic Canadian brand that actually has Health Canada approval for their skin nutrients to make claims, for example, reducing skin inflammation. Reduce redness, sensitive skin, reducing breakouts and inflammation that happens after that, like the redness that sticks around, and also hyperpigmentation, so melasma, photo damage, age spots, things like that.

But collagen is really key. I personally used to poo-poo it, because in the medical esthetics space, it's sad how brainwashed clinicians can get in that space. It's like you’ve got to go into the clinic to promote the collagen. Don't bother taking collagen supplements. That conversation I'm really hoping to change, because of the huge interconnectedness and research that is around consuming collagen to support the need for this because it's the most abundant protein in our body. But doing it internally, so supplementing it, is really key, and also then protecting your collagen with your sunscreen, and your skincare, and then in the clinic, getting some deeper collagen-stimulating treatments is the way to go in my opinion.

Melanie Avalon: So, there's not really a blanket recommendation between the different types. It's based on your individual gut microbiome?

Rachel Varga: That's my understanding from different gut tests that I've done. What I'll do is, I'll actually play around with a couple of different types of collagen depending on my mood. That isn't always a bad idea with your supplements as well to mix things up a little bit, because when you work with really great supplements, they are going to have a number of different cofactors mixed in with it. For example, instead of taking a collagen and then an amino acid blend, like your EPA, DHA, things like that, and then other cofactors, which is basically another word for antioxidants, vitamin C, E, A, all sorts of things like that. When you work with really well-made products, they kind of all have them in one, and they're actually designed to be working synergistically. Similar concept to maybe trying to want to incorporate things like a copper peptide serum, a growth factor serum, a vitamin C serum, a vitamin A serum, or a vitamin E serum, instead of layering all those different serums, you can actually work with products that have them all together, and then that final formulation is actually lab tested and determined to be safe and effective.

There's a lot of science actually, that's gone into optimizing skin health in both the nutraceutical space, and also in the skincare space. It's always evolving, but I definitely constantly see new trends and gimmicks come up that break my heart a little bit. So, I just love helping to really keep people on the straight and narrow, but the first thing to know is that it's never going to be one thing. It's never going to be one supplement. It's never going to be one beauty product or one practice. It's about layering everything.

Melanie Avalon: Wow, that actually perfectly leads to the first listener question I was going to ask you. This is so perfect. Sara asked, “What products do our skins truly need? Are there really added benefits to double layering, or can we be a minimalist?” That's something I've actually wondered a lot, because I feel like for me, personally, I went through a period of time where I was like, “Oh, it's all diet. I'm not going to use any products. I'm just going to [laughs] just do it all through diet.” But now, I've come to have a different understanding I think of that. So, when it does come to our skincare, can we be minimalist? Do we need products? What do you think about all of that?

Rachel Varga: Your skin does need to be fed, your skin does need to be cleansed, your skin does want to be protected with sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, that is very real. There is a lot of published research on that. Your skin does want to be exfoliated. In regard to honing things in a little bit, I'm a big fan of cleansing morning and night, moisturizing morning and night, sunscreen every freaking day even if you're not leaving the house, because the blue light-- I heard about this years ago at tech conferences, the research that was coming out on the impacts of LED and blue light on our skin. Some of the data that I've seen is that the artificial light can actually penetrate about three times deeper into the skin than the UVA that we get on the cloudy, rainy days, and then the UVB on the sunny days. So, y ou definitely want to wear your sunscreen every single day.

I do have a-- Actually, it's a free gift at rachaelvarga.ca. It's my Sophisticated Skin Cheat Sheet. I definitely recommend diving into that. But in my experience, making sure that you're focusing on your cleansing, moisturizing, sunscreen, and exfoliation are really the four basics but they have to be the right products for your specific skin goals, so I can help you with that. Then, you can add in the extras like the antioxidant serums, the retinol, the derma rolling, but that would be the progression, and not just say for example, diving straight into a retinol without having a good moisturizer to mitigate the dryness, a good scrub to mitigate the flaking that's going to happen, and a good sunscreen to mitigate the photosensitivity. So, there is a little bit of a method to the madness, and that's really what I hope people walk through.

Melanie Avalon: I guess this answered Dana’s question because she wanted to know, “How important is it to do a morning and night routine every day?” Because she says, she's a busy full time executive working mom, and it's hard to fit both in every single day. But it sounds like they are pretty important.

Rachel Varga: Yeah, definitely don't be one of those women that I have encountered in my over a decade of doing this work that you wear your badge of business as a badge of honor. You have three minutes to do your morning and evening routine. If you don't have three minutes to look after yourself, you're probably not going to live very long, you're probably going to end up with accelerated aging, and you're probably going to develop precancerous or cancerous lesions. I had a really fun conversation with Dave Asprey. He's a good friend of mine. It's Episode 668 on Bulletproof Radio. He said it really well. If you want to “age gracefully,” you're going to end up in a diaper and using a walker. Aging gracefully, if you just follow the mainstream recommendations, you're not going to age well, and you probably are going to get sick. If you're into the biohacking movement, you're like that next level type of human that is happy to take your health into your own hands.

One of the reasons I'm so passionate about skin health is skin is our largest organ, and it's actually the place where a lot of women get just a lot of toxic exposure through their personal care products. If you're dealing with thyroid issues, and hormone issues, and acne, and maybe some autoimmune stuff, you really want to take inventory of what you're putting on your body, in your body, and what you are exposed to daily. No, this isn't medical advice. If you think you have a medical condition, you must seek the guidance of a licensed physician. This is just educational information. But when we go through certain points in our life, perimenopausal, menopausal, postmenopausal, thyroid issues, having kids, you're like a walking imbalanced hormone, and if we're adding toxins into the mix with our beauty products, we're going to really interfere with the body's innate desire to be in homeostasis. So, using clean skincare but that's also going to give you results is really key.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, you are speaking to my heart right now. I'm just so, so passionate about this, and I'm happy to see that I think finally awareness is growing about just the utter horror of the toxins in the conventional skincare industry today. But yes, [laughs] it resonates so much.

