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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.

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.  

5 Neck Firming Exercises To Tighten Your Neck

Nothing betrays a woman’s age more quickly than a sagging, jowly neck. You might have built the perfect skincare routine for your face, but what is the point of it, if your neck is giving away your age or even making you look older?

Here are 5 neck firming exercises that will help you say goodbye to the turkey neck forever:

1. Chin Tuck

This exercise strengthens the front muscles of your neck and helps you maintain better posture.

neck firming exercises, chin tuck

Step 1: Sit straight in a chair with your back firmly supported by a wall or the back of the chair. Make sure the back of your head, shoulders and upper back are against the wall and the underside of your chin is parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Slowly move your chin towards your chest and hold for 5 seconds as you feel a comfortable stretch from the back of your neck to the base of your skull.
Step 3: Release and repeat 5 – 10 times.

2. Seated Neck Release

This exercise targets the side muscles of your neck and helps to relieve stress in the back of your neck.

neck firming exercises, side neck release
Step 1: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
Step 2: Place your arms next to your knees or along the sides of the chair. This position stabilises your torso and allows you to isolate the stretch on the side of your neck.
Step 3: Slowly tilt your head to your left shoulder and hold for 5 seconds. Go back to neutral position and tilt to your right shoulder, holding for another 5 seconds. Repeat 5 -10 times.

Cobra Stretch

This exercise strengthens the muscles of your shoulders and stretches your neck, lower and upper back.

neck firming exercises, cobra stretch

Step 1: Lie on your stomach and place your hands at the base of your ribcage with palms pressing against the ground.
Step 2: Lift your hands off the floor, gently arch your back and lift your chest upward. Press your shoulders down away from your ears.
Step 3: Hold the position for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 – 8 times.

Bridge

A classic exercise, included in almost every yoga workout. It is great not only for your hip muscles but also for the back of your neck.

neck firming exercises, bridge
Step 1: Lie down with your lower back pressed to the floor. Bend your knees, while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your side with palms down.
Step 2: With your palms and feet, pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips off the floor until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
Step 3: Hold the position for 10-seconds and release. Repeat 10 – 15 times.

Mind your posture

neck firming exercises, correct posture

Hunching over your desk all day will not only cause you back pain but also add horizontal lines to your neck. Instead, try to sit with your back straight, relax your shoulders and keep your head up. During long sedentary periods, like sitting at our desks at work, it is easy to forget about good posture and crane your neck, while staring at your computer screen. So, make a conscious effort to improve your sitting habits and check your posture throughout the day.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget your neck in your skincare routine

This delicate area develops wrinkles faster than the face yet is often left out of skincare routines. Your neck needs just as much (or even more) protection and nourishment as your face. Your neck and chest areas have fewer oil glands than your face, so hydrate diligently! Never skip sunscreen and don’t forget about serum and anti-ageing care, too.

Ingredient Spotlight: Retinol

The one ingredient that we’re hearing about time after time, it’s Retinol. We’re always reading about it’s benefits, from reducing the appearance of fine lines, or refining skin texture. It’s even been proved to reduce the appearance of pores. But what exactly is it, and why should you use it?

Retinol is the antioxidant derivative of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful ingredient that speeds up cell turnover, and protects the skin from free radical damage. This can prevent lines, wrinkles and spots from forming in the first place. It works by absorbing into the skin, and breaking down into retinoic acid. This is a compound that affects the chemistry of skin cells and their behaviours. This can help increase collagen production, and improve skin elasticity. It can also increase skin thickness, improve skin texture, and create a more even skin tone, making it an idea ingredient for those with skin discolouration, or damage from the sun.

If you’ve never used Retinol before, you should be aware of initial side effects, such as skin dryness and peeling. This will subside as your skin gets used to the product, and then you’ll start to see the amazing benefits.

Here are our top products from ZO Skin Health and ZO Medical.

Advanced Radical Night Repair

Our best-selling, award-winning formula with a 1% retinol concentration that targets UV-damaged, aged skin.

Brightenex™ 1.0% Retinol

Targets skin discoloration and breaks up existing pigmentation and works to brighten skin and helps even skin tone.

