#OHA101: Super Foods For Super Skin


Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin

You are what you eat. Everyone has heard this phrase many times before, and research has shown it is certainly true. Dermatologists like Dr. Jessica Wu, MD., say that research shows one’s diet can affect their complexion and hormone balance. Certain power foods can work wonders for your body, especially your skin. In fact, what you eat is just as important as what you apply topically to your skin.

Here are some superfoods for super skin:

blog5_olive oil_huffpostOlive Oil – Olives and olive oil are packed with anti-oxidant polyphenols that help shield against damaging free radicals. In addition, most of the fat content in olive oil is mono-saturated fatty acid which rejuvenates your skin and helps it look youthful. Topically, using unrefined olive oil helps relieve, repair, and hydrate extra dry skin by helping to rebuild the skin’s moisture barrier. This helps prevent further moisture loss and possibly reduce damage that causes wrinkles and discoloration.

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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.


Be Your Own Valentine: Fall In Love With Your Beauty


I’ve always had a bit of a beef with Valentine’s Day.  It’s a very bossy holiday, telling you how to feel toward your partner, if you’ve got one, or making you feel “less than” if you’re single. I love my partner and I try to express that love every day we’re together; I don’t need a holiday to remind me, especially with cliché pink and red hearts.  This is why I’ve decided to redefine Valentine’s Day. Ready? Valentine’s Day 2010 is dedicated to finding even more reasons to respect and honor your own beauty, spirit and heart.  Be your own Valentine.

Talking with Martha, we realized that there are a couple of different body parts that make us feel beautiful in a way that no snazzy piece of jewelry or pricey new outfit ever could:

Your Lips: There’s something sexy about lips. They kiss, they sexily eat strawberries, they whisper naughty nothings…they’re undeniable.  That’s why it’s important to treat those kissers with the Lip Line Treatment. It will protect that vulnerable area with moisturizing tamarind and meadowfoam seeds, antioxidant green tea and reishi mushrooms, and soothing and hydrating coconut oil and sea buckthorn to reduce the appearance of lip lines and add plumpness to the lips.

Your Eyes: When it comes down to it, the most beautiful part of any person is their eyes. Eyes express nearly everything there is to know about how someone is feeling. When you’ve been drinking water, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and feeling relatively calm, your eyes reflect it. When you’re stressed, tired, sick or sleepy, your eyes are a dead give away. For those times of feeling worn-out, saggy, or tired, Martha formulated the Under Eye Therapy. It lifts with silk, gently replenishes moisture with sunflower seed oil and olive squaline, de-puffs with honey and perilla oil, and cools and soothes with aloe and cucumber. This product is especially helpful if your eyes are looking more worn out than you feel.

Your Neck:  When you want to get snuggly with a special someone, you want your neck to feel smooth, supple and inviting.  Applying the Lip Line Treatment to the neck replenishes moisture so completely that it helps smooth out the appearance of wrinkles. If you’d like to tighten up that delicate décolleté, add some Under Eye Therapy to your Lip Line Treatment and apply in gentle upward strokes.

I also think it’s a lovely time of year to indulge in the sweeter things in life. We began the year with strict resolutions for ourselves so now’s the time to ease up and give ourselves some leeway to relax and enjoy. If you’re still calorie counting, however, you can add the Facial Sugar Scrub to your daily dose of indulgence.  It sloughs off dead skin, leaving you refreshed and feeling lively.

I’d love to hear from all of our fabulous readers out there.  What do you love about yourself?

Until Next Time,


My Top 5 Ways to Unwind with Skin in Mind


I have a confession: I’m a skin care nerd.  There, I said it. It’s because of this nerdiness that the following indulgences and activities chill me out:

1. Taking time at the end of the day to wash my face, refresh with some misting and give myself a mini face massage with my moisturizer and serum. It calms me down and resets my brain to bed time mode. This works so well for me that I think I could set the record for “Shortest Amount of Time Between Putting Head to the Pillow and Being in a Deep Sleep”. I mean it. I’m THAT quick.

2. Talking about ingredients. I especially love hearing stories behind ingredients. Take, for instance, the reishi mushroom extract in the Lip Line Treatment: Martha looked long and hard to find an artisan reishi mushroom supplier that met her stringent ingredient standards. When she finally found her mushroom guy (Paul Stamets of Olympia, WA), he took weeks (if not months) of coaxing until he finally agreed to be her mushroom guy. This Paul fellow is kind of a big deal, having written half a dozen books about mushrooms and discovering four new species of mushrooms. You can imagine how difficult it must have been for Martha’s fledgling skin care company to convince Paul’s people to supply the valuable and rare reishi mushroom extract used in Lip Line today. REALLY difficult. Stories like this intrigue me.

3. Indulging in a face mask when my boyfriend’s not home. He thinks it’s a creepy look on me but there’s nothing quite like relaxing with some Law and Order, drinking some tea and wearing a face mask. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.  Speaking of which, that reminds me of another relaxing, skin-related joy of mine…

4. Drinking water or tea. I know it’ll sound totally batty, but whenever I’m drinking water or tea, I think of how lovely and dewy my skin will feel once I’m hydrated. It’s not instantaneous. I know that. I just like to think of it that way.

5. Taking a bath. I get that a bath seems like a cliché relaxing option but it’s a cliché for a reason: it works. I just drop some essential oils in and let the hot water do its thing with my muscles and stress.  If I’m feeling saucy, I’ll light some candles and maybe have some wine. What a night, right?

Enough about me. What makes your days better? What are your indulgences or hobbies that turn you geeky?  I’d love to hear about them!

Until Next Time,


Not All Lavenders Are Created Equal


Remember how I mentioned the “lavender” bath salts I tried giving Martha before I knew that there was a difference between high end lavender and grocery store lavender? After doing some research, I can attest to how wrong I was. So. Wrong.

Let’s break it down:

“Lavender”:  A lot of products in grocery stores with a “lavender” scent may not even have actual lavender in it.  It’s like “grape” gum. I’ve never tasted a real grape that smelled anything like grape-flavored gum but it’s what the market has decided “grape” tastes like so that’s what we’ve come to expect.  Same goes for lavender.  A lot of people out there (maybe even you!) have only encountered the most false versions of lavender and believe that you’re allergic to or dislike the smell of lavender.  If the ingredient deck says nothing of “lavendin” or  some form of “lavandula”, back away slowly and move on to something real.

A Field of Lavendin

Lavendin: Even though (or maybe because) Lavendin is a hybrid of lavandula angustifolia (often called True Lavender) and lavender spica (Spiky Lavender), it’s a totally sterile plant that can’t reproduce on its own. Despite its sterility, lavendin is by far the most prevalent form of lavender in soaps, toothpastes, everything because it smells so lovely. It has to be cloned, which is why most lavender fields you see look eerily symmetrical and tidy.  Lavendin, however, doesn’t guarantee all the healing properties that lavandula angustifolia provides, so OHA primarily uses lavendin to cover up the not-so-pleasant smelliness of unrefined olive oil, pumpkin seed oil and rose hip seed oil. It also does well at the basic lavender functions, like being antispasmodic and a stress reliever.

A Field of True Lavender

Lavandula Angustifolia (True Lavender):  Ahhh, now the really good stuff. When other skin care companies use this variety of lavender, they dilute it like crazy because it’s so expensive. This lavender is not skin sensitizing so it’s safe for almost every skin type. The most precious sub-species of lavendula angustifolia is Population Lavender, grown from seeds in France. It is among the most therapeutically complex and beneficial lavender oils in the world.  Talk about freakisly expensive, but OHA uses it because it’s what’s best for your skin. Different climates, altitudes, and even insects can affect the structure and therapeutic strengths of a lavender plant, so OHA sources lavender from all around the world, including the Pacific Northwest, Tasmania, France, Bulgaria, and the Himalayas. This guarantees that you get all the possible therapeutic benefits of lavender when you use OHA’s skin care system. Why is that cool?  See below:

Lavender Angustifolia’s benefits include:

* treating eczema, psoriasis, burns, bronchial disorders, migraines, wounds, parasitic infection
* relaxant, sleep aid and stress reliever
* antibacterial, antispasmodic, a circulatory stimulant and antiseptic
* regulates skin functions and stimulates cellular growth and regeneration
* brings balance to all skin types, including acneic, dry, normal, sensitive and oily
* heals open wounds or surgical wounds
* it turns you and your friends into unicorns. I’m kidding. I just wanted to see you if you were still with me.

Enlightening stuff, eh?  It just reminds me of what an honor it is to be using and working around the most beautiful ingredients available.

Want to see the OHA products that are rich in lavender? Check out the links below:

Facial Sugar Scrub

Hydrating Mist

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Until Next Wednesday,


PS: If you have questions, thoughts, or musings about the meaning of life, leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy New Year, OHA Customers!


I want to introduce myself. My name is Martha and I am the formulator and owner of OHA BioActive Skin Care.  I am thrilled that so many of you share my passion for luminous skin and unsurpassed, organic ingredient quality, teeming with life. It is important that you know OHA is formulated first and foremost with love and the intention of healing and balancing skin. Our inclusive and unique concept utilizes the pure essences of Nature through our wondrous unrefined botanical oils and extracts, nutrients, minerals, essential oils and flower essences.  Our ingredients and the people who produce them are the “BEST OF THE BEST”.

Your dedication to using OHA, organic skin care that is formulated within a co-creative partnership with Nature, is revolutionary and will have a major impact on our realization of overall health and true beauty. Know that you are now considered part of the OHA movement. This movement will evolve the importance of our skin and the many roles it plays in our daily life experience. Skin matters. And nothing matters more to skin than a daily dose of Nature.

I look forward to getting to know each of you this year. I send out a New Year’s resolution that we will all love ourselves more, trust more and honor our unique beauty. Remembering our soul expresses itself most dramatically through our skin. May 2010 nourish and support the one and only you and your well being.

Thank you for loving OHA and providing me the opportunity to express my passion. Deepest gratitude.

Who Is Meg?


After a couple of months on board the OHA team, I realized that most of you, our fabulous customers, have yet to meet me or know what I’m doing here.

Martha and MegI’m Meg. I grew up in the beautiful Northwest, have been playing cello since fifth grade and my best friend is Drea. Drea and I became friends when we were both awkward sixth graders in gym class. My own home life was tricky and stressful, so I spent a lot of time with Drea and her mom, Martha. Yes, that Martha, the formulator of all your favorite skin nourishing products.

Martha’s home was my second home, where I got to sniff all of her special formulas, learn about Martha’s new research (she was doing yoga well before Madonna even sat on a mat), play duets (cello and viola) and hang out with Drea, and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere that Martha had created. It was an aromatic bubble away from my parent’s house. It was here that I learned about how essential oils are ACTUALLY supposed to smell and that Martha is a total stickler about ingredients.

Take, for instance, the bath salts I got her one year. They were “lavender” bath salts, the kind that you’d find in a grocery store. I thought, “Martha loves lavender. This will be right up her alley.” Martha graciously accepted them but, when I saw them stored under the sink several months later, I asked Drea why Martha hadn’t used them yet. Drea was always good at putting things bluntly: “Mom’s really picky about that sort of thing”. I’m sure those bath salts didn’t even have real lavender in them, much less organic, therapeutic, fairly traded lavender. I wasn’t even close.

This super pickiness kind of blew my mind. There was a difference between grocery store lavender and the lavender Martha bought from overseas? You could be choosey about what you put on your skin and your choosiness would make a difference? I always liked the idea of “all natural” but didn’t know there were so many labeling tricks by very unnatural companies. Developing my opinions about ingredients in Martha’s home sparked my love for high quality, natural products.

Fast forward through awkward middle school, music-filled high school, four years in the midwest at Oberlin College only to stay in the midwest (in Chicago) with my boyfriend, Matt. Matt and I visit Seattle once or twice a year and, on one of these visits, Martha asked me to join her skin care team. I can’t think of a better fit for my life: I have another reason to move back to Seattle, I get to work with Martha and be a part of a company I believe in, and I will be surrounded by lovely smells again.

So, that’s me and why I’m thrilled to be here, sharing the OHA love. Until next time!


Click Here to see Meg’s Can’t-Live-Without, Wish-It-Came-in-a-Barrel Product

Antioxidants and Free Radicals : Why the Hype?


raspberriesAntioxidant. It’s the buzziest buzz word in the health and beauty world these days. If you’re at all like me, you probably heard it and accepted it as a healthy choice but didn’t really understand it. Let’s talk.

In order to explain antioxidants, I need to first explain free radicals: When the skin and body are confronted with toxins, UV radiation, cigarette smoke, sleep deprivation (…etc) the body produces free radicals. The body even produces them as a result of normal metabolism and immune functions.

Free radicals cause cellular death. While that sounds vaguely terrifying, cellular death isn’t always a negative thing. Sometimes, the ominous-sounding ‘cellular death’ benefits us by killing bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. When the body’s free radical production is in balance with it’s antioxidant supply, things function as they should. The problems begin when the unstable free radicals outweigh the body’s antioxidants. Then, free radicals weaken cells, which can lead to tissue damage (especially around the eyes and mouth, where skin is especially thin).

When skin cells are damaged by an imbalance of free radicals, you’ll start to see wrinkles. Skin cells are frequently attacked by free radicals we encounter on a daily basis; without antioxidants to block it, they’re going to shrivel and have a difficult time regenerating.

This is where antioxidants step in to provide some much-needed balance. An antioxidant is any substance that disables free radicals before they have a chance to oxidize and damage skin cells. Unless you’re willing to hole yourself up away from smoke, stress, and toxins, you have to supplement your skin’s antioxidant stash to keep the balance intact. That’s why OHA is chock full of antioxidants, including Alpha Lipoic Acid, Tocotrienol, Ester-C, Green Tea and Raspberry, Cranberry and Blackberry Seeds. We could all use a little more antioxidant support!

If antioxidants sound appealing, you ought to try:

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Under Eye Therapy

The OHA Flame: Five Senses Radiating Beauty


flameHave you ever checked out that little flame symbol on everything related to OHA? It’s on the website, the products, EVERYTHING. It turns out that that little flame represents a whole lot more than you’d think.

The image has five flames that represent each sense. When all of those senses feel fantastic and are in balance with one another, we radiate beauty, a vibrant spirit, and whole-ness, which just so happen to be the ideas behind the whole flame.

Another reason the flame is such a potent symbol for OHA is that the sixth branch of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, like the sixth aspect of the flame, signifies beauty. The sixth branch actually grows in the center of the Tree of Life , and signifies “the world of the heart”. This branch is the “mediator between the creative and governing realms above, and the functioning world of action below.”

One last thing that I think is especially cool about OHA and the flame symbol is the major focus on balance. Every sense in balance creates beauty. When it comes to the OHA line, Martha formulated each product so they contain every vibrational intensity, from the highest vibrations (from flower essences) to the lowest vibrations (from trace minerals). All of the ingredients have a vitality and life force to communicate to us and, when in harmony with each other, lead the skin to balance.

Other burning Questions? Click here!

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