Category Archives: Hannah Sowd Skin Care

What happens when you drink 100oz of water a day?

A few months ago, I started drinking 100oz of water per day.

Drinking 100oz of water per day is no small feat. The first few weeks were rough, drinking water all the time seemed like a chore and I was running to the bathroom every hour.

Between week 2 and week 3 my body adjusted. Bathroom breaks became less frequent and I woke up craving water. I easily downed 32oz before leaving my house in the morning.

What else did I notice?

I drank less coffee without even trying, my morning water became almost as important.

Four people complimented my skin and asked if I had tried a new treatment!

The texture of the skin around my eyes changed.

I don’t get hungover from two glasses of wine like before!

My one PMS pimple has stopped making it’s monthly appearance.

The jury is out on whether increased water consumption will directly hydrate your skin, but the positive effects have been obvious for me.

I’m fortunate because I can sip on fruit flavored spa water all day and I’m never far from a bathroom.

This is one lifestyle experiment I’m happy to continue!

LED Light Therapy

LED therapy uses therapeutic light wavelengths to treat the skin. The technology has been scientifically proven to stimulate fibroblasts that increase collagen and elastin production as well as kill acne causing bacteria.

Over 40 years of research shows LED has powerful therapeutic benefits on living tissue. In the 1960s, it was noted that certain single wavelengths had therapeutic effects on treatment tissues through a process called photo-stimulation.

Cancer researchers discovered a single red frequency combined with a topical cream kills certain types of skin cancer cells. The skin tissue regenerated and the appearance of the skin also improved with these treatments. The red LED light alone produced positive results in the treatment of rosacea, aging skin, and sun damaged skin.

NASA found LED light waves helped to stimulate cell growth which promoted healing in weightless environments.

LED light therapy is a cleared by the FDA as a cosmetic procedure. It is painless, safe, and effective to help reverse the signs of sun damage and aging as well as heal acne lesions and rosacea,

Red LED light encourages collagen production and increases blood flow to the skin therefore increasing cellular metabolism and strengthening the capillary walls.

Blue LED light is effective for treating acne. In clinical studies, blue light has shown to generate singlet oxygen which attacks the bacteria which is the root cause of most acne flare ups.

How I Controlled My Sugar Cravings

My sugar cravings have always been out of control.

I can skip alcohol most nights and I love green vegetables, however a decadent dessert paired with a cappuccino gets me every time.

I don’t worry about my moderate coffee consumption but sugar doesn’t do my skin or body any favors.

I’ve seen the memes on social media; “Eat spinach when you are craving chocolate, your body really wants magnesium”. Would you really eat a plate of spinach instead of a slice of chocolate cake? I wouldn’t.

Additionally, it takes almost two ten ounce bags of spinach leaves to meet an average adult’s daily recommended magnesium requirement. That’s a lot of spinach!

My neurologist recently recommended a daily 400mg magnesium supplement to help my migraine headaches, it had the bonus side effect of curbing my sugar cravings. I didn’t need to eat mountains of spinach when I was craving chocolate cake, I just stopped craving chocolate cake!

After a few months of decreased sugar intake, I have seen positive changes in my skin, my sleep habits and my mood.

According to WebMD, the daily recommended does of magnesium for adults is 320mg for women and 420mg for men. Always consult your doctor before taking adding new supplements to your daily routine.

 

 

My Anti-Aging Eye Routine

As I approach my mid-40’s, I see more signs of aging in my eye area so I’ve stepped up my anti-aging eye routine.

The delicate skin in the eye area is 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. This skin is also in a constant state of movement, so fines lines or “crows feet” are commonly one of the early signs of aging.

I’m not opposed to surgery or injectable solutions but I’d like to save surgical options for my next decade and I have mixed feelings about the results I’ve seen from Botox for “crows feet”.

Eye lifts were in the list of the top five esthetic surgical procedures performed in the United States in 2016 according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

While working to expand my online store last year, I tested many eye creams and ended up with irritated eyes on a few occasions. I learned a lot about what ingredients work and which ones to skip.

The right combination of topical peptides, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and stimulants can give this delicate area the extra boost it needs to get me thru my 40’s without going under the knife.

This is the routine that has made a visible change for me:

Morning:

Alchemie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm
This lightweight eye balm is perfect for daytime. The antioxidant rich formula protects against environmental assaults while the Vitamin K reduces the appearance of dark circles.

Evening:

sowd therapy for skin: firming peptide eye therapy
The creamy formula uses Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate the cell renewal that slows with age. It also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients so you wake up with less puffiness. When I have an extra few minutes, I use my Jade Roller to massage the eye area before applying.

