Hannah's Blog
women with dark hair looking out the window of an airplane

In-Flight Skin Care Tips

January 24, 2016 / 6:39 pm

women with dark hair looking out the window of an airplane

What’s the best routine for your skin while in an airplane?

 

The night before

 

Wash with your normal cleanser and exfoliate with an enzyme mask. Apply a balancing clay mask or a hydrating gel mask depending on your skin type.

Drink a lot of water.

 

The day of

 

Layer a hydrating serum under your moisturizer on clean skin before the flight. Skip the foundation and concealer, apply a light layer of tinted moisturizer if you need some coverage.

Drink a lot of water.

 

During the flight

 

For flights 5 hours or under, reapply your moisturizer at least once (wash your hands first!). Continue to drink water and skip the alcohol.

For flights over 5 hours, clean your skin with a cotton ball and toner mid-flight then reapply your hydrating serum and moisturizer. Drink more water.

 

After the flight

 

Repeat the enzyme mask + hydrating or balancing mask routine and continuing using the hydrating serum under your moisturizer.

Always pack travel sizes of your regular products when traveling. A foreign climate is not the time to introduce a new product to your routine.

And have a glass of water!

Why are plastic micro beads banned in the United States?

January 10, 2016 / 8:41 am

President Obama recently signed a bill that banned the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products, this is great news for the environment!

How do plastic microbeads affect the environment?

This animation from The Story of Stuff illustrates it quite well. In short, the beads are too small to be filtered out of the water system and clog the gills of fish in the ocean or in the case of the smaller beads, become food for the fish and end up as part of our sushi platters.

What does this mean for skincare?

For many of us, nothing.

I’m not a fan of mechanical scrubs for exfoliation so I don’t retail any products that contain plastic microbeads. I prefer an enzyme or chemical product to exfoliate the skin.

Many companies are reformulating their mechanical scrubs to contain organic material. The downside to organic material is the pieces aren’t as uniform as plastic so they have a greater chance of causing micro tears to the skin.

How often do I need a facial?

December 27, 2015 / 8:21 am

How often do I need a facial?

Facials feel great and most of us would get them all the time if we had plenty of free time and money!

How often should we get facials for optimal health of our skin?

A  skin cell cycle lasts between 28-35 days depending on our age, this cycle slows as we get older.

This is why getting a professional facial every 4-8 weeks is great for most people with normal or combination skin. The treatment will help slough off dead skin and take care of the new skin that is revealed.

If you have excessively oily or acne prone skin, a professional treatment every 2-4 weeks will help control breakouts and/or oil production.

When treating acne scars or pigmentation, professional treatments every 2-3 weeks can be very effective since the skin is treated twice in the same cycle.

Consult your esthetician to set up the best treatment plan for your skin!

Age Therapy: Refining Complex

December 13, 2015 / 8:33 am

The latest addition to the sowd:therapy for skin product line, Age Therapy Refining Complex is a treatment moisturizer suitable for all skin types. The medium weight complex can be used alone or layered over a serum for drier skin types.

The unique blend of active ingredients including muti-action niacinamide, will visibly firm, smooth and re-energize the skin while protecting it against daily environmental assaults.

Regular use will soften the skin while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

After two weeks of use smoothness was improved by 33% and sagging reduced by 16%.

After four weeks of use wrinkles diminished by 33%, hydration increased by 44% and firmness improved by 25%.

After 12 weeks of use firmness increase by 55%, skin clarity by 35%, fine lines and wrinkles reduces by 55%.

Is your bathroom a skin care graveyard?

November 15, 2015 / 9:03 am

Do you open you medicine cabinet and get overwhelmed by the sight of all the bottles and tubes of skin care products you’ve collected over the years?

Good products are pricey and they aren’t doing your skin any good sitting on a shelf so take some time to get organized!

First, check expiration dates and throw out anything that is clearly expired. Many items aren’t marked with an exact expiration date, toss it if it the package has been open for two years or longer.

Second, make a pile of items you tried but don’t like for some reason. It could be texture or smell but if you don’t like them, you are less inclined to use them. Gift this pile to some lucky friends.

Third, establish what products you DO like and work well for your skin.

Set up your bathroom accordingly. I keep my morning cleanser and my enzyme exfoliant in the shower since that’s where I use them. The cleanser I use in the evening goes near the bathroom sink etc.

Once you’ve cleared through the clutter, you can figure out if there are any holes in your routine and you might actually have an excuse to go shopping!

Skin care for a hangover…

November 1, 2015 / 8:52 am

With the holiday season quickly approaching (or did it start last night??), now is the time to think about how to look good on the outside when one too many cocktails left you feeling bad on the inside.

