Growth Factors: Do They Work & How to Iclude Them in Your Routine

 

Looking for the perfect anti-ageing ingredient? Ask any skin expert for the ingredient they swear by and you will hear at least two of the following: sunscreen, retinol, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides. These are the ultimate wrinkle-fighters and radiance warriors that any skincare lover keeps in their stash. But there’s a new complexion mandate that has quietly entered the fold: growth factors.

Here’s everything you need to know about how they work and how to incorporate a growth factor serum in your routine:

What are growth factors?

Growth factors are groups of proteins that occur naturally in our bodies. They’re produced by all types of cells and are responsible for the regulation of vital cellular functions, such as survival, proliferation, migration and differentiation. Simply put, growth factors can command your cells to replicate, repair and rejuvenate.

How growth factors benefit the skin?

When it comes to fighting skin ageing, growth factors are the true all-rounders.

By our late 20s the natural production of growth factors in the skin starts to decline which lays the groundwork for wrinkles, sagging and skin thinning. Adding them topically through your skincare will stimulate the production of fibrous proteins such as collagen and elastin to improve skin thickness and texture. Boosting collagen production also enhances the skin’s natural ability to heal and hydrate.

Do they really work?

In a word? Yes. In our most recent study 92% of participants noticed significant improvement in fines and crow’s feet after following the simple routine of cleansing, applying Growth Factor Serum and wearing SPF every day for 12 weeks. Furthermore, clinicians observed 31% improvement of skin thickness after just 4 weeks of using Growth Factor Serum in the morning and evening and PM and the number continued to increase throughout the completion of the study.

Overall, 95% of participants reported visible improvement in their skin texture and smoothness, 92% reported overall improvement in all signs of ageing and 78% said their skin felt tighter and firmer.

How can I incorporate them in my skincare routine?

While growth factors are one of the best active ingredients for skin rejuvenation, they can’t replace the basics of your routine – sun protection, exfoliants and antioxidants. Think of them as the icing on the cake that can bolster your existing skincare regime and slow down the ageing process with much less irritation than other gold-standard ingredients such as retinol.

5 Easy Skincare Swaps That Will Save Your Skin This Winter

skincare swaps, winter skincare routine

 

Let’s face it – winter is already here. In London, we’ve been hit by biting wind and pouring rain and in a few weeks, we’ll definitely be in the thick of things.

So, if the combination of artic wind, lower humidity and stuffy office air leaves your skin dry, dull and blemish-prone, keep reading  to find out how to keep yourself glowing from head to toe with five simple skincare swaps in your routine:

#1 Go easy on exfoliation

skincare swaps, exfoliator, face scrub, winter skincare routine

If you only make one change in your skincare routine, switch the gritty exfoliator for a gentle cleanser to help your skin adjust to cooler, drier weather. Our Gentle Cleanser For All Skin Types is formulated with BHA (beta-hydroxyl acid) that thoroughly removes dead cells, sebum and dirt, while lipids and antioxidants stimulate protective barrier function and help the skin retain its natural moisture level.

#2 Keep drinking water

skin hydration, water, moisture, skincare swaps, winter skincare

No, water in your coffee doesn’t count! Drinking enough water does not only help your internal organs function properly, but also keeps your skin plump and radiant. Aim for six to eight glasses per day and keep alcohol and caffeine consumption to a minimum.

#3 Introduce a serum to your routine

zo growth factor serum, skincare swaps, winter skincare

Your skin needs hydration to stay plump and healthy in the harsh winter conditions, so now is the perfect time to introduce a hard-working serum such as Growth Factor Serum which stimulates cell turnover, reduces collagen degradation and infuses a hefty amount of antioxidants into the skin to fight free radical damage and encourage DNA repair.

#4 Load up on enzymes

zo recovery creme, skincare swaps, winter skincare, skin hydration

Sloughing off dry patches with a physical exfoliator is only a short-term fix that can actually backfire by irritating dry skin and causing the flakes to come back worse. Instead, use a product with ceramides – the natural enzymes that help the skin rid itself of dead cells. Our Renewal Crème reinforces the skin barrier function and supports moisture retention.

#5 Wear (and reapply!) your SPF every day

It sounds counterintuitive, but sun damage can be even worse in the winter! Snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays while sand and water only reflect around 10-15%. Also, long-wavelength UVA rays (the wrinkle-causing type) can penetrate through clouds, fog and window glass, wreaking havoc on your skin. If you are worried about clogging pores, our Smart Tone Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 blends seamlessly into all skin types thanks to its customisable colour beads, while the exclusive ZOX12 blend provides continuous antioxidant protection and hydration replenishment.

 

Air Pollution 101: Everything You Need to Protect Your Skin from the Smog

Air pollution isn’t just threating the environment – research shows that it’s taking a serious toll on your wellbeing and ageing your skin faster. We are all aware of the three big S’s of skin ageing – Smoke, Sun and Stress, but new discoveries show that there is another menace that is just as bad for our  skin health – Pollution.

air pollution, London smog, PM2.5, skincare,

How air pollution affects your overall health

According to the latest London Authority Report, the capital’s population is breathing 50% more PM2.5 than the safe levels recommended by the World’s Health Organisation. Pm2.5 stands for particle matter less than 2.5 micrometres in size which means they penetrate deep into the human body and cause long-term damage. WHO attributes 3.3 million deaths per year to PM2.5 pollution and links them to a wide range of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

What it does to your skin

Prolonged pollution exposure can damage your skin in a myriad of ways, ranging from chronic inflammation to dehydration and loss of elasticity. A  study published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology links microscopic air contaminants to increased  skin sensitivity and premature signs of ageing, especially pigmentation issues. What is more, smog strips away vital nutrients for your skin such as vitamin E, peptides and lipids. According to the American Association of Dermatologists, people living in areas with high level of air pollution have an increased risk of suffering from acne, atopic dermatitis and rashes.

What can you do to stop it from ruining your complexion

As with most skin problems, prevention is better than cure, and luckily there are products that can help you alleviate the adverse effects If don’t want to end up wearing the consequences of city life on your face in 10 years time, get serious about your skincare routine. Here are a few simple steps that can help you tackle the environmental assault on your skin:

Clean it off:

Exfoliating-Cleanser, air pollution, skincare, london smog

A deep cleanse is imperative for city dwellers as pollution can build up on top of makeup, excess oils and nay other chemicals you come in touch throughout the day and trigger breakouts. ZO Exfoliating Cleanser is formulated with magnesium microbeads that gently exfoliate dead skin cells and trap bacteria, while the blend of salicylic acid and vitamin E neutralises free radical damage and stimulates collagen production.

 Build up antioxidants in your routine:

daily-power-defense, air pollution, london smog, skincare

Air pollutants and free radical can severely disrupt the healthy functioning of your barrier, making it susceptible to dehydration and irritation. Antioxidants, along with peptides and vitamins, help strengthen your skin and neutralise the primary triggers of skin ageing.  Daily Power Defense with an exclusive blend of antioxidants and DNA repair enzymes that penetrates the deeper layers of your skin, stimulating cell turnover and restoring its natural moisture balance.

 

 

 

 

 

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. If you are struggling to stop smoking, then why don’t you consider an alternative like vaping? It’s not quite the same but it is certainly better and easier then going cold turkey. You could check out sites like this Portuguese one called Grossistas de Vaporizadores if you are interested in finding an alternative method to stop smoking.

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.

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.