Weekly:

Patchology Energizing Eye Patches
These are amazing! The patches are embedded with gel-activated galvanic micro current technology, after 20 minutes my eyes look years younger. I use them once a week or before I have an important event.

Dietary changes:

I eliminated 90% of the added sugar in my diet and reduced my alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per month. Cutting out alcohol isn’t a problem for me, I enjoy drinking less as I get older but I love sugar and seem to crave it at times. I discovered a calcium/magnesium supplement helped curb my sugar cravings so much.

Keep up your water intake and eat a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. When you becomes dehydrated, your eyes are the first place it shows!

QC Terme Roma

When I discovered QC Terme, I thought it was too good to be true!

On a recent trip to Italy, we had a 6am flight out of the Fiumicino airport following  a week on the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to find accommodations as close to the airport as possible to ease our transition.

QC Terme is resort hotel with a spa 10 minutes from the airport, the perfect solution.

The QC Terme brand has properties all over Italy, follow their Instagram and you will want to make time to visit them all!

I booked a package including a hotel room, unlimited access to the thermal mineral pools, massages, and breakfast. After traveling for 2 weeks, it seemed like the perfect last day in Italy.

The day we arrived consisted of a ferry from Sorrento to Naples, followed by a 2 hour train ride from Naples to Rome so we were ready to relax.

The hotel is rated 5 stars and was lovely in a typically European way. Service at check in was wonderful but after that, we were left to wander the facility alone which was a little confusing.

We managed to find our way to the “wellness farm” and relaxed in the thermal mineral pools before our massages.

massages

The massage facilities were top notch; heated beds and luxurious rooms. Plus I had one of the best massages I’ve had in my travels to European countries, generally the pressure is too light and they use too much oil but this was perfect.

feet

Sadly, we had to rush out very early in the morning the following day. I would have loved to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the grounds.

Overall we had a relaxing stay at QC Terme Roma, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a spa break before or after a long flight!

Stress and Your Skin

The fast pace of modern daily life creates stress and your skin will suffer if you don’t take time to balance your activity with some downtime.

What is your favorite way to take a time out, create balance in your life and help your skin when life gets overwhelming?

When my life is at “peak stress”, time is always scarce. I embrace daily wellness tips I can incorporate into my routine without taking up much time.

Water

When you wake up in the morning, you are dehydrated, no question.

Reach for a large glass of room temperature water before you start on the coffee and keep sipping throughout the day.

This insures you stay hydrated and helps keep your energy levels up, I drink less coffee if I start with water and feel better overall.

“Clock Out”

Decide on an electronic end time for your day and stick with it.

This is the time your phone gets turned off (use an auto-reply for your email if you need too), stop checking social media and replying to text messages. There is nothing that can’t wait until you “clock in” the following morning.

This gives your brain some much needed downtime and gives your skin a break from screen time.

Treat Yo’Self

It’s not the time to throw caution to the wind and run to the nearest department store with your credit card or break your diet with an entire cake but do a little something special for yourself.

I usually default to getting a manicure for a few reasons; I won’t regret it when my credit card bill comes next month, I’m forced to set aside my phone and relax while my polish dries and for the next week my pretty hands make me feel like I’m pulled together when I may be on the brink of disaster internally!

Mask

A face mask makes everything better. Throw it on while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your hair, even while you are reading this blog…

Spring Cleaning Your Skin Care Closet!

Is it time to spring clean your skin care closet? Once a year, take the time to clean out your collection of skin care products.

Divide your skin care products into three groups:

  1. Skin care products you use regularly and work well for your skin type, your “core routine”.
  2. Skin care products you stopped using because your skin changed and they no longer work for your skin type.
  3. Skin care products that were gifts or impulse purchases, some of these items may even be unopened or you only used them once before deciding they were wrong for your skin type.
Many skin care products have a symbol of a jar with the number of months the product is considered fresh after opening.
Many products have a symbol with the number of months the product is good after opening.

First, discard any items that have been open for more than one year or are past the expiration date printed on the bottle. The active ingredients will no longer be effective. Also, discard any unopened items you have had for longer than three years. Preservatives start to fail around this point so there is no guarantee the product will be safe for use.

Skin care products with active ingredients will also have an expiration date.
Skin care products with active ingredients will also have an expiration date.

Next, re-evaluate the products in group two. Are these items you might use when on vacation in a warmer or colder climate? Can you re-purpose any of these items? For instance, can you use a granular scrub that’s too harsh for your face on your heels or elbows? If not, toss them.

The items in group three can be difficult to part with because the packaging is so pretty or they cost so much! That’s why you were moved to buy them impulsively. Host a swap party for your friends; have everyone bring several new or barely used skin care products that don’t suit them and trade for items better suited for their skin type. Everyone wins!

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!