#OHA101: ASTAXANTHIN

NATURE’S SUN PROTECTANTblog3_astaxanthin_powder

Astaxanthin, pronounced asta-zan-thin, is the ultimate antioxidant!

Astaxanthin is the naturally occurring red pigment found in algae, lobster, and salmon that gives them their vibrant red color. Aside from the red pigment, astaxanthin acts as a natural sunscreen. Think of astaxanthin like armor for these animals — shielding against free radicals and other stresses like harmful UV rays.

blog3_astaxanthin_cellsOverexposure to UV light damages your skin, causing wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer. Astaxanthin protects your skin by rejuvenating it both internally and topically, helping cells overcome inflammation and DNA damage. The most effective method of natural sun protection is using a topical sunscreen in addition to taking astaxanthin internally.

According to Huffington Post’s Suzy Cohen, R.Ph., astaxanthin has been shown to protect your skin. When taken internally, it accumulates in and penetrates the skin cells, reducing UV damage. The skin’s sensitivity to UV light gradually decreases due to this accumulation. In addition, this helps reduce fine lines and maintain your skin’s moisture levels and smoothness.

The best dietary sources include sockeye salmon, shrimp, crab, and red trout. Supplements are also a great way to ingest it. Incorporate astaxanthin into your daily routine: the recommended dosage is 4-12 mg/day.

– Karen Khuu – Contributing Writer

#OHA101: Red Raspberry Seed Oil

April 3, 2015 – Karen Khuu (Contributing Writer)Fresh raspberry

Mother Nature’s Sun Protectant

Red Raspberry Seed Oil – Raspberries mean summer and sun to most of us. Did you know that the seeds from this little red fruit offer your skin a truly natural alternative for sun protection?

With summer around the corner, it’s important to make sure you’re protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Red raspberry seed oil is an especially potent ingredient that has been proven to naturally protect your skin from UV damage and reduce dark spots.

This special natural oil is exceptionally packed with nutrients and provides natural SPF. According to B. Dave Oomah:

 “Red Raspberry Seed Oil may act as a broad-spectrum UV-A and UV-B shield. It has shown an SPF of between 28 and 50 and thus is a valuable ingredient in natural sunblocks and sunscreens.” (Oomah, et al 2000)

Red raspberry seed oil not only revitalizes your skin but also protects it from UVA and UVB damages, also known as Broad Spectrum Protection. It offers the same amount of sun protection as Titanium Dioxide. Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) is a mineral pigment, sunscreen, and thickener commonly found in a majority of physical sunscreens. Red raspberry seed oil offers people an alternative to Titanium Dioxide and chemical exposure coming from substances like Oxybenzone. This oil will also enhance the protection offered by your normal sunscreen plus fight hyperpigmentation and provide moisture—something the everyday chemical sunscreens don’t offer.

Red raspberry seed oil is cold-pressed and extracted from its seeds. It is rich in essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), Vitamin A, and Vitamin E (alpha and gamma tocopherols). These vital nutrients play an important role in rejuvenating and protecting your skin from environmental damages.

As the season changes, our skin changes with it. Sun or no sun, it is important to think about what we trust to protect our skin.

Nearly all of OHA’s products contain red raspberry seed oil. Advanced Treatment Serum, Intensive Nutrient Complex, and the CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream have the highest concentration of the oil, offering natural UVA and UVB protection. Learn more about these products here.

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.

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.

 

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.

Relaxing with OHA

We talked last week about how to feel revived during this hectic season but sometimes, you just need to relax. OHA can help. For the last several blogs, we’ve highlighted the vitamins and botanical extracts in this skin care line, but a third component is aromatherapy. Now let’s get something straight about aromatherapy. Candle companies will have you believe that “aromatherapy” is feeling better from being in the midst of good smells. The true meaning of “aromatherapy” is “the therapeutic use of plant-derived essential oils”.  It’s not about breathing in synthetic vanilla fragrances, but about healing with pure aromatics. We want our customers to have a positive relationship with aromatic plants because what go hand in hand with those aromas are plants’ healing properties. We’ve come up with some helpful tips to get you feeling easy breezy in no time with some of OHA’s most aroma-therapeutic products for relaxation:

Lavender Field in France

Night Cream: OHA is the only skin care company using organic Kashmir lavender from the Himalayas. This is one of the finest lavenders in the world and it’s in this Night Cream to soothe frayed nerves. The natural healing powers of lavender are intensified by the association with what a lot of people consider the most healing and spiritual place on earth. Australian Sandalwood, also included in this blend, has been used for temple building because it’s believed to protect one from negative energies and surround one in divine presence. Beyond having a beautifully nourishing cream to apply at night, you can bask in the spiritual and healing aspects of these exotic and rare oils. Take time to breathe in the rich aroma and try it for daytime use, too, especially if you need extra calm in your day.

