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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

How Hydrating Mist Keeps Skin Balanced Between Seasons

With the weather so haywire, it’s important to nurture skin throughout the changes.  As it starts to get colder, the body responds by using more protein, causing skin’s layers to develop more quickly. Having less time for skin to develop leads to imbalances, like chapped skin, hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin tone or flakiness.

Our 90% Organic Hydrating Mist can help the skin stay soothed and nourished during this transition. It contains soothing and softening aloe vera, antioxidant-rich green tea and hydrating hydrosols (see below to find out what these are).  Green tea is also an anti-inflammatory, helping soothe redness and rawness caused by chapped, weak layers of skin, while MSM helps strengthen collagen and keeps the skin even-toned and supple.

What’s so unique about our toner is it hydrates rather than “tightens”. When other brands’ toners claim that their toner “tightens”, you’re generally left with skin feeling uncomfortably tight and dry.  Not so with Hydrating Mist because it aims to soothe and hydrate. Hydrating Mist should be applied after cleansing to help prepare the skin for moisture and it helps disperse the products. OHA moisturizers and serums go much farther when accompanied by the Hydrating Mist, so you get better value for your money.

What’s a Hydrosol?

OHA uses Rose and Lavender hydrosols due to their immense healing and soothing properties. You can even use them on babies! Hydrosols are not as bioactive as other compounds but their ability to gently soothe and hydrate is well worth it.

Hydrosols, which you’ll find in our Hydrating Mist, are commonly called ‘floral waters’. Real hydrosols are the first product from the plant distillation process, followed by essential oils. Although it would be significantly less expensive to mix water and essential oils for a toning water (as most botanical skin care lines do), we use real hydrosols because all skin types, even the most sensitive, can absorb and benefit from them.

A Few Words from Martha Buldain, OHA Formulator: I want to emphasize that this is a beneficial and therapeutic product, not just filler in your skin care routine. It helps hydrate and refresh, while also helping all of our other products disperse evenly and sink in thoroughly. I especially like mixing the Hydrating Mist, Intensive Nutrient Complex, and Daily or Night Moisturizer in the palm of my hand. Three steps done at once saves time while still providing nutrients and hydration.  Lastly, it is truly refreshing and uplifting, with lavender and grapefruit, and it helps ease headaches.

 

 

What Vitamin E Can Do For You

Almost every product Martha formulates contains tocotrienol and/or tocopherol, both highly concentrated Vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E goes in and out of vogue but it remains one of the most effective topical treatment for scars, burns and collagen damage.

When you consider what quality skin care products ought to be doing for your skin, you think of wrinkle prevention and healing. What those boil down to are protection from UV damage and anything that may compromise the lipid barrier. Both of these needs are met by vitamin E. According to a 2009 article in Skin Inc called Vitamin E : A Skin Care Ally, by Doctor Pugliese, Vitamin E has two major functions: 1) protect the skin from ultraviolet rays and 2) maintain the skin’s protective barrier.

The body naturally creates alpha tocopherol but it gets depleted with any exposure to UV rays, causing temporary imbalances that can cause serious skin damage. When skin is exposed to harmful UV rays, it creates free radicals and skin goes through oxidative stress. Applying and ingesting vitamin E are essential to keeping the skin protected from sometimes unavoidable exposure to UV rays. Having an ample supply of vitamin E on the skin protects against this damage and prevents the skin from losing water. This is why vitamin E should be a staple ingredient in all sunscreens.

Besides using the full OHA system on your skin, another way to get Vitamin E in your life is to eat foods that have naturally occurring vitamin E, like, wheatgerm, sunflower and olive oils and nut oils, like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts. According to Skin Inc, “Using both oral and topical vitamin E can help prevent, or markedly reduce, damage from free radicals”.

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.

 

 

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