Dark Circles Under Eyes: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Did you know that dark circles aren’t always caused by a lack of sleep? In fact, dark circles under the eyes can be caused by a variety of different factors. Whilst many people despise the presence of dark circles, luckily there are some product and treatment options available to reduce the appearance of them. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about the possible causes of dark circles, how you can treat them, and how to prevent dark circles in the first place. With this information, you can be sure that you won’t have to deal with dark undereye circles ever again.  

To start off our discussion, let’s take a closer look at what dark circles are exactly and why they occur.  

What Are Dark Circles?  

Many people bemoan the presence of dark eye circles and bags, and for a good reason. Dark circles can make your face look older and more tired, which, of course, no one wants.  

Dark circles can affect anyone, irrespective of age, skin colour and gender. However, some people may be genetically predisposed to developing them. 

In some cases, dark circles are present due to hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a condition whereby the skin darkens in certain areas, often due to sun exposure, ageing and scarring.  

However, abnormal pigmentation most commonly occurs under the eyes. This condition is known in the scientific community as periorbital hyperpigmentation. If you suffer from this condition, you might be wondering what causes it.  

What Causes Dark Eye Circles? 

As mentioned before, there is not just one cause of dark eye circles. However, unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes is lack of sleep and fatigue in general.  

You might have noticed that on the days in which you don’t get enough sleep, your complexion looks paler and more lack-lustre than usual. As the skin around the under-eyes is very thin, the underlying blood vessels are often very prominent and can be more noticeable on people with paler skin. This can create a discolouration around the under-eye area, which appears to look like dark circles.  

In addition to this, fatigue can cause fluid to build up under the skin, particularly around the eye area. This creates a puffiness around the eyes which are often called ‘eye bags’ and creates shadows, which contributes to the overall appearance of dark circles. 

Other Causes of Dark Circles 

Aside from general fatigue, the ageing process is another major cause of dark under-eye circles. As you age, the skin becomes thinner and loses volume, as well as vital collagen and elastin. The orbital area is one which is very prone to volume loss, as well as the cheeks. This can give the face that sunken look that we associate with ageing. This volume loss is a natural part of the ageing process, however it can create visible hollows underneath the eyes, which give the appearance of dark circles. 

Allergies also play a big part. One of the common symptoms of allergies is itchy eyes. As you itch your eyes, the skin around them often becomes irritated and puffy. The skin can also become red or dark in colour.  

Getting too much sun and genetic factors have to do with can both cause hyperpigmentation around the eyes. As for sun overexposure, you can avoid this issue by wearing a pair of sunglasses. Genetic dark circles can be harder to deal with, although, they can sometimes go away with age.  

Very rarely are dark circles a symptom of a more serious condition. For example, some people with thyroid disease may be more likely to develop dark circles under their eyes.  

Treatment Options for Dark Circles 

If you want to prevent dark circles, make sure you always get enough sleep and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, be sure to keep your skin healthy by choosing skincare brands that are dermatologically backed and feature key active ingredients, such as ZO Skin Health. However, if you already have dark circles, what should you do to get rid of them? 

Key Active Ingredients 

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We’re going to identify three key active ingredients which you should be looking out for in your search for a product to reduce your dark circles. 

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A, also known as the powerhouse retinol, is a rejuvenating and resurfacing ingredient which is used to address many different skin concerns, including signs of ageing and hyperpigmentation. Retinol is the most active form of Vitamin A and can massively contribute to improving your skin’s overall health. When topically applied, retinol helps to stimulate the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin, which can lead to tighter and more youthful skin. Due to its resurfacing benefits, it also works within the deeper layers of the skin to generate new skin cells and encourage new skin growth, helping to address issues such as hyperpigmentation.  

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant ingredient, which helps to fight free radicals, protect the skin against damage as well as brighten up hyperpigmentation. It has been used for years in skincare as the answer to achieving more radiant and youthful looking skin. Similarly to retinol, Vitamin C is known to boost collagen production and also increase blood circulation which can help over time to minimise the appearance of dark circles.  

