5 Surprising Causes of Melasma

Melasma is a very common skin condition. It causes dark irregular patches on skin, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. Most people, at some point of their lives, come across this patchy brown discoloration and while it’s not a dangerous condition, it’s certainly an unpleasant one. Although, most people would not pay much attention to it, an old saying goes – “forewarned is forearmed”. Here are five causes of melasma which will make you scratch your head:

 1. Birth control pills may cause melisma

birth control pills, melasma, melasma causes

Besides their main function of preventing pregnancy, birth control pills are used to ease many different things – period pains, acne, oily skin. It is a little wonder-pill which helps with different small but important problems in life. But like all the good things in life – it all comes with a cost. This time the cost is an increased chance of hyperpigmentation. Big word, right? Not really, just means some skin cells are darker than normal. Simple! Contraceptive pills cause oestrogen imbalance and promote development of dark spots in the facial area.

2. You may have a higher chance of having melasma

 dna, genetic predisposition, melasma, melasma causes

Yes, one of the factors of having melasma is genetic predisposition. Usually, for example, it is the people with a darker skin tone who are most likely to be affected by this skin condition. Unlucky tanners!

3. Your beloved skin products can cause it

skincare products, melasma, melasma causes

Actually, not all of them, but it’s true. Skin products that tend to irritate, inflame or burn your skin can cause hyperpigmentation. If you use skincare products that sting or burn, consider buying softer ones to avoid black spots. We recommend using ZO Skin Health products for a combination of gentle treatment and effective results.

4. Sun protection

SPF, sun protection, melasma, melasma causes

And more precisely, the lack of it. Ultraviolet radiation is prone to penetrate the skin cells on the face and cause a mutation leading to darkening of the skin cells. It is always useful to wear adequate clothing and we also remind you that the use of sun protection is crucial for healthy looking skin. At ZO Skin Health, you will find products that combine sun protection with treatment of hyperpigmentation and discoloration.

5. Mysterious condition

The unusual thing about melasma is that the principal cause of this condition is yet to be known. This creates lots of room for speculation about its cause and unreasonable tales about traditional remedies. Our advice is, keep out of the sun if you aren’t wearing sunscreen, lead a healthy lifestyle, use ZO Skin Health Fundamental Five regime and you will be fine!

4 Myths You Probably Believe About Your Pores

The biggest misconceptions about your pores that are getting in your way to great skin:

Myth #1: The sun can shrink your pores

pores, sun exposure, myths about your pores

In reality unprotected sun exposure does the complete opposite. UV radiation breaks down collagen and elastin—the proteins that keep your skin supple, healthy and resilient. And with less collagen to keep them tight, your pores start to slacken and become more apparent. So, do yourself (and your skin) a favour and slather on the sunscreen.

Myth #2: You can open and close pores

pores, steaming face, myths about your pores

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told that you can steam your pores open. This might just be the biggest skincare misconception out there. Your pores dilate like a camera lens and go from narrow to wide or wide to narrow, but there is no magical way to “open” them. What steaming really does is help loosen the excess oils and debris that build up inside pores and make it easier to clean them.

Myth #3: You can shrink your pores permanently

pores, shrinking pores, myths about your pores

This is one is hard to swallow, but unfortunately, your pore size is determined by your genes. While you can’t permanently change the size of your pores, you can do a lot to improve their appearance. Chemical exfoliants and topical retinoids are your best allies in the fight against enlarged pores. These products increase cell turnover, purge excess oil and dirt from your pores and improve the overall texture of your skin.

If you like multitasking products (who doesn’t?!), Ossential Instant Pore Refiner will become a staple for your beauty bag. This serum is light as a feather and clinically proven to minimise the appearance of pores. Thanks to its exclusive formulation, packed with fruit extracts and antioxidants, Ossential Instant Pore Refiner prevents pore congestion and defends your skin against harmful environmental factors.

Myth #4: Blackheads always mean clogged pores

pores, squeezing blackheads, sebaceous filament, myths about your pores

Many people think that black dots on their nose are clogged pores or blackheads. They are, in fact mostly fine hair follicles or a combination of sebum and skin cells called sebaceous filaments. Sebaceous filaments are a naturally occurring part of the skin’s system designed to distribute oil. Unlike blackheads and pimples, they are not filled with dirt and dead cell debris, so you shouldn’t worry about them and definitely should not try to squeeze them.

