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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.

 

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.

5 DIY Skincare Myths Debunked

DIY skincare recipes are all over the internet, boasting to miraculously solve skin problems with simple, cheap, available in your home ingredients. But is it really possible to banish acne with baking soda? Here the 5 most popular DIY skincare myths and the truth behind each one:

1. Lemon Juice

DIY skincare, lemon juice

Myth: Lemon juice clears up dark spots and brightens the skin.

Reality: The pH of the products you use is crucial for maintaining a healthy complexion. The natural pH of the skin is between 4.5 and 6.5.  Lemons have a pH of 2 which means they are highly acidic. Lemon juice will disturb the natural pH levels of your skin and damage its protective barrier. If you use it in your skincare routine regularly, you risk getting a chemical burn or developing hyperpigmentation. Lemons contain psoralen – a chemical that that makes your skin extremely sensitive to light and susceptible to photodamage.

2. Raw eggs

DIY egg mask

Myth: Egg masks reduce fine lines and tighten the skin.

Reality: The texture of raw eggs can clog your pores and trigger breakouts. If you are using egg whites, there’s also the risk of salmonella. Salmonella bacteria can get into your body through microscopic abrasions of the skin, so keep the eggs away from your face and make an omelette instead.

3. Baking soda

DIY skincare, baking soda exfoliation

Myth: Exfoliating with baking soda can remove acne scars, relief sunburns and soothe skin rashes.

Reality: Baking soda is not only ineffective but actually damaging to your skin.  A mix of baking soda and water has a pH of 8 which means it is alkaline. Alkaline products are extremely drying and damage the skin’s acid mantle. Baking soda disrupts the activity of enzymes in the upper layers of your skin which affects the healthy functioning of your skin cells. The worst part is that damage caused by alkaline products is cumulative – the longer you use them, the more harm they do.

4. Coconut oil

DIY skincare, coconut oil

Myth: Coconut oil is antibacterial and can help reduce acne. 

Reality: Coconut oil rose to fame in skincare blogs and magazines when studies showed that lauric acid may effectively fight against P acne bacteria. What beauty magazines and DIY gurus forget to mention is that the studies used purified acid, not the 50% mix of lauric and fatty acids which coconut oil contains. The truth is that coconut oil is highly comedogenic and far from being antibacterial. It is full of things bacteria feed on (lipids and caprylic acid) and its thick texture will clog your pores and make acne breakouts worse. 

5. Sugar

DIY skincare, sugar

Myth: Sugar scrubs remove dead skin cells and clean clogged pores.

Reality: Sugar crystals have uneven, jarred edges that will leave microscopic cuts on the top layer of your epidermis and disrupt the skin’s lipid barrier. Naturally, this will make your skin vulnerable to dryness, flakiness and irritation.

Hand Care: The Missing Step in Your Anti-Ageing Routine

Lifting. Typing. Styling. High-fiving. The list of things you do with your hands could go on forever, yet hand care slips at the bottom of our beauty priorities. Your hands are put to more daily use and abuse than your face and less pampering. So it’s not surprising that they “tattle-tale” your age quicker than any other part of your body.
While you can’t stop the natural, biological process of ageing, you can do a lot to prevent and reduce damage caused by external factors such as UV radiation, pollution and harsh chemicals. More importantly, taking care of your hands doesn’t have to be a major production. Here are 3 simple steps to help your hands look and feel good at any age:

#1 Sun protection

hand care, age spots, old hands

When was the last time you put sunscreen on your hands? If you don’t want them covered with age spots, you should be putting sunscreen on every day and reapplying after you wash your hands. Yes, age spots have nothing to do with age. They are the result of unprotected sun exposure. UV rays damage the DNA in skin cells which induces dark spots formation and uneven pigmentation. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

#2 Exfoliation

hand care, exfoliation

Our skin dries out quickly and takes longer to replenish itself as we age. With the loss of elasticity and hydration, veins that are not visible under plump skin become prominent and the skin on our hands starts to look crepey.
Regular exfoliation will remove dead cell build-ups and put your skin’s renewal process in boot camp. Use a retinol crème to improve rough skin texture and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Look for products enriched with vitamins E and C as they are natural antioxidants that restore and enhance skin barrier function.