Rachel Varga: Can I just do a little bit of a rant here?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, please.

Rachel Varga: Because when I follow dermatologist on social media, on YouTube, I actually did another YouTube video on this. Just check out Rachel Varga Official YouTube, Rachel Varga podcast. This is where I share the stuff where we've had you on as well, Melanie, which was super fun. I see a lot of these clinicians talking about really outdated information. They will make recommendations for toxic beauty products, and they're making those recommendations, because I've actually reached out to some dermatologists and be like, “Why are you recommending these brands that we know are toxic? What's the rationale?” The rationale is the clinical data says that they're well tolerated, which is very outdated, because there's a PubMed study in 2020 saying that the four biggest over the counter brands contain anywhere from 9 to 14 known allergens. That rationale is based on outdated science. Number two, they're recommending them because they're cheap and affordable. Well, just because McDonald's French fries or a pack of cigarettes is cheap and affordable doesn't mean it's good for you.

So, I'm really hoping to create more awareness for the public, because this is just a conversation, I hear all the time. They go to their dermatologist, and they have diffuse redness and sensitivity on their skin, and their derm is giving them a topical to address things as if they've been diagnosed with rosacea. We're not diagnosing here, obviously. Then, they're recommending highly toxic products that contain, for example, all three parabens, which are known hormone disruptors. The industry really has to get with the times in respects to more savvy consumers that are caring about what they're putting on their face and on their body. But it really also comes down to you guys listening to start to make those smarter decisions, and really work with people that are hoping to, and are working towards shifting the industry.

My next paper, because I write papers, I'm on the Board of Plastic Surgical Nursing Journal and a peer reviewer. My next paper is actually going to be an algorithm for clinicians to actually do some pre-testings on their clients before doing things like lasers and injectables to see if their detox pathways can even handle it, because that's what you don't want to do, is have treatments when you're not feeling well and if there's some underlying stuff, because your health should be first and foremost.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm loving this conversation so much. Yeah, looking into the like how they come up with whatever safety regulations they have, it's really frustrating, because basically, they look at compounds and acute situations. It doesn't take into account the fact that we're putting on these compounds likely daily doesn't take into account synergistic effects and cocktail effects, and it's just upsetting. So, thank you for what you're doing.

Rachel Varga: Of course, people are always surprised when I'm making their skincare recommendations, and they're like, “What? It only costs that much? That's what I was spending on one or two products.” I'm like, “You don't need to spend a lot of money to get great products. You just need to have a little bit of guidance as to what's a reasonably priced product that's super clean, medical grade, and is going to be safe and efficacious.”

Melanie Avalon: I love it. This is so enlightening and so hopeful. Actually, since you did talk about the sun, I do have some questions about that. To clarify, very basic question, but when you're saying, wearing sunscreen every day that's on your face, right? Not your body as well?

Rachel Varga: What I want y'all to start doing now is to pay attention to your face, your neck, the sides of the neck, the entire chest area up to the bra line, and your hands. What I see a lot in clients that are 50 and 60 is, they typically put their products on their face, and then they neglect the neck and chest, and then there ends up being this disconnect. Or, with people that just focus on their skin treatments just on their face, and then it's almost like the floating head syndrome, where the skin on the face looks really good, but the neck and the chest doesn't quite match. Great, easy recommendation that everybody can start doing today is, whatever you do to the face, do it to the neck, and the chest, and the top of the hands as well be, because protection against the sun, it's cumulative.

 For my clients that meet with me in their 50s and 60s and they say, “Oh, I never go outside. I never lay in the sun,” they're literally getting cumulative exposure driving from point A to point B, through the LED lights in the home. Sunscreen is really one of the easiest things that you can do to prevent things like collagen loss, age spots, things like that, skin cancers, precancerous lesions. It's really, really key, but it's really key to also use a well-made formulation that doesn't have the toxic chemical sunscreen filters.

Melanie Avalon: 100%. Now, I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about getting concentrated sun exposure for vitamin D production and potentially, depending on where you live, doing small doses of a tanning booth for it? Sarah says, “Are any types of tanning beds safe, or an ideal replacement for actual vitamin D and sun exposure?” How do you feel about tanning beds and vitamin D?

Rachel Varga: Tanning beds, that's going to be a hard no for me. If you go into a tanning salon, every tanning bed has a caution rating on it. You can just look at this yourself. I am guilty of doing the tanning beds for about two years when I was about 17 to 19 because I can't tan outside to save my life but I could develop a little bit of color when I use these accelerators and things like that. But what happened was, I actually pretty soon after that developed a precancerous lesion on my back that was removed, and because of that and my skin type, I'm at a very much higher risk of things like skin cancer. Skin cancer is very real. There's a lot of published data on this a lot of skin cancers can begin and then metastasize into other skin cancers.

My recommendation for getting your UV exposure, which is really important actually for our circadian rhythm and our natural vitamin D production is first thing in the morning, say, when you're drinking your awesome coffee, you're getting your morning grounding in, touching your feet on the earth, let the sunshine go into your eyes because there's some really cool pathways. I’ve talked about this in a conversation with Dr. Elisa Coach on the Rachel Varga Podcast. She's a triple board-certified physician, and she was getting into the details of the pathways that get activated. When we allow sunlight to hit our eyes and the circadian rhythm benefits, I definitely prefer to do full body exposure for a shorter period of time outside. I love the summertime. I'll do my reading or some of my work outside in my bathing suit, but I won't be out there all day long.

I'd rather do that than say just have my legs exposed or just have my arms exposed, I'd rather that little bit of full body exposure. But I also take supplements to help to mitigate oxidative stress from the inside out so I can actually go outside for longer without body sunscreen, because of the nutraceuticals that I take, that are third-party lab tested, and are incredible for reducing that inflammation and oxidative stress from the inside out. If I do know I'm going to be getting a lot of sun, I live on a fantastic island. I'm not a chick once a week that's doing the off-grid lifestyle. I am a full-on nature babe through and through, I'm like fifth generation islander here.

If I know I'm going to be getting full body exposure, what I'll do is, I'll take a shower bath that morning, and while my skin is still a bit humid, then I'll put my sunscreen all over my body, and then, I just find with the humidity, it allows for slightly easier spread, and really good formulations can actually last for about six to seven hours, and the chemical formulations, they stop working after about one to three. So, that's something really important to know about sunscreen.

Melanie Avalon: We actually had a question about sunscreen. Debbie says she uses Beautycounter sunscreen, but they only make SPF 30. She wants to know if-- well, because that's a cleaner product, but in general cleaner products, do they do a better job of protecting the skin?

Rachel Varga: I'd like to see some clinical data from Beautycounter. I don't know if they have any research on their final formulations. I trust brands that do actually do third-party lab testing on their sunscreens, because that sunscreen rating, anything that's over 60 doesn't mean anything.

Melanie Avalon: That's what I've heard. Yeah.

Rachel Varga: Yeah, it's a bit of a marketing thing, unfortunately. I like to work with brands that I know that I can trust that are going to be giving me that six-to-seven-hour protection. I can't speak to Beautycounter in particular, and actually how efficacious that SPF 30 claim might be. So, I can't really answer that without seeing any research data.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, but as far as the question for cleanliness of a product, do you think that at all affects the effectiveness, or is it really just we’ve got to look at the testing that they have?

Rachel Varga: Well, it's really both. What I want you to stop using on your body right this second is anything with avobenzone or oxybenzone in the chemical sunscreen active ingredient. If you have a primer BB cream, moisturizer, foundation, or sunscreen that has any of those ingredients, I literally want you to check it right now, and just reach out, book a consult with me, and I will get you on the straight and narrow for a sunscreen that can either be a primer, give a dewy complexion, or yeah, tinted, untinted. There's so many incredible options. But you just want to be able to trust that the sunscreen you're using is actually going to last as long as you're hoping it well.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I could not agree more yet again. Still in this area of sun and tying into something you already mentioned, and that is retinol. Oh, my goodness. I’ve got so many questions from retinol, and they're all pretty much the same question, but just so people can hear their questions about it. Carla said, “What's up with Retin-A and retinol products, why are they so bad? Retin-A is just vitamin A, what else is added?” Denise says, “Retin-A and retinol toxic? I need to convince myself to stop using them. They are the number one studied and proven antiagers for the skin.” Stephanie said, “Why is retinol toxic other than vitamin A toxicity and sun sensitivity? Dr. Paul Saladino says most people are vitamin A deficient, and that the sun sensitivity thing can be corrected by nightly use and sunscreen.” Then, Mary says, “I'd like to know about retinol as well. I had basil cell removed from my face recently. I'm wondering if there's a connection considering I always use sunscreen.”

I know when I went on your show, we’ve discussed retinol a little bit. I had seen from my research that there were potential toxicity issues with retinol, and since then I've looked into it a little bit more, I thought we could have a nuanced discussion and maybe clear up some of the myths surrounding retinol.

Rachel Varga: What I see happen a lot is hearing clients that have say gotten a retinal from their doctor, or they picked one up from the drugstore, and then they started using it, and then what happens is red, dry flakiness happens. This is called the retinoid reaction phase. I do have a process I take my clients with in order to mitigate this retinoid reaction phase, because it does happen. That's why you need to have a really great basic routine that's customized just for you to mitigate the dryness, to also mitigate the increased cell turnover, which is what retinal does, because our skin cell turnover slows down over time. Then, yes, it does make you a bit photosensitive. So, you need a really good sunscreen.

There was a dermatologist who started to notice in-- I can't remember his name. You'll have to fact check me on this, but I remember reading his story that, he had a number of young clients come in, they were developing skin cancers, and they were all vitamin A deficient. That's one of the reasons why I like to take internal supplements to actually help reduce oxidative stress by a mechanism of giving my body antioxidants to fight free radical damage, which is what UV does. Retinol, it has been studied for decades, and is proven to be efficacious for just that as well topically. However, not all retinal products are made equally. When you're getting a generic retinol that's maybe been prescribed for you, sometimes that retinol could have other ingredients that are actually what's causing toxicity and have toxic actives.

There are much cleaner versions of retinol that's available. There's also different types of vitamin A and retinol. Some are going to be stronger, some are going to be in higher concentrations, some are going to be, for example, a retinaldehyde, those can sometimes have different qualities. Having the right guidance on how to incorporate vitamin A into your routine, and if it's something that you're going to tolerate, how to slowly incorporate it in there. I’ve work with a lot of individuals that are on screen a lot, a lot of celebrities, busy working professionals that don't have time to push through the retinoid reaction phase. So, I do have a protocol that I like to take my clients with so that they can get the benefits of vitamin A, but not have to experience those retinoid reaction phase signs, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think you have to push through it. But then, there's going to be some people that just flat-out vitamin A doesn't necessarily agree with them. You will see this with just about everything on the market. Not everything is good for everybody. That's just important for you to know. You do have to have some proper guidance on how to use retinol and not just pick up a tube of it, and just start using it right away, because a lot of times I find people are actually using it incorrectly, and don't have the right products on hand to mitigate the irritation expected from it.

