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Issue Date: February 2011

About Face

Kelli Klus based her skin care line on a little-known ingredient that she says works wonders.
Amber Matheson

Kelli Klus, a 47-year-old mother of three from Beachwood, had spent a lifetime dealing with her problem skin the typical way: wandering the skin care aisle, devouring magazine product reviews, and sitting through doctor visits that felt rushed and pointless.

"I would get acne; I had rashes," she recalls. "The dermatologist would look at me for two seconds and write a prescription. I got really frustrated, and I thought, There's got to be a better answer."

She started doing her own research and simultaneously began working on a homeopathy degree. Slowly, she came to a sort of epiphany.

"There's so many different products out there, and it's so confusing," she says. "The perception is that you need all these different products for skin care." The reality, she found, was that she needed just one crucial ingredient, a plant with superpower benefits akin to its more famous relatives from the botanical realm, such as acai, pomegranate and macadamia. What she found was the sea buckthorn plant.

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"It's been around for thousands of years, and it's the hardiest plant out there," Klus says. "[Asians and Europeans] have used it as a skin healer and digestive aid since Genghis Khan."

The plant's oil worked wonders. "My skin healed almost within a few days," she says. "I decided, This is so good, I want to start a business." Her two-product Swell Skin line is purposefully simple: an all-natural sea buckthorn soap and straight sea buckthorn oil for problem areas.

"It's got all four omega acids, which no other plant has, other than the macadamia nut," she explains. It also contains omega-7, a fatty acid that's very similar to our own skin's oil. Our bodies receive more nourishment from it "because it recognizes it as one of its own," she says.

Never heard of sea buckthorn before? You're not alone, but Klus thinks that's about to change. "I honestly don't know why it hasn't gotten that much press," Klus says. "But Dr. Oz is mentioning it now, so I think that he can turn anything big."

More Info:

Skin 101

Klus studied homeopathy, nutrition, herbal medicine and yoga on her way to creating Swell Skin. She has some simple advice for great-looking skin.

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