Category Archives: Professional Treatments

High Frequency Wand For Acne

The high frequency wand is a relatively inexpensive tool used to help combat acne breakouts at home or during a facial.

Think of this electric wand as a high tech spot treatment which employs argon gas to kill bacteria. 

You will find a number of options available on Amazon for less than $100, most are categorized as “argon” or “neon”. 

Argon is a blue or violet light which kills acne bacteria. Neon is an orange light designed for anti-aging, I’ve never seen results from a neon high frequency- invest in a good LED panel for anti-aging benefits. 

The wand comes with an array of attachments, I like the “mushroom” for ease of use. Most importantly, keep the wand moving at all times. Holding it in one place can damage your skin!

The Virtual Skin Care Consult

This year hasn’t gone as planned (and I don’t think I’m alone!). I’ve had to pivot my business plan so many times I’ve lost count.

One thing is certain, I miss seeing clients.

Since the future of face to face services is uncertain, I created a Virtual Skin Care Consult.

A Virtual Skin Care Consult gives us an opportunity to discuss your skin care needs “live”, I can see what is going on with your skin at the moment and give you real time feedback.

Every consult begins with an online intake form. If you are a brand new client you will complete a new set of of forms, if we have worked together in the past you will provide an update for me.

When I receive your intake information, I do a careful assessment before we schedule time to meet. The virtual meeting takes place via FaceTime, Google Meet, or Skype. The consult takes about 45 minutes, depending on what we need to discuss.

Each consult is different, we talk about what you need right now. We can discuss a specific issue or work on an entirely new skincare routine. It’s your time so we can work on whatever you need.

I enjoy the virtual consults so much! I’ve established relationships with new clients thousands of miles away and gotten a peek into the lives of local clients quarantined at home.

To schedule a Virtual Skin Care Consultant click here or shoot me an email with any questions.

When Should I Start Using Anti-Aging Skin Care?

“When should I start using anti-aging skin care? I want to prevent aging before it happens!”

I hear this from my clients often and the answer is simple, you probably ARE using anti-aging skincare.

Sunscreen is the most important step to maintaining youthful skin and this is a product we should use every day at every age.

Most exfoliants and antioxidants (like retinol and vitamin C) may have been recommended to help with issues like acne and pigmentation but in the long run, also help with signs of aging.

If you are seeing fewer breakouts and more fine lines, check your routine for drying ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These are both great to use as spot treatment for the occasional pimple but not in a cleanser or cream since their job is to absorb oil.

Check your moisturizer, do you need a heavier product? You may want to consider layering a serum and a mid-weight lotion to get the power of anti-aging actives without clogging your pores.

Ingredients like hyaluronic acid provide intense moisture without being heavy.

Leave the super heavy creams for your grandma (or your ski vacation). Your face doesn’t need to feel like an oil slick to keep wrinkles at bay.

Pre-Holiday Skin Care

Summer is over and your natural glow is starting to fade, what’s the best way to prepare for the holidays?

First and foremost, it’s time to exfoliate. Chances are, you spent time outside and out of your normal environment in the past three months. Plus, (hopefully) you used more SPF!

Now is a great time to schedule a chemical peel or a Microdermabrasion Facial. Slough off the top layer of dead skin, clean out your pores, and start new for fall.

Take some time to revisit your home care routine, maybe add a brightening product to the mix. Botanical brightening products help bring back your natural glow without using of harsh bleaching ingredients.

Lastly, the temperature outside is cooling and days are getting shorter but daily physical SPF is still as important as ever.

How To Be A Good Client

We all want a great skin care treatment but what can you do to enhance your session?

Let’s assume you have the basics covered: show up to your appointment a few minutes early, cancel or reschedule at least 24 hours in advance etc.

Here are a few tips to help you have the best treatment possible:

  1. Bring your current skin care regime (or photos of the products) to your first session. Knowledge of the ingredients you are currently using might influence the treatment you receive.
  2. Have an open mind and communicate your concerns. You scheduled a treatment with a professional so trust their opinion. However, feel free to ask questions and inquire about the process along the way.
  3. If you want to see a change in your skin, commit to the suggested treatment plan and provide feedback as necessary. If you are in love with a certain product and don’t want to switch, be honest! If you need a skin care regime at a lower price point, be honest! If you don’t communicate your needs, you will not see the results you want.
  4. Be honest about how much time and money you want to commit to your skin care routine. Skin is a living organ that requires maintenance. For best results, establish a plan that fits your lifestyle!