Do I have Rosacea? 5 Signs & Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

rosacea signs and symptoms

Did you know that one in ten people in the UK suffer from rosacea, but many of them aren’t aware of it? It can be difficult to distinguish between rosacea and other skin conditions such as acne, allergic reactions and dermatitis because of their similar and often overlapping symptoms. Here’s what you need to know to tell if it’s rosacea or something else:

What is rosacea?

rosacea signs and symptoms

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that makes you blush more easily than other people. Other symptoms associated with rosacea include permanent redness, hot flushes, spots and thread veins. The redness usually appears on the forehead, nose and cheeks but it can also spread to the back, chest and ears. People affected by rosacea tend to have easily irritable skin and can’t tolerate a variety of skincare products.

What causes it?

The exact cause of rosacea is currently unknown, but skin experts agree that the blood vessels within the skin of rosacea sufferers are unstable and more reactive than average, which is the reason why those who have the condition blush so easily.

Who is likely to get rosacea?

rosacea signs and symptoms

Rosacea can affect all skin types and all age groups, however, it is most common in people with fair skin, particularly those of English, Irish and Scottish descent. Even though rosacea usually affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50, it can also be seen in teenagers and children.

Rosacea signs and symptoms

rosacea signs and symtoms

Rosacea comes in several different forms and its symptoms and severity can vary widely from one person to another. However, the most common rosacea signs you shouldn’t ignore include:

  • Flushing–when your skin turns red for a brief period of time, usually a few minutes.
  • Persistent redness–that looks like a sunburn or a stubborn rash.
  • Visible blood vessels in the skin
  • Thickened skin
  • Persistent round red bumps on the face

Can you cure rosacea permanently?

Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution for rosacea at the moment, but you can keep your symptoms at bay by identifying your triggers and avoiding them whenever possible.

Skincare

A proper skincare routine can greatly help you to reduce your flare-ups and restore the healthy functions of your skin barrier.

ZO Medical Rozatrol Rosacea treatment

Rozatrol™ is a multi-modal normalising serum treatment that targets all visible symptoms of rosacea and provides instant relief for red, sensitised skin. Rozatrol™ is formulated with amino acids and enzymes that restore skin’s healthy vascular functions, while its oil-control complex prevents excess sebum production and replenishes skin’ hydration levels.

 

4 Ways to Beat Body Acne for Good

Whether you deal with unrelenting breakouts or get occasional spots that pop up at the worst possible moment, acne is a nuisance to say the least. And to make matters worse, it isn’t content with simply cropping up on your face alone as people who suffer from acne on their face are also likely to get it on their body, too. If you struggle with stubborn and relentless body acne, here’s what you can do to clear those below-the-chin breakouts for good:

#1. Say no to Spandex

body acne, gym, spandex

Tight gym clothes and synthetic materials trap in sweat and body oils and rub them against your skin, creating an ideal environment for acne-causing bacteria. To minimise the risk of breakouts, wear loose, breathable clothing that keeps your body dry and cool.

#2 Stop scrubbing so much

body acne, body exfoliation, exfoliation scrub

Exfoliation is great because it gets dead cells and excess oils off your skin and kick-starts it rejuvenation process. But scrubbing too often and too vigorously can overdry your complexion and prompt more oil production, subsequently leading to more breakouts. Also, the skin in the décolleté area is extremely thin and delicate and can scar easily if you overdo it on the grainy scrub.

#3 Change your bedsheets more often

body acne, bed linen, clean bed sheets

For most people, changing the sheets every week can be overkill. However, if find yourself in a constant battle with body acne, you should try to change your sheets once a week and your pillowcases once or twice a week as oils, germs and dead skin cells from your hands and body get transferred to your duvets and pillows. The cleaner your bed linens are, the lower the chances that whatever accumulates on your sheets will clog your pores and trigger a breakout.

#4 Treat it on time

body acne, zo dual action scrub

If you are prone to “bacne” or other body breakouts, you will need more of a helping hand than the pungent over-the-counter body wash. ZO Dual Action Scrub is formulated with salicylic acid and tea three extract that targets excess oil and bacteria while jojoba oil soothes the skin and helps retain its natural moisture.

4 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Circles That Actually Work

dark circles under the eyes, panda

Dark circles under the eyes don’t really look cute on anyone except pandas. If you look tired and rundown all the time because of those pesky purple bags under your eyes—we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about under-eye bags and how to get rid of them:

What causes dark circles under your eyes?

  • Agedark circles under eyes, age

As we get older, our blood circulation deteriorates and the collagen in our skin depletes, which causes blood vessels under the eyes to show through more prominently.

  • Genetics

dark circles under the eyes, genetics, DNA

Dark circles under the eyes often run within a family and can also be down to skin type. People with olive skin are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation under the eyes because their skin has more melanin. Those with very fair and thin complexions are also likely to get visible dark circles because dilated blood vessels appear more visible under thin, pale skin.

