Category Archives: Hannah Sowd Skin Care

Three Ingredients For Younger Skin

Antioxidants

The skin requires a healthy dose of antioxidants every day to prevent new damage and reverse prior skin damage. Layer your antioxidant serum under your SPF for added sun protection.

Retinol

Retinol helps increase skin cell turnover which in turn encourages collagen production. The end result is smoother, brighter skin with less breakouts and clogged pores.

Sunscreen

Everyone needs sun protection, end of story. If you don’t spend much time in the sun, an SPF 15 in your daily lotion is fine, if you get more exposure bump it up to SPF 30.

The Korean Spa Experience: Spa Palace Los Angeles

I love Korean spa day (in San Francisco we only have one, Imperial) so I jump at the chance to explore the variety Koreatown in Los Angeles has to offer.

When I lived in LA, I frequented Olympic Women’s Spa and Natura, both are on the smaller side and offer the basic amenities like Imperial.

On recent visits to Koreatown, I’ve noticed a trend toward the traditional jjimjilbangs; giant complexes that are open 24 hours, have a restaurant, are family friendly and include a fitness center in addition to many spa amenities (a large section of which are co-ed).

In Korea, families go to the spa together and some people actually stay over night sleeping on the heated floor in the communal area.

On the recommendation of a friend, I tried Spa Palace, one of the newest in the area. I visited on a Monday during the day and the large facility was quite empty.

I booked a traditional body scrub/oil massage combo when I checked in ($80 for 70 minute treatment, includes use of the entire facility).

The Korean Body Scrub isn’t for the faint of heart, it can be described as invigorating or painful depending on your preference! I have one 5-6 times a year to get rid of dead skin build up, I’m a fan of intense exfoliation.

You are issued one large towel, one small towel and a “uniform”(shorts and tee shirt) to wear in the co-ed areas. Since I was traveling, I didn’t have my own robe or flip flops but I would recommend them to anyone planning a visit.

The women’s facility was very large, I was given a locker in the “VIP Area” which had its own sink and amenities. The women’s spa area was thru a door at one end while a hallway at the opposite other end led to the co-ed “jjimjilbang”.

The layout is a little confusing so I didn’t hesitate to flag down a spa attendant and ask questions. The facility is large and it wasn’t crowded so it wasn’t abundantly clear what was women only and what was co-ed.

The women’s spa area is equipped with the basic steam, dry sauna, 2 hot tubs and cold plunge in addition to “western” and Korean showers. The room is BIG! One of the biggest I’ve seen.

The co-ed area has a Himalayan Salt Room, a warm (not hot) sauna with salt bricks lining the walls and salt rocks on floor. I like to use pink Himalayan salt in my bath so I guess this may have a similar effect on the body.

Next door is the Ice Room which I would describe as cool, it isn’t as jarring to the body as the cold plunge in the spa area. It’s a nice break between the other warm rooms!

The Gold Sauna was quite warm, almost as hot as a traditional sauna. I have no idea if sitting in a warm room lined with gold does anything but it was pretty!

The Loess Forest Sauna was comfortable and smelled nice, the floor was covered with clay “marbles” (presumably made from loess soil) so you can lie down and they conform to the shape of your body.

The center of the communal area has a giant heated marble floor for napping, a large screen TV and a cafe.

I had a lovely afternoon checking out all the different amenities Spa Palace has to offer. I will be back on my next visit to Los Angeles!

How often do I need a facial?

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

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?

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!

The IS Clinical Fire and Ice Facial

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.

24 Hour Skin Care Diary

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?

Can I use Coconut Oil After a Chemical Peel?

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

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?

Inflammation and Aging

Inflammation is one of the key factors that leads to aging skin, hyper-pigmentation and a variety of other skin issues.

The study of epigenetics shows how lifestyle choices can drastically affect our gene reactions when it comes to the aging of the skin. Inflammation is one of the key factors in this aging process. It plays a large part in the break down of the protective barrier of the skin, DNA damage and hyper-pigmentation.