The most important factor is hydration. Drink water!

I like to add an electrolyte boost like Emergencee. Have a few large glasses of water before you start drinking coffee to get your system moving.

If your face is puffy, ice is your friend.

Fill your bathroom sink or a large bowl with cold water, add some ice cubes, pin your hair back and dunk you face for a few seconds.
Repeat.
Repeat one more time if you can stand it (of if you’re still asleep!).

Hydrate your skin. Use a serum under your moisturizer, you will be more dry than usual. Alcohol depletes the water from the fat layer of your skin.

Use extra eye cream. I love Yonka Phyto Contour for the stimulating effect the rosemary has on puffy eyes.

Wear a light layer of makeup but don’t overdo it, you may feel you’re hiding but it can just bring more attention to your tired face!

Thalassotherapy

September 20, 2015 / 10:06 am

I’ve always been intrigued by thalassotherapy and the concept of “taking the waters” to improve ones overall health.

Facilities in California mostly center around thermal mineral hot springs like Harbin or Esalen. In European countries they are more varied, sometimes using mineral rich water from hot springs, sometimes from the ocean or a river.

While planning a recent trip to Bavaria, I discovered the rich bathing culture of Vienna so I insisted we add a few days to our trip and check it out!

The baths in Vienna are centered around Kurpark Oberlaa in the South East section of the city not far from the River Danube. The park is home to underground hot springs of sulphureous water that has proved to have health benefits for bathing and drinking.

There are numerous public and private baths open year round in the park. We chose to spend the day at Therme Wein which offers spa and fitness facilities in addition to the baths.

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The facility is one of the largest I’ve seen, they have multiple indoor pools, outdoor pools, family friendly areas, saunas and a salt room. We actually got lost a few times since most of the signs aren’t in English!

The basic premise of thalassotherapy is a circuit of water jets you can use to “massage” various body parts in a pool of warm mineral water. There are hot pools meant just for soaking and cold pools to plunge between circuits.

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Admission is based on time and starts at 3 hours, this may sound like a long time but when you have so many options, time flies!

After soaking in several pools for two hours, we had classic Swedish massages which is the perfect complement to thalassotherapy.

When pairing massage with thalassotherapy, the treatments tend to include long Swedish strokes to increase circulation instead of targeted deep tissue work.

I highly recommend taking an opportunity to enjoy an European style bath house if you get the chance!

The IS Clinical Fire and Ice Facial

September 7, 2015 / 3:10 pm

Hannah Sowd Skin Care is excited to offer the Fire Ice and Ice Facial by IS Clinical!

This intensive clinical facial is designed to rapidly and safely resurface the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing, softening, and encouraging cellular renewal.

The centerpiece of this remarkable treatment system is a combination of two therapeutic masques. The extremely powerful INTENSIVE RESURFACING MASQUE is clinically formulated with: sugar cane extract (a source of glycolic acid) citric acid, apple extract, retinol, niacinamide, and potent antioxidants – including green tea extract.

The second masque is the REJUVENATING MASQUE, which is a soothing, hydrating treatment formulated with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, green tea extract, licorice extract, grape seed extract, and rosemary extract.

The incredible facial masques are complemented by a unique combination of serums and crèmes. Awakening your senses, this phenomenal system incorporates both active and soothing formulas, which evoke aromas of warm cinnamon spice and brisk cool peppermint.

Available with the addition of an ultrasound treatment for added anti-aging benefit.

Book online at www.hannahsowdinc.wpengine.com.

How can I fix my broken capillaries?

August 16, 2015 / 9:05 am

Q: How can I fix my broken capillaries?

A: Broken capillaries are a very common side effect of sun damage and aging. People with thin skin are more prone to getting them.

The only true method for getting rid of broken capillaries is laser treatments. There are many creams on the market that claim to remove them but nothing has been proven.

Laser treatments for broken capillaries are relatively quick and not very painful. They may leave a bruise for a few days after so plan accordingly. Consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to determine how many sessions will be necessary to get the results you desire.

Like most skin issues, broken capillaries are easier to prevent than they are to correct.

Use a sunblock with a high percentage of physical block all year and avoiding extreme temperatures. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum since this also dilates the capillaries which will weaken them over time.

Spa Treatments and Cancer

August 2, 2015 / 8:04 am

Back in the 90’s when I first began my career in the spa and wellness industry, the rule of thumb was no spa treatments for clients with active cancer. Some people even recommended waiting as long as 5 years after being cleared of cancer to receive massage.

Massage stimulates the lymphatic system and was thought to have a hand in potentially spreading the cancer. Skin care treatments could damage tissue made fragile by harsh chemotherapy treatments and active ingredients could react in unknown ways.

