Category Archives: Hannah Sowd Skin Care

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.

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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!

Daily Therapy: Vitamin C Complex

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for the body both inside and out. It contains antioxidant properties which protect our skin against free radical damage from various environmental sources.

Unfortunately, vitamin C cannot be stored in the body long term so to it must be ingested and applied topically on a daily basis.

Daily Therapy Vitamin C Complex is the backbone of any anti-aging skin care routine. It contains three unique forms of targeted vitamin C in a time released formula for optimal effectiveness.

With daily use, skin tone will become more even and pores will become less clogged. The skin begins to appear more youthful and radiant. Fine lines and wrinkles will become less noticeable and new damage will be discouraged.

It can be incorporated into your morning or evening skin care routine depending on what other products you are using but always apply Daily Therapy on clean skin.

For oily or combination skin, Daily Therapy may be used as a moisturizer but if your skin craves more moisture, follow with Moisture Therapy During the day, always follow with a SPF of at least 15.

Adult Acne

“Adult acne” or acne, as I call it, is very frustrating!

We grow up thinking  pimples are something that affect us as teenagers and we will eventually grow out of it when we become adults. This is often not the case, especially for women.

Hormone fluctuations brought on by stress or our monthly cycle can bring on a breakout like I’ve illustrated in the “selfie” above! I have access to amazing products and am vigilant about doing everything “right” yet once in awhile, the left side of my chin still gets the best of me.

What can we do about it?

Regular Cleansing Facials are the first step. Schedule them the week before you normally experience a hormonal breakout. The timing different for everyone, sometimes it the week before your cycle, sometimes it’s the week of your cycle. Pay attention and book a preemptive session with your esthetician to get your pores cleaned and possibly a glycolic peel to combat excess bacteria.

Minimize your stress level. Figure out what you need to do to relax on a regular basis: take a yoga class, go for a walk, meditate, sit with a cup of tea and a good book. These activities help to lower your cortisol levels which in turn lower your stress hormones and will decrease you chances of having a stress related break out.

Relax, it’s good for your skin!

Can I use Coconut Oil for Sunscreen?

Q: I keep seeing posts on social media that say coconut oil is a safe, non-toxic alternative to sunscreen. Is this true?

A: Coconut oil has a naturally occurring SPF or sun protection factor of between 2-8 depending on the quality of the oil.

A quality version of carrot seed oil can contain up to SPF 40 but the high cost and strong scent of this oil makes it a less popular choice. Not to mention, coconut oil seems to be on trend lately, much like olive oil was in the 90’s- which ironically has a similar SPF of 2-8!

An SPF rating of 8 will protect you for 8 times as long as it takes you to begin to turn pink without protection. For someone like me, that’s about 5-7 minutes in full sunlight on a hot day so I would be reapplying coconut oil every 45 minutes. It takes me about 10 minutes to properly apply sunscreen to my entire body so you get the picture.

Native tribes used natural oils mixed with clays and bark like thanakha in Burma for protection from the sun. The skin builds it’s natural resistance to the elements when exposed to them for long periods of time as well. Our culture spends the majority of our time indoors so our skin can be especially sensitive to overexposure. Experimenting with non-proven sunscreen methods can be dangerous and increase your chances for skin cancer in the future.

Non-nano particle zinc oxide is a proven sunscreen ingredient that will insure you are protected from the cancer causing rays of the sun without exposing your body to possible endocrine disrupting ingredients.  Look for a product containing at least 15%, like Suntegrity.

Pore Therapy Exfolating Toner

Pore Therapy Exfoliating Toner is the newest addition to the sowd:therapy for skin line of products.

This freshening toner utilizes a unique combination of glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids to minimize pores, smooth texture, reduce oily shine and combat discoloration.

It is a great addition to your daily routine if you have oily or combination skin and can be used as needed if you experience periodic acne like me.

After washing your face, apply Pore Therapy to a cotton pad and smooth over your skin. Do not rinse, follow with your favorite moisturizer. It can be used morning or evening, or both if you have very oily skin

The combination of active ingredients is not recommended for sensitive skin however since it does not contain alcohol, Pore Therapy is less drying than traditional astringents.

Like the rest of the sowd: therapy for skin products, it does not contain parabens, fragrance or artificial color.

Always use a minimum of SPF 15 when using this or any other exfoliating product since you will be more sensitive to sun exposure.

 

Hannah’s Top 6 Skin Care Tips

6. Exercise

Exercising 3-4 times per week is good for your skin. A recent study shows frequent exercise helps contribute to preserving youthful skin and reversing the“skin age” even if you began exercising later in life.

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5. Sleep

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night allows your skin time to renew itself, the new skin cells grow and replace older cells. Lack of sleep will make you look tired and can enhance dark circles around the eyes. This time is also a great opportunity to allow your anti-aging products a chance to work their magic without being interrupted.

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4. Diet

Just like the rest of your organs, your skin needs nutrients to be healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants are the best way to get the nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy and youthful (and combat the effects of the not so healthy choices we all make once in awhile!)

3. Skin Care Treatments

Professional skin care treatments are an important part of any skin care routine. Find an esthetician you trust and have a consultation to determine the best course of treatments for your skin type and your goals, both long term and short term.

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2. Home Care Products

While professional treatments are very important, what you put on your skin every day is making just as much of an impact, if not more. Once again, consult a professional esthetician or a dermatologist for home care recommendations based on your skin type, your budget and your lifestyle. Be realistic about how much effort you are willing to put into your routine but also realize, in many cases, less effort can equal less results.

1. Water

If you are dehydrated, your skin will look like crap, have a glass of water.  Drink half your body weight in ounces every day. Your skin will thank you!

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What’s NOT in sōwd:therapy for skin

If you’ve tried my brand, sōwd:therapy for skin, you’ve seen a lot of information about the ingredients you won’t find in the bottles.

Some items on the list are popular buzzwords in the skin care industry and things like not testing on animals need no explanation, but have you ever wondered why we are all really avoiding parabens?

Parabens: Parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. This ingredient, often found in cosmetics, enters the bloodstream and mimics estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by many organizations, including the United States National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Ingredients tested on animals: There’s no need for animals to suffer when formulating safe skin care products.

Bovine sourced ingredients: Ingredients like collagen, elastin, gelatin, colostrum and placenta extract are often sourced from cows. Effective, humane alternatives are available.

Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfates: These lathering agents were initially sold as industrial strength detergents primarily used for heavy duty cleaners and degreasers. They strip the skin of the acid mantle leaving it vulnerable to damage. The rich bubbles they create are attractive to the consumer and the low cost is attractive to the manufacturer.

Phthalates: Two decades of research suggest that phthalates disrupt hormonal systems, which can cause harm during critical periods of fetus development.

Thankfully, with the right combination of nature and modern science, we CAN have effective, non-toxic products that improve our skin!

How do I care for my skin after a chemical peel?

Professional Chemical Peels are a great way to improve many skin issues with very little downtime.

When having a medium depth, self neutralizing chemical peel (like a Jessners Peel or a light TCA peel) the skin barrier is compromised. How you care for your skin during the week after the treatment can greatly affect the results.

Immediately after the treatment, your skin may be red and feel tight. Make sure your skin care therapist applies sunscreen before you leave the studio and reapply sunscreen as necessary throughout the day. Most peels need to be left on the skin for 5 hours or longer after the application so don’t wash your face or do any activity that makes you sweat.

The flaking generally begins 36-48 hours after the application of the peel. Be very gentle with you skin during this time. Use a gentle cleanser followed by a rich moisturizer and lots of sunscreen.

The flaking generally lasts 3-5 days depending on the depth of the peel and the condition of your skin. Most importantly, DO NOT pick at the flaking skin! When washing your face, use a gentle circular motion with your hands (no washcloth or face brush) to help the dead skin slough.

If you have a lot of clogged pores, you may experience a breakout during the flaking process. Do not use any products designed to dry the skin: salicylic acid, glycolic acid etc. Treat your skin very gently, the breakouts should clear up quickly as the skin cells turn over.

Do not use any products containing Retin A, retinol, AHA, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid or any other acid during the healing phase. Reintroduce these products when you feel your skin has fully healed, everyone is different but two weeks post-peel is a good guideline.

Plan to have your chemical peel 2-4 weeks prior to a major event to allow your skin to fully heal. I recommend medium depth chemical peels 2-4 times a year for most of my clients concerned with acne and anti-aging.

How to get adequate Vitamin D

There is a lot of information floating around about Vitamin D, it can get very confusing!

As of November 2010, the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D for adults is a minimum of 600 IU  and a maximum of 4,000 IU.

The three vitamin D “super foods” are:
•    Salmon

•    Mackerel

•    Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D

4 ounces of Wild Salmon contains 511 IU so it can be difficult get adequate amounts of Vitamin D from food alone.  I prefer a supplement like  Emergen-C which contains 1000 IU of Vitamin D and 500 MG of Vitamin C along with Calcium and other goodies.

Other food sources of vitamin D include:

•    Cod liver oil
•    Tuna canned in water
•    Sardines canned in oil
•    Milk or yogurt fortified with vitamin D
•    Beef or calf liver
•    Egg yolks
•    Cheese

Exposing your skin to UVB rays is an easy way to absorb Vitamin D as long as you are careful. For most people 10 minutes of direct sunlight per day is enough. This is not an excuse to skip the sunscreen on your face!

Tanning beds offer only UVA rays, not UVB rays so they will not affect your Vitamin D levels.

Fun fact:

Redheads burn more easily when exposed to UV rays, but their paleness can serve as an advantage. Their lower melanin-concentration actually allows them to produce their own Vitamin D within their
body when exposed to low light conditions.

Skin Care Advice for Sun Junkies!

Summer will be here before we know it and I have a few clients that can’t get enough of the sun’s warm rays. Whether it’s regular vacations to Hawaii or outdoor sports, the end result from sun exposure is the same.

Most importantly, be honest with yourself and your skin care therapist about your sun habits. This empowers you to make a plan together that will allow for your skin to be at it’s best without creating further damage.

Use an antioxidant serum every day. Layer it under your sunscreen for increased protection and to combat the free radicals associated with sun exposure.

Moisturize your entire body every day; use a rich cocoa butter, skin oil or antioxidant vitamin C body lotion.

I’ve seen articles recommending coconut oil as a “natural sunscreen”. Coconut oil has a naturally occurring SPF of 7 so it will protect you for 7 times longer than the amount of time it takes your skin begin to burn in the sun; about 45 minutes to an hour.

I recommend using a sunscreen containing zinc oxide, like Suntegrity, while in the sun, save the coconut oil to moisturize afterwards!

Minimize your exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours of 10am-2pm. Wear a hat with a large brim to shade your face and thin layers to give your body a break from the sun when on the beach.

If you can’t get enough of the golden glow, opt for a sunless spray tan. Companies like SunFX have perfected their products so no one will be the wiser!

Beauty Product Buyers Remorse!

It happens to the best of us; in the relaxed haze of an island vacation (or the sleepy haze of a late night infomercial) we purchase a slew of skin care products that are all wrong for our skin.

The first step is always check the return policy, many companies will allow returns or exchanges of the unused portion within 30 days of purchase.

If your stuck with the product, don’t fret. There are creative ways to make use of items not suited for our complexion!

Creams that are too heavy for the face are wonderful to use on the body. The night cream that clogged the pores on you face will do wonders for your dry cuticles and hands. Same goes for oil based serums.

Retinol, AHA, and glycolic products that prove too strong for your face will smooth your rough elbows and heels in no time. Same goes for harsh facial scrubs.

Creamy cleanser too creamy for your oily skin? Most cream cleansers can do double duty as an eye makeup remover.

Foaming cleanser drying out your combination skin? Use it as a body wash, especially good for areas like the chest and back which might be prone to break outs.

Resist the urge to stow these items away in your beauty closet, they will just sit there until they expire and you’ll waste them entirely. Get creative!

Eye Lash Growth Serum

Q: Do eyelash growth serums work? What is the difference between prescription and over the counter products?

A: These serums contain ingredients which extend the anagen or growth period of the natural cycle of eye lash growth as well as conditioners to improve the look of the lashes. They have been proven to be very effective when used consistently.

Bimatoprost is the only ingredient proven effective by lab studies and currently, Allergan (the makes of Latisse) has exclusive rights to its use. It was originally used in glaucoma medication to relieve pressure in the eyes and a side effect was longer, thicker eye lashes. It has been proven safe to use for everyone except those with a history of glaucoma.

Latisse claims to make the eye lashes darker over time but I have not personally seen this result nor have any of my clients. Some people do experience irritation or a darkening of the skin along the lash line.

Consistency is key, you must use the serum daily for 90 days to achieve the maximum results then a few times a week for maintenance.

The over the counter products you see on the market are “lash conditioners” or “lash enhancers” and because of Allergan’s patent, they cannot contain bimatoprost. They might make your lashes healthier but not necessarily longer. Many popular companies have been forced to reformulate their products over the past few years, make sure to check the ingredients and read the label so you know what your are purchasing!

How can I fix my rough, dry heels?

Q: My heels are dry and rough from the winter weather, what can I do to fix this?

A: You can have smooth the feet, the key is consistent care.

1. Purchase a basic pumice stone and use it daily in the shower. The goal is to remove the dead skin cells so the moisturizer can penetrate.

2. After you shower, apply a glycolic acid cream to the area continue the exfoliation process and add moisture.

3. Before you go to bed, apply a thick layer of a rich cream like shea butter or cocoa butter all over your feet and put on socks. You don’t need the fancy socks designed to smooth your feet, just an old pair you don’t mind getting dirty.

Continue this routine daily until your feet are soft and smooth then at least once a week for maintenance.

Many nail salons offer fancy pedicure that include shaving off callouses with a blade. If your feet are heavily calloused, check with a podiatirst before having any invasive treatment. Done incorrectly, it can lead to infection and long term foot pain.