Organic vs Conventional

Slate.com

There’s no arguing that us humans need food to survive! Of course we know that eating fruits and vegetables is better for us than all of the processed packaged stuff. But with all the recent talks about conventional and organically grown fruits and vegetables, it’s tough to know what the right thing to do is.

You may have heard about the now famous “Stanford Study” which determined that organic food was not any more healthier than conventional. Unfortunately, they missed a few things.

Plain and simple, organic produce just tastes better. If you have ever tasted a conventional tomato and an organic one, you know what I’m talking about! There is no denying that the organic tomato is dense full of flavor. And what about all those chemicals? With the rise of antibiotic resistance, more and more people are realizing that the widespread usage of pesticides and antibiotics in agriculture has had a damaging effect. Pregnant women, babies and kids are advised to stay away from chemicals of all types. The negative impact on farmers, their land and our eco-system are also enough reasons to consider organically grown produce. Organic farming methods help the Earth renew itself while spraying pesticides beats up the land. Plants end up relying on the chemicals to help them fight disease and aren’t strong enough to protect themselves. When plants aren’t practicing this natural battle, they’re not building up their natural self-defense mechanism. It’s this activity that fills them full of antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids and other phytonutrients which we need to help us live in optimum health.

Take some time to research this topic on your own and come to your own conclusions. Here’s a recent post over on Mark’s Daily Apple to help get you started.

We’d love to know what you find out there! Leave us a comment here about your thoughts on all of this and whether or not you choose organic.

Support your local farmers, growers and of course, skin care makers!

To your health.

Color, Color

These days, glass and plastic bottles come in lots of different colors. Here at OHA, our glass and plastic bottles are brown. Most people think we just picked the color because of aesthetics. But the truth is, there is a reason why we choose to store our products in dark colored bottles.

OHA skincare products are made using plant based organic ingredients. Since we don’t use synthetic preservatives, our products are sensitive to light and heat. Our brown colored bottles shield light away and help protect the ingredients in our products. Therefore, the whole ingredients in your OHA product remains balanced and full of the healing, restorative and regenerative elements. Be sure to always keep your OHA purchase out of direct sunlight and away from heat.

How to Use OHA: Keep it Simple and See Great Results

We’ve talked a lot about combining OHA but chances are, you’ve probably never gotten a visual for what this process looks like. When you’re applying your moisturizer and serum and mist, the best method we’ve discovered is to combine the trio in the palm of your hand (as shown in the picture on the left). Once all three products are in the palm of your hand, mix them together with a finger or by rubbing your palms together. Then, apply the mixture in upward strokes to your face and neck. The Hydrating Mist allows the moisturizer and serum to penetrate the skin more deeply and spread more evenly than if you applied them separately. It also maintains the pH balance of your skin that ensures penetration, moisture retention, and overall skin health. It’s better for your skin AND it cuts the time you need to spend on your skin care routine.

Summer Skin : Soothe What Ails You

Who doesn’t love Summer? Everyone seems more chipper this time of year. Maybe it’s because they’re enjoying life outdoors, spending quality time with friends and family, and not having to layer their clothes to feel comfortable. All of this is lovely. The downside to summer, for many, is the harsh effect it has on their skin. Being outdoors in hot weather leads to sun damage and often sun burn. People with oily skin, like myself, often experience breakouts during the summer. For those of you in drier climates, your skin may get drier with the weather. Heat can wreak havoc on the balance we’ve reached with our skin and I’m here to share some helpful ways to overcome some summer skin obstacles.

Preventing Sun Damage and Burns:

A study from 2009 explains how antioxidants, like OHA’s green tea and vitamins E & C may have “minimal SPF” despite having been shown to “protect against UV-induced DNA damage and immune suppression, in part through its ability to reduce oxidative stress”. The conclusion is that “the addition of botanical antioxidants and vitamins C and E to a broad-spectrum sunscreen may further decrease UV-induced damage compared with sunscreen alone.” The best way to prevent sun damage and skin cancer is to use non-toxic sunscreen in conjunction with antioxidant skin care, like OHA. The most concentrated source of antioxidants in OHA is the Intensive Nutrient Complex, so if you want the most sun-protective bang for your buck, this is your best bet. Even better? Combine CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, Lip Line Treatment, and Hydrating Mist in the palm of your hand and apply it all over your face and neck for a thoroughly antioxidant-rich facial routine.