Caffeine 

Caffeine is well known for its stimulant properties, however it can also have a similar boosting effect when applied topically to the skin, hence why it is a popular ingredient in many eye creams. Caffeine has a blend of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which when applied to the skin can help to reduce the puffiness and darkness which is commonly associated with dark circles.  

ZO Skin Health Products 

ZO Skin Health is a medical-grade skincare range, created and developed by world renowned dermatologist, Dr Zein Obagi. The products within the range are all backed by extensive clinical research, innovative technologies and effective, high potency active ingredients. Here are three eye care products from the range which are effective at treating the issue of dark circles under the eyes: 

Growth Factor Eye Serum 

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This cooling eye serum is formulated with ZO Growth Factor Technology, neuropeptide and sodium acetylated hyaluronate to target deep eye wrinkles, hollowness and microcirculation decline. The product is designed with a built-in cooling massaging applicator to sooth the skin and de-puff tired eyes. 

Eye Brightening Crème 

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Created to brighten and support the skin’s elasticity, this eye cream contains retinol and caffeine to reduce the appearance of dark circles. The addition of shea butter and squalene provide a deep hydration by helping to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. 

Intense Eye Crème 

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This targeted eye cream contains a blend of retinol, vitamin E, Matrixyl 3000 and mica and titanium dioxide to address signs of ageing around the eyes and improve the overall complexion. Featuring optical diffusers to reduce the appearance of dark circles and brighten the under-eyes.    

Home Care Tips 

Luckily, there are a few home care methods which you can try in your daily lives to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, however they should not be a substitute for having an expert skincare regime in place. 

A cold compress is a great place to start. Using ice cubes or a cold, wet rag, gently press on your dark circles. This works because the cold will help shrink the blood vessels around your eyes, reducing their appearance. It will also reduce any swelling in the area. Remember that this is not a substitute for a good night of sleep which should be your number one priority when treating dark circles.  

Cold tea bags work much like cold compresses. Tea, however, often contains antioxidants that can help combat inflammation and swelling.  

In-Clinic Treatment Options 

If you have persistent dark circles and are wanting to try a professional treatment, there are a few options available. Chemical peels and skin resurfacing can often help to reduce the appearance of dark circles, though they can be much more costly than home treatments. 

ZO Skin Health offers professional skin treatments through a network of expert practitioners across the UK. There are currently three different chemical peel options available to try, depending on the severity of your skin concerns and your needs. To find out more about ZO’s professional treatments and to find a practitioner near you, follow this link.

Start Your ZO Skin Health Journey Today 

If you have made it to the end of this article, you now know all about what dark circles are, how to prevent them and how to treat them. To find out more about how ZO Skin Health can help to address your skin concerns, head over to our website. 

Introducing ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Eye Serum

Whether it’s wrinkles, hollowness, discolouration or puffiness, the skin around the eyes shows signs of ageing before any other part of the body. There is a common misconception that the products you use on the rest of the face will work just fine on the delicate eye area too. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The skin around the eyes is fragile and especially vulnerable to external aggressors like UV exposure and pollution. To repair damage and slow down the ageing process, you need a powerful, targetted treatment.

What makes the eyes more vulnerable to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors of ageing?

  • The skin is very thin and has a sparse fat layer – because of that, collagen and elastin (the proteins that give skin strength and firmness) are more prone to degradation caused by sun and pollution exposure.

  • Muscular subsidence and microcirculation decline – the muscles that squeeze the eyelids shut decrease in strength with age and that leads to sagging and deep creases.

  • Anatomical peculiarity – the skin around the eyes covers the hollow space of the eye socket. As we age, the bony orbit of the eye changes in structure; the skin caves in, giving the eyes a sunken and darkened appearance.

The Solution

Powered by ZO Skin Health innovative skin restoration technology, Growth Factor Eye Serum targets the appearance of deep eye wrinkles, crease formation, hollowness and microcirculation decline.