On a daily basis, we are exposed to stimulus like sun light, HEV light from electronic screens, pollution and cigarette smoke.

Many skin care products currently on the market designed to target hyper-pigmentation don’t take this into account. If we don’t address the root cause of inflammation, we can’t repair the compromised skin barrier and ultimately, control the hyper-pigmentation.

All the new information we have about aging, inflammation and hyper-pigmentation leads us back to antioxidants. They should be incorporated into your day time and night time routine for total protection.

A moisturizer designed to repair the skins barrier is also important for overall skin function.

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion can do wonders to lighten existing hyper-pigmentation but it’s important to incorporate anti-inflammatory skin care products for long term results.

Firming Peptide Eye Therapy

Firming Peptide Eye Therapy is a gentle, anti-aging eye cream that employs plant extracts and peptides to firm and protect the delicate eye area.

The delicate skin in the eye area does not contain as many oil glands as other areas of the face so a cream designed especially for the area is necessary to hydrate the skin and prevent the breakdown of collagen.

The area inside the eye socket also lacks the structural support provided to the rest of the face which is one of the main reasons the signs of aging are first visible around the eyes.

Peptides are the building blocks of collagen so when applied topically, the skins own collagen is motivated to produce. Daily use of Firming Peptide Eye Therapy will render both short and long term results.

Should I use more moisturizer when my skin is extra dry?

Q: During the winter months, my skin gets very dry. If I use an extra layer of moisturizer, will it help?

A: Most moisturizer is full of ingredients designed to repair the skin barrier and seal in moisture, the molecules are too large to be absorbed into the lower layers of the skin.

Serums are lighter in consistency and designed to be more readily absorbed by the skin so adding one underneath your moisturizer will do a better job of getting the hydration where you need it.

Pro Heal Serum Advance + by IS Clinical is one of my favorite serums for most skin types. It adds extra moisture and vitamins, reduces inflammation and redness.

For dry skin on the body, adding an oil like jojoba or grapeseed oil to your regular body moisturizer can give you the extra boost you need during the winter months. I like these two oils because they are lighter and mix well with lotion.

Of course, making sure to drink enough water during the cold winter months is also an important part of keeping skin hydrated. Focus on getting half your body weight in non-caffeinated, non-carbonated, (non-alcoholic!) ounces of liquid per day.

What’s the difference between crystal and diamond Microdermabrasion?

Traditional Crystal Microdermabrasion uses a wand to spray crystals and gently sand the skin to eliminate imperfections. Since the early 2000’s the Diamond Tip method of Microdermabrasion has been gaining popularity. What is the difference?

Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion uses a hand piece with rough tip that gently resurfaces the skin. The different tips have different levels of grit, like sandpaper, to be used on different areas of the face. The treatment is often paired with a light chemical peel during the same session to achieve better results.

Crystal Microdermabrasion uses a disposable tip but the level of suction and amount of crystals used can be adjusted. The treatment is generally done alone or paired with a soothing mask since is it more aggressive than the diamond tip version.  Crystal Microdermbrasion is more effective at elimination acne scars and fine lines. It does leave behind crystals, (or “sparkles” as one of my clients calls them!) so it requires a bit more clean up.

The two types of machines vary greatly in price, Diamond Tip machines are less than half as expensive as their Crystal cousins which may explain their growing popularity. Don’t hesitate to ask what machine an esthetician or spa uses for their treatment before you book a session!

Nightly Therapy: Retinol Complex

Nightly Therapy is a retinol serum designed to be used every night for to exfoliate the skin, help delay the aging process and prevent acne from forming.

Derived from Vitamin A, retinol is an integral part of any skin care routine. Nightly Therapy uses the purest form of Vitamin A to smooth wrinkles, even skin tone and restore youthful radiance.

This powerful skin care product employs a time-released retinol to gently smooth the appearance of lines and Matrixyl peptides to restore the look of skin’s youthful tone and texture while minimizing the chance of irritation.

The light formula can double as a moisturizer for oily and combination skin types or be layered under a heavier moisturizer for drier skin types. It is ophthalmologist-approved for use around eyes, on the “crows feet” area.

Is makeup bad for my skin?

Q: After getting a facial, I never want to “ruin” the results by putting on makeup afterwards. Is this a real concern? Is wearing makeup that bad for my skin?

A: Back in the days of pancake makeup, full coverage products earned a bad reputation. It took loads of cold cream and harsh cleansers to remove them at the end of the day and they were prone to clogging the pores.

Most modern foundation, especially tinted moisturizers and BB creams, are actually fortified with ingredients that are beneficial to your skin like SPF and antioxidants.

When you apply these products over a treatment cream or serum, the foundation will even out your skin tone without interfering with your skin.

There are exceptions to this, foundation that is designed to give a lot of coverage for a photo shoot for example. I don’t recommend using this type of product on a daily basis, a thick foundation can clog pores and cause breakouts, not too mention it is difficult to remove in the evening. Save it for a special occasion.

As far as applying makeup after a facial, it really depends on the treatment you received. Some treatments, like a self neutralizing chemical peel, require that the skin be left untouched for 5 hours post treatment.

If you are going back to work or out to dinner after a basic facial, there is no downside to applying a small amount of tinted moisturizer or powder.

A popular misconception is that the pores are “open” after a treatment. Pores don’t “open” and “close” like little doors all over your face. The do expand and contract with heat and cold but a good facial will include the appropriate mask followed by high frequency current and moisturizer with SPF before sending you out into the world so your skin will be protected from whatever you choose to apply.

The Best Home Facial Routine for Oily and Combination Skin

1. Cleanse your skin using a light gel cleanser. Make sure to remove all traces of eye makeup, dirt and sunscreen during this initial cleanse.

2. Cleanse your skin a second time to clean the skin. You can use the same gel cleanser or a more nourishing cleanser if you have combination skin.

3. While the skin is still damp, apply a thin layer of an enzyme exfoliating mask. Relax for 3-5 minutes, take this time to chill out and make yourself a cup of tea. Take the leftover hot water and dampen a washcloth for your face. Place the warm washcloth over your face (with the mask still on) for a few minutes and let the heat expand the pores and help the enzyme work. Remove the enzyme mask with the washcloth, then rinse with clean water. If your skin is oily, apply an exfoliating toner with a cotton pad.

photo 1

4. Apply a thin layer of a white clay balancing mask on clean, dry skin. You can use a facial brush if you like the feeling (and the look of an evenly applied mask). Allow the mask to sit for 8-10 minutes. Take this time to relax, lie on the floor in Savasana (like the Panda) take some deep breaths, have another cup of tea or soak your feet in a mineral salt bath.

5. Using the washcloth if necessary, remove the clay mask then rinse the skin well. Apply an eye cream around the delicate eye area then a  treatment moisturizer or SPF moisturizer depending on the time of day.

6. Enjoy your fresh, clean complexion! This home facial routine should be done once a week for best results.

Plant Stem Cells and Anti-aging Skin Care Products

You may have seen skin care products on the market that contain stem cells derived from either plant or animal sources. While stem cells derived from animal or human sources remain controversial, plant stem cells are proven as a safe and effective way to energize skin cells and reverse many signs of aging.

Plant stem cells are undifferentiated cells which carry the entire DNA gene expression of the plant and can morph, or differentiate, into any cell type to help the plant regenerate. This ability makes them invaluable for cosmetic applications since they can address multiple concerns.

These cells can be cultured in a laboratory setting where the concentration of phenylpropanoids—active substances created in response to injury or trauma—is multiplied in these cells by 1,000 times or more. As the stem cells are cultured in this manner, their chemical purity is also enhanced allowing for more influence in safety, control and standardization. When the finished product is applied topically, it works to trigger self-renewal in human skin.

The Mung Bean sprout, or Vigna Radiata, contains all the important substances for regeneration and protection of stressed skin making it’s stem cells particularly effective for skin care applications. The next generation of products from sōwd:therapy for skin will contain this potent extract, coming soon!