Dr. Hannah Sivak


Dr. Hannah Sivak is Celebrating her 45th anniversary as a scientist.

Dr Hannah Sivak was still a teenager when she entered University in Buenos Aires in 1966 and fell in love with Biology, which she had chosen as a major on a whim (as everything she did as a teen). Hannah encountered a microscope when she was 18, and was excited to learn about plant anatomy, fungi, life cycles, photosynthesis and life in general. When she encountered the beauty of Diatoms, minute algae with beautiful shapes, Hannah decided to name any future daughter after Diatoms (she didn’t, and she was sure her daughter is grateful for that).

After years as a mediocre high school student, Hannah became a top student in University, falling in love with science did that to me. The excitement of those years never abandoned her, Hannah will never be bored of science, and the excitement of discovery and learning is what keeps me young.

Although her life as a scientist started when she was a Botany student, life at the biochemical laboratory actually started in 1976. Here is why: real life intruded in her love affair with science. Hannah had a few, very useful years as a plant physiologist, but was “purged” in December 1974, during the government of Isabelita Peron. After a hiatus of a couple of years, Hannah was amazingly lucky to find refuge at the Research Institute directed by Nobel Prize winner Dr Luis Leloir, and this changed her life forever. Hannah was so grateful to Dr Leloir and her mentors, Drs Cardini and Tandecarz for the opportunity they gave her to learn the craft at one of the best laboratories in the world, surrounded by good people. Biochemistry was a whole new world, where Hannah could understand how nature worked the way it did. Hannah learnt at the molecular level how plants made the chemicals that shape our world.

One of the most valuable tools Dr Hannah Sivak gained during her training at the Institute of Biochemistry Research (IIB) was to learn how to read a scientific paper, i.e. how to isolate actual data from commentary and decide what conclusions could be drawn from the research. Hannah also published her first papers in scientific journals. Scientific analysis is a tool that she use when she choose actives to incorporate to our formulations on the basis of published scientific papers. Hannah also use it to “translate” ingredient lists, separating what is actually in the formulation of expensive products and ignoring the marketing (please see my guide on how to read ingredient lists). Hannah also became familiar with everything polysaccharides (beta glucans and more, find them everywhere in our formulations).

In York and Sheffield Dr Hannah Sivak gained expertise in separation of plant subcellular organelles (you will find cauliflower mitochondria in our mitochondria cream) and new insights in the interaction between subcellular organelles. Hannah's scientific tourist visits to Seville gave her training in microalgae (find them in our Ultramarine products) and love for orange flowers (neroli, the essential oil extracted from petals of orange flowers, found its way into several of our products).

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

A few years ago Dr Hannah Sivak retired from academia and joined 'the real world', applying of decades of scientific research to practical matters. Hannah 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. Jonatan, with is background in logistics, pushed me to start a business and to do things my own way. This is how Skin Actives started. You know the rest of the story.

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

If you need help with your own skin care, you want to start your own skin care line or you already have a Spa and want a skin care line Dr Hannah Sivak should be your next person to get in touch with at Skin Actives.


Dr. Hannah Sivak

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