  • Sun damage

dark circles under the eyes, sun damage

The skin beneath the eyes is 40% thinner than the rest of the face which makes it especially prone to sun-induced damage and hyperpigmentation.

What can do you to prevent dark circles?

Stay hydrated

dark circles under the eyes hydration

When your body is dehydrated, it desperately tries to retain water, causing your eyes to swell and under-eye circles to become more visible. Make sure you drink eight to ten 8-ounce servings of water per day to keep your eyes clear and sparkling and the skin beneath them tight and plump.

Get enough sleep

dark circles under the eyes, sleep

It’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason. Your body recovers and repairs itself while you sleep and that leads to a long list of benefits for your health and appearance. If you skimp on sleep regularly, you are likely to end up with a drab, sallow and lifeless complexion.

Watch your diet

dark circles under the eyes, salt, snacks

If you want to keep your skin healthy, plump and wrinkle-free, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and drink. Too much, salt, refined carbohydrates and alcohol dehydrate your skin and make dark circles beneath them look worse.

Sunscreen is your skin’s best friend

dark circles under the eyes, sun protection, sunscreen

Sun damage accounts for about 80% of visible signs of ageing and the thin skin under the eyes is especially prone to hyperpigmentation and fine lines. To protect your eyes (and the skin around them) from the sun’s harmful rays, apply sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 all year round and wear sunglasses that can filter out UV radiation.

Skincare

If the dark circles under your eyes are getting bigger than your friends’ circle despite your efforts to maximise your beauty sleep and eat a skin-friendly diet, maybe it’s time to rethink your skincare routine:

  1. The Quick Fixer

Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Creme, dark circles under the eyes

Hydrafirm is specifically designed to help minimise all signs of ageing around the eyes. You will get visibly smoother and firmer skin after just one application. Packed with vitamin A, proteins and enzymes, Hydrafirm stimulates the production of collagen to restore skin elasticity and immediately softens the appearance of dark circles under eyes.

  1. The Antioxidant Superhero

ossential c-bright serum, dark circles under the eyes, antioxidant

Ossential C-Bright Serum Plus provides a potent dose of 10% pure vitamin C that brightens and re-textures the skin. Vitamin E and co-enzyme Q-10 protect your skin from free radical damage and prevent new pigment formation.

  1. The Night Time Solution

Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair, dark circles under the eyes

Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair contains 1% retinol that targets sun-induced damage and pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with vitamins C, A and E as well as plant stem cell skin protectors, Advanced Radical Night Repair improves skin brightness, improves skin texture and elasticity and protect the skin from future damage.

5 Bad Habits Ruining Your Skin

If healthy, glowing skin is at the top of your beauty priorities, you need to kiss these bad habits goodbye:

1. Smoking

bad habits ruining your skin, smoking, smoking effects on skin

If you smoke, you already know you need to quit. You know smoking is bad for heart, lungs and brain but do you know that every puff is also adding ages to your face?
Every time you light up, you inhale over 4 000 toxic chemicals that cause oxidative stress and inflammation in your skin. Long-time smokers develop wrinkles earlier in life because the chemicals in tobacco smoke deprive the skin from oxygen and damage collagen and elastin molecules. Quitting smoking cold turkey isn’t easy, but the overall health and wellbeing of your body and skin, it’s surely worth it.

2. Skipping on SPF

bad habits ruining your skin, unprotected sun exposure, SPF

Sun damage doesn’t discriminate. It can happen all year-round, affects all skin types and the damage builds up each year. If you want to protect your skin from getting wrinkled, saggy and unevenly pigmented, SPF should be a non-negotiable part of your daily skincare routine. Choose a broad-spectrum formula that includes protection against UVB, UVA and HEV radiation.

3. Eating too much junk food

bad habits ruining your skin, junk food, carbohydrates

What is wrong with the occasional burger and chips? Nothing! But if you are a junk food junkie or have a monster sweet tooth, you are damaging your skin. Refined carbohydrates cause spikes in your blood sugar level and trigger a surge of insulin. Overproduction of insulin leads to hormonal imbalances that can exacerbate breakouts and irritation. Make your diet work with you rather than against you and load up on antioxidants and skin-friendly foods.

4. Squeezing pimples.

bad habits ruining your skin, squeezing pimples, spots, picking acne

We know, there’s something too irresistible about squeezing a spot out of existence. However, you should resist picking your pimples if you don’t want to end up with some nasty scars and acne hyperpigmentation. Squeezing zits just pushes bacteria and deeper into your skin (and transfers new germs from your fingers), causing inflammation, irritation and scarring.

5. Over-exfoliating

bad habits ruining your skin, over-exfoliating, signs of over-exfoliation

Going overboard with exfoliation (physical and chemical) does more harm than good to your skin. Scrubbing too hard and too often can damage the protective barrier of your skin and hinder its ability to retain moisture. Watch your skin for the sneaky signs of over-exfoliation and scrub no more than three times per week.

4 Anti-Ageing Ingredients to Look For in Skincare Products

Do you know what makes your anti-ageing cream work? Healthy and young-looking skin is within reach at any age. Become better acquainted with your skincare products and look for active ingredients and powerful wrinkle fighters.

No matter what products you decide to go for, it’s always important to choose quality over price. I’m an avid believer in the NioSkin Anti Ageing Gel. It makes your skin feel sumptuous and doesn’t cause any damage to the surface of the skin. My pores are clearly defined while using it. And best of all, it has everything I’m looking for in a product.

So, here are the 4 real-deal anti-ageing ingredients to look for in skincare products:

#1 Retinol

anti-ageing ingredients in skicare, retinol, vitamin A

Retinol is an active form of vitamin A and your most powerful ally in the fight against premature ageing and skin damage. Retinol sweeps away the dead cells that cause dullness and stimulates cellular repair at the deepest level of the skin. It also helps to improve the overall skin tone and texture by increasing blood-vessel formation and boosting blood circulation in your skin layers.
Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair contains 1% retinol which is the highest concentration you can find in over-the-counter products. It’s formulated with antioxidants and plant stem cell protectors to defend your skin against free radical damage and prevent future signs of ageing.

#2 Lipids

anti-ageing ingredinets in skincare, lipids

Lipids fill the spaces between skin cells like mortar and cement and help your skin retain natural moisture. As we age, the epidermis loses lipids, collagen and elastin causing the internal support structure of your skin to collapse and lose its firmness and elasticity.
To keep your skin plump and smooth you need to reinfuse it with lipids. Ommerse Overnight Recovery crème reinforces skin’s barrier functions and protects against transepidermal water loss. It’s packed with ceramides (waxy lipid molecules) and retinol to support skin’s structure and boost collagen production.

#3 Antioxidants

anti-ageing ingrediants in skincare, antioxidants

Antioxidants are superheroes against free radical damage. Free radicals form in your body when you’re exposed to UV rays, air pollution or other environmental assault. Unchecked, they can damage and destroy collagen, elastin and the very DNA structure of your skin cells.
Antioxidants are a crucial part of your skin’s defence system. As free radicals are highly charged and unstable, antioxidants bind with them to create a harmless stable molecule. Some antioxidants multitask too; Ossential C-Bright Serum contains vitamin C and E to protect your skin from the harmful effects of free radicals and co-enzyme Q-10 to help stimulate collagen production and boost cell repair.

#4 SPF

zo skin health oclipse smart tone, anti-agein ingredients in skincare, sun protection

Yes, you’ve heard it a million times, but wearing sunscreen all year round is the easiest way to protect your skin from premature wrinkling, sagging and discoloration.
If you want to keep your skin healthy and young-looking, an SPF of 30 or higher should be the core of your skincare regime. Oclipse Smart Tone SPF 50 provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, HEV and I-RA radiation. Its ultra-lightweight formula contains customisable colour beads that blend seamlessly into every skin tone. The sunscreen is enriched with 12-hour release antioxidant complex to give your skin an extra layer of protection against free radical damage.

Reduce and Prevent Crow’s Feet Following These 3 Simple Steps

crow's feet, fine lines, wrinkle reduction and prevention

Crow’s feet AKA the fine lines around your eyes, that seem to develop overnight, are usually the first signs of ageing to show up on your face. The delicate eye area has the thinnest skin in our body – 40% thinner than the rest of our face – making it prone to wrinkles at an earlier stage. If crow’s feet have started to appear on your face, here is what you can do to slow them down and prevent deeper wrinkles:

#1 Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day

crow's feet, sun protection

Sun damage accounts for about 80% of visible signs of ageing. No matter how careless you’ve been with sun protection in the past, get religious about it right now to prevent fine lines and wrinkles from getting worse.

Oclipse Smart Tone SPF 50 provides a broad-spectrum protection against the harmful effects of UVB, UVA and HEV radiation. It’s formulated with customisable colour beads that blend seamlessly into most skin tones and provide a sheer matte finish.