The formula combines enzymatic and plant-derived growth factors that invigorate skin’s natural restorative mechanisms and deliver targetted treatment for the eye’s unique vulnerabilities.

growth factor eye serum

Key Ingredients:

Neuropeptide – improves the appearance of expression lines and smooths out wrinkles.

Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate – provides an instant boost in hydration and plumpness.

Growth factors – stimulate the production of type 1 collagen, increase fibroblast division and enhance skin density.

ZPRO antioxidant complex – increases hyaluronan contents in the skin which, in return, boosts collagen and hyaluronic acid production.

Growth Factor Eye Serum is suitable for all skin types and can be added to your skincare regime morning or evening as a targeted eye treatment.

The formula offers a unique blend of fast-acting and long-term correction ingredients; neuropeptides and sodium hyaluronate provide instant hydration boost and smooth out fine lines, while growth factors and antioxidants work within the deep layers of the skin to improve density and stimulate collagen production. It comes with a cooling applicator that makes it easy to apply just the right amount of product and can be used to alleviate swelling and puffiness.

Growth Factor Eye Serum is available to purchase form your nearest ZO clinic.

Mineral SPF – The Best Way to Protect Post-Procedure Skin

You should be wearing SPF every day, rain or shine. However, sun protection becomes especially important after undergoing an abrasive cosmetic procedure.

Chemical peels, laser treatments and micromodelling can be a great addition to your skincare routine to address texture concerns, persistent  pigmentation and deep wrinkles. But it’s important to keep in mind that these treatments leave your complexion raw and vulnerable to UV damage. Failing to apply proper SPF protection to vulnerable, post-procedure skin can not only erase all the benefits from your treatment but cause complications such as discolouration and inflammation.

Mineral vs Chemical Protection

Your skin is sensitised and vulnerable after a procedure, so you need to be cautious of harsh ingredients in your skincare that can further irritate the skin or slow down the healing process. The most common chemical SPF filters – benzophenone, oxybenzone and octocrylene, have been associated with irritation and photoallergic contact dermatitis reactions.

microneedling, post-procedure skin protection

This is why it’s better to opt for mineral-based sun protection in the first few weeks after your procedure. Mineral SPF acts like a physical shield that sits on top of your skin rather than being absorbed deep into its layers. Mineral formulas are gentler and easier to tolerate by vulnerable, sensitised skin. Powder formats are especially suitable for post-procedure use, since application doesn’t require rubbing or tugging of the skin.

The most common ingredients in mineral SPF products– zinc oxide and titanium dioxide offer benefits beyond UV protection. Zinc oxide has proven antimicrobial properties that soothe stinging irritation and help wound healing. If you are prone to rosacea and eczema flare-ups, titanium dioxide is a safe option for you.

The ZO Difference

Our new Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30 is the latest addition to the Triple Protection range that brings exclusive antioxidant technology and superior skin defence.

zo skin health sunscreen+powder spf 30

The mineral-based formula offers gentle and safe SPF protection for raw, post- procedure skin. It comes in a brush, densely packed with ultra-soft bristles, to ensure the powder is evenly applied on your skin. Colour pigments and light reflecting minerals make it easy to blend into all skin tones and avoid the dreaded ashy residue associated with most minerals SPFs.

Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30 is enriched with jojoba butter and seed sil that enable lipid replenishment and help skin barrier restoration. Fractionated melanin protects against blue (HEV) light, while a slow-release ZOX12® complex combats free radical damage and IR-A rays.

To ensure optimal protection, reapply every two hours.

Introducing ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30

Since the early 1990s, skin cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (135%) in the UK. There are around 16,200 new cases every year, which makes it the 5th most common cancer in the UK.

86% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to risk factors and could be prevented. ZO Skin Health has launched the latest addition to its sun protection range – ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30, to make SPF reapplication easy and help patients stay protected at all times.

The ZO® Difference

ZO® Triple-Protection products are formulated with exclusive technologies and the highest quality ingredients to offer superior protection against UV rays and environmental aggressors.

zo skin health triple sperctrum protection

Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30 formula features titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to offer physical protection from UVB and UVA rays. The formula is enriched with vitamins A, C and E to protect the skin from infrared damage and free radicals. Rosemary and beta-glucan extracts counteract dullness and dehydration, caused by air pollution, while fractured melanin protects against the HEV light, emitted from phones and computer screens.

Easy and Convenient Reapplication

zo skin health sunscreen+powder spf 30

The new Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30 comes in a compact brush format to offer on-the-go sunscreen reapplication. The brush is densely packed with ultra-soft bristles to guarantee even application onto the skin. Most importantly, the brush doesn’t shed and cleans easily, ensuring it will continue to provide smooth and consistent application over time.

The Perfect Companion for Every Skin Tone

zo skin health sunscreen + powder spf 30

Sunscreen + Powder SPF 30 comes in three universal shades – light, medium, and deep. Light has a cool undertone which neutralises the signs of redness and irritation. Medium creates a clean, even canvas for a natural look or sheer base, while deep is perfect for adding warmth and definition for a bronzed look. The powder is formulated with advanced colour-enhancing pigments to provide buildable coverage and a touch of luminosity for instant complexion perfection.

Hyperpigmentation 101 – Your Treatment Options

Hyperpigmentation is one of the 5 most common skin concerns for women and men in the UK and affects over 30 million people worldwide. The condition is caused by an increase of melanin and characterised by dark patches, spots and uneven skin tone.

hyperpigmentation causes

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

The worst culprit of pigmentation disorders is cumulative sun exposure. UV exposure triggers the production of melanin – the pigment responsible for protecting skin from injury. Melanin works hard to keep UV rays from deposing energy onto and into the skin. Repeated, unprotected exposure disrupts the production of melanin and leads to a build-up of darker cells in the exposed skin areas.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy often lead to melasma, which is another form of hyperpigmentation also known as the “the mask of pregnancy.” About 70% of pregnant women develop brown patches or spots on their face, upper lips, cheeks and forehead, as well as their bellies. In most cases, melasma clears up on its own after birth; however some patients, especially those with darker skin tones, may experience long-term discoloration.

Dark marks from acne can often develop in areas where blemishes have been. The same is true for insect stings, cuts, bruises, kitchen burns, and other skin traumas. These marks often take months to fade and some never fade much at all. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is also more common in darker skin types.

Containing Hyperpigmentation Through Treatment

 

ZO Skin Health 3-Step Peel™

Designed to address melasma, post-inflammatory pigmentation and sun-induced discoloration, this potent stimulating peel provides longer lasting benefits beyond the temporary superficial improvements seen with ordinary peels. Post-procedure peeling is mild, with minimal downtime.

ZO Skin Health Controlled Depth Peel™

Designed to target the most persistent forms of hyperpigmenattion, this peel offers controlled absorption and penetration of treatment and excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Peeling, irritation and darkening of pigmentation is expected for a few days after treatment.

Intense Pulsed Light

IPL therapy uses a beam of light to bring spots to the skin’s surface and gently sloughs them off. It’s a great option for persistent discoloration, however patients should be prepared to experience some redness, minor swelling and a darkening of the pigmentation a few days after the treatment.

Fractional Laser Treatment

This is the bridge between an ablative and non-ablative procedure in which a laser beam is used to minimize the appearance of pigmentation. Mild redness and swelling can be expected for a few days after treatment.

Micro-needling

It’s a device with tiny needles that prick the skin to improve the appearance from acne scars and pigmentation. Most patients experience mild redness for up to 48 hours post-treatment.

The Perfect Skincare Routine for Dry & Dehydrated Skin

Dry, flaky  and  dehydrated skin and cold weather go hand in hand. This is because low temperatures mean low humidity, both outdoors and indoors. The water content of the epidermis tends to reflect the level of humidity around it, so even oily and combination skin types suffer from red, itchy skin during winter months.

Fortunately, few simple changes in your daily skincare routine can alleviate winter skin symptoms.

Gentle Exfoliation

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Switching abrasive physical exfoliators for a gentle cleanser can help the skin adjust to cooler, drier weather. ZO Gentle Cleanser For All Skin Types is great for dehydrated skin thanks to a potent blend of antioxidants and botanical extracts that removes dead cells, sebum and dirt, while maintaining healthy lipid balance and helps retain epidermis natural moisture level.

Switch to a Non-Retinol Serum

Retinol is a gold standard ingredient for treating all signs of skin ageing and inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea. However, skin becomes drier and more prone to irritation during winter months, so cutting down the frequency of application or switching to an antioxidant serum is beneficial for drier skin types.

dehydrated skin growth factor serum

ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Serum is a retinol-free formulation that delivers daily DNA repair and antioxidant protection to slow and correct the signs of ageing. Formulated with ZPRO™ exclusive antioxidant biomimetic protein complex, Growth Factor Serum stimulates the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and protect skin cells DNA from future damage.

Enzymes are Key

Sloughing off dry patches with exfoliating brushes and other mechanical devices is a short-term fix that can exacerbate dry skin symptoms and lead to more irritation and flaking.

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Ceramides are enzymes, found naturally in the uppermost layers of the skin, that help shed dead cells and limit moisture loss. ZO Skin Health Renewal Crème features ceramides, antioxidants and jojoba esters to reinforce skin barrier functions and restore healthy hydration levels.

Don’t Skip On SPF Protection

During winter months, sunlight contains less UVB radiation which is the culprit for sun burns. However, long-wavelength UVA rays are present all year can penetrate through clouds, fog and window glass, causing oxidative stress and premature signs of ageing. SPF protection of minimum 30 is vital in high altitudes as snow reflects 80% of UV rays, in comparison to sand and water that only reflect around 10-15%.

dehydrated skin smart tone spf 50

ZO Skin Health Smart Tone SPF 50 blends seamlessly into all skin types and provides an invisible, matte protection against UVB, UVA, blue light and air pollution.

 

Hydroquinone – Everything You Need to Know

Hydroquinone (HQ) is the gold standard treatment for treating various forms of hyperpigmentation such as hormone-related melasma, post-inflammatory pigmentation and sun damage.

How does it work?

To understand how hydroquinone bleaching works, it is important to first have look at how melanin is formed. Melanin production in the skin starts with the oxidation of amino acids tyrosine and L-DOPA, catalysed by the enzyme tyrosinase. Since hydroquinone’s structure resembles that of tyrosine and L-DOPA, having it present means tyrosinase will grab hold of the hydroquinone instead of tyrosine. As a result, there’s less tyrosinase available for transforming tyrosine and L-DOPA which slows down melanin production.

By slowing down melanin production, skin becomes more evenly toned over time and dark pigmentation patches fade.

Although hydroquinone can be very effective for a number of indications, prolonged use can cause serious side effects that are hard to reverse.

Resistance

Using hydroquinone for more than six months leads to resistance to its lightening effects for more patients. After this period, the treatment no longer affects the dark spots of melasma and its bleaching effects appear more pronounced in unaffected areas.

As the active melanocytes in the affected regions can no longer be influenced by hydroquinone, hyperpigmentation in these areas can worsen.

Ochronosis

In rare, severe cases the prolonged use of high-concentration hydroquinone can lead to intense blue-black pigmentation. Ochronosis is more common among darker skin tones.

Skin Sensitivity

Hydroquinone can be harsh on the skin. Many HQ crèmes are formulated with retinoic acid to enhance hydroquinone’s bleaching efficacy, however, in some patients this combination can lead to irritant contact dermatitis.

Skin Atrophy and Telangiectasia

Some of the side effects with hydroquinone don’t even come from hydroquinone itself. A number of products on the market combine hydroquinone with ingredients such as retinoic acid, glycolic acid and topical steroids. However, prolonged use of such product can create a myriad of additional issues. For example, the combination of HQ, tretinoin and fluocinolone can lead to skin atrophy, telangiectasia and more stubborn pigmentation.

Topical steroids in HQ crèmes aim to suppress inflammation. However, topical steroids are effective only when treating trauma or disease – induced pigmentation (PIH). Therefore, topical steroids must be avoided when treating pigmentation not caused by inflammation such as melasma.

What are the alternatives?

Non-hydroquinone brightening agents can the prescribed as a healthy, maintenance system and to avoid local or systematic side effects associated with long-term HQ use.

ZO Skin Health offers comprehensive non-hydroquinone brightening system, designed for the treatment of non-specific discoloration (freckles, liver spots, uneven skin tone), prevent new spots for forming and improve skin texture.

Hydrating Cleanser

hydroquinone alternatives gentle cleanser

Formulated with sodium lauroyl amino acids and botalnic blend extracts, this gentle formula revives the skin barrier and cleanses without drying.

Exfoliating Polish

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Featuring vitamins A, C, E and ultrafine magnesium crystals, ZO Exfoliating Polish improves skin texture, stimulates healthy circulation and provides powerful antioxidant boost.

Complexion Renewal Pads

hydroquinone alternatives complexion renewal pads

Soaked in a combination of 2% salicylic acid, glycolic acid and botanical extracts, Complexion Renewal Pads offer dual-chemical exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, reduce oiliness and fade post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Brightalive Non-Retinol Skin Brightener

hydroquinone alternatives brightalive

Brightalive uses multi-vectored skin brightening approach to minimise the appearance of spots and uneven skin tone, while preventing new pigmentation from forming. Formulated with the exclusive ZOX12™ slow-release antioxidant complex, liquorice root, natural enzymes and ultra-stable vitamin C. Mild enough for everyday use.

Daily Power Defense

hydroquinone alternatives daily power defense

Daily Power Defense is formulated with ultrasomes and roxisomes enzymes that initiate and speed DNA repair to enhance skin’s natural healing mechanism and protect against oxidative damage. Ceramides help restore lipid balance and strengthen the skin barrier system, while low-concentration retinol stimulates epidermal renewal and collagen production.

New ZO Skin Health Hydrating Crème – Just The Thing For Dry Skin!

Having dry skin isn’t fun in any form. The various symptoms, associated with the condition include itching, redness, uneven texture and take a serious toll on sufferers’ self-esteem.  In a survey conducted by FEMAIL, seven in ten participants agreed that having dry skin impacts their overall confidence.

So, what causes it?

Dryness can be a symptom of an overactive immune response and skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis. Sore, itching skin can also be a result of a compromised protective barrier which is often caused by improper skincare regime and environmental factors such as cold weather and low humidity.

The Solution

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Our new Hydrating Crème is a lightweight formula designed to relieve the symptoms of severely dry skin, soothe irritation and replenish skin’s natural hydration levels. It is ideal for treating moderate to severe dry skin on the face and body, including skin showing visible signs of eczema.

Benefits

• Smoothes skin texture
• Reduces itching
• Restores hydration
• Calms redness
• Supports skin barrier function
• Reduces intensity and frequency of flare-ups

Key Ingredients

Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract

Works in the epidermis to speed up healing and reduce the intensity and frequency of skin flare-ups. It inhibits bacteria intrusion and helps restore skin barrier functions and natural hydration levels.

Myristoyl Pentapeptide – 11

Stimulates cell renewal and helps regulate tissue repair. The multipeptide complex provides anti-inflammatory benefits and speeds up wound healing.

ZOX12

Our exclusive slow-release antioxidant complex that protects the skin from free radicals and prevents premature aging.

Clinically Proven Results

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In a clinical study conducted on patients with moderate to severe eczema, Hydrating Crème was clinically proven to be effective in restoring hydration, reducing redness and improving skin texture.
• 90% of participants reported a visible improvement in skin dryness by week 8.
• 87% reported reduction in itching by week 8.
• 85% reported reduction in redness by week 12.
• 90% reported visible improvement in skin texture and smoothness.

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

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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

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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

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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.