This mindset began to change as some doctors realized modalities like reflexology and acupuncture can help ease the pain and nausea associated with cancer fighting treatments like chemotherapy.

Additionally, skin care companies began manufacturing products not only safe to use during chemotherapy but beneficial.

The relaxation aspect of a day at the spa is also very important when going thru such a difficult illness.

Before going to a spa, have a conversation with your doctor about your current condition and get recommendations about treatments to have and what to avoid.

When scheduling appointments, be up front with the spa and your therapists. Many spas have therapists training in oncology massage and esthetics.

While researching this post, I came across a message board where women with breast cancer were discussing being turned away from a spa when trying to get a massage and one women said she had simply stopped telling her massage therapists. This is never a good option! You deserve to work with a therapist who is trained an comfortable with what is going on in your body.

24 Hour Skin Care Diary

July 5, 2015 / 9:51 pm

Curious about what I use on my skin?

Here is my 24 Hour Skin Care Diary: a typical day in the life of my skin.

day copyMy morning face routine is simple: vitamin therapy fortifying cleanser, Youth Serum and Suntegrity.

I love all three of these multi-functional products, products that have more than one function means fewer steps in the morning!

Vitamin therapy fortifying cleanser gets rid of any traces of eye makeup I may have missed the night before and it cleanses without over drying my combination skin. I can actually wash my eyes with it to remove makeup, it’s that gentle.

Youth Serum provides both immediate smoothing and long term anti-aging benefits which makes it the perfect choice under makeup.

Suntegrity is a 3-in-1 SPF/moisturizer/makeup primer so after I layer this on my skin look smooth and luminous. I almost feel like I don’t need makeup…almost.

I’ve been adding a bit of firming peptide eye therapy because my eye area has been extra dry with the crazy weather we are having in San Francisco.

body copyFor my body I use Malin + Goetz Lime Body Wash in the shower, it’s gentle and I love the lime scent (plus it makes an excellent bubble bath when you have time to indulge!), followed by body therapy antioxidant lotion. To prevent dry heels and elbows this stuff is magic, I apply it 3-4 times a week.

On work days I keep my makeup simple. Suntegrity 5-in-1 tinted SPF provides just enough coverage and color (and additional SPF protection). Mascara is my thing and right now I’m obsessed with Full, Fat Lashes by Charlotte Tilbury. I add a little eyeliner, blush and lip gloss from NARS and I’m good for the day.

I do my evening skin care routine as soon as I know I am in for the night.

If I get home from work and start hanging out, watching TV or reading a book…I end up too tired to do my full routine so I’ll skimp on something. I’ve been much better about my evening skin care routine since I started doing it as soon as I get home.

night copyI love IS Clinical Cleansing Complex in the evening. It removes my makeup as well as the dirt from the day, I always cleanse twice: once to remove the dirt and makeup, once to cleanse the skin.

Right now I’m using Malin and Goetz Resurfacing Glycolic Pads to exfoliate most nights. The 10% glycolic acid keep my combination skin free from acne and blackheads.

If I’m feeling dry, I’ll add moisture therapy on top of the glycolic acid once it’s dry.

I got some IS Clinical Youth Eye Complex as a gift so I’ve been using that at night, it’s rich and hydrating but doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes.

I like IS Clinical Youth Complex on nights I don’t use the glycolic pads.

That’s an typical day in the life of my skin as I approach my 42nd birthday, what are you using on your skin?

Do I need to clean my makeup brushes?

June 24, 2015 / 2:36 am

YES.

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This poll is shocking! Makeup brushes can harbor bacteria and dirt which are transferred onto the skin and eyes when you use them.

Makeup brushes that you use everyday should be cleaned every 3-4 weeks.

Rinse your brushes in lukewarm water to remove residual makeup. Focus on the actual bristles and avoid the base of the brush as much as possible since this can weaken the glue over time.

Squirt a small amount of your facial cleanser in the palm of your hand and gently swirl the brush tip in the cleanser to work up a lather.

Rinse the brush tip under running water.

Lay your brushes flat on a cloth to dry, reshape the bristles as necessary.

I wash my brushes in the morning after I’ve used them so they will be dry by the following morning. If they are still damp, a quick pass with the hair dryer does the trick!

 

Can I use Coconut Oil After a Chemical Peel?

June 7, 2015 / 8:16 am

This question comes up often in the search topics that lead people to my blog so I thought I would address it directly.

The short answer is no, coconut oil is one of the most comedogenic oils which means it is very likely to clog the pores on your face.

While healing from a chemical peel, the skin is very sensitive. It is important to use a gentle cleanser and high quality moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated without clogging the pores.

