Category Archives: Retinol

ALL ABOUT VITAMIN A

Did you know that the potent skincare ingredient we know as Vitamin A was actually discovered in 1913 by an English biochemist named Frederick Gowland Hopkins?

Hopkins called this nutrient “factor A”, which later became known as Vitamin A. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929 for this important discovery. [1]

Fast forward to 2017 and skin-loving vitamin A derivatives is one of the most important ‘go to’ ingredients in anti-aging as well as anti-acne skincare.

According to New York plastic surgeon Bryan G. Forley, “Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis which is where collagen, elastin and blood vessels reside, which makes it an essential component of an effective anti-aging skin care regimen. Tretinoin and retinol are very useful and proven ingredients.”

Dr. Zein Obagi, Medical Director of ZO Skin Health, is a huge proponent of retinol and retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) because they are proven to boost collagen production, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and increases cell turnover to even skin tone and improve skin texture.

Tretinoin (pronounced Tret-in-oh-in) has been clinically proven to decrease fine lines, even skin color, improve texture and tighten pores. Retinol, which is the milder form of Tretinoin, also encourages skin cell turnover.

Looking for the best Vitamin A anti-agers for you skin?

Check out these 4 hero retinol products from ZO Skin Health, and ask your ZO skin expert which are right for you.

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.

NOTE: Tretinoin and retinol are known to make your skin more sun sensitive, so it is vital to use high protection sunscreen during the day when you are using products containing these ingredients. We recommend Daily Sheer SPF50 a non-greasy, quick drying formula with a sheer matte finish offering broad-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, IR-A, and high-energy visible (HEV) light.

[1] http://www.news-medical.net/health/Vitamin-A-History.aspx

EAT YOUR OMEGA-3 FATS

Healthy skin needs the basics like plenty of H20, key vitamins and minerals, and specific nutrients like essential fatty acids that keep skin supple.

Your body’s organs, including the skin, which is the largest organ, need these fatty acids to function optimally. Omega-3 is called an essential fatty acid because it is essential to your health.  Because the human body doesn’t produce it, it is also essential in your diet. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats, which are vital nutrients. Omega-3 is used to regulate blood clotting, build cell membranes and support cell health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of a healthy skin diet. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are mainly found in fish including salmon and tuna. Another vital omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), can be found in plant sources such as nuts like walnuts, and seeds such as wheat germ. Edamame, pinto, or kidney beans are great sources to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Look for oils that are high in omega-3s for sautéing, baking, and dressing salads include canola, soybean, and walnut oils.

It is important to note that Omega-3 is easily damaged by oxygen, light and heat, so eating foods that contain them raw is the best way to get them into your system. If you can’t eat them raw, baking or broiling will cause less nutrient loss than frying or boiling. So if you are eating Omega-3 enriched eggs for example, eating them scrambled in a pan or in an omelet may be more beneficial than frying them up. And throwing in some spinach or kale is a great idea because leafy greens are loaded with Omega-3 too.

If you can’t get enough Omega-3 in your daily diet, fish oil supplements are a last resort. Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get the nutrients your body and skin need.

ARE YOU SABOTAGING YOUR SKIN CARE?

Follow these tips from the ZO® team of skin care experts for how to avoid the most common skin saboteurs.

Choosing the wrong products

If you’re looking for visible skin improvements, sticking with a routine customized for you by a skin care professional is where you should start. ZO® Skin Health develops clinically advanced products that work synergistically. Your ZO® doctor will recommend when to use each product, what order your products should be applied, and how much of each to use. They can make the process simple so you will see results.

Skipping vital steps

If you’re getting started on a skin care routine with active ingredients like retinol and glycolic acids, start slowly with only a few products at a time. This will allow your skin to adjust to new products. Once your skin begins to normalize and can tolerate more intensity in the active ingredients, your ZO® doctor may upgrade your regimen. Skipping steps, like not cleansing properly at bedtime or forgetting to use your sunscreen, or not being consistent is going to slow down your progress. Follow the plan designed for you and return to see your ZO® doctor periodically to check on how you are doing.

Not using sun protection properly

Sun protection is needed 365 days of the year, even in winter and when the sun isn’t shining. Most of us don’t use nearly enough sunscreen to get adequate coverage. Don’t get lazy about sun protection or you will reverse some of the benefits you have achieved by using ZO® Skin Health and ZO® Medical products. Sun exposure causes DNA damage that shows up as premature aging. Over time this damage leads to more lines and wrinkles and mottled pigmentation that will make you look older.

Missing out on the benefits of retinol

Beverly Hills dermatologist Zein Obagi is a huge proponent of adding retinol to your skin care routine. He believes that retinol is the cornerstone of every effective skin care program. Ask your ZO® doctor to recommend the retinol that is best for your skin type and concerns. You may start with ZO® Ossential Advanced Night Repair and move up to using ZO® Medical Retamax Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion as your skin gets acclimated to it.

Giving up before you see results

If you get lazy or give up after a few weeks of consistent use of your ZO® plan, you will miss out on the real benefits. Stick with your regimen for 6-8 weeks and you will see your skin improve. Good skin care formulations are an investment in your skin’s future, and it takes time to reap the rewards. But it will be worth it when you experience the difference ZO® can make for your skin.

EYE MAKEOVER

The skin around your eyelids is the thinnest on your body, and as such is most subject to daily and relentless damage from ultraviolet exposure. Choosing and using the right protective eye cream can delay the visible signs of aging around your eyes and keep this delicate skin supple and hydrated

Michigan plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, recommends ZO® Medical Hydra firm Eye Brightening Repair Crème. Designed specifically for the under-eye area, the dream cream helps minimize the multiple signs of aging around the eyes, including puffiness, dark circles and fine lines.

“Puffiness under the eyes can be caused by several issues, including fatigue, fluid retention, seasonal allergies, excess salt intake, and of course, heredity,” Youn says. “The cause of dark circles can include darkening of the skin from chronic rubbing or a genetic predisposition. Additionally, some people with thin under eye skin can have darkening from underlying blood vessels that are visible,” he says.  “Volume loss or hollowing under the eyes can cause shadowing that can create a dark appearance.”

Hydrafirm contains caffeine, enzymatic vasodilators and coenzyme A, which rapidly reduce the appearance of puffiness around your eyes. Active Vitamin A and biomimetic proteins encourage natural collagen production to help restore skin’s elasticity. Collagen is the skin’s main structural protein.

All you need is a pea-sized amount for the entire under-eye area. Apply it in the morning and before bed starting as early as your 20s. Blend the cream gently with your fingertips, and be careful to ever pull or tug on the skin around the eyes. With continued use, your delicate eyelid skin will become firmer for a more youthful look.

Pregnant Pores

Pregnancy is an exciting time for every woman, but along with carrying a new life inside you, your skin, hair and nails experience many changes. It is natural to wonder what you can do about the many changes your body is going through – and what might be dangerous for your baby during these 9 months.

It is well known that some ingredients in prescription medications and from topical skin care products can get absorbed into the body when applied to skin. If you are not entirely sure what is safe or what to avoid, always ask your OB/Gyn or medical doctor to find out.

A a general rule, most mild skincare products found in the drugstore or on department store shelves that do not contain high levels of ingredients regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be safe to use. These may include cleansers, toners, moisturizers, eye creams, scrubs, masques, lip balms, body lotions, body wash, hand creams, etc.  But there are certain ingredients that are to be avoided until you have given birth and finished breast feeding.

According to Dr. Rachael Eckel, Dermatologist in Trinidad and ZO faculty member, following is the list of ingredients to avoid while pregnant and lactating:

  • Prescription Retinoids – Retin-A, Accutane, Differin, Tazorac, etc.
  • Retinol
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid/Salicylic Acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Hydroquinone

Of course this doesn’t mean that you can’t look after your skin while pregnant, but you may need to adjust your normal anti-aging or anti-acne skin care regimen temporarily. “Instead of loading up on vitamin A based products, switch to a non-retinol day cream or serum. Anti-aging skin care that contain Vitamin C, antioxidants, and peptides are usually fine to use during pregnancy too.  A strong SPF is also essential. ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF30 is a great choice because it includes a subtle tint with high protection,” says Dr. Eckel.

Many women break out during the first trimester, which then slows down by the second trimester. In some women, however, they may have acne for the whole nine months. “You can substitute benzoyl peroxide and Beta Hydroxy acid based products with glycolic or lactic acid formulas to help control breakouts. If your skin is inflamed or ruddy, try using ZO Medical Balatone, a calming toner designed to invigorate dry, weak skin. It also removes impurities and balances the skin’s pH,” she says.

Some of the skin changes that occur during pregnancy include pigmentation, melasma on the cheeks, chin and upper lip, moles, acne, rosacea, and stretchmarks. Many of these changes will resolve on their own once your hormones go back to normal, some will get better, and others will remain. The best advice is to wait to see your Dermatologist when you are ready for a post pregnancy skin check. Your dermatologist can advise you on what may require prescription drugs, topical products, or clinical treatments for your condition.

 

The Brightening Brigade

Although prescription hydroquinone is still considered the gold standard in skin lightening by many physicians and skincare professionals, Beverly Hills Dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi warns that it comes at a price.

It fades many spots when used consistently and blocks the enzyme needed for creating new ones. Paired with a prescription retinoid or potent retinol, it can begin to lighten dark spots in four to six weeks, sometimes sooner. However, prolonged use of hydroquinone comes with some risks.

But today, there are some potent alternatives to hydroquinone that do not come with the side effects and potential irritation. “Skin becomes immune to the effects of hydroquinone after prolonged use,” says Dr. Obagi. “Alternative treatment options can reduce discoloration with powerful agents that are gentle on skin.”

Dr. Obagi believes that non-hydroquinone alternatives can be ideal for the treatment of skin conditions either when hydroquinone treatment is completed or contraindicated, or as a healthy maintenance system long term. He often recommends use after completing a course of hydroquinone for 4-5 months, or when skin lightening is not needed or desired. These novel treatments are also effective when an even skin tone is the main objