Do You Know What’s In Your Sunscreen?


As the weather heats up, sunscreen becomes a crucial item for summertime activities. Whether you are laying on a beach, hiking or simply enjoying a barbeque in the backyard, a burn is something you definitely want to avoid. Unfortunately, some ingredients used in popular sunscreens are cancerous and many times, not protecting your skin at the level advertised.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

It’s not all about the SPF
Most sunscreens put too much emphasis on their sun protection factor (SPF) when they should be providing you with details about their broad spectrum coverage. Broad spectrum means that a sunscreen protects you against both the UVB rays that cause sunburns as well as the UVA rays, which cause skin cancer and damage among other health problems. The SPF number only tells you about the length of time a product protects against UVB rays but tells you nothing about its strength or ability to protect against UVA rays. While many sunscreens on the market claim that they are broad spectrum, the FDA’s standards for making this claim are set far too low.

Hazardous Ingredients
Below is a list of several common ingredients to avoid when selecting sunscreen. For quality sunscreen suggestions, more information on hazardous ingredients and products to avoid, visit the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide:

Mineral Sunscreens with Nano-Particles: The most commonly used nano-particles in sunscreen are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Nano-particles are substances, in this case heavy metals, shrunk down to microscopic sizes to avoid leaving white residue on your skin. The problem is that when you change the size of a metal, it no longer behaves in the same way. Before, these minerals sat on your skin and reflected the harmful ultraviolet light away. Now, because of their microscopic sizes, these metals can penetrate your body and blood stream. Dr Samuel Epstein, a medical doctor at the Univ. of Illinois in Chicago, feels that nano-particles are the most hazardous development in the field of cosmetics. Many health organizations strongly believe more study is necessary before deeming them safe. The FDA does not require nano-sized particles to be named in a manufacturer’s list of ingredients.

Oxybenzone:  Studies show that many people have an allergic reaction to this ingredient. Additionally, it is linked to endometriosis in older women and a lower birth weight of daughters from women with high levels of Oxybenzone. It has been shown to have a low absorption rate of UVA and has been banned in Sweden.

Vitamin A or Retinyl Palmitate and Retinol: This ingredient is often advertised as an anti-aging solution. However, studies have found that when placed on sun-exposed skin, vitamin A can actually increase the risk of skin tumors and lesions.

OHA’s Natural Sun Protection– Coming Soon!!
With all of these factors in mind OHA creator and expert formulator, Martha Buldain is working on a highly moisturizing, safe and clean natural sun protection lotion. This product uses all plant-based ingredients including red raspberry seed oil. Based on a recent study conducted by B. Dave Oomah, red raspberry is a natural UVA and UVB protector with an SPF between 28-50.

Stay tuned for more details on this exciting development!

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.

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”.

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