What is Light Therapy?

Light therapy is commonly referred to as LED which stands for Light Emitting Diode. The three most common types of LED therapy are blue, red, and near-infared.

Blue LED’s are designed to kill acne bacteria and clear existing breakouts at the surface level of the skin.

Red LED‘s will penetrate deeper to increase collagen and elastin production in the dermis.

Near-infared LED‘s penetrate the deepest and focus on increasing circulation while reducing inflammation in the tissue.

There is an LED for every skin condition which makes it the perfect addition to your next treatment!

Preparing For A Chemical Peel

A professional chemical peel is part of many skin care rountines; they are effective when getting ready for a big event like a wedding or to soften the signs of aging.

A chemical peel you receive from your esthetician falls into one of two categories:

  1. Superficial peels are left on the skin for 2-6 minutes then neutralized with water or a neutralizing agent. These are often part of a facial treatment and a popular example is glycolic acid.
  2. Medium depth peels are more aggressive and self-neutralizing. They may produce several days of shedding skin and a popular chemical peel is this category is the Jessner Peel.

Medium depth, self-neutralizing chemical peels are very effective for a variety of concerns. Hyper-pigmentation, acne, acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity can all be improved with peels from this category. 

Your esthetician will determine which blend of acid is best for your skin type and concerns. There are many chemical peels available, most use combinations of TCA, retinol. salicyic, lactic, and mandelic acids.

If you are prone to cold sores or know you have oral herpes, take preventive medication for 2 days before having a medium depth chemical peel. Some peels can initiate a flare up.

During the treatment, multiple layers of solution will be applied to your skin with time for each layer to dry between applications. Your esthetician will use a fan to cool your skin and minimize discomfort.

Your skin will be protected with sunscreen after the chemical peel is applied. You cannot wash your face or sweat for at least 5 hours so schedule your appointment accordingly. You may have a chemical peel in the evening and safely sleep with the solution on your face. Thoroughly wash it off the following morning before showering or working out, you don’t want the solution to run into your eyes!

Over the next 36-48 hours, your skin will feel tight and smooth, maybe a little warm. The tight skin begins to shed around the mouth first since your facial movement helps loosen the dead skin. The shedding continues to the cheeks, forehead, and hairline over the next few days.

Schedule your chemical peel when you have no important events for the following 10-14 days.

Some skin types take longer to start the shedding process, some have a “second shed” (day of light but visible dryness) after the major shedding is finished. Skin can be unpredictable so give yourself ample time to heal before any important events.

While your skin is shedding, use gentle, hydrating products. Cream cleanser, calming moisturizer, and physical sunscreen is all you need.

Don’t use products with active ingredients for at least 14 days after your chemical peel. 

Contact your esthetician if you have any questions or your skin has a bad reaction. Allergies aren’t common but they do happen!

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

What I learned from my “Botox Vacation”

Full disclosure, I’m a fan of injectable neurotoxins. In the hands of the right doctor, they are a great tool to for people who want to look youthful.

I had my first Botox treatment at 35 years old. The vertical line on my forehead had been there long as I could remember, getting more pronounced with each passing year. The prospect of softening it was intriguing.

The procedure itself didn’t feel as invasive as I expected. It took about 10 minutes and the result was subtle. I was so happy with the results, I continued to have injections every 5-6 months.

I’ve paired Botox with other anti-aging treatments (chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and LED treatments) and I’m generally happy with my face a decade later.

Then I had two Botox treatments in a row where the results changed dramatically. My eyes looked heavier and my forehead too frozen. I discussed it with my dermatologist but the corrections he made didn’t really help.

Unsure of what to do, I took a “Botox vacation” and let my face go back to its natural state.

I was curious; had a decade of paralyzing my forehead muscles affected their movement? Was Botox really “preventative” like some doctors said? Would my forehead be smoother than it was before?

My “Botox vacation” lasted a nine months. During that time, all the movement returned to my forehead; I’m happy to know my muscles still work! The heaviness left my eyelids as the Botox wore off but the vertical line on my forehead also returned.

Does my forehead look better now than it would have if I didn’t get all the injections over the past decade? Not necessarily.

