Dr. Hannah Sivak, PhD

My life as a scientist started when I was a botany student, and to this day I follow the nomenclature rules instilled in me by Professor Arturo Burkart. A few years later, I was lucky to find refuge at the Research Institute directed by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Luis Leloir, and this changed my life forever. Biochemistry was a whole new world, where I could understand how nature works the way it does. I learned, at the molecular level, how plants make the chemicals that shape our world.

My undergraduate studies were in Biology, specifically Plant Physiology. I did my doctorate research at the Institute for Biochemical Research in Buenos Aires, directed by Dr. L. F. Leloir, Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, 1970. My publications include one book on starch biochemistry and molecular biology, and more than 60 papers in international, refereed journals and in books, dealing with different aspects of biology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology. I was a research fellow at the Universities of York and Sheffield, United Kingdom (1980-1990) and a Professor (Research) of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University (1990-2002).

One of the most valuable tools I gained during my training at the Institute of Biochemistry Research (IIB) in Buenos Aires, was to learn how to read a scientific paper, i.e. how to isolate actual data from mere commentary and decide what conclusions could be drawn from the research. I also published my first papers in scientific journals. Scientific analysis is a tool I use when I choose actives to incorporate into our formulations on the basis of published scientific papers. I also use it to translate ingredient lists, separating what is actually in the formulation of expensive products from marketing gibberish. I also became familiar with everything related to polysaccharides such as beta glucans and more, you’ll find them everywhere in our formulations

In York and Sheffield, I gained expertise in the separation of plant subcellular organelles (you’ll find cauliflower mitochondria in our Revitalizing Night Cream) and had new insights into the interaction between subcellular organelles. My scientific tourist visits to Seville, Spain gave me training in microalgae and a love for orange flowers. That time inspired a number of products with microalgae and a few with neroli, the essential oil extracted from petals of orange flowers.

England was a welcome oasis to me, but scientists are a bit like soccer players: we move following professional opportunities. I had started moving back to “test tube biochemistry” and molecular biology in Sheffield, and now at Michigan State University, protein expression and characterization became my main interest. You will find special proteins in many of our products, and we also provide them to MDs for special formulations and projects. Some of my colleagues at MSU are now consultants for Skin Actives Scientific.

A few years ago I retired from academia and joined the ”real world”, applying decades of scientific research to practical matters. I had the opportunity to learn firsthand how the skin care industry works from the inside. In the industry, science is used mainly as a marketing tool, not as a practical guide for formulations. My son, with a background in physics and logistics, pushed me to start a business and do things my own way by putting science first. That is how Skin Actives got started.

When people ask me how I learned to do what I do, I have to say that it all started by watching my mother work in her kitchen - that, plus a passion for science, more than 40 years of learning from the best how to do science, long hours on the bench, and a willingness to listen to those who know more than I do.

This book will help you understand how your skin functions and changes. It will help you comprehend skin care ingredient lists; and what each ingredient does or does not do for you. I don't want anyone to be a sitting duck for the marketing departments that sell false promises in fancy packaging. Why not take your skin care into your own hands? You'll know exactly what you're doing.

Hannah Sivak Headshot

Have questions about your skin care or Skin Actives products? Ask the scientist herself!

Dr. Sivak's Lab