#3 Hydration

hand care, hydration, hand creme

You probably put a lot more thought into choosing your face cleanser than you did your hand soap. But how often do you wash your hands compared to your face? Harsh detergents strip natural oils and moisture from the skin, leaving your hands dry, cracked and susceptible to irritation.
To protect your hands, hydrate regularly throughout the day, especially after contact with water. Use a rich, nourishing crème that restores hydration and stimulates skin barrier function. Oraser® Nourishing Hand Crème is formulated with nourishing shea butter and skin conditioners to provide a deep hydration and help diminish the appearance of age spots and uneven pigmentation.

Oily Skin Hydration: 3 Easy Ways to Winterproof Your Skin Without Breaking Out

Winter is in full swing which means you need to up your skincare game so as to keep your complexion balanced, hydrated and radiant. The cold dry air, coupled with even dryer indoor heating, takes a toll on all skin types. But for those of us struggling with oily skin the issue is twofold – how do we give our skin a hydration boost while keeping the T-zone shine at bay?

oily skin hydration, girl cleaning her face
Here is our action plan to help you hydrate, nourish and protect your skin in the winter without exacerbating oiliness and causing breakouts:

#1 Swap your gritty scrub for a gentle cleanser

There is no denying exfoliation is a crucial part of your skincare routine. However, over-exfoliating can do a real number on your skin, especially in the winter. When temperatures dip down and the wind whips up, you want to help your skin lock in as much moisture as possible. If you are scrubbing too hard and too frequently, you are not only removing excess oils but also getting rid of healthy cells and compromising your skin’s protective barrier. When natural moisture escapes from the skin, your sebaceous glands go into a frenzy and produce even more oil, trying to compensate for the loss of hydration.

So, instead of keeping your skin clean and smooth, you are doing the exact opposite – stimulating more sebum production. If you don’t want to get trapped in this vicious cycle, take a break from gritty exfoliators. Instead, switch to a gentle cleanser that cleans your skin thoroughly but doesn’t strip its natural moisture.

Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser combines BHA, to gently remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, whilst nourishing lipids boost hydration and skin softness. Use it daily to keep excess oil under control and give your skin the extra nourishment it needs in the winter.

#2 Use non-comedogenic sunscreen

We should all be in the habit of putting on sunscreen every day and reapplying it regularly – all year round. But most products on the high street are chalky and greasy and when you are in an eternal battle with shine and oiliness, the last thing you want to do is put a layer of thick, pore-clogging sunscreen on your face.

oily skin hydration, oclipse® daily sheer

However, this is not a good excuse to skip sun protection. Oclipse® Daily Sheer SPF 50 has a special, non-greasy formula that blends seamlessly into the skin and gives it a sheer matte finish. It dries quickly and provides broad-spectrum protection with zero chances of breakouts.

#3 Add a serum to your routine

People with oily skin often (and wrongly) avoid serums thinking their thick formula will exacerbate oiliness. The truth is that serums are serious hydration boosters and work for all skin types, including oily skin. If you want to nourish your skin without clogging your pores, serums are the much better choice that thick crèmes and moisturisers. The molecule structures of serums are smaller, so they can penetrate the skin surface deeper than moisturisers and hydrate the skin from within.

oily skin hydration, oseential-c bright serum

Ossential® C-Bright Serum contains naturally occurring lipids that support skin barrier restoration and help skin’s natural hydration process. It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and even your complexion.

The importance of a regular skincare regime

Why is it important to keep a regular skincare regime?

 

Keeping up a regular skincare regime can be difficult to juggle with a busy work and social life. With everything else going on in our lives, applying skincare products each morning and evening can be difficult to religiously keep up! However, keeping a regular skincare regime is a very important investment, that will lead to healthy and clear skin.

The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and we put it through harsh weather, pollution, UV damage and abrasion every day, so it’s so important to take good care of it. And there are so many benefits to maintaining a regular skin regime

skincare regime

Good Condition

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your skin in good condition for years to come. Many people only think about starting a consistent skin regime after their skin shows signs of acne, congestion or ageing. However, keeping a regular skin regime can help prevent these issues, and should take no longer than 5 minutes every morning and evening.

Visible Results

A lot of people will try a new skincare product, only to give up after a few uses if they don’t see immediate results. Active ingredients and a regular skincare regime can take up to a few months before you start to see visible results – so don’t give up if you don’t see overnight results! Think of your skincare regime like an exercise routine, it takes consistent practice and time, but you will start to see subtle improvements if you keep at it.

ZO Fundamental 5

The ZO Fundamental 5 is the perfect starting point for your skincare regime. These are a carefully selected group of products recommended to rejuvenate and revitalise dull, tired skin.

In 5 easy steps, you can start your regular skincare regime. Wash, scrub, oil-control, stimulate and protect.

1. Wash: Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser

This cleanser and exfoliant combination targets oil, dirt and bacteria in the skin leaving it deeply cleansed, without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

2. Scrub: Offects® Exfoliating Polish

This exfoliant instantly polishes skin to restore a smoother texture and deliver healthy glowing skin.

3. Oil-Control: Offects® TE-Pads™ 

A dual-chemical exfoliation removes dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores and help decrease a potential acne breakout.

4. Balance: Ossential® Daily Power Defense™ 

Formulated with retinol, enzymes and antioxidants, this skin restorer helps to stabilise skin by repairing damaged cells and protecting skin against future damage.

Protect: Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30

A broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF that uses a multiple-defence sun protection system to provides full-spectrum defence against UV rays in addition to shielding skin from the ageing effects of HEV light (high-energy visible light).

 

 

AHAs & BHAs for Skin Exfoliation

Before we get into the breakdown of what a BHA or AHA is, and how they work, let’s look at the most important question. Why do we need to exfoliate? Helping you skin to exfoliate ensures the skin stays looking radiant, smooth and that the skin care products you apply are getting where they need to be.

woman face srcub, exfoliate, clean

How are they similar?

Both AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliators which make great alternatives to traditional grains and scrubs. They smooth the skin to improve the look of dull, uneven skin tone but both have their own unique qualities making them preferable for certain skin types and conditions. Let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs are water soluble which means they will only be effective on the top layer of the skin. This does make them perfect for someone who wants to exfoliate dry and sensitive skin. They are one of the most gentle effective exfoliants, so no more manual scrubbing which can cause extra damage and skin irritation. AHAs also have humectant properties, which means they hold moisture in the skin. AHAs can help with age spots, skin discoloration and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles! The most commonly used AHAs you will see in your skincare items are glycolic acid, mandelic acid and lactic acid.

Some of our favourite AHA containing ZO® products include Glyocgent, Offects® TE-Pads and Invisapeel.

Beta Hydroxy Acids

A big difference between AHAs and BHAs is that BHAs are oil soluble. This means that they can penetrate through any oil clogged pores, so they are working into a deeper level of the skin. BHAs are often used if you have tried to exfoliate with AHAs but need something a bit stronger, or of the needs of your skin have changed. They are generally encouraged for use on oily and acne prone skin, this is also due to their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The most commonly used BHA is Salicylic acid.

Many of our products contain BHAs, some of which include Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser, Cebatrol™ and Vitascrub™.

Something To Note

An important factor to remember with both AHAs and BHAs is you must wear a daily SPF 15 or higher! This is because where they exfoliate the skin’s surface, you will be more vulnerable to sun damage. The best direction is to apply your AHA or BHA product at night before bed, so it has time to really work on the skin, then apply SPF as part of your morning routine to keep you protected.

 

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. 

Treating Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are a form of scarring that appears when the skin has been stretched beyond its capacity and the dermis has consequently been torn. They commonly occur after either dramatic weight gain, weight loss or from pregnancy.stretch marks

What Do They Look Like?

Stretch marks tend to appear as long and thin reddish-purple marks to start with, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. They usually affect areas where fat is stored but can occur anywhere where the skin is stretched.

The most common areas you can find stretch marks are:

  • tummy (abdomen)
  • breasts
  • upper arms
  • buttocks
  • thighs
  • shoulders (usually in bodybuilders)

How Can You Treat Stretch Marks?

The best way to treat these imperfections is to exfoliate and hydrate the skin. By using a good resurfacing exfoliator in your daily routine and combining it with a nourishing repair serum, you can dramatically improve the appearance of stretch marks.

The ZO’s Oraser Body Emulsion Plus  is the best body product available without a prescription. With ingredients like retinol, ceramides and emollients, it prevents moisture loss and allows your skin to regain its youthful appearance, texture and tone. Plus, the formulation contains an antioxidant-rich complex with lactic acid to soften rough patches. The Body Emulsion Plus works to perfectly exfoliate, hydrate and nourish for revived and smoother looking skin.