Melanie Avalon: So, that retinoid, the reaction phase that you have, the fact that you adjust to it, are your skin cells adjusting to having a faster turnover rate? And so there-- this is a multifaceted question. The faster turnover from retinal in the beginning in that phase when you're adjusting, is it making the cells more immature in a way, and that's why they can't-- That's what I read, is that they're immature cells, because they're turning over so fast, so they don't have the skills to deal with sun protection, and that's why you are photosensitive. Is that what is actually going on there? Then, do your cells adjust to that? If so, and is that why you stick it out, and then, you're okay on the flip side? [giggles]

Rachel Varga: It's a great question. What I've noticed in working with my clients is that when someone meets with me for the first time in a virtual call, for example, and they have things like skin sensitivity, diffuse redness, we obviously don't want to start with a retinol. What we want to do is stabilize the skin first, and then, slowly start to incorporate these actives. I like to use the analogy of we want to whisper to the skin first. Then, we want to start talking to it with a little bit of actives, and then we want to have a conversation with it, with say derma rolling or laser therapies. But you don't want to put the cart before the horse, and not have the skin stabilized first. But once your skin has become use to having sprinkling and whispers of actives in your products, I definitely see in my clients more glossiness to the skin, less diffuse redness, which actually can usually even happen within just a couple of days to two weeks.

The skin cell cycle is about a month. But as we age, that skin cell cycle can actually slow down a little bit. That's why retinol can be helpful for speeding that up. The skin that we see is actually dead skin. This is just one of my theories. The more time that there is between the skin cell, the more opportunity there is for the cell before it makes its way to the surface to actually have mutations and damage to it. So, faster skin turnover is going to be a sign of more healthy, vibrant skin.

Melanie Avalon: Do you think there's a limit though? This is the only thing I theorize about or wonder about, especially, if you took retinol and you're doing these practices to speed up cell turnover earlier in life, just because of things like the Hayflick limit and the limited amount times that cells can divide, do you think in the end, there's the potential that it might cause early aging, or are there not even really any studies on it?

Rachel Varga: I don't know if I could get behind that claim, that vitamin A could potentially cause early signs of aging, just because there's overwhelming literature that it actually is one of the most potent antiaging oxidants. That being said, it's not going to be well tolerated by everybody. For myself, do I use a really strong retinol a couple of nights a week? Not really, because I find that when I just have products that have little whispers of it, my skin tends to be a little bit better that way. So, it comes down to the tolerability of the client, and also, the cleanliness and percentage of concentration of the retinol.

But too much of a good thing isn't a good thing. This is when it comes down to starting to become more intuitive with your body and also what you're putting on your skin. That's really important, because I really feel intuitively, we kind of know if something's going to be good for us or not. We just actually have to listen to ourselves. That's why sometimes biohackers, we can rely so much on technology and we forget to go within, and we're just always looking at this external data and these metrics, when really we just need to take a moment to listen to what is feeling could be good for us, and maybe avoiding things that feels it might not be good for us.

Melanie Avalon: I could not agree more. [giggles] That was absolutely wonderful. Some skin issues that people have, a lot of people want to know about puffiness. Crystal, she says, “Only one side of my face droops and is puffy. It’s under my eye. I don't even sleep on that side.” Natalie says, “Is there anything we can do in the morning that helps us look awake and less puffy?” Then, Meg also wants to know-- this is a little bit different, but she says, “What is the best way to get rid of dark eye circles?” Darkness, puffiness, I know it's hard because we're all individual, and that's why listeners, you will all have to do a consultation with Rachel, which we do have a coupon for, which is amazing that I'll talk about at the end. But in general, puffiness and darkness, is there some solutions for that?

Rachel Varga: I'm thrilled you answered this question for me because I got two free resources for you guys to check out right away. Number one on my YouTube, I have an excellent video talking about the eyes, and the aging process around the eyes, eye bags, things like that. Then, my first academic article that I've published in the Plastic Surgical Nursing Journal is also talking about the aging process around the brows, the eyelids, the upper, lower, hooded eyelids, lower eyebags, and how we can mitigate that. If you search my name, Rachel Varga, on PubMed, you can actually find that paper, and if you're a clinician listening-- I have a lot of doctors and nurses follow me. I basically wrote that paper to add to the body of knowledge, because I was seeing so many people dive straight into tear trough fillers in order to correct lower eyebags, dark eye circles, tear trough indentations, and I was probably fixing about two to three botched tear trough filler treatments a week. These issues would arise a month later, three months later, nine months later, nine years later. I just got sick and tired of it, and noticed that there needed to be change in the industry, which is why I wrote that paper. So, I'd love for you guys to check those out.

When we're talking about lower eye fullness and bags, there's a couple of things happening. We lose bone, we lose fat, and we also lose collagen and elastin in our skin. Some of us have fatty deposits like little pockets of fat in the lower eyelid that no cream or laser treatment is going to be able to take care of like, for example, lower eyelid surgery would. If you are considering investigating treatments for the eyes, reach out to me. I'll make some recommendations based on my network of providers, and keep you on the straight and narrow with that. But I really want everybody to avoid those magical undereye serums and eye creams that promise to depuff, get rid of dark circles, because they don't. An eye cream is going to be really great at providing hydration, and peptides, and really important factors for the skin to make things healthy, and sunscreen, so that's where I can make specific recommendations based on your needs.