Rosewood Lavender Shea Body Butter: Rosewood is considered to be one of seven trees in the South American culture that can transform the planet. It is thought by the South Americans to be guarded by angel spirits and they use it as a rite of passage when their people die. This blend also includes English Lavender, which contains different compounds from Kashmir lavender due to the entirely different soil. Lavender grows all across the world from the Himalayas, to England, to the USA, to Australia. Martha’s OHA formulations feature lavenders from all over the world in order to provide the skin with every possible healing compound that lavender has to offer.

Intensive Nutrient Complex: Martha’s a firm believer in “it takes a village” when it comes to formulating with essential oils. That’s why she included 7 different lavenders, 3 vanilla balsams and a bouquet of soothing and healing florals in the essential oil blend for this best selling treatment serum. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of chocolate, coffee, tea or wine, you will appreciate our use of small but over-the-top skilled, artisan essential oil producers. These producers and Martha’s skill in blending assures you of true aromatherapy in every application of OHA.

Enough said. How should you use these products to relax? We suggest using any of these as a balm for temples, shoulders, feet and anywhere else a massage therapist would release tension. Be aware of the long history of lavender providing beauty rest that we all need so badly this time of year. As you apply these products to your face and body, take a moment to breathe deeply and enjoy the relaxation that follows.

Best to your holidays!

 

Why CoQ10 Makes Your Skin Beautiful

We’ve done a lot of hooting and hollering about the launch of our CoQ10 and Argan Face Cream but forgot to mention why it’s such a fabulous addition to our skin care line up. Let’s talk ingredients:

CoQ10 Powder: You’ve probably seen this in grocery stores as a supplement to support heart health and energy. CoQ10 is made in the body but is hard to come by naturally in food, hence its popularity in supplement form. Topically, it’s a powerful antioxidant that smoothes wrinkles and reverses sun damage (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20635514). CoQ10 blocks collagen-damaging enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs) so the skin stays elastic, supple and strong. MMPs are stimulated by pollution, smoking, oxidative damage from UV radiation and other environmental hazards, so having CoQ10 to protect and fortify collagen against MMPs is especially important for an anti-aging skin treatment.

Argan Oil: This is an oil from Morocco that’s loaded with natural tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalenes and fatty acids. It absorbs quickly but is a rich enough oil to deeply hydrate dry skin. As an added bonus, it also prevents and reduces signs of stretch marks and other scarring.

Moroccan Argan Tree

Plum Kernel Oil: Like Argan Oil, Plum Kernel Oil is rich in essential fatty acids, which boost cell regeneration, provide lipid barrier protection and nourish the innermost workings of the skin, the dermis. What makes Plum Kernel especially great in a face cream is its absorbability – it leaves virtually no oily residue so your skin gets hydrated but doesn’t feel like an oil slick.

Beyond containing these beauties, our new face cream is VEGAN. That’s right. This cream is beeswax free and ready to quench those thirsty vegan faces.

 

CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream seemed like an obvious choice for the Radiant Skin Treatment with its anti-aging and deep hydration abilities. Our customers have mentioned a progressive brightening of their skin with continued use of this new cream due to the high concentration of Vitamin C. Check out the Radian Skin Treatment through October 30thfor special pricing on all the steps of this skin beautifying regimen.

The Super Powers of Licorice

There are few foods as polarizing as licorice. I fall into the “no, thank you” camp while others happily consume it on a regular basis. The beautiful thing about licorice, besides providing the world an illustration of living peacefully amongst differing opinions, is that it comes from a plant (with the hardcore title of Glycyrrhiza glabra, but I’ll just call it ‘licorice’) with impressive super powers for your skin. Let’s review some of those here:

1. Are dark spots from acne, eczema, aging and scars bothering you? Studies show that licorice can naturally lighten pigmented skin to give it a more balanced, even look.

2. Suffer from psoriasis? Have no fear! Licorice Root Extract is here! Slather the Vitamin C Infused Hand Cream over your psoriasis-addled skin and watch it get better in no time.

3. Are you battling itchy dermatitis? In a study by the Department of Pharmaceutics, “Two percent licorice topical gel was more effective than 1% in reducing the scores for erythema, oedema and itching over two weeks. The results showed that licorice extract could be considered as an effective agent for treatment of atopic dermatitis.” Lucky for you OHA customers, Martha formulated the Vitamin C Infused Hand Cream with a 7.5 % concentration of licorice root extract to provide even more scientifically proven healing power.

4. Best of all, applying licorice root extract topically helps prevent skin cancer and consumes free radicals to slow down the skin’s natural aging process. The Department of Medical Elementology and Toxicology did a study whose results showed, “that glycyrrhetinic acid (a “major active component of licorice roots”), an antioxidant, is a potential chemopreventive agent that can inhibit… cutaneous oxidative stress and tumor promotion.”

 

Basically, licorice root extract is awesome. It’s a potent extract that will not only balance your skin tone and soothe what ails your skin but it also prevents future skin troubles, like skin cancer and wrinkles. Now, when you use your favorite OHA hand cream, you’ll know you’re applying the real deal.