Already Burnt?

Is it too late for prevention? If so, your skin will be red, sensitive, and hot. Make sure to stay out of the sun after a burn and drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s important to be gentle with your skin, especially when it’s burnt, so avoid scrubbing vigorously and avoid any harsh, acidic skin treatments. Instead, use Intensive Nutrient Complex and Daily Moisturizer with Hydrating Mist to thoroughly calm the skin and bring it back to balance. Your burn will feel overheated, so liberally sprits your face and shoulders with Hydrating Mist to cool down and give your skin nourishment all day. Even oily skin that is feeling a bit fried can benefit from this treatment. Just be sure to dilute the serum and moisturizer with at least 7 sprays of Hydrating Mist in the palm of your hand before applying to your skin.

Speaking of Oily Skin…

As soon as the weather switched to summer in Seattle, my forehead developed some unsightly breakouts. Because my skin felt oily all day, I found myself touching my face a lot to wipe away excess oil. It’s no wonder I was having zit problems! As soon as I started using a little bit less moisturizer and serum (from 1 pump to less than half a pump for each) and using about twice as much Hydrating Mist, my breakouts cleared within a week. Beyond healing my breakouts, this new routine moisturized my skin just enough that it didn’t feel oily after my skin care routine but also didn’t leave my skin without oils after cleansing. When you have oily skin, it’s tempting to power wash your face and avoid moisturizer, but this habit will lead to your skin needing to replace oils that were removed from cleansing and often overcompensate by getting extra oily. Just a little bit of moisture will give your skin some much-needed balance.

On the Drier Side?

Martha’s favorite combination when she needs both sun protection and a lot of hydration is CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream combined with Daily Moisturizer and Intensive Nutrient Complex. This trio offers a protective barrier between the elements and the skin’s lipid barrier while also quenching thirsty skin. Essentially, it provides the skin with moisture and locks in that moisture all day. It’s chock-full of antioxidants, too, so it’s a great supplement to your sun care routine.

Your skin is communicating with you on a daily basis. It’s reflecting your emotions, your diet and how you’re nourishing it directly. When you notice changes in your skin, see what shifted in your life to figure out the cause of your skin’s changes. If the summer heat has been giving your skin trouble, I hope these bits of advice help you get back to good. Treat your skin kindly and enjoy all this season has to offer.

Argan: I’ve Run Out of Ways to Say “Antioxidant”

Argan seems to be popping up all over the place. Ever since we released CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, it seems like the question on everyone’s mind is, “What is so special about argan oil?” Well, there’s a whole lot of special about argan oil!

FAST FACTS: The argan tree generally grows in Morocco but you can also find it in Algeria. It grows fruit that take over a year to get to harvest. Inside that fruit is a hard nut or kernel that’s rich in oil. According to Nadim A. Shaath, Ph.D’s article “Argan Oil: Miracle Ingredient?”, “argan is one of the rarest oils in the world” because it’s grown in so few places and it takes the yield of eight entire argan trees to produce 1 liter of argan oil.

FAIR TRADE WORK OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: “The vast majority of the production of argan oil passes through women’s cooperatives through programs that focus on improving the working conditions of rural women…”. Not only does it provide opportunities for women, it also provides job opportunities: “According to the Moroccan Department of Water and Forests, argan oil currently provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

A Morroccan Woman Grinding Argan Kernels

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: “Argan contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is rich in essential fatty acids…Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained through diet or skin absorption. EFAs are structural components of cell membranes and are necessary for regulating healthy skin and premature aging. They perform vital roles in sebum production…EFAs have antioxidant properties and form a thin, impermeable film that prevents skin moisture loss.”

