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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. 

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!

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a highly effective topical vitamin A treatment, promoting cellular turnover and epidermal renewal. It’s useful for treating a wide range of skin ageing, photo-ageing and pigmentation conditions. It’s essentially one of the best ingredients for anti-ageing and maintaining youthful skin.

Topical Retinol is an effective treatment for a wide range of skin ageing, photo-ageing and pigmentation conditions. Dosage tolerance can vary significantly depending on the person. However, for it to be topically effective, it must reach a concentration of at least 0.6% in the skin. ZO Skin Health and Medical product have been formulated to include an incredible 1.0% concentration. 

retinol infographic

How Does Retinol Benefit the Epidermis?

What is retinol’s effect on the inner layer of your skin?

  • It helps to restore the water, lipid and protein balance, restoring barrier function and reversing skin sensitivity.
  • Improves the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Improves a healthy skin cycle.
  • Promotes cell turnover and improves overall skin texture.
  • Leads to a softer and smoother outward appearance.
  • Breaks up existing pigmentation to improve skin tone and complexion.

How Does Retinol Benefit the Dermis?

What is retinol’s effect on the outer layer of your skin?

  • Stimulates fibroblasts, resulting in healthier collagen and elastin production.
  • Improves skin firmness and elasticity due to its ability to increase collagen and elastin.
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Improves natural hydration.
  • Stimulates the skin’s natural rebuilding and repairing process.
  • Delivers firmer skin with a more even texture.
  • Exfoliates and removes dead skin cells to allow for better penetration of other skin products, consequently maximising the delivery of nutrients.
  • Provides protection against future damage.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

Side effects, generally referred to as retinoid dermatitis, can include chronic skin peeling, flaking, stinging, burning and severe inflammation. In some severe cases, oedema (skin swelling) can occur.  Peeling is normal upon initial usage and will eventually subside although inflammation and/or stinging and burning may not, depending on the person. However, you should discontinue use if any of the effects and symptoms persist for a prolonged period of time. The frequency of use is determined by your comfort level and tolerability which is why consulting with a skin health professional is highly recommended prior to use.

Retinol when used for skin is also photosensitizing, and for this reason, broad-spectrum sun protection is essential. Sunscreen should be used all the time but is especially vital when retinol is part of a skincare regimen.

We also advise pregnant women or women who intend to become pregnant in the near future from using retinol products.

How To Fight Signs of Ageing

anti ageing tips

Do you want to grow old gracefully? Then follow our top tips on preventing, protecting and fighting against signs of ageing.

Use Your Skincare Products as Directed

While this might sound like common sense, it’s very common practice for some to go overboard with their skincare. Whether it’s excitement at having a new product or impatient at slow results. Active ingredients can do more harm than good when used too much. Applying more than recommended can cause clogged pores, an uneven complexion and many other unwanted effects. So just be patient and follow instructions to get the best results.

Stop Using Products that Sting or Burn Unless Prescribed by a Dermatologist

Irritating the skin makes signs of ageing more noticeable. Some anti-ageing products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting.  When using a prescription anti-ageing product, this can be okay. Just be sure to let your dermatologist know.

Give the Product Time to Work

As mentioned above, while a hydrator can immediately plump up fine lines, most products take some time for results to appear, so be patient.

Do Not Sunbathe

Regardless of whether you get your tan from natural sunlight or a tanning bed, these are both dangerous practices. This is because you are exposing your skin to harmful UV rays that can accelerate ageing, such as an onset of wrinkles, brown spots and a blotchy complexion. What’s more, it can cause skin cancer. As an alternative, if you are absolutely desperate for a tan, why not apply a self-tanning cream to achieve a summer glow, the safe way.

tannin ageing

Sun Protection

Speaking of harmful UV rays, you must wear an SPF year round to protect your skin. 80% of UV rays still penetrate a cloudy sky, so you’re still susceptible to sun damage, even it’s not blazing hot. Why not use the Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer. This multi-tasking beauty works to protect your skin and doubles as a makeup primer!

If you Smoke, Stop Now!

Apart from the countless health complications, smoking also greatly speeds up ageing skin. It causes wrinkles as well as a dull, sallow complexion.

Avoid Repetitive Facial Expressions

When you make a facial expression, such as squinting or frowning you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. So try to get out of the habit.

Follow ZO’s Recommended Daily Skincare Program

1-daily-skincare-program

Of course, alongside all these lifestyle tips, following a regular skincare regime is an absolute must.

Daily Skincare Programme

Step

Morning

Evening

1

Apply a generous amount of Oilacleanse™ and wash your face for 40-60 seconds. Apply a generous amount of Oilacleanse™ and wash your face for 40-60 seconds.

2

For Dry Skin: Use Offects® Exfoliating Polish 2-3 times a week, only.

For Oily Skin: Apply a small amount of Vitascrub™ to a damp face and neck and then massage it into your skin for 40-60 seconds.

For Dry Skin: Apply Balatone™ with a cotton pad.

For Oily Skin: Use 1 Cebatrol™ pad

3

For Dry Skin: Apply Balatone™ with a cotton pad.

For Oily Skin: Use 1 Cebatrol™ pad

Apply 2-3 pumps of Ossential® Advanced Radical Night Repair 2 times week and then increasing as tolerated. However, make sure to skip days between applications.

4

Apply 1-2 pumps of Glycogent™ for each application or as directed by a physician. Apply 2-3 pumps of Ossential® Growth Factor Serum Plus to face and neck on nights when Ossential® Advanced Radical Night Repair is not used.

5

Apply 2-3 pumps of Ossential® Daily Power Defense on your face and neck to strengthen skin.

n/a

6

Apply Oclipse-C™ Sunscreen SPF 50 or Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 generously to the face and neck. n/a

Eye rejuvenation treatment

The skin around your eyes is the most delicate area of your face and the first place to show signs of ageing. Pigmentation, sagging, fine lines and wrinkles are among the most common age-related changes that affect the eye area.

eye repairSigns of Ageing

In addition, in your 30s, you’re likely to see ‘dynamic wrinkles’ appear. These are the parallel vertical lines that form between the eyebrows, fine lines at the corners of the eyes (aka crow’s feet), and horizontal lines that run across the forehead. They are caused by repetitive facial movements and general skin ageing. Nonetheless, very deep lines and wrinkles can be avoided if people are more careful in regards to sun exposure. Wrinkles are exacerbated by sun damage.

Similarly, for those in their mid-30s, pigmentation and skin discolouration start to form just below the eyes. This is often caused by prolonged periods of sun exposure.

Another consequence of ageing is the loosening and protruding fat in the under eye area. This is commonly referred to as an under eye bag. Under eye bags occur when the muscles in your lower eyelids begin to weaken. Skin becomes slack and fatty deposit starts to store under the eye, causing the skin to swell and become more visible. In addition, dark shadows which appear under the eyes are due to hollow grooves developing under the eyes in the tear troughs.

How to Treat the Eye Area?eye repair

There are a variety of treatment options available for eye repair. From toxin injections to soften fines lines and wrinkles to dermal fillers which can plump out the hollows of the skin. Peels, lasers and light-based treatments can help to resurface the skin, improving skin laxity and discolouration. Older patients can also benefit from upper and lower blepharoplasty to remove excess skin and fat as well as tighten loose muscles.

Selecting a treatment plan must also include topical agents to ensure you maintain a youthful and healthy skin condition. We have developed two essential eye repair treatments in the ZO range to target the key components of eyelid ageing; the ZO Skin Health Olluminate® Intense Eye Repair and the ZO Medical Hydrafirm™.

 ZO Skin Health Olluminate® Intense Eye Repair

Olluminate® Intense Eye Repair has stabilised retinol and advanced peptides to fortify the skin around the eye area and thus decrease fine lines and wrinkles. It also promotes collagen production and includes optical diffusers to reduce dark circles. What’s more, it contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help protect the skin against free radical damage.

ZO Medical Hydrafirm™

Hydrafirm™ is specifically designed to help diminish fine lines and wrinkles and restore skin’s elasticity by encouraging natural collagen production. It helps to rapidly reduce the appearance of puffiness as well as targeting the appearance of dark circles. Hydrafirm™ increases suppleness and hydration to replenish the skin’s barriers. Additionally, it provides antioxidant protection to prevent future damage.


Source: Body Language

ZO Skin Health For Beginners

1 Daily Skincare ProgramZO Skin Health was created by the renowned Beverly Hills doctor Dr Zein Obagi. As Medical director of ZO Skin Health, Dr. Obagi has created products with technologically advanced ingredients and even more effective formulations, designated into two categories: ZO® Skin Health and ZO® Medical. ZO® Skin Health products maintain the results of therapeutic treatments and provide effective daily skincare and protection from the environment while ZO® Medical products have been optimized to treat a range of skin disorders and chronic conditions.

If you are interested in learning more about the brand it is recommended that you start with the Level 1 Daily Skincare Programme which provides the essential tools to help achieve healthier skin using retinol, specialized enzymes, and antioxidants to promote cellular function and restore and maintain youthful, healthy-looking skin.


What is included in this kit?

Offects™ Exfoliating Cleanser

Offects Exfoliating CleanserCleansing 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–it includes encapsulated Vitamin E–the most important anti-oxidant for healthy skin.

Key Ingredients

  • Micro-beads: Exfoliate dead skin cells
  • Encapsulated Vitamin E: Antioxidant
  • Salicylic Acid: Promotes chemical exfoliation to keep pores clear
  • Lipopeptide Myristoyl Pentapeptide-8: Stimulates collagen production
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract: Antioxidant and anti-irritant benefits

Offects™ Exfoliating Polish

Round magnesium crystals exfoliate dead skin cells, increase epidermal turnover and create a clearer, smoother, more even-toned complexion. But the benefits go deeper than that. Vitamins A, C, C-Esters and E provide powerful antioxidant protection. Then active Offects Exfolliating Polishingredients can penetrate your skin and work much more effectively.

Key ingredients

  • Ultra-Fine Magnesium Crystals: Removes dead skin cells, improves skin texture, promotes healthy circulation and cell turn-over.
  • Vitamins A, C, C-Ester and E: Deliver antioxidant protection

Ossential® Daily Power Defense

Ossential® Daily Power Defense uses DNA repair enzymes to enhance your skin’s recovery capabilities. These special enzymes attach directly to your own DNA molecules and repair oxidative damage caused by UV exposure. It works all day with time-release retinol, enzymes, and antioxidants to repair damaged cells and protect against future damage.Ossential Daily Power Defense

Key Ingredients:

  • Ultrasomes (UV-endonuslease) and Roxisomes (glycosylase): Enzymes that initiate and speed up the repair of DNA
  • Vitamin E: Provides antioxidant properties
  • Retinol (Vitaine): Stimulates epidermal renewal and collagen production, and helps even skin tone
  • Ceramide 6: Helps restore barrier function
  • Matrixyl 3000 (Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7): Stimulates collagen production

Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30

Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer was named the #1 best sunscreen by the online beauty authority. Not just because it has broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection; not just because it multi-tasks as a makeup primer; and not just because it’s tinted (bye-bye white and pasty sunscreen!). The best part: it’s something you’ll want to wear every day. Have you ever said that about a sunscreen? It’s the smart sunscreen because it features natural Oclipse Sunscreen+Primer SPF30melanin. If you’re going to do just one nice thing for your skin this is it.

 Key Ingredients

  • Titanium Dioxide (8.2%): Broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB) protection
  • Fractionated Melanin: Designed to shield the skin from high energy visible light (HEV)
  • Helinathus Annus Seed Oil, Ethyl Ferulate, Rosmarinus Officinalis Lef Extract, Disodium Urine Phosphate: Helps provide DNA protection

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