The darkness, basically, if you look at the inner part of your forearm, there, you can see veins on your arms. Actually, I did a really great cadaver lab with Dr. [unintelligible [00:37:48] He's from the Mayo Clinic in Toronto. When you pull apart the skin in the lower eyelid, what's underneath is blood supply and muscles. When you're looking at the inside of your arm, you're seeing that darkish hue from where your veins are. That's what you're see in your lower eyelid. The skin that is on top of your lower eyelid muscles and blood supply and all that is like paper thin. In this cadaver lab, he actually lifted up the skin, and then a little white piece of paper that had a B on it, he put it underneath the skin, and the skin there is a super transparent, and you can actually see that letter B on the piece of paper when he put the skin back in place in the lower eyelid.

This is a really interesting area for people to waste a lot of time and money on with gimmicks. I am a fan of doing yourself lymphatic drainage and using your fingertips. If say your eyes are feeling a little tired or you're even having acne and congestion, you can basically do sweeping motions from the middle of the face down to the sides, and then down the neck to support your facial and neck lymphatic drainage, because that lymph typically doesn't move around a lot, you actually have to move it yourself. So, when you're doing your cleansing, your moisturizer, your sunscreen, you can actually just use your fingertips to flush out old stagnant lymphatic fluid, and allow for new fluid to carry micronutrients and circulation to come in and feed and nourish and bathe the skin.

Melanie Avalon: I had on Sergey Young on the podcast, and he's an investor in longevity technology. But I actually learned in that conversation that when they track people's their inner age, their biological age versus their “real” age, if they look at the skin around the eye that correlates to people's “actual” age which is fascinating. There's so much that can be learned.

Rachel Varga: Yeah, I’ve talked about how in my paper, the skin around the eyes is really the first area of the face to show signs of aging. Because it's hyper mobile. We're smiling, we're blinking. There's actually a circular muscle group that wraps around the eye. It's called the orbicularis oculi, and it's circular muscle groups around the eye. That's where you get the perpendicular crow's feet. Also, in the lower eyelid, that muscle create a bunching and flexion of the skin. When you flex your bicep, your skin pops up as well. That can be a contributing factor on the eye.

Yeah, that's why as soon as you can just really start to get dialed in with your skincare routine, good sunscreen, good clean makeup, maybe adding a couple of really great dermal rolling practices, laser rejuvenation treatments around the eyes. Yep, the eyes have been my specialty, having been in an oculoplastic surgery clinic for the last 10 years. The eyes are my jam.

Melanie Avalon: This is absolutely, absolutely incredible. Moving down the face, we're at the eyes. You spoke a little bit about the neck. I got a lot of questions about the neck. Jennifer wants to know, “What are the best ways or things to do to tighten the neck?: Lina wants to know, “How can I avoid turkey neck?” Shannon says, “Can we do anything for the jowls? I just started seeing them. Maybe face yoga. What can we do?”

Rachel Varga: I’ve got more good news for you. I just wrote a second paper on my jawline algorithm.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. This is perfect.

Rachel Varga: Yeah, so, I wrote one for the upper face, for the brows and eyelids, and also, for the jaw line. By the time this podcast is live, that paper should be published through Plastic Surgical Nursing Journal, and you'll be able to find it on PubMed when you just search my name Rachel Varga. They're more for clinicians. It's not really for necessarily general public information, just because there's a lot of medical jargon in there. But the hypermobile areas of the face are the eyes through blinking and smiling, and then also, there's a couple of muscle groups to the jaw line. Your jowl is out actually a muscle, and what happens to our muscles when we work them out? They get bigger, they get bulkier. So, that's why our jowls, our chin, as well as our nose and our ears get larger as we age. There are some options available for shrinking the jowls. I'm not going to make specific treatment or product recommendations on this podcast, just because not everything is going to be great for everybody. So, I just have to be careful how I say that. But there are some pretty great off-label options for treatments. That's why I wrote my paper, is just to add to the body of knowledge, so other clinicians can get great results like I have for my clients over a decade.

There are some muscle changes. There's also some bone loss that we experienced to the upper and lower jaw lines. So, we get the recession. And then also, the loss of collagen and elastin. Everything ends up sagging to the jaw line and also under the chin. Sometimes under the chin, people think that they have fat, but it could actually be loss of collagen, loss in bone support, but also a salivary gland, and muscle hypertrophy. That can actually be what's creating the bulk which is why I wrote this paper. Because there's all these new injectables always coming on the market, and safety really matters to me. I actually go by a 10-year rule in the world of aesthetic medicine and esthetic nursing for facial rejuvenation injectables, because I have seen problems. Unknown side effects can always occur with esthetic injectable procedures, and that's actually in the published data, so that can also apply to other things that are very current right now. It's just important for you to know just because you see advertisements and aesthetic treatments are available, doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be safe long term. They're really expensive.

Why I wrote that paper was, I just see a lot of people wasting time and money on things that might not be the most cleanest, safest and most efficacious option for them. Then for the neck, for turkey neck, it really depends what's going on. If it's the horizontal lines like [unintelligible [00:44:24] neck, there's definitely some options for popping out those lines and promoting collagen there. Sometimes, just there's a lot of neck laxity, and honestly, sometimes a facelift can be an option for somebody. I'm very honest with people when they meet with me if I think that they're going to be candidates potentially for at-home options, in-clinic options and nonsurgical, surgical, I can provide some educational information on that.

Melanie Avalon: For surgical interventions like facelifts, eyelifts, I don't know the vast array of things you can do, but I imagine there's a lot. What are the potential harms with that, or if they're suited for the person, are there not really many potential harms?

Rachel Varga: Well, if you look at surgeries from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, anytime you have a surgery, there is going to be an interference with the TCM points and alignments within your tissue, and meridians, and things like that. There's that, but there's also the topic and the concept of, if something's really bothering you and you want to do something about it, that's a personal choice. There are options that are available. Sometimes, for the eyelids, surgery can be an option. Eyelid surgeries and rhinoplasties are actually the most commonly performed surgeries available. They're very, very common, more common than you think. It really depends on your personal goals, obviously, your health needs to be taken into consideration as well. There's definitely specific surgeons that I could recommend for different things you're looking at, that are going to be hyperspecialized in that particular area.

Melanie Avalon: I think there can be this idea, especially in the holistic health world, that everything should be all natural, and you shouldn't be doing things like surgeries or plastic surgeries.

Rachel Varga: Oh, wait a second here. I want to make sure we touch on this, because anything “natural” is just from the earth. Petroleum is natural, rocket fuel’s natural. Does it mean that it's good to put on or in our bodies? Probably not. The word natural is actually a bit of a marketing ploy. So, I just wanted to jump in on that.

Melanie Avalon: I agree. I agree so much. A sense of morality gets tied into it in a way like, oh, if you're not doing it “naturally,” then that's not real, but I'm all about empowering the individual, and I think if people want to do things to change their body, and they get a sense of confidence or they just feel better in their skin from that, I have no problem with that. I'm just very fascinated by the thoughts surrounding it.

Rachel Varga: We need to make sure that we're focusing on our health first though. That's first and foremost. If you're not feeling great, don't do treatments. Nobody's making you go into the clinic and get that procedure done, especially when you're not feeling well. That's actually going to be the next paper that I'm going to be writing is actually an algorithm for other clinicians to do some labs first on their clients to make sure that know, number one, their detox pathways can handle it. That's really key. I am disrupting the industry a little bit, but every time I present on these topics at conferences like big plastic surgery, aesthetic nursing, ascetic medicine conferences, I get overwhelmingly positive feedback that other clinicians are really feeling this way, too.

It's just really important for you as the listener and the potential consumer to know that your health is first and foremost. But if you look in the mirror every single day, and something's bothering you and taking care of that is going to bring you joy, there's nothing wrong with that as well. But I definitely think that everybody should be focusing on their skin health first and foremost with a really good clean medical-grade AM and PM routine.

Melanie Avalon: Perfect. I love hearing that. We're on the same page. Some questions about the injectables that you did mention, because I did get some questions about that. Andrea wants to know, “How harmful is Botox or Juvéderm?” Corinne wants to know, “Fillers, Botox, are they from the devil?” You’ve mentioned injectables. Is there a range of toxicity? Are some safe? How does it affect our skin and our toxicity levels?

Rachel Varga: In my papers, I actually have a table that lists out the different molecular weights of the different neurotoxins on the market. I can talk about this stuff, because it's published data. I have to be very careful when I talk about it as well so that it's accurate information. Not all neuromodulators are made equally. For example, there's one neuroma-- I'm not going to make specific brand names. You guys can meet with me, I'll be very honest and transparent in that way. Some neuromodulators is just the jellybean, and some neuromodulators is like the jellybean inside of a tennis ball. The tennis ball is representative of different complex proteins and preservatives that don't need to be there. In fact, when it's injected, it dissociates. The biggest risk with that, and again, this is unpublished data, is the prevalence of forming antibodies against the jellybean which you're wanting to work to give that browlift or eyelid lift, things like that. That's definitely in the data that I am aware of. Not every clinician cares to look at the research in the way that I do. But more and more are like waking up to the fact that, “Yeah, there are cleaner options. Why wouldn't we want to offer cleaner options?” I can help you understand what those options are.

Dermal fillers certainly do carry higher risk of things like blocking blood flow, lymphatic drainage. There have been cases of blindness with dermal fillers. Injectables, honestly, are the last thing that I recommend my clients do. Starting with your skincare, your at-home stuff, do your biohacking stuff, honestly, with the biohackers, y'all are way ahead of the game anyways, which is fantastic. That in and of itself is going to help you age better. Then, do that progression to in-clinic stuff in a way that feels just right for you, and isn't in accordance with your budget, with your lifestyle, your values, but there are some really great noninjectable options.

Me, personally, I am moving more away from just injectables and more towards that, “Yo, how can we really age better biologically, not just look great?” because we're in this era of people who they look great on their Instagram, but then they're just totally toxic. Body, mind, spirit, energy, you meet with them, and you're like, “Whoa, you look and seem so different than in your photos and your videos.” That's really important. It's like you don't have to beat yourself up if you can't afford to do rejuvenation treatments. Focus on the body, mind, spirit, energy optimization to bring forth a higher level of radiance. This is my passion, I feel, this is my life's work, which is radiance, which I talk all about on my show as well. A lot of that stuff is free, and if you do want to do stuff, just make sure that you have all the information that you need to make the safest decision for you.

Melanie Avalon: Out of these free things that we can do to support our radiance, are there any specific things you can talk about that you see specifically really affect the skin, or is it really just all the different things and raising your vibration, or there are some specific ones that have really potent effects like cold, or I don't know all the different options?

Rachel Varga: It's never going to be one thing. What I started to observe in my 10 years of clinical experience in this field working with individuals that would walk in the room, or show up online, and they're just like beaming radiance, these are usually individuals, 15-16 up. It's really interesting, because I’ve started to take notes out of these individuals’ playbooks, and I have just their beautiful faces and names coming to my mind right now. They are why I do this work, because it's really having the cultivated body, mind, spirit, energy practices is going to keep you in a better level of homeostasis, so body balancing, hormone balancing, and you're going to have less likelihood of toxins, and CRAP to accumulate in your biofield energetically in your physiological structures, the molecules of you. This is a really deep concept of what radiance is, and I do talk about this in one of my eBooks, Unlocking Your Vitality that you can get at my website at rachelvarga.ca but it's really worthwhile. I'm just encouraging all of you to have body, mind, spirit, energy practices. All of those things. I feel with the biohackers, we’re very much into the physical and into the metrics, and we maybe have strayed away from some of the other spiritual and energetic practices that are actually maybe even more important. It's always about balancing.

Personally, I love cold therapy. Like I said, I go off grid one day a week, and I'm three hours out of cell reception. Yes, I have multiple bear and cougar encounters. I have all the necessary tools, but I'm not a person getting into these majestic waterfalls and getting that cold therapy. Honestly, my skin, when I do that for that week is on point. I notice I have fewer breakouts and I postulate that it's just due to the stress response, and the reduction of inflammation that can happen through those cold exposure pathways. But not to discount the importance of sleep, so tracking that with your Oura ring, using your red light therapy, I love using my red light therapy in my morning and evening routine, I actually keep my panel in my bathroom. I have it on while I'm doing my self-care routine.

But yeah, don't downplay the importance of keeping your vibe high, focusing on love. joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Especially with the crazy stuff going on, it's easy to get in that loop of talking, how you would vent about that ex-boyfriend, with your girlfriends, and stuff like that. We're doing the same thing with world events right now, and it's not helpful. So, really trying to keep that positive outlook is just really going to be great for you. Really, from a hormonal standpoint as well. So, we can't downplay the importance of our thoughts or consciousness, what we spend our time and attention on, and the physiological implications.

Melanie Avalon: I cannot agree more. I'm just smiling so much right now. For listeners, I'll put a link in the show notes to the interview I did with Wim Hof, because that was-- If you're at all interested in both the cold exposure like we were just talking about, and just this idea of vitality, and energy, and resonance, that conversation, I will put a link to it. It was absolutely amazing. I'm jealous that you have the ability to [giggles] live where you live and have that exposure in nature. But right before this, I was looking at a place near me where I can actually do unlimited cryotherapy and cryofacials. I've never done the localized cryotherapy on the face. Have you done that with one of the machines?

Rachel Varga: I think that technology is pretty new. The cryotherapy in the clinic, I definitely see this happening with first-generation laser body contouring, injectable technologies, is that they actually get better as the years go on. Reiteration second-, third-generations of the device. I'd love to see some clinical data, I'd love to see some accurate before and after photos. Because a lot of times when I see before and after photos, they're misleading, because that after photo is a combination approach usually skincare, lasers, injectables, sometimes even surgery, and I can tell that, that before and after photo is not from that one facial cream. [laughs] It's really easy for me to spot this out. But I'm really excited for the convenience factor of getting cryotherapy either in the clinic or bringing it at-home.

But also, don't downplay how awesome it is to get that free cold exposure, because there is this element of structured water. Water flowing in its most natural state is the most readily available or bioavailable form of water for our body. Yes, I love drinking structured water. I have something that I'm wearing, and also a device behind me that creates more of a coherent structured field, we’re basically bags of water. Yeah, cryotherapy, sign me up, but I do like doing it in nature, so that you're getting that grounding element as well.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. I love cold shower blasts. That’s another easy, free way that you can get your cold in the morning or evening, I guess. You’ve mentioned red light. That is one thing that I love. I have my devices as well. Just in general, because I know people use red light for all different reasons, but near infrared light, the effect it has on my mood is what I experienced the most benefits from, but when it does come to the skin, Jennifer wants to know, “Does read light and near infrared light work to help reduce wrinkles and firm skin?” She says she has a Joovv device, but she wants to know, is it better to get a device that's specific to the face? Yeah, just a few more questions about that red light.

Rachel Varga: I don't like to put down products and brands that I don't love. You'll notice that I don't do negative reviews or be like, “Don't buy this. It's garbage.”

Melanie Avalon: I'm the same way. [giggles]

Rachel Varga: Yeah, I don't want to put down somebody's business and stuff like that. However, in a one-on-one call or in my skin camps, you're getting the complete unfiltered version of me, because I will say that stuff more privately but not publicly. I do actually have a facial red light near infrared device. Do I use it just for the face? No, I actually really like it for headaches. I like it for my neck pain. Yeah, I'd say my red-light therapy-- Some of the biggest reasons I like to use it is just I like the light. I find it's really great for waking me up, or calming me down before bed, the sleep implications with that. I do find it actually helps me with my dry eye. 50% of the population’s got dry eye. I like that. With that little bit of heat and stimulation of the meibomian glands to then release oil that actually helps to hydrate your eyeballs. If you're looking at a computer screen all the time, I really like the red-light therapy for that. Do I think it's going to make night and day changes to the skin? No. It's going to be a layer. So, it's all about putting into practice the pieces of the puzzle.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, I love that. It sounds like we're similar. You said, you like the way it makes you feel, I just find it so calming to have that light on in the morning and evening, and even as ambient light during the day, I just really, really love it. I’ve recently got, have you heard of Venus? Of course, you've probably heard of everything. I got Venus treatments recently. I was wondering if you had thoughts on that procedure.

Rachel Varga: I have many thoughts on that procedure. But it's not something that [laughs] I'm going to talk about. There's many different lasers and options on the market. There's definitely ones that I really, really like, and there's ones that I don't really like, because I just see so many people spending a ton of money on treatments, and they're hoping that it'll be the one silver bullet, but it's not. It's just important to know that with a lot of these skin lifting or skin tightening products and procedures, they tend to underwhelm people. But then again, they can be this really nice layer. So, it really depends what you're wanting to get out of that treatment.

Melanie Avalon: Listeners, I'm going to go ahead and mention this link. You can go to rachelvarga.ca/get-started, and I'll put this in the show notes. But that's for a one-on-one consultation with Rachel, and you can get 15% off with the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON15. So, super grateful for that. I feel everybody's going to want to do a consultation now. This is just absolutely incredible.

Rachel Varga: Yeah, I'm thrilled to be able to just give helpful advice in a way that is in accordance with your budget, your lifestyle, your specific skin needs, and help you come up with that at home, and an in-clinic plan, and just really stay on the straight and narrow, and know what to say, “No, thank you,” to, and what to really invest your time and money. Time, you're not going to get back. Money is a resource that we spend to get benefit from. Yeah, that's just my passion to help out, because there's a lot of garbage products and technologies out there.

Melanie Avalon: What technology are you most excited about, or maybe new technology? Betty wanted to know your thoughts on stem cell growth serums, for example, but what do you think is the future of antiaging when it comes to the technology side of things?

Rachel Varga: I think that the skin care technology around growth factors and stem cells continues to get better, and better, and better as the years go on. But just a reminder that, just because you buy a product, and it says it has vitamin C, Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, peptides, growth factors, stem cells, or things to create stem cells, or basically create happy cells in your body, just because those products have those specific ingredients, it doesn't actually mean that those ingredients are actually getting integrated into your skin cells to then make signaling happen to, for example, stimulate happy and healthy collagen. It's just really important for you to know that third-party lab testing, using products that have been on the market for a while is usually a really good sign. I definitely have specific recommendations for products that I think are great in regard to that.

My favorite piece of technology is actually the large hadron collider. I'm a huge, huge nerd. You have no idea how much of a science and a particle physics nerd I am. My ideal holiday would actually be a tour around the large hadron collider. This is the particle accelerator. This is a multicountry effort. This is the hugest, the biggest thing that humans have ever made bigger than the pyramids. Actually, there was a really cool study that was done on the large hadron collider in about 2017, 2016. That's where the God particle was discovered. The Higgs boson field, basically this like network between every single particle is that field, and that was actually visualized and detected. They had the accelerator closed down for the last couple of years to update their detectors. They actually just did a recent study on get this, beauty quarks. That is actually a particle physics term, beauty quarks. I think that is just so cool, and what we learn in these very, deep science, particle physics investigations absolutely do make their way into consumer applications. This is what we see with space and NASA stuff, air filters, a lot of these air filtration devices, ways to harmonize how we feel a lot of biohacking gadgets start in that industrial realm, and then make their way into the physical world. So, I'm really excited to see what happens with LHC.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, my mind is being blown. The LHC, what is it? Is it a machine?

Rachel Varga: Yeah, it's basically an accelerator. It’s is big loop, and they basically smash particles together, and then where they're being smashed together, there's these detectors that then get a snapshot of what's happening in that space and time. Basically, it is helping to fill in unknown gaps and postulated aspects of physical science in particle physics, quantum physics world. It's getting fired up again right now this year, and I'm really excited to see what new information comes forth there, because the Higgs boson particle field, that really was kind of world, life changing in our understanding of the physical sciences, and that space in between.

Rachel Varga: My mind is being blown. This is so exciting, right up my alley. Wow, talk about an epic way to bring our conversation to a close, Rachel, this has been absolutely amazing. Again, for listeners, we’ve talked about so many resources for which I cannot thank you enough. Again, I'll put links to all of those in the show notes. And friends, you can get a one-on-one consultation with Rachel, which is amazing. Again, the link for that is rachelvarga.ca/get-started. The promo code, MELANIEAVALON15, will get you 15% off your order. Are there any other links that you would like to put out there, Rachel, and what are the best places for listeners to follow your work?

Rachel Varga: Yeah, rachelvarga.ca, everything is there. Stay tuned for some of my free stuff that I have on the Rachel Varga Podcast, the Rachel Varga YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram. I'm actually trying to withdraw a little bit on social media right now, just because of energy stuff. But I still love hosting conversations and doing one-on-one calls. But yeah, the podcast is really my favorite spot to go, so the Rachel Varga Podcast, and I also have a second podcast, the Beauty and the Biohacker Podcast as well. They're just really great fun, positive resources to help you guys stay on the straight and narrow with how you're aging, and just making smarter consumer decisions that aren't going to really negatively impact your health, but doing things in a way that will allow you to look great, age well, and feel good in the process.

Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you so much. You are just such a valuable, fantastic resource for all of this. I am just blown away by your knowledge, and expertise, and what you're doing. The very last question that I asked every single guest on this show, and it's just because I appreciate more and more each day, how important mindset is like we talked about. So, what is something that you're grateful for?

Rachel Varga: I am grateful-- I was actually talking about this with my husband the other night. It's like, “What are you grateful for?” He's like, “Well, I'm 90% grateful, but then there's 10% that I'm not so grateful for.” It's like stop focusing on the 10%. Focus on the 99.9% of the great stuff that's around you. I'm grateful for having joy in my life, getting to connect with so many wonderful souls across the globe through wonderful conversations like what we're having here today, Melanie, and I look forward to meeting some of the listeners here as well, and hanging out, and having a good time together. I'm really grateful for a connection. Even though it's a bit different in this virtual space, I've actually made lots of internet friends, which is really fun.

I'm always grateful for my personal protection, and what that means for me, and why I'm here, and just to help people really understand that radiance is so much more than skin deep. It really is body, mind, spirit, energy optimization to bring forth a higher level of radiance and beauty, and I just feel so happy to be able to share those practices that can just make you look better and live better.

Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you so much, Rachel. I'm just glowing. This conversation has been so amazing. I'm so excited for a lot of my listeners to connect with you, and we're just going to have to stay in touch. This has just been absolutely wonderful. So, thank you so much.

Rachel Varga: Thank you so much, Melanie, for having me on your show, and spreading a little bit of safety awareness, and really support what you're doing too with how biohacking is seriously, one of the cornerstones to aging well and having great skin. So, thank you for the work that you're doing as well, Melanie. It's very important.

Melanie Avalon: Yay, I'm so happy. Well, we will stay in touch, and I will talk to you soon in the future.

Rachel Varga: Perfect. See you soon. Bye.

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