Category Archives: pigmentation

Hydroquinone-Free Products Reign Supreme

According to leading cosmetics industry market research firm Kline & Company, “While hydroquinone (HQ) has been the gold standard ingredient in the physician dispense arena for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, this ingredient is surrounded with controversy due to some of its reported side effects. Europe has banned HQ in concentrations greater than 1% and in the United States it has been banned from five states – New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Montana, and Texas.” Kline also cites this trend as the reason for the rise of  hydroquinone-free or HQ-free skin brightening products featuring alternatives to HQ.

Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi has been at the forefront of reversing hyperpigmentation for 30 years. However, he has raised concerns about the abuse and overuse of hydroquinone without medical supervision that has arisen due to the Internet. “For many consumers, hydroquinone is like an old friend who inexplicably turns on you. They may have used it for years, trusting that their dermatologist – or, frequently, some Internet pharmacy – would never recommend a product that could harm them. But over time, some of these consumers commonly develop new pigment problems in the areas where they have faithfully applied hydroquinone. The product they bought to lighten sunspots, melasma, or other hyperpigmentation paradoxically leaves them with tough-to-treat issues such as severe rebound hyperpigmentation.”

Due to this plea for caution, Dr. Obagi has developed hydroquinone-free alternatives that work synergistically for visible skin brightening, without the side effects associated with long term use of hydroquinone. Through extensive research, the ZO Skin Health team has created the ZO Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System for Skin Brightening  that contains 4 key products to help reverse discoloration, including

This breakthrough system reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation without the use of hydroquinone or retinol. It works to brighten your skin tone and lessen the appearance of discoloration and brown spots, for a more even complexion. Because the formulation is hydroquinone-free, it is gentle and easy to tolerate without irritation when used under your ZO doctor’s supervision.

The results are younger, brighter, healthier-looking skin and you will start to see results in 2-3 weeks with consistent application. Don’t forget that getting brighter skin means practicing safe sun.

 

Alpha Arbutin – A NEW Retinol Alternative

The ZO Medical range was specifically developed as an intensive daily skincare program that slows down premature aging and skin damage, and helps to maintain healthy skin for the long term.

One of the newest additions to the ZO Medical roster is Brightalive Non Retinol Skin Brightener. What makes Brightalive so unique is that it is a highly effective skin brightening formula without containing hydroquinone or retinol.

Brightalive™ manages the skin’s pigment system by using clinically proven alpha arbutin combined with bioengineered plant phytotechnology to reduce the appearance of brown spots and even skin tone. Alpha arbutin is a novel ZO ingredient that has been shown to brighten pigmentation by inhibiting melanin production and is encapsulated in a patented Oleosome delivery system. Because this unique formula was created with natural plant-based ingredients that are gentle, it is safe for all skin types, even sensitive skin, and can be used daily.

Brightalive’s exclusive 12-hour time-release antioxidant complex contains vitamins A, C and E to deliver continuous protection against oxidative stress. Your skin will feel nourished, brighter and hydrated.

Who should use Brightalive?

According to Dr. Zein Obagi, Medical Director of ZO Skin Health, “Brightalive is ideal for all skin types when strong skin lightening is not indicated. It can reduce pigmentation while it restores the skin’s vital moisture balance and enhances DNA repair with consistent use.”

Although it can be used on its own, he also recommends Brightalive as a great complementary treatment product to be applied on top of ZO Medical C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum. C-Bright is a powerful dose of pure vitamin C that is stabilized to brighten and re-texturize the skin. It is a silky smooth formula containing naturally occurring lipids that rapidly exfoliates the pigmentation on the skin’s surface to reveal a more even tone and brighter complexion.

 

6 Things That are Aging Your Skin

How your skin ages will depend on many factors, some of which you have control over and some of which you don’t. For starters, aging is partly hereditary; that is, your genes help to determine whether your upper eyelids will sag in your 30s or stay perky well into your 50s, etc. Among the factors that contribute to wrinkled, damaged skin include normal aging and the inevitable breakdown of fatty tissue that supports your skin and muscle, collagen and elastin.

However, your lifestyle, diet, and other personal habits play an even more important role and can speed up the aging process. Let’s look at what you can control – so you can get a handle on the aging process and add years to your life.

1. Don’t Smoke Ever. Smoking can produce free radicals, those nasty little oxygen molecules that become overactive and unstable. Free radicals damage your healthy cells, leading to premature wrinkling, and a whole list of potentially life shortening conditions. Cutting back to a little nicotine helps but not as much as you might think. Any amount of nicotine can have a negative impact on your health and longevity.

2. Keep Your Weight Stable. Maintaining a healthy weight will help to avoid premature sagging and skin slackening. Years of yo-yo dieting is another common cause of lax skin quality. As you age, the more weight you carry, can have a dramatic effect on your joints, in particular knees and hips, making you feel older and less mobile as well. Excess fat around the mid section is a known cause of other health conditions, including heart disease.

3. Avoid the Sun and Pollution. Ultraviolet (UV) rays cause damage to the fibers in your skin that give it a plump, cherub-like texture and tone. The breakdown of elastin fibers causes sagging and reduces the resiliency that young, healthy skin has. The skin also bruises more easily, and with additional thinning, may take longer to heal. Furthermore, discoloration and brown spot (also known as age spots) will show up from prolonged sun exposure without adequate protection. The effects of sun and pollution on your aging complexion are cumulative, so they may not show up until later in life.  Stock up on ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF30

4. Sleep on Your Back.  The position in which you sleep can actually have an effect on lines, wrinkles and sagging. Sleeping on your side will inevitably cause a deeper furrow on one side of your face. The best position tends to be sleeping on your back whenever possible to avoid what is commonly referred to as “sleep creases.” Just as with excessive facial movements, lines become more visible as your skin loses its elasticity, sleep with your face dug into your pillow can exacerbate facial lines and wrinkles.

5. Manage Your Stress. Stress is a silent killer. It creates all sorts of skin problems, from acne to rosacea, due to hormonal flux. It also affects your ability to rest and get enough sleep to keep you going. Stress can actually damage your cells, and ages your brain, according to numerous studies. When you are embattled by stress, you also tend not to take such good care of your body, your skin and your health.

6. Don’t Overdo Alcohol. Although the occasional cabernet may deliver some much needed resveratrol, downing the whole bottle in one sitting will not serve you well over time. Alcohol, like caffeine, is notoriously dehydrating. Too much alcohol can contribute to other health conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation, dry skin, and a dull, grayish tone to your complexion.

Get Your Own Copy of Dr. Obagi’s New Skin Care Bible

Dr. Zein Obagi’s original textbook was heralded as a bestseller around the world. Years in the making, his second edition is a comprehensive overview of his renowned skin care regimens and features the cutting edge skin changing techniques that are followed by physicians and skin care professionals in over 80 countries.

In The Art of Skin Health Restoration and Rejuvenation: The Science of Clinical Practice, Second Edition (CRC Press, Dec 2014) Dr. Zein Obagi reveals his new System of Skin Classification that specifically addresses all of the variables in skin types and their expected responses to various treatments, from topical agents to medium depth peels and more.

Dr. Obagi’s range of signature skin peels for every skin type, and his innovative approach to correcting sun damage, controlling the pigmentary system, stimulating new collagen, and restoring skin elasticity are explained in detail. Effective therapies for managing acne, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, rosacea, melasma and other common skin conditions are addressed. In addition, there is an up-to-the-minute chapter on laser resurfacing written by renowned laser and dermatologic surgeon Dr. E. Victor Ross in San Diego.

With more than 200 illustrations and photographs of Dr. Obagi’s own patients from his Beverly Hills Clinic, the Obagi Skin Health Institute, a presentation of his new breakthrough skin classification system, and a special section on combining laser resurfacing and peels with other techniques including aesthetic facial surgery, this is a volume you are sure to cherish for many years to come.

Researcher, innovator, scientist, published author, lecturer and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Zein Obagi is the ZO Skin Health, Inc. founder and medical director and is responsible for the development of new skincare treatments, protocols and products to achieve healthy skin. This must-have reference book is an indispensable resource for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, facial plastic surgeons, skin care professionals and anyone dealing with the skin.

Order your personal copy here at a Special price of only $159.96 (20% off list price).

Introducing ZO Medical AkneBright

ACNE. It’s a four letter word for most of us. Even when you think you’re in the clear after you hit your mid 20s, blemishes can still plague your complexion and can be a problem well into your 40s and beyond.

Acne can be mild, moderate or severe, and it can show up on your forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, chest, and back. It’s important to know what kind of acne you have to chose the most appropriate and effective treatments and products.  That is where a visit to a dermatologist or skin specialist comes in. Basically, acne can be categorized into two main types – inflammatory and non-inflammatory. The mildest and most common is the non-inflammatory type – such as blackheads or open comedos, and whiteheads or closed comedos. Inflammatory acne can be quite severe, resulting in painful, hard cysts and nodules that lie deep under the skin.

As a leading acne specialist, Dr. Zein Obagi and ZO Skin Health are always on the cutting edge of acne therapies. The newest member of the ZO Acne family is  ZO Medical AkneBright™ Acne Spot and Pigmentation Treatment.

This fast-acting targeted blemish treatment brings rapid relief of acne lesions and also prevents post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. AkneBright™ uses the power of encapsulated salicylic acid to prevent the formation of new pigmentation. It contains potent broccoli extract, sunflower seed oil and glucosamine to calm and soothe redness.

In addition to fighting acne, ZO Medical AkneBright also helps prevent pigmentation. Clinically proven Manuka Honey aids in preventing post acne scarring, and is a natural microbial clinically proven for wound healing. It has also been proven to stimulate tissue growth in wounds in just 7 days by over 60%

So if you are suffering with breakouts and the dark spots that often follow, ask your ZO doctor if ZO Medical AkneBright is right for your skin.

Radical Night Repair – Now Even Better

When it comes to anti-aging skin care, technology is the driver of beauty breakthroughs. Some of the most important categories of ingredients for anti-aging used today include; DNA repair enzymes, plant stem cells, growth factors, retinol, and peptides. Retinol has long been considered a hero anti-aging ingredient because it triggers natural skin hydration from deep within, by upregulating extracellular matrix production (collagen-1, hyaluronic acid).

You can find a potent form of retinol in the new advanced formulation of one of our best sellers – ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair. A full 1% concentration of retinol found in this powerful anti-ager stimulates new cell activity and collagen formation in UV-damaged skin faster and more effectively than any other anti-aging treatment on the market.

Due to the high concentration of retinol, initially you can expect to have some dryness, irritation and mild peeling. These symptoms typically develop within a few days to one week after your first application. This shows that your skin cells are awakening and  damaged skin is being repaired. If you are a first time retinol user, start gradually. After cleansing, apply 2-3 pumps twice a week in the evening, 30 minutes before bed time. As your skin gets used to retinol, you can increase the frequency of use as your skin can tolerate it.

According to Dr. Obagi, “Topical agents should promote skin health and not induce further harm. Your regimen should therefore be created using scientifically proven, active ingredients, suited to their skin type and needs. Novel delivery systems and techniques allow us to customize a regimen for each individual.”

NOTE: Two important things to know about retinol: First, you must wear an SPF30 daily if you are using retinol for sun protection, and secondly, it is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

How Long is a Skin Cycle?

The concept of Skin Health Restoration, advanced by Zein E. Obagi, MD, is the optimum process to restore skin activity, vitality, strength and youthfulness, while also treating any skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, or pigmentation. This process ultimately leads to the best possible results for your skin, and will allow you to maintain these results for the long term. But you will need to be patient because skin health restoration doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to revitalize your skin and wake up your cells that Dr. Obagi describes as having been sleeping because they get lazy.

Dr. Obagi defines one full skin cycle as the time it takes from baby cells to be born at the deepest layer of the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer), and mature as they rise to the surface of the skin, and ultimately are shed off. This process takes approximately six weeks.

Why is this important? Because it explains why you should not expect to see improvement in your skin when you begin on the ZO Skin Health regimen before the 6-week mark, because healthy, new cells have not yet had a chance to mature and rise to the surface until a skin cycle is complete. In fact, the best results you can achieve will occur after three full skin cycles  – which is approximately 18 weeks or between four and five months, according to Dr. Obagi.

Skin health restoration – the process of making your skin healthy, strong, and youthful, while concomitantly treating any existing skin problems – will take an average of approximately five months that is, if you follow the treatment regimen your ZO doctor or skin care professional has recommended without interruption. If you choose to slow down by using less product than recommended or interrupt the cycle by skipping days, you can still see a significant improvement, but it will just take longer than five months to reach the optimal results.

Making Changes to Your Skin

By removing the top layers of dead skin cells and activating the lower dermis (where all the action is), the texture, tone, and firmness of your skin can change. If your products and treatments only work on the surface, all you will get is a temporary cosmetic effect and no real change.

Think of the top layers of your skin as a dried sponge: if you get it wet, it will soften and plump; if you leave the sponge out on the counter, it will just dry up again—you will have a temporary change, but inevitably, the sponge will go back to its original dry state.

Similarly, with your skin, if you can get past the top layers and slough them off, you can open up pathways to deliver nutrients, antioxidants, hydration, and the essential building blocks to build support structures as in collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and healthy new skin cells. The result will be skin that appears smooth, soft, firm, radiant—and the look won’t wash off.

Here is Dr. Obagi’s recommended approach to producing lasting changes and not just a temporary cosmetic cover-up:

  1. Seek the guidance of a licensed skin care professional.
  2. Start on a regular program of daily cell renewal, using a high concentration of retinol (natural Vitamin A).
  3. Accelerate resurfacing with more aggressive professional resurfacing treatments (microdermabrasion, laser treatments, etc.).
  4. Supplement your daily resurfacing regimen with application of nutrient-rich antioxidants and growth factors.
  5. Use targeted products to treat specific conditions: acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, tired eyes, etc.
  6. Use injectables such as Botox® to smooth the frown and Juvederm® to fill in the deeper wrinkles. Be sure to ask your doctor for his or her brand recommendations, though, as not all fillers are the same.
  7. Apply sun protection every day.
  8.  Stay on track with proper coaching and support from your skincare specialist.

Asian Skin—Part Nature, Part Nurture

Asian women are often the envy of women around the world because they tend to look younger than their chronological age. Why are they so fortunate? Asian skin generally contains more melanin, so photoaging is less visible. By avoiding sun exposure, they can maintain a more even-tone complexion and their skin is less prone to the tell-tale signs of aging—like wrinkling and sagging.

What are some of the characteristics of Asian skin types?

  • Sensitivity. Asian skin is susceptible to discoloration from UV rays, hormonal changes, hot water, saunas, and steam. Asian skin also reacts badly to the use of some skincare products, moisturizers, and fragrances—all of which can result in skin reactions, scarring, and increased pigmentation. Try to avoid those products and/or conditions that cause problems, and begin sun protection at an early age. Look out for ingredients like ammonia, arnia, and sodium lauryl sulfate, especially if they appear at or near the top of the ingredient list. If these ingredients are used in minute amounts (toward the bottom of the list), they may not be problematic.
  • Pigmentation. Because Asian skin produces more melanin, it has a built-in SPF that helps reduce sunburns, but this melanin also causes more discoloration. Even though the skin may appear to be light, the melanin may reside in the deeper layers of the skin. This excess melanin can induce pigmentation problems, including sun spots, dark patches, and deep discoloration that is resistant to treatment. Dark spots on the cheeks usually begin to appear in the 30s and 40s, although they can also start to appear earlier. Unfortunately, traditional ways of treating these pigmentation problems (IPL, photorejuvenation, light chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc.) frequently are not effective, and may, in fact, cause the pigmentation to worsen. Apply broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, rain or shine, regardless of whether you’re indoors or out, as UVA rays can penetrate windows. Not only will you reduce the risk of skin cancer, you will also help reduce the incidence of pigmentation problems.
  • Oiliness/Acne. Asian skin tends to have unstable sebaceous glands. Sometimes that excess sebum production leads to discoloration and scarring. Proper care and oil-free moisturizers will help. Avoid products made with mineral oil—it’s the oil most commonly found in skincare products. It’s also important to avoid the use of cleansers that contain alcohol, as that may cause skin to produce even more oil. And don’t make the mistake of using overly harsh cleansers—look out for ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, as these detergents can be very damaging.

The best way to treat all of these problems—sensitivity, pigmentation, and acne—is by stimulating the skin to rejuvenate itself and expedite cellular renewal. All of the ZO Skin Health products are based on this philosophy.

In more advanced cases, problem skin may require medical treatments such as peels and laser resurfacing. Ask your dermatologist or plastic surgeon what the best treatments and skin care regimen is for your skin.