I decided to see a new dermatologist and he used a different injection pattern to lift my brow while still softening the vertical line. I’m happy with the results and will probably get back on my regular injection schedule but it’s also nice to know what my face looks like without a little help!

How Do I Treat My Melasma?

Melasma is a very common concern among the clients I see in my studio.

Often called “the mask of pregnancy”, the discolored patches of skin are triggered by hormonal activity and sunlight.

The first step in any treatment plan is to determine what triggers your skin discoloration.

If hormonal fluctuations cause the discoloration, it is considered melasma.

If the discoloration is from acne inflammation, it is considered hyper-pigmentation. A treatment plan for hyper-pigmentation will include products and treatments to keep the acne under control, as well as treat the pigment left behind.

Adequate, daily, sun protection is a part of the treatment plan for discoloration. The sun is a trigger for any melanin disorder, regardless of the trigger. SPF with a physical ingredient is more effective at controlling pigment than SPF with a chemical ingredient.

Treating melasma is a two step process. First, remove the existing pigmented skin and second, prevent new pigment from forming.

Melasma pigment is removed with varying degrees of exfoliation using microdermabrasion, chemical peels or lasers. The best treatment for you depends on your skin tone, your lifestyle, the amount of downtime you are comfortable with, and the amount of money you are willing to spend.

Melasma is controlled with religious sunscreen application, regular exfoliation, topical vitamin c and a rotation of hydroquinone and botanical skin lightening creams. A consult with a skin care professional will determine the best routine for your skin and your lifestyle.

Lifestyle is an important consideration for melasma treatments. You can erase all the pigment spots you currently have only to see them return after an hour unprotected in the sun. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, please consider a more moderate approach.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Do Skin Care Gadgets Work?

Skin care gadgets are popping up everywhere, but do they work?

Derma-rollers, skin tightening devices, and LED masks; you can purchase many devices to treat yourself in the comfort of your home but how do they compare to professional treatments?

Any device approved for sale to the public isn’t going to be as powerful as the professional version. Yes, even the ones sold on Amazon labeled “professional”. To obtain a professional machine, you must show the manufacturer your license and receive proper training.

Instructions on most home-use devices will tell you daily use is required to see results. This is important. Ask yourself “Will I devote 15 minutes every day to this machine?” before making the investment.

It’s better to spend your hard-earned money on a few professional treatments instead of a closet full of expensive gadgets you don’t use!

Home-use devices like facial cleansing brushes, skin tightening devices and LED masks can be beneficial if you use them properly (and daily!).

Avoid home-use microdermabrasion machines and microneedling. When you pierce the surface of the skin, there is a risk of scarring and infection. These are treatments best left to the professionals.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

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.

Bridal Skin Care

Wedding preparation can be overwhelming, it’s important not to overlook your bridal skin care routine. Makeup can conceal many flaws but bumpy, clogged pores will show thru any foundation.

Start at least 6 months before your big day.

If you’re having regular skin care treatments, 6 months is enough time to ramp up for a wedding. If you’re starting from scratch, give yourself 8-12 months.

Have a consultation with your esthetician to determine the combination of treatments required to achieve your skin care goals. This may include chemicals peels with several days of downtime after each session so plan accordingly.

Schedule consultations with the people you hire for hair and makeup (of course!) as well as anyone you plan to hire for eyelash extensions, spray tan, nail services etc. The week before your wedding is not the time to experiment with a treatment you’ve never received before.

Make a budget and commit to your routine.

Get a price for your professional treatments up front, many spas offer a discount if you pre-pay for all your services in advance. Factor in the cost of the home care products your will need to boost the results of the professional treatments. Wedding costs add up quickly and you don’t want to be forced to skimp on your skin as a result!

Don’t forget your back and chest.

Consider the cut of your dress and plan to treat any area that will be exposed. Back or chest acne may require several treatments to go away completely. If the skin on your body is generally good, have a body scrub the week before your wedding to remove dead skin.

Plan your treatments the week-of in the correct order.

  • 4-5 days before: Massage, body wrap, hair color, eyelash extensions
  • 3 days before: body scrub, manicure + pedicure, facial
  • 2 days before: spray tan

Relax and enjoy your big day!

The most important step of all.

 

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!

Thalassotherapy

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

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.

Spa Treatments and Cancer

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.

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.