Using a comedogenic product to heal the skin after a chemical peel can clog the pores and cause an acne breakout which is often the cycle we are trying to end by doing the peel in the first place.

Sun Protection 101

May 10, 2015 / 6:24 pm

In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, here are some of the most common questions I receive in my practice regarding sunscreen and sun exposure:

“I work in an office, do I need to wear sunscreen everyday?”

The sun emits two types of rays, UVA and UVB.

UVA rays are present from sunup to sundown and cause the skin to age, UVB rays are strongest from 10am-2pm and cause the skin to burn.

Incidental sun exposure accounts for a large percentage of the damage that shows up in the skin at advanced ages. Daily moisturizer with at least SPF15 is the easiest way to prevent this damage.

Additionally, how many times do you take your lunch to the rooftop deck to enjoy the beautiful view and catch a few rays of sun? It’s better to be protected!

“My makeup has SPF in it so I don’t use a sunscreen.”

How much makeup do you wear??? Do you cover your entire face, neck and ears?

I didn’t think so.

Layering products with SPF for extra protection is great, but start with a base of proper sunscreen for the best protection.

“Sunscreen is TOXIC, I only use all natural products.”

There are two types of sunscreens on the market, chemical and physical.

Several studies argue that chemical sunscreens may disrupt hormones. If this is a concern for you, use a physical sunscreen like zinc oxide.

Thankfully, there are many physical sunscreens on the market today that feel light and leave no white residue.

What’s your excuse for not wearing sunscreen every day?

How do I get rid of acne scars?

April 26, 2015 / 8:28 am

Having acne is bad enough but the scars it leaves behind can linger for much longer than the breakouts themselves.

Acne scars fall into two major categories:

1. Discoloration; usually red spots or hyperpigmentation. Both red spots and hyperpigmetation are the skins response to inflammation from the acne lesion.

2. Uneven texture of varying degrees; this can be a combination of raised areas and indentations, severe indentations are often called “ice pick scars”.

In this post, I will focus on treatment options for the second category of acne scars, the uneven texture left behind from severe breakouts.

First and foremost, establish a skincare routine to keep new breakouts under control before you spend time and money to treat acne scars.

For most scars, crystal microdermabrasion is a very effective treatment. The minimal downtime and affordable cost make it accessible however it is important to remember a series a treatments will be required.

Depending on the depth of the scars 6-12 sessions may be necessary to achieve the desired results. These treatments are be done weekly or bi-weekly.

Chemical peels, like Jessners Peel or  TCA peel are also very effective for smoothing texture and lightening hyperpigmentation.

The most effective results I’ve had treating acne scars used a combination of crystal microdermabrasion and chemical peels done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis combined with the proper home care routine.

It’s important to be patient, clearing acne scars can take 6 months or longer, but the end result is worth it!

What’s the difference between BB Cream and CC Cream?

April 12, 2015 / 4:18 pm

And now there’s DD Cream!

BB = Beauty Balm

CC = Color Corrector

DD = Daily Defense

The bottom line is, these products are new versions of good old fashioned tinted moisturizer.

They can have the added benefits of anti-aging ingredients, anti-acne ingredients, makeup primer and antioxidants but the categories themselves don’t mean that much.

Try a few different products to find one that provides the makeup coverage you prefer but don’t rely on one of these creams for sun protection, layer it over a lightweight SPF to make sure you face is protected.

 

How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel

March 29, 2015 / 5:11 pm

1. Schedule a consultation with your skin care professional to determine the best chemical peel for your skin type and the results you want to achieve.

2.Schedule the peel when you have enough downtime to allow for any flaking and peeling that may occur in the days following the treatment.

2. Follow the pre-peel skin care routine prescribed to you. This usually includes retinol creams, Retin A or Hydroquinone products to start the renewal process and increase the benefits of the chemical peel.

3. Stay out of the sun! Wear at least an SPF 30 every day.

4. Stop all exfoliating products 3 days prior to your chemical peel appointment.

Do I need a chemical peel?

March 15, 2015 / 9:18 am

Most people can benefit from some type of chemical peel.

Chemical peels are the preferred treatment to address many skin conditions like acne, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, hyperpigmentation and melasma.

There are many types of chemicals peels to choose from, the trick is finding the right one for your skin and your concerns.

When it comes to chemical peels the more results you want to see, the more downtime you will have after the treatment! There is no magic solution that will erase years of damage without a period of redness and flaking after the application. Sometimes a series of lighter chemical peels will achieve similar results to one more aggressive peel, this may be a better option for sensitive skin types.

Schedule a consultation with your skin care professional to determine what is the best option for you.

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