CAROTENOIDS: “Carotenoids are a class of plant-derived pigments which protect eyes and skin from UV radiation and free radical damage, help maintain the immune system, promote healthy skin and inhibit cancer cell proliferation.” The carotenoids in argan (neoxanthin, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin) are especially effective when used topically for sun protection.

POLYPHENOLS: These are powerful antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-aging components in argan oil. It helps prevent ultraviolet damage.

SQUALENE: It’s an “antioxidant oil that…penetrates more deeply and readily than most other oils. Human sebum, the skin’s own moisturizer, is 25% squalene, making externally-derived squalene highly compatible with skin lipids. Squalene has been shown to positively affect mature and rosacea skin….and has been effective in the treatment of dermatitis and skin cancer.” Argan has more squalene than olive oil!

VITAMIN E: I feel like a broken record, but Vitamin E is a fabulous antioxidant. IT “accumulates in the epidermis and forms a barrier against moisture evaporation from the skin, prevents cellular aging due to oxidation, aids in bringing nourishment to cells, decreases inflammation, and strengthens capillary walls. They significantly help in the reduction of scarring from wounds and the appearance of stretch marks. “

GREAT FOR DRYNESS: “Argan oil’s skin moisturizing properties correct dryness and improve skin elasticity.”

Goats Eating Argan Kernels in an Argan Tree

How could we not use Argan Oil, especially combined with the collagen-boosting super powers of CoQ10? After all, we Seattle folks are serious foodies, so it only makes sense that our skin care is chock full of ingredients that are also edible. Argan is no exception. Check out these goats eating the nutritious fruit from an argan tree! Internally, argan oil helps with cholesterol and macular degeneration. Externally, it’s a fabulous antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-aging moisturizer.

 

 

Tanning: Not as Good as it Looks

With summer quickly approaching and sunny days outnumbering the cloudy, we decided it was important to share some of the science on how the skin responds to tanning. If reading an article about UV rays and melanin sounds like the last thing you want to do, just know that there are OHA products with especially powerful sun filters (not SPF, but pigmented antioxidants that reflect the sun’s rays). If that sounds like you, check out products like the SuperCritical Gel Mask, Intensive Nutrient Complex, CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, and Lip Line Treatment to protect your skin from damage as we head into summer. If you want to get to the nitty gritty, read on, OHA fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a rare, sunny day in Seattle, I spent a long time in the sun at a party on a roof. One of my fellow party-goers refused sunscreen and even planned on going to a tanning salon because she was going to Hawaii soon and needed to prep her skin for the extra toasty Hawaiian sun. I didn’t know this person very well, so I didn’t feel comfortable telling her that this myth of prepping your skin for sunny weather is loosely based on logic, but actually false. According to Nina Jablonski, the author of Skin: A Natural History,

“Dark-skinned individuals can tolerate longer sun exposure than the light-skinned because their natural complement of melanin confers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 10-15. In contrast, the SPF of moderately pigmented skin, such as we find in southern Europe or central Asia, is only 2.5.”

You would think that by forcibly making your skin darker, you would be protecting yourself against further damage by upping your skin’s SPF. Sadly, your skin’s SPF doesn’t change as you tan, but is predetermined by your ancestry.

“For people with genetically light skin, tanning does not significantly increase the SPF sufficiently to protect DNA from UVR-induced damage…People with lightly to moderately pigmented skin who routinely expose themselves to UVR produce free radicals, which lead to premature aging of the skin and, over time, to visible wrinkles and uneven pigmentation”.

Worse yet, extra exposure leads to extra damage. After a significant amount of sun exposure and/or tanning, the skin becomes leathery to protect itself. Further damage leads to a breakdown of the stratum corneum, the body’s vital barrier against “oxidative stress such as ultraviolet radiation, ozone, air pollution, pathological microorganisms, chemical oxidants, and topically applied drugs”.

“One of the ways the skin defends itself against some environmental stressors is to become thicker. When the skin is repeatedly exposed to UVR, for instance, cell division increases in the deepest layer of the epidermis, the stratum basale, which is the source of epidermal cells; and, as a result, the stratum corneum thickens. If the stress…is extreme – such as too much UVR – the stratum corneum can cease to be an effective barrier. This can have disastrous results if a large area of the skin is affected.”

