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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.

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.

5 Skincare Resolutions to Follow in 2018

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! That time when we are all promising ourselves that in the New Year we will hit the gym harder, eat better, work harder at our jobs, but also make more time for our hobbies. Usually by the end of February our enthusiasm has drained, and we go to the gym every fortnight and drink soda instead of a smoothie.

This year instead of making big promises,  we are unlikely to keep, we have put together 5 small easy tips to help you with your skincare resolutions, that are going to make a big difference for your skin.

1. I will wash my makeup brushes at least once a month.

skincare resolutions, clean makeup brushes

 

Makeup and oils from your skin build up on your brushes making them a breeding ground for bacteria. Ideally you should be cleaning your brushes every week, but it’s more realistic to make a monthly commitment. Wash them with lukewarm water and gentle soap and leave them to dry thoroughly.

2. I will exfoliate regularly

skincare resolutions, exfoliating

Baby’s skin takes 14 days to replenish itself completely. With ageing the skin dries out quicker and takes longer to replenish. If you don’t want your skin to lose its smoothness and glow, you need a good exfoliator to remove dead cell build-ups and kick-start the renewal process. Make sure you use products that clean your skin without breaking its natural barrier. Offects® Exfoliating Polish contains vitamins C, A and E that give your skin an antioxidant protection and preserve its natural hydration. Exfoliate regularly to achieve a smooth, glowing complexion.

3. I will wear sunscreen every single day

skincare resolution, sun protection, SPF

Smoking and  unprotected sun exposure are the top reasons for premature ageing. Forget about tanning this year and apply SPF every time you are about to go outside. Yes, in the winter months, too! Don’t use a sunscreen with a SPF lower than 15 even if you don’t burn easily. In sunscreen feels “heavy” on your skin, choose a non-greasy formula such as the Oclipse® Daily Sheer which blends seamlessly into the skin and gives you a long-lasting protection.

4. I won’t skip cleansing before bed.

skincare resolutions, face washing

After a long hard day at the office it might be tempting to skip your cleansing routine and head to bed or just use makeup wipes. While swap and slumber is quick and convenient, makeup wipes are not a friend of your skin.  They often contain detergent chemicals that can be highly irritable and more importantly wipes will not remove all the dirt from your pores.

So, if you don’t rinse your face after using makeup wipes or, even worse, don’t clean your makeup at all, you are likely to wake up with a breakout. You will enjoy much healthier skin this year, if you toss out the makeup wipes and resolve to a nightly wash with a gentle and hydrating cleanser.

5. I will stick to my resolutions and my skincare regimen.

skincare resolutions, 2018 goals

It is natural to expect immediate results when you start a new skincare regimen. However, some product and ingredients take weeks or even months to work. And ultimately, beautiful skin requires a continuous, lifelong routine. Don’t give up on your skincare regimen, if you don’t see the expected results straight away, it takes time. Take a few steps now and your skin will thank you later.

 

 

 

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.

Makeup Wipes: The Truth Behind What They Are Doing To Your Skin

One of the biggest skincare mistakes, which many people are guilty of, is using makeup wipes! They may seem like a quick and convenient way to cleanse the skin and remove your makeup, but are they? Is the health of your skin really worth trying to cut a few minutes out of your skincare routine? We take a closer look at why it’s time to ditch the wipes and grab yourself a cleanser.

woman makeup wipes, cleansing skin

Harsh On Your Skin

When using makeup wipes you need to apply a reasonable amount of pressure to the skin to remove your makeup. Over time, rubbing and pulling at the skin will not only cause irritation, but lead to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles! The is especially true for the skin around the delicate eye area.

Most wipes contain a high level of detergent chemicals and preservatives, to stop bacteria from breeding inside the pack. However, these chemicals can be highly irritating to the skin, sometimes even causing allergic reactions. Most dermatologists and skincare experts will advise against the use of makeup wipes, especially for those with sensitive skin conditions.

Makeup Wipes Can Cause Breakouts

Although you will see some evidence of makeup removal on the wipe itself, most of the dirt is still on your skin! Using a wipe will only smear the makeup and dirt around the skin on the face, and remove surface makeup. Without rinsing your face after using these wipes, a lot of residue will remain on the skin, leading to blocked pores and then subsequent breakouts.

Ineffective Skincare

Due to the dirt and grime remaining in the pores after using the wipes, any following skincare won’t be able to fully penetrate the skin. So your carefully selected ZO® skin routine won’t actually benefit the skin at all.

So to ensure your skin stays radiant and healthy looking, ditch the wipes. Invest time in a cleanser perfect for your skin type, your skin will thank you for it.

Find Your Nearest Skin Expert

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.