Brightenex™ 0.5% Retinol

Formulated to even skin color and tone, and can also be used as a maintenance product after more aggressive treatments.

Retamax™ Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion

Lighweight, high potency retinol lotion that helps reverse the signs of skin aging and reduce lines and wrinkles.

 

Top 6 tips for beautiful hands

We follow great advice on how to look after our faces but what about skin care tips for our hands?  Our hands are constantly exposed to the weather, harsh cleaning products and more. This everyday wear and tear can really take it’s toll on your hands if they aren’t cared for in the right way. As the skin on the tops of your hands is thinner, it tends to be one of the first places to show the signs of ageing. From the age of 30 cell production decreases by about 10%, making the skin less efficient at repairing itself. With ageing continuing, the collagen and elastin in the skin begin to breakdown, causing loss of plumpness. This means veins and knuckles become more prominent. So what steps can you take to keep your hands looking young and beautiful?

skin care tips for hands

Skin Care Tips

6 Simple Steps To Healthy Looking Hands

  1. Avoid over washing your hands. When washing the dishes, for example, never use very hot water as this can strip away the hands natural oils. To prevent dryness opt for warm water instead. An even better option is to wear gloves when using any household detergents. Also, always use a good hand cream, like Oraser® Nourishing Hand Creme, after getting your hands wet.
  2. As your hands are always exposed to harmful UV rays it is essential to protect them. One of the most important skin care tips is to regularly wear SPF30 or higher to protect the skin on the tops of your hands whenever you are outside.
  3. Don’t forget your cuticles! Try to brush, or dab, on a nail oil twice a day to keep your cuticles soft.
  4. Your hands can have a peel just like your face! Peels are a perfect treatment for ageing hands. We recommend Invisapeel™ for an intense at home exfoliation treatment to improve the texture and tone of the hands. Leave on for 1-3 hours or overnight, and for best results, use 2-3 times weekly.
  5. Which set of skin care tips would be complete without mentioning the importance of regular exfoliation. Exfoliate daily with our Correcting Hand and Body Scrub. It combines salicylic acid and sugar crystals to leave hands smooth, soft and youthful looking,
  6. If you’ve tried all of these steps and still feel you hands could do with something more, speak to a medical professional about the option of dermal fillers to help plump up any loss of volume in the hands.

Crow’s Feet: How To Reduce Wrinkles Around The Eyes

What Are Crow’s Feet?

Crow’s feet, or laughter lines, are the small lines or wrinkles which appear around the outer edge of the eye. Generally they start to appear in the late twenties and gradually deepen over time. These lines occur naturally as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production decreases. They can be accelerated by things such as sun exposure or smoking. Natural movements such as smiling, laughing and squinting will also all contribute to deepening these lines.

crow's feet wrinkles

Crow’s Feet Treatment

One way to try and avoid crow’s feet would be to never show emotion on your face. No smiling, no laughing or no frowning. As that is pretty much impossible, we will take a look at products which can be used to delay or reduce the appearance of those wrinkles. The first step you can take is to ensure that you are using a daily SPF, as exposure to UV rays is one of the most common ways the skin loses collagen and elastin, leading to premature ageing.

Take A Closer Look At ZO® SPFs

Investing in a high quality eye cream should be an essential part of any skincare regime. To help reduce the visibility of crow’s feet you need an eye cream which increases collagen production and protects the skin from any possible environmental damage.There are two ZO® eye creams available, they are:

*ZO® Medical products are exclusively available through a physician. Find Your Nearest Skin Expert Here.

Care should be taken when applying products to the delicate skin around the eye area. Never pull, rub or tug the skin. Apply small dots of product around the orbital bone and gently tap into the skin until fully absorbed.

The final piece of advice, which applies not just to your eyes but general skin health, is to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Skin dryness can lead to wrinkles and fine lines so always keep your moisture levels topped up.

Recommended Autumn Skincare Essentials

For those who want to give their skin a boost for the autumn, here are a few of our favourite skincare essentials that we believe will make a visible improvement to your complexion.

autumn skincare essentials

Cleanser

It’s essential to cleanse your skin both morning and night to ensure you remove all the impurities and dead skin cells to promote cell turnover and thus have a fresher, younger looking skin.

For Normal to Dry skin we recommend: Offects® Hydrating Cleanser

Dry skin requires a gentle cleanser that will not disrupt sebum which is why Offects® Hydrating Cleanser is perfect. It hydrates by helping to retaining moisture during the cleansing process and rejuvenates with it’s calming properties such as panthenol, which soothes, repairs and restores skin. In addition, this cleanser stimulates collagen production and contains allantoin, which cleans away dead skin cells and supports cellular renewal. All on top of it removing dirt, oil and makeup without leaving any residue. Washing your face never felt so good.

For Normal to Oily Skin we recommend: Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser

Cleansing is an important first step for all skin types, but for oily, acne-prone skin, it’s critical. The key to managing oily skin is gently exfoliating dull, dry skin cells that trap bacteria; reducing excess oil; and neutralising free radicals. Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser does all of that and goes one step further, by providing encapsulated Vitamin E, the most important antioxidant for healthy skin.

Nourishing Hydrator

No matter what your skin type, one of our skincare essentials is a good hydrating crème for both day and night. Even those with oily skin need to hydrate as without the proper hydration your skin will produce even more excessive oils as an overcompensation for the lack of hydration.

For the day we recommend: Ommerse® Renewal Crème 
This crème is packed with pure retinol, powerful anti-oxidants and a soothing agent to repair the skin barrier and rejuvenate the skin. Oh, and one more thing. It’s a great all-day hydrator, too.

For the night we recommend: Ommerse® Overnight Recovery Crème
While you sleep, your skin becomes more active, repairing and regenerating skin cells. This is the most important time to strengthen and nourish your skin. Ommerse® Overnight Recovery Crème is the natural counterpoint to an active day–a little bit of R and R to calm and nourish the skin. It’s not sheer indulgence, though. While you sleep, retinol works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, ceramides nourish and calming agents protect against inflammation.

Peel

Peels are always a firm recommendation from dermatologists and one of our favourite skincare essentials. As it lifts off the rough, dull surface layer of dead skin cells to help give skin the reflective glow that only comes from a smooth, even surface.

We recommend: ZO Medical’s Invisapeel™

This formulation uses a unique process to renew the epidermis, providing enhanced exfoliation without any flaking or peeling, leaving skin noticeably smoother, firmer and brighter. Specialized enzymes and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) promote exfoliation to improve the texture and help even skin tone in addition to enhancing and accelerating the repair of most epidermal problems such as discoloration, flaky skin and roughness. What’s more this product is excellent for both facial and non-facial skin such as hands, arms and legs!

Anti-Ageing in Your Twenties

Is it ever too early to start using anti-ageing products? The short answer is no. Prevention is always easier than treatment so starting the fight against ageing in your twenties is a smart move.

Anti-Ageing in Your Twenties

Prevention Over Treatment

The skin is no different to any other organ in the body that suffers age-related degeneration. It’s much easier to prevent the decline than it is to reverse the process after it has happened.

To give your skin a fighting chance, you need to start taking care of it from a young age. However, that does not mean that solely using an anti-ageing cream lets you off the hook. Alongside using the right products such as ZO’s Ommerse® Renewal Crème  and Ommerse® Overnight Recovery Crème, you need to unlearn bad habits like leaving your makeup on overnight. By leaving makeup on, your pores get clogged, you get breakouts and your skin is just generally left looking dull and worse-for-wear. So it is essential that you always cleanse your skin properly before you go to bed.

Additionally, one of the biggest mistakes made by those in their twenties, is overlooking the importance of protecting skin from the sun. Exposure to the sun, no matter if its bright blue skies or a dull, overcast day, the UV rays emitted from the sun are harmful and damaging to the skin. Thus for skin to remain healthy and taut as you age, twenty-somethings should get a lead on using sunscreen like Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30. Not only does this product protect your skin from harmful UV rays and HEV light (the blue light omitted from smartphones) but it also doubles up as a makeup primer! A very nifty thing to have in your skincare routine!

See all the sun protection products we offer here. Find your perfect match. 

How Eating Less Is Actually Damaging Your Skin

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are trying to lose weight is by eating less. Many try to cut corners with weight loss by using fad-diets or simply eating next-to-nothing. However, eating less and malnutrition are a quick road towards ageing your skin. Low body weight has been linked to low oestrogen and DHEA levels (two of our ‘youth’ hormones) and high cfaortisol levels (stress hormones). Low oestrogen and high cortisol levels are key factors involved in the acceleration of skin ageing. So for the sake of long-term skin health and vitality, it is important not to let your body weight fall below your BMI.

eating less

However, it’s not just damaging diets that can advance ageing, the combination of eating less with exercising more also puts your skin under strain as it increases your levels of cortisol and adrenaline. This causes your body to ‘eat itself’ from within.

So it is essential that you keep a balanced lifestyle with a steady workout regime and a healthy diet to lose weight the right way!

Exercise and Skincare

It is also important to remember the importance of maintaining a good skincare regime. Try to avoid wearing makeup when you are working out and make sure to cleanse your face properly after the workout. Read our post on Post-Workout Acne, to find out what you need to do keep your skin clear after exercising!

The Autumn Skincare Advice You Need To Hear

Autumn has started to show itself; temperatures are dropping, and the weather’s getting wetter. But with this change in the seasons, many tend to neglect their skincare routine. Since the body is hidden under a ton of layers, it’s common for people to forget about the importance of maintaining healthy skin. But just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there! Your skin probably needs more attention as the weather worsens. So here are the autumn skincare tips you absolutely need to know about for radiant skin this season.

autumn skincare

Exercise

Regular exercise boosts circulation and your immune system resulting in stronger and healthier skin.

Eat Your Greens…

and your reds, yellows and oranges! Basically, load up on your vegetables as they’re packed with antioxidants and other benefits. They help to protect your skin from pollution and UV rays.

Vitamin C

Speaking of UV exposure, your skin is likely still suffering from the after-effects of  summer. If you have an uneven skin tone, sun spots and hyperpigmentation, you can repair your skin with a vitamin C-packed brightening serum.

Use Sunscreen

Although it may not be sunny anymore, you should still use sunscreen in your autumn skincare routine.  UV rays can still penetrate the skin even if the weather is grey and gloomy! But the SPF in your foundation isn’t enough either, so use a sunscreen like ZO’s Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer with SPF30  to protect yourself. Apply it to the face, neck, and chest every day in the morning. What makes this sunscreen even better is that it doubles up as a makeup primer too!

Eat more fish

Healthy fats, like the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, help lubricate the skin, keeping it elastic and supple over time. However, if you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t worry, taking a fish oil supplement will do the trick too!

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

We can’t stress enough, how important it is to exfoliate your whole body. The dry autumn weather causes dead skin cells to build up on your body so be sure gently exfoliate twice a week. This will both remove dead skin cells and promote skin cell turnover to let your skin glow!

To keep your lips equally smooth, delicately scrub them with your toothbrush right after you brush your teeth. This will clear away flakiness and help prep lips for balm or color. As for dry, cracked heels, apply a hydrator with salicylic or lactic acid at night, then put on socks. Follow this with a pumice stone the next morning during your shower to promote exfoliation.

Avoid steaming hot showers!

They may be tempting, especially with the temperatures dropping. All you want to do after being out in the cold is to jump into a hot bath or shower but it’s the worst thing you could do! Hot showers strip the skin of its natural oils which then causes your skin to dry out, crack and peel. Hot water is one of the worst causes for dry skin, so try to take warm showers instead of blistering hot ones. Then, pat your skin dry after you’re done, do not rub.

Retinol

Include a retinol in your autumn skincare routine. Every other night, before bed, apply ZO’s Ossential® Daily Power Defense to help your skin maintain its youthful summer glow. Plus it’s a fantastic ingredient to fight against signs of ageing too! To manage the dryness associated with retinol apply a hydrator over the top.

Drink water!

It’s important to try to remind yourself to drink water. Even though you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, your body still need its. What’s more, the dry autumn air combined with indoor heating can cause your skin to dry out. So make sure to keep yourself hydrated!