Please remember to limit your time in the sun. While OHA does not contain SPF or sunscreen, many of OHA’s products contain ingredients like Green Tea, Seabuckthorn, and Vitamin E, which have been scientifically researched and shown to suppress the damaging effects of UV radiation and reduce the likelihood of developing skin cancer.

 

Step into Spring with Sugar Scrub

For the first time since August, Seattle enjoyed a sun-filled weekend and it finally feels like Spring is here. The flowers are blooming, the frogs are hollering, and we’re finally trading our boots for flip flops.  In this season of rebirth and growth,  it seems natural to want  our skin to experience the same newness and vibrancy. The best product for exactly that is our Facial Sugar Scrub. It’s so versatile and refreshing that we want to make sure you know all about it for your Springtime facial routine. The following are some alternative uses for our favorite scrub:

•    By diluting a small amount of Sugar Scrub in the palm of your hand with Hydrating Mist or water, even the most sensitive skins can enjoy the gentle exfoliating, cleansing and nourishing benefits.
•    Apply a quarter-size amount of product over damp skin and leave on for up to twenty minutes. Once rinsed off, the Sugar Scrub will leave your skin plumped, hydrated, glowing and smooth as silk. Try applying right before your next shower and rinse off just before you finish showering.
•    Apply a small amount to a blemish and leave on for a half hour. It draws out impurities and helps the blemish heal more quickly.
•    Apply to hands to gently exfoliate and give yourself a revitalizing hand treatment. Follow with the Vitamin C Hand Cream.
•    If you’ve been working in the garden and scratch your hands, first clean the scrapes, then apply the Sugar Scrub to the scratch and let it dry until it naturally flakes off. Martha did this over the weekend on a scrape she got while cleaning her roof. It had zero sting and her scrapes aren’t even visible a day later.
•    Use Sugar Scrub to help remove a mask treatment. It makes the mask come off more easily while not stripping away the mask’s beneficial ingredients like a cleanser often does.

All of these are made possible by using naturally antibacterial and organic cane sugar. We grind the cane sugar for every batch so that the sugar is coarse enough to lift debris and dead skin but fine enough to not irritate or cause micro-tears on the skin. We combine this sugar to a mixture of aloe, collagen-boosting MSM and vitamins C & E. Our  Lemon and Lavender Tee Tree essential oils are unique to OHA and not available in other brands. On top of that they are truly refreshing and thoroughly therapeutic.  We hope you are as inspired by this new season as we are, and of course we wish you health and beauty.

The Super Powers of the Supercritical CO2 Gel Mask

OHA’s Supercritical CO2 Gel Mask features many powerful ingredients that revitalize and promote ongoing benefits for your skin lasting several hours after each treatment. We’ve mentioned CO2 extracts in the past, but every time we do research, new information emerges that makes us love this mask even more. It contains a vast array of CO2 extracts not available in any other OHA products. Not only are CO2 extracts considered the most bioactive and clean (residue, allergen, germ and preservative free) extracts available, CO2 extraction is also an eco-friendly extraction method that doesn’t create waste streams. Being a company out of the very green and beautiful city of Seattle, it seemed fitting to feature extracts that are especially kind to the environment. By using CO2 extracts, we’re providing your skin with the cleanest and most potent nutrients available from nature.

 

Because we’re so impressed with CO2 extracts, we believe that every skin type can benefit from using OHA’s Supercritical CO2 Gel Mask. “Every skin type?” Trust me, I know that sounds like a lofty claim. Whenever I read about products for “all skin types”, I doubt that it’s actually the best product for all skins and tend to assume it’s the best compromise for all skin types. This mask, however, really IS the best thing for all skin types, especially those with acne, sun damage, or roseacea. Here’s why:

 

Why it works on acne:

  • Seabuckthorn  and Rosehip CO2  contain high and almost equal amounts of Omega 3 and 6 supporting skin membrane function and elasticity and useful in cases of roseacea, acne and all skin inflammatory issues.
  • Turmeric CO2 contains curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammation and anti-carcinogenic properties that are also highly antibacterial.

Why it works on sun damaged skin:

  • Pomegranate CO2 contains punicic acid, which has been found to promote skin regeneration and decreases the incidence of skin cancer formation.
  • Carrot Seed, Seabuckthorn, Rosehip and Calendula contain high amounts of carotenoids which are also known as Pre-Vitamin A. Carotenoids offer your skin protection from environmental toxins and ultra violet damage. They also assist in wound healing.

Why it works on roseacea:

  • Rosemary is well known for its cell regenerative properties. The rosemarinic acids have been identified for use in eliminating the Demodex mite, thought by many to be a direct cause of roseacea.
  • Seabuckthorn  and Rosehip CO2  contain high and almost equal amounts of Omega 3 and 6 supporting skin membrane function and elasticity and useful in cases of roseacea, acne and all skin inflammatory issues.

Why it works for every skin type:

  • Both the Rosemary and St. Johnswort CO2 have calming and analgesic properties that help us to relax and breath deeper.
  • Another unique ingredient in this mask is unrefined Acai oil. This super food oil is rich in essential amino acids, minerals, vitamin C and E, essential fatty acids and other highly therapeutic nutrients.

The overall ingredient deck of this formula makes it as useful for anti-aging  as it is for acne and roseacea.

The OHA Spring Awakening Facial

Now’s the time to awaken your skin with this nutritious and potent treatment. It plumps and moisturizes, brightens and evens your skin tone, and helps skin filter out harmful UV rays.

Try the treatment below and let us know what you think!

 

  • Gently cleanse with OHA Cleansing Milk.
  • Mist your face with 1-7 pumps of Hydrating Mist so your skin will fully absorb the nutrients of the following treatment.
  • Combine in the palm of your hand a quarter-sized amount of Supercritical CO2 Mask and 1-3 pumps of Intensive Nutrient Complex. Begin by massaging product onto your décolleté, up your neck and all over your face, avoiding the eye area.
  • Next, gently pat 2 pumps of Lip Line Treatment onto mouth area, jaw line and décolleté/neck over the mask/serum mixture.
  • Lie down with your legs elevated and relax for 25 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes, take a quarter-sized amount of Sugar Scrub and scrub away the mask. Rinse while massaging products into face with warm water.
  • After patting skin dry, follow with Hydrating Mist, Intensive Nutrient Complex, CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream (or OHA moisturizer of your choice), and apply Under Eye Therapy. Voila!

 

Nurturing your skin with this treatment is a powerful and positive way to start the new season. It is especially effective at decreasing redness, discoloration, sun damage and fine lines. You’re sure to notice an improvement in the texture and tone of your skin after your first use.

Organic: Not Just For Skin Care, Anymore

In the last few months, OHA has found its way onto the shelves of some very exciting places. One of them is a store called Spun, a clothing collective on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Not only does Sara, designer and owner, have a fabulous organic clothing line, she rents out the rest of her racks, tables, and shelves to mostly local indie designers. I’ve been a huge fan of this place since I moved back to Seattle. When I finally realized that Spun would be the perfect space for a local, organic skin care line like OHA, Martha and I visited Sara, got her hopelessly addicted to the Cleansing Milk, and moved in at the beginning of February. We couldn’t be happier about it.

Beyond clothes and OHA, this place has a huge variety of gifts and generally awesome products. I have a difficult time leaving Spun without a bagful of flattering organic clothes, understated and beautiful jewelry and sassy handmade greeting cards. I confessed to Sara the other day that half of my closet is filled with her beautiful clothes.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to stop into this gem of a store and feel good knowing that you’re directly supporting local businesses, buying reasonably priced but stunning pieces for both your wardrobe and your skin, plus enjoying a high-quality perusing session.

Spun Sustainable Collective
1515 14th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
 

Happy shopping! Be sure to check out the locations page to see if there are any new places to find OHA near you!