#2 Add Vitamin A to your skincare routine

Active vitamin A supports the healthy function of skin’s protective barrier and encourages collagen production to restore and maintain skin elasticity.

Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Creme, crow's feet

Hydrafirm™ is a potent repair eye cream that addresses all signs of ageing in the delicate eye area. It’s packed with active vitamin A, hyaluronic acid and enzymatic vasodilators to smooth fine lines around the eyes, soften the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness.

#3 Protect Your Skin from Free Radicals

crow's feet, antioxidants, free radicals

You can’t see it, but your skin is constantly under attack by unstable, reactive molecules called free radicals. Environmental factors such as UV radiation, air pollution, cigarette smoke can spawn free radicals, but they can also form through natural physiological processes. Unchecked, free radicals attack proteins like collagen, lipids and elastin fibres which causes your skin to lose firmness and elasticity. So, how can you protect your complexion from the harmful effects free radical damage?

Antioxidants, vitamins C and E in particular, are your most powerful allies in the fight against free radicals. Vitamin E binds with free radical to create stable molecules and neutralises their damaging effects. Vitamin C boosts collagen  production and helps your skin heal itself faster. Ossential C-Bright Serum provides a potent dose of 10% vitamin C, combined with vitamin E and co-enzyme Q-10, to protect your skin from environmental damage and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  

Rosacea Diet: 5 Foods to Avoid (And What to Eat Instead)

Dealing with rosacea flare-ups is no fun unless you enjoy unpredictable face flushing, painful irritation and hypersensitivity. No? Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution for rosacea, so one of the only reliable ways to get a grip on your condition is to pinpoint the triggers and avoid them whenever possible. Proper diet and a good skincare routine can help you reduce your flare-ups and keep your skin calm and happy. Here are the dos and don’ts of your rosacea diet:

Foods to Avoid:

rosacea diet, citrus fruit, histamine

Citrus fruits that are high in histamine such as lemons, oranges and grapefruits. Histamine dilates blood vessels and increases the blood flow near the surface of your skin which makes your face look red and flushed.

Warming spices such as ginger, cumin and black pepper.

Soft drinks and foods that contain high levels of glucose such as biscuits, dried fruits and chocolate. Glucose has a similar effect on the skin as histamine; it causes blood vessels to dilate and triggers facial flushing. Starchy and sugary foods also stimulate the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut which can cause further inflammation and exacerbate your symptoms.

Pickled, fermented or smoked foods like pickled beets, smoked meats and old fermented cheeses such as blue cheese and Roquefort.

Alcohol and hot beverages.

Foods to Eat:

rosacea diet, vegetable, fibre

High-fibre foods such as lentils, asparagus and kale encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut and help keep your skin inflammation-free.

Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids like wild salmon, walnuts and flax seeds that also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Deeply pigmented fruits like blueberries, strawberries and cherries are extremely rich in antioxidants and provide a powerful defence against pollutants and free radicals.

Soothing spices like fennel, saffron, parsley and cardamom.

Lean protein sources such as chicken and turkey.

4 Signs You Are Over-Exfoliating Your Skin

over-exfoliating, signs of over-exfoliation

There’s no denying exfoliation is a wonderful thing for your skin. A good scrubbing session takes off dirt and excess oils, boosts circulation and leaves your face smooth and silky. But too much of a wonderful thing can be a bad thing. Over-exfoliating is the one skincare mistake almost all of us make. While we scrub and peel our faces in an attempt to keep our skin happy and healthy, too much of it is doing more harm than good. Here are the 5 signs of over-exfoliation to watch out for:

#1. Your face is too shiny

If your face shines like a disco ball, you need to give it a break from exfoliators. Light reflects off over-exfoliated skin easily, because its natural texture has been overly smoothed (yes, there is such a thing as too much smoothness).

#2. Your breakouts are getting worse

Excessive exfoliation strips your skin from its natural moisture which prompts your sebaceous glands to produce more oil to compensate for the loss of hydration. In addition, scrubbing too aggressively too often can disrupt skin’s lipid barrier and hinders its ability to protect the under-layers from bacteria and free radicals.

#3. Your skin feels like it was sunburned

Redness, itchiness, and puffiness are all inflammatory responses, signalling that your skin is in distress. The top layer of your epidermis acts like a shield against allergens, irritants and pollutants. When this natural exterior barrier is compromised, your skin becomes more susceptible to irritants and environmental damage.

#4 Your skin feels like crepe paper

When you are over-exfoliating, you are scrubbing away healthy skin cells and lipids that help your skin retain its natural hydration levels. If your skin feels flaky and fine lines suddenly become more visible, that’s a sure sign your skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture.