How to Judge Skin Care by its Cover

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Let’s talk drinks.  When was the last time you drank really fantastic beer or red wine from a clear bottle?  Have you ever?  I know I haven’t.  Those obsessively particular artisan brewers use tinted bottles to protect their delicate flavors from sun and light damage.  Surprisingly, it seems as though the bottle color is more important for preventing oxidation than storage temperature (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12017992).  That means that even more important than a cool wine cellar is the darkness of a wine’s bottle.  In other words, beer and wine go funkier faster if they’re in clear bottles and brown/amber bottles are ideal for protecting color and flavor.

The same bottling pickiness should be as common when it comes to essential oils and, accordingly, to the botanical skin care world.  Essential oils and raw vegetable oils are fragile and can oxidize and deteriorate from light exposure, just like those tasty beverages.  If a formulator gives a rip about maintaining the nutrients and therapeutic qualities of their final product, they need to store their original essential oils in amber or cobalt bottles and bottle their products in a similarly protective way. No more of those clear glass or cheap plastic containers.  If you can easily see through the bottle, so can damaging light rays, so be sure to avoid buying anything containing essential or vegetable oils in a clear container. For an example of how botanical skin care products should be contained, take a look at any of the OHA products*.  Martha has a lot in common with those obsessively particular brewers; her formulations are filled with precious ingredients full of life and nutrients, so they’re packed in amber.

Check our that sweet amber bottle!

If there’s anything you’ve been wondering about skin care, ingredients, whatever, feel free to leave a comment or drop us an email at info@ohaskin.com .

Until Next Time,

Meg

*The only non-glass bottle in the OHA line up is the Cleansing Milk bottle. While still protected against light rays by its amber tint, it’s made of PET plastic, a hard, type 2 plastic that’s less reactive with essential oils than the vast majority of other skin care lines’ entire bottling systems. Being type 2, it’s also easier to recycle. Rest assured that once we find an amber glass bottle that fits into our Cleansing Milk box, we’ll happily make the switch.

When Being Unrefined is a Good Thing

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When Martha first started training me on OHA products, I had to stop her at the part where she said that almost every organic skin care line (besides OHA, of course) refines, bleaches and/or deodorizes their essential oils (or buys pre-processed oils). Other companies can pass as organic and natural when they’re actually using adulterated oils.  This matters.  Here’s why:

Bleaching removes all natural color but also removes any life force that an essential oil may have had. Think about when you use bleach. When I think of bleach, I think of the time my summer camp got flooded and we had to bleach every surface to kill the bacteria that may have washed into the cabins and dining hall. You might think of sterile kitchens, or removing stains from your load of laundry. This is all because bleach kills. In some situations, bleach may be helpful, but in the world of nutritious oils, it renders the oils lifeless and colorless. It’s due to bleaching that most skin care products on the market are white.  The only truly white product in the OHA line is the Cleansing Milk, but that’s due to the mass amounts of Coconut Milk, not some crazy bleaching process.

In attempts to stabilize oils, most essential oil suppliers will add hydrogen, phosphoric acid or sodium hydroxide.  The purpose of all of this is to kill fatty acids, thereby giving the product a much longer shelf life.  Trouble is that fatty acids are AWESOME for your skin.  They replenish moisture and have fantastic restorative properties.  Why would you want to prolong the shelf life of an essential oil if it isn’t going to be nutritious or beneficial? It seems downright wasteful to me.

What about boiling?  Heating oils at high temperatures steam off all the nutrients that the oil once contained. Think of it this way: have you ever overcooked a head of broccoli? It comes out a sad, brown, wilty pile with almost no flavor. It’s also lost the vast majority of its nutrient content and aroma. The same thing happens to essential oils. I could go on a tangent about the Raw Food Movement, but I’ll try to stay on track, here…

You might be wondering why skin care formulators would even touch refined, bleached and/or deodorized oil, seeing as how it’s basically lifeless once it’s been processed. It just so happens that using refined oils is a lot simpler and cheaper because the smells are easier to control, the colors are more what the consumer expects, and the oils aren’t as expensive for formulators to purchase when they have a longer shelf life.  The key difference between OHA and those other companies is that OHA is made with uncompromisingly pure oils, never refined, bleached, or deodorized, because those oils are what are most nutritious for your skin.

Kind of comforting, right?

Until Next Time,

Meg

PS: We love your comments and questions.  Ask away!

Coconuts: Not Just for Pina Coladas

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You could probably tell that we love coconut oil. It’s in over half of the OHA product line.

Cleansing Milk

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Vanilla Bean & Shea Body Butter

Virgin Coconut Oil has Vitamin E and antioxidant fatty acids that help our body retain and absorb nutrients. Coconut Oil is a uniquely beneficial ingredient. It provides nutrients and assists absorption of other nutrients because it contains medium chain fatty acid chains not present in other oils. This means it doesn’t take any extra energy from our bodies to absorb, use or store nutrients. Coconut Oil also has a long history of use as an emollient and healing moisturizer for the skin and scalp.

What Vitamins Do

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Standing in the vitamin aisle of my local grocery store, I suddenly realized I knew next to nothing about vitamins besides that multi-vitamins help compensate for vitamins you can’t get in your diet and that vitamin C helps with the immune system, to stave off colds. My thinking about vitamins didn’t stretch much farther than that.

After some research (and talking with Martha) I found out that vitamins are organic, essential micro nutrients that your body and skin need to perform their day-to-day metabolic activities.  Take, for instance, when you get a paper cut. You’ll bleed a little until the blood clots and then, left alone, it will heal naturally, possibly leaving a little scar. Vitamins help speed up and improve this process by supporting what the skin and body are already doing. Vitamin E will help with the healing of that cut and Vitamin C will aid in collagen production, decreasing the likelihood of scarring. When your skin is supported by vitamins, it will heal quicker, scar less, and protect itself more than it could without vitamins.

When applied directly to the skin, vitamins promote healthy collagen, wound healing, UV protection in addition to healing skin conditions like acne. In most skin care brands, Vitamin C is a popular antioxidant ingredient but, because it breaks down and oxidizes quickly, the inclusion of Vitamin C is useless by the time their product reaches your bathroom cabinet. OHA uses a Vitamin C ester with the fatty acids of palm oil. Used in this way, the Vitamin C is stabilized by its fat soluable coating. This makes it available to the skin as it will be an active antioxidant and able to combine with the naturally-occuring fat soluable coating of the skin. In other words, the esterfied Vitamin C used in OHA’s skin care actually benefits the skin by being more absorbable and active than vitamin C generally used in  other skin care brands.

Find Esterfied C in…

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Vanilla Bean & Shea Body Butter

When I Get That Feeling, I Want Sea Buckthorn Healing

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Sea Buckthorn occurs in more than half of the OHA line as a CO2 extract, meaning it was extracted using (heatless) carbon dioxide extraction. This type of extraction allows the Seabuckthorn to maintain all of its vital nutrients.

Sea Buckthorn assists in the regeneration and reparation of the skin. It heals eczema, rosacea, burns, wounds and sun damage, and also assists in the healing process following cosmetic laser surgery. It contains high amounts of essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols and phytosterols, which all play an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin.

Where can you find Sea Buckthorn in the OHA Line? Check out these products:

Night Cream

Daily Moisturizer

Lip Line Treatment

Intensive Nutrient Complex

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