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4 Myths You Probably Believe About Your Pores

The biggest misconceptions about your pores that are getting in your way to great skin:

Myth #1: The sun can shrink your pores

pores, sun exposure, myths about your pores

In reality unprotected sun exposure does the complete opposite. UV radiation breaks down collagen and elastin—the proteins that keep your skin supple, healthy and resilient. And with less collagen to keep them tight, your pores start to slacken and become more apparent. So, do yourself (and your skin) a favour and slather on the sunscreen.

Myth #2: You can open and close pores

pores, steaming face, myths about your pores

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told that you can steam your pores open. This might just be the biggest skincare misconception out there. Your pores dilate like a camera lens and go from narrow to wide or wide to narrow, but there is no magical way to “open” them. What steaming really does is help loosen the excess oils and debris that build up inside pores and make it easier to clean them.

Myth #3: You can shrink your pores permanently

pores, shrinking pores, myths about your pores

This is one is hard to swallow, but unfortunately, your pore size is determined by your genes. While you can’t permanently change the size of your pores, you can do a lot to improve their appearance. Chemical exfoliants and topical retinoids are your best allies in the fight against enlarged pores. These products increase cell turnover, purge excess oil and dirt from your pores and improve the overall texture of your skin.

If you like multitasking products (who doesn’t?!), Ossential Instant Pore Refiner will become a staple for your beauty bag. This serum is light as a feather and clinically proven to minimise the appearance of pores. Thanks to its exclusive formulation, packed with fruit extracts and antioxidants, Ossential Instant Pore Refiner prevents pore congestion and defends your skin against harmful environmental factors.

Myth #4: Blackheads always mean clogged pores

pores, squeezing blackheads, sebaceous filament, myths about your pores

Many people think that black dots on their nose are clogged pores or blackheads. They are, in fact mostly fine hair follicles or a combination of sebum and skin cells called sebaceous filaments. Sebaceous filaments are a naturally occurring part of the skin’s system designed to distribute oil. Unlike blackheads and pimples, they are not filled with dirt and dead cell debris, so you shouldn’t worry about them and definitely should not try to squeeze them.

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.

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).

 

 

Acne Breakouts : The Daily Habits Which Are Behind Your Blemishes

Acne breakouts have a number of contributing factors, some which are easier than others to avoid. There are many everyday habits which you may not even realise are helping to spread bacteria and irritate the skin triggering those unwanted blemishes. We take a closer look at the most common, and sometimes surprising habits which can lead to acne breakouts.

acne breakouts, blemish, lifestyle, habits

Eat Clean

The old saying “you are what you eat” has some truth to it. If your diet is high in fried, sugary and processed foods it is going to show up on your skin! There are many superfoods which can be included in your diet to combat breakouts and improve skin health.

Check out our skin superfoods guide.

No Touching!

This one is something most of us do without even a second thought! Just take a moment to think how many surfaces or objects your hands have touched before they’ve reached your face! All of this dirt and debris is being transferred straight into your pores. If you really do need to touch your face, always make sure you’ve washed your hands first just to play it safe.

Dirty Brushes

One of the most common causes of acne breakouts is make up brushes or applicators which aren’t cleaned regularly. If you’re guilty of this, all you’re doing is transferring dirt, bacteria and old makeup onto your clean face every day. So as tedious a task as it can sometimes feel, make sure you keep those brushes clean, your skin will thank you for it!

Mobile Addict

If you are someone who constantly has their mobile phone glued to their ear, you might want to hear this. Think about the surfaces you put your phone on as you go through the day, or if your hands have been clean every time you’ve touched your mobile. Not a pleasant thought is it?! Make sure you wipe your phone screen at least once a week! Ideally make this a daily task if you can.

woman mobile, skincare, acne breakouts

Incorrect Skincare

Sometimes it’s easy to buy into a friend’s recommendation of their own great skincare regime, but don’t! The needs of each individuals skin vary widely. Be sure to visit a specialist to find what will the best options for you and the unique needs of your skin are.

Find your nearest expert

Don’t Sweat About It

One of the most important things you can do post-workout is clean your face! Even if you don’t have time to shower immediately, make sure you remove the sweat and bacteria from your face before it gets a chance to creep into your pores and cause an acne breakout!

If you haven’t managed to avoid Post-Workout acne, here’s some treatment advice

For more information on skincare products click the links below:

ZO Skin Health

ZO Medical (for professionals only)

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!

Why Face Masks Aren’t Ideal for Everyone

You will undoubtedly have read countless beauty blogs and websites that claim face masks are fantastic for every and all skin types. However, in correlation with Dr. Zein Obagi’s belief that moisturisers are actually a crutch for your skin, in the same way, moisturising face masks are not good for the skin either. The only skin type that needs a face mask is oily and acne skin.

face masks

For anyone starting to experience increased oiliness and breakouts, the ZO® Acne Prevention + Treatment Program is a routine that can really help the skin. The build-up of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface can cause clogged pores which consequently lead to comedones, papules, cysts and possibly scarring.  This ZO® program slows sebum activity and breaks down surface oils, while exfoliating dead skin cells to help repair surface damage, tighten pores and improve skin texture.

 

Step

Product

AM/PM

Direction

GSR™: Getting Skin Ready

Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser

AM + PM

Apply a generous amount and wash face for 40-60 seconds.

GSR™: Getting Skin Ready

Offects® Exfoliating Polish

AM

Apply a small amount to damp face and neck. Massage 40-60 seconds.

GSR™: Getting Skin Ready

Offects® TE-Pads

AM + PM

Use one pad 2x/day.

Treat

Ossential®  Sulfur Masque

AM + PM

Apply to face or affected area 2-3/week. AM or PM as needed.

Protect

Oclipse-C™ Sunscreen SPF 50

AM

Apply generously to face and neck.

Support

Ossential® Daily Power Defense

AM

Apply 2-3 pumps to face and neck to strengthen skin.

Support

Blemishbright™

AM + PM

Apply a thin layer to affected area up to 3x/day.

Can the Sun Cure Acne? Debunking The Myth

Can the Sun Cure Acne? Debunking The Myth

We have always been told that the sun clears up spots and can help cure acne, but is this actually true?  Unfortunately, the answer is no. This is a complete myth and a very dangerous one, at that.

Can the Sun Cure Acne?

Acne Is A Genetic Skin Condition

The idea that natural sunlight can help fix all your skin woes while simultaneously giving you a gorgeous glow may sound attractive. However, the reality is that acne is just a genetic skin disorder. Sun exposure cannot miraculously clear up the skin and cure acne. The main factors that cause acne are; the overactive sebaceous glands and sebum, too many cells being formed, blocked follicles, bacteria, and inflammation.

A Pseudo-Acne Cure

Sun damage suppresses your immune system and consequently the immune cells in acne, from which redness is formed. When acne diminishes rapidly after sun exposure, this is actually your immune system shutting down. Thus, it appears as though inflammation has been reduced. In the short-term, this may be appealing, but in the long-term, it could be hazardous to your health. If your immune system can no longer function properly this leaves your body unable to fight off other health risks such as cancer cells. This is arguably not all that surprising as UV rays are known to be a primary cause of skin cancer.

In addition, the sun triggers the skin to produce melanin, making it look darker, which can diminish the appearance of acne. The skin redness induced by acne is disguised, leading some to believe that their acne has been cured.

Moreover, the sun dehydrates the skin. While your skin may temporarily feel less oily, this does not mean your acne has been cured. Your body will quickly kick into defense-mode and create excess oil to combat the dry skin, leaving your skin worse off than before.

Don’t Skip The Sunscreen

Many opt for skipping SPF because they believe that sunscreen is greasy and pore-clogging while the sun itself is much better for acne-prone skin. However, this is far from the truth. With new skincare technology, there are many sunscreens which are compatible with acne skin and do not worsen the condition.

Discover the differences in physical and chemical sunscreen and which one is best for you.

As a general rule, dermatologists do not recommend sunbathing as a legitimate way to cure acne. The sun and UV rays are very damaging to the skin and the risks are too great to even consider it a benefit to your appearance and health.

Find all ZO Skin Health Acne products HERE.

Chemical Peels vs. Face Scrubs

An effective exfoliator is essential for any good skin care routine but what’s the difference between using a face scrub or getting a chemical peel? And which one is right for you? To help you come to a decision, it’s good to understand all the ins-and-outs of these two types of exfoliators.

Do chemical peel results outweigh those of a facial scrub? Or maybe, a scrub is more time-friendly for you. Find out below. 

What is a Chemical Peel?

peel is a chemical exfoliator that usually has a watery, gel-like consistency. They are designed to remove the top layer of skin to reveal a fresh, healthy layer beneath it. There are at-home peels and in-office peels. At-home chemical peels, such as the ZO Medical Invisapeel™ are more moderate in their treatment intensity and can be applied by yourself.

Increasingly aggressive chemical peels are used to treat more stubborn skin problems like melasma or severe acne. These must be carried out by a skin health professional.

Discover the different chemical peels ZO® offers here.

What is a Face Scrub?

A facial scrub is a manual exfoliation that is usually a liquid-type product with a gritty texture. When applied and massage into the skin helps to slough away dead skin cells, to reveal smoother skin. Scrubs are easier to attain as you can find them in most beauty aisles in high-street stores. But you should avoid those that contain naturally derived grains as their exfoliating ingredient such apricot kernels, or natural seeds as they can cause skin irritation, especially for sensitive, rosacea and acne skin. An exfoliator such as the Offects® Exfoliating Polish contains round magnesium crystals to exfoliate dead skin cells without aggravating the skin.

Which is Better On the Whole?

This is actually kind of a trick question. As we’d actually say both. Dr Obagi believes that a scrub should be part of your daily skincare routine. It is actually a necessary step in his GSR™: Get Skin Ready protocol and recommended to use for prepping the skin prior to a peel. A face scrub can ensure your chemical peel better penetrates the skin for optimal results. 

Although getting a chemical peel is dependent on your skin type. If you have very sensitive and intolerant skin, for example, a peel may be too unbearable for you. You should work with your skin health professional to build up your skin’s tolerance before starting on chemical peels. A chemical peel is more powerful and penetrates much deeper within the skin than scrubs do. They are fantastic for those with skin problems such as severe acne, uneven textured skin tone, hyperpigmentation and ageing skin.

 

Find your nearest ZO® Skin Health professional here.