Posts

Is it safe to use retinol in the summer?

Retinol has long been the gold standard youth-booster, but it has a bad rap when it comes to sun sensitivity. Read on to discover why this is so undeserved… 

Skincare experts the world over rave about the restorative benefits of retinol, recommending the active to anyone looking to lessen lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and even acne breakouts. In fact, retinoids – the umbrella name for derivatives of vitamin A, of which retinol is one – are one of the most researched skincare ingredients, according to cosmetic doctor Emmaline Ashley.  

“With more than 40 years of clinical data behind them, we know retinoids can effectively increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, reduce sebum production, and aid skin healing,” shares Ashley.  

But there are many misconceptions that surround retinoids and when it comes to retinol especially, the most prevalent myth is that it’s best not to use it during the summer months. But is there any truth to this?  

 

The truth about retinol 

Available without a prescription, retinol is the most commonly used retinoid in over-the-counter skincare, and although it works in the same way as prescription retinoids, it is far milder. And while sensitivity, dryness and redness can be an issue when you first begin, or if you don’t gradually work your way up the strength ladder – “there is no evidence that it makes your skin photosensitive. Meaning it’s a total myth that it will cause your skin to burn in UV light,” reveals Ashley. 

This is a misconception that was likely born out of the advice to avoid the sun when using retinoids, “but that has more to do with UV light inactivating the chemical formula than anything else,” says Ashley.  

Studies have proven this, showing that retinoids don’t impact the minimal erythemal dose of human skin, which is the amount of UV light the skin can tolerate before burning. So, in actual fact the skin doesn’t become any more sensitive to the sun after retinoid exposure, it’s retinoids themselves that are sensitive to the sun. They break down making them less effective, which is why most experts recommend using retinol at night. 

However, even though retinol doesn’t exacerbate your skins’ sensitivity to the sun, “you should be wearing a high broad-spectrum sunscreen all year round,” advises Ashley. Why? Because even retinol has its limits, and repeated sun exposure causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and an increase in melanin production, leading to lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and a leathery look to the skin that will be hard to reverse once the damage is done. 

Four steps to skin rejuvenation

Who doesn’t want fresh, glowy skin for summer? Skin that exudes radiance is a highly coveted beauty asset, and luckily there are a plethora of products and procedures that can help you achieve that aim.

Successfully rejuvenating the skin can be achieved with tried and tested topical ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, retinol or hyaluronic acid. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here as everyone’s skin will benefit from a bespoke approach – it’s best to speak to a qualified skin specialist for advice.

If you prefer to bring out the big guns, targeted in clinic options could include gentle microdermabrasion, a light peel, a touch of LED light therapy, microneedling or some skin resurfacing.

While all of the above are certified glow-getters, just one product or aesthetic treatment may not give a truly wow outcome. Consider a multi-pronged approach when formulating a plan or regime – a practitioners’ advice along with a combination of topical products and procedures will achieve the best results in the long run.

We reveal four skin rejuvenators to have on your radar right here, right now…

 

Dermalux Tri-Wave LED Phototherapy

Rated by aesthetic nurse and trainer Anna Baker who loves the diversity of conditions that can benefit from the device, this facial treatment uses non-thermal LED light energy to trigger the body’s natural processes and accelerate rejuvenation and repair of the skin. It’s ideal for those with lines, wrinkles, acne or dehydrated skin, and a course offers cumulative benefits – Baker suggests two treatments a week for four weeks, followed by one treatment per week for four weeks.

 

ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self Activating

zo_skin_health_10%_self_activating_vitamin_c

This superior medical grade product provides a potent 10 per cent dose of vitamin C to help remove surface discolouration, brighten and promote a more even skin tone. In addition, powerful antioxidants including tocopheryl acetate and coenzyme-Q10 help defend skin against environmental triggers, while squalene provides a hit of hydration. Another bonus is that it has an anhydrous pH, meaning there’s no water in the formulation – a win-win for both the user and the planet.

 

Profhilo

It’s becoming as iconic as Botox, although this skin booster doesn’t help to smooth out lines, it’s used to give a fresher, plumper and more firmer look to the skin. And what’s not to like about that? A series of tiny injections are placed in strategic areas of the face – and neck if you want – and you’ll require two appointments spaced two weeks apart. Dr Raquel Amado rates it for its youth-boosting properties and ability to naturally regenerate the skin.

 

ZO BB HydraFacial Brightalive Booster Serum

zo_skin_health_hydrafacial_brightalive_booster_serum

The ever popular HydraFacial™ uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, and hydrate, leaving skin fresh and healthy. To amp up the treatment’s already effective results, the brand’s super serums are made with nourishing ingredients that help create an instantly gratifying glow. Powered by ZO Skin Health, HydraFacial Brightalive Booster Serum is specifically designed to brighten skin and lessen the appearance of discolouration.

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.