Glow With the Season: Tips for Healthy Skin from Chicago’s Top Skin Care Guru

Lifestyle & Wellness

I sat down with Chicago’s top skin care guru to find out what’s essential to healthy skin. We agreed that some foods are better and that there are a few easy things to incorporate into your routine to glow with the season! 

I have to admit I didn’t give much thought to my skin up until this past year. I’m 26 and through high school and college was very minimal in my use of cleansers, moisturizers and even face wash at times. I’m lucky in the sense that my skin has always been fairly low maintenance (minimal acne, breakouts few and far between) but even though it could look fine from the outside, I still always felt like I should be doing more to protect it and give it what it needs to stay healthy, especially this time of year. Enter Leah from Leah Chavie Skincare.

I like to call Leah the skin queen of Chicago because she is truly a guru of the skin, and incredibly knowledgeable on everything from research-based treatments to your individualized at home skin routine. She’s been in the business for over 20 years and through the skin fads that come and go, Leah takes a tried and true individualized approach to skin treatments that truly leave you glowing after each appointment. Panicked that I’m not doing enough when it came to my own skin, Leah has assured me time and time again that it’s not always necessary to try every new skin trend out there, but rather figure out exactly what your skin needs and work from there.

Just like my approach with clients looks at the entire picture of health and wellness, Leah’s approach to the health of your skin does the same. She takes the time to learn about your history, routines, and current skin stressors to treat, rehydrate and help your skin shine to its fullest potential. In the time since I’ve been getting treatments with her I’ve felt more confident without a drop of makeup on my face, and more me in my own skin than ever before. An appointment at her skincare boutique has become such a staple in my self-care routine that I know is helping me build a foundation for healthy skin for life. At home, I still have a fairly simple routine which includes a heavier moisturizer to combat the harsh Chicago winter air! 

We got to talking one day and came up with the idea for glow with the season, a discussion about skin health on everything from treatments for different skin types to foods that help to nourish and brighten your skin–after all, it’s your biggest organ! This time of year while filled with beautiful holiday celebrations can also be a time when caring for ourselves can get pushed to the back burner. Not to mention dehydrating alcoholic drinks! Pair that with the harsh dry air, shorter periods of sunlight, and cold and flu season and our physical and mental health can seriously take a hit.

I sat down (and chimed in!) with Leah to get some of the questions I hear the most when it comes to skin care. She’s busting common misconceptions when it comes to the health of your skin, sharing simple things you can do to care for your skin that don’t break the bank and we’re talking foods that help keep you glowing all season long! Another point worth mentioning is this idea Leah calls “facial fitness”. Just like you wouldn’t go to the gym and expect results after one time, your skin needs that type of upkeep too. Being consistent with the preventive treatments is the best way to stay on top of the health of your skin.

Are there certain foods that are especially good for your skin? (We tag teamed this question!)

“Yes! In fact, you may be eating some of them already! Foods rich in monounsaturated fats (aka healthy fat) like avocados, olive oil, fish, and walnuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids help to keep your skin moisturized and reduce inflammation in the body that can inadvertently show up on your skin. They also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect your skin from free radical damage.

Another food I am very happy to report is good for your skin is pumpkin! Pumpkin is packed with beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for skin cell growth and helps to keep skin soft, smooth, and wrinkle free. You may have seem skin products with pumpkin in them and that’s for good reason! Pumpkin seeds are another great source of omega-3s, zinc and vitamin E making them a perfect snack to keep on hand in the winter to help protect your skin.

Staying hydrated with enough water is something we don’t always think about as important to skin health but is something that can help our skin look more plump and less wrinkled. Holiday cocktails and cold temperatures are both super dehydrating so make sure you make drinking water a priority at parties too. In the winter I also like to start my day with a hot lemon water before I drink my coffee to rehydrate when I wake up.”

Do some foods like dairy and chocolate cause breakouts?

Diet is extremely important all around for the functions of the skin! The skin is the largest organ of the body, so we should take care of it the way we do the rest of our organs! For both dairy and chocolate, the way these foods effects your skin is going to vary person to person. For chocolate, it is more likely that the high levels of sugar is what may cause a breakout rather than the cocoa itself. As for dairy, if you consume a high amount, there are hormones in cows milk that can react with the testosterone levels in the body (for males and females!). This can in turn cause an increase in oil production which can clog pores and lead to breakouts.”

What’s the best thing you can do for your skin as the seasons change/ in the winter? 

“Definitely pay attention to your skin as it changes with the seasons!”

What’s the best thing you can do for your skin in your twenties?

You have the most active collagen production in your 20’s and the biggest concern I see for most in this age range is scarring from acne, texture and what to do for anti-aging. My recommendation is to avoid over doing it, avoid too many harmful chemicals, and wear SPF! Check the ingredients on the things you are using.

What types of treatments are best for me if I want to protect my skin and maintain good skin health? 

“Our skin is like a car we have to be consistent with our treatments/ maintenance.  It’s not so much the treatment that makes a difference but that you are keeping up with your skin care on a regular basis and addressing .  Not just when something is going wrong.”

I work out a lot and always wash my face afterwards, but is there something else I should be doing to prevent from breakouts and build up?

 “After washing make sure to tone, serum and moisturize the skin to keep it balanced. I also like to bring cotton rounds soaked in witch hazel for a quick cleanse after a workout if I am in a hurry, easy DIY.”

What’s the craziest skin trend you’ve seen?

“When Hollywood started using leeches in their facials.”

If you live in Chicago and are interested in scheduling an appointment with Leah to learn more about what you can do for the health of your skin mention Once Upon a Pumpkin and follow her @leahchavieskincare for 30% off of any regular priced skin treatment. She also has a pumpkin facial that is absolutely amazing and perfect if you’re a pumpkin lover like me! 🙂 Feel free to reach out to me at if you have any questions about my skin journey or what to hear first hand about my experiences at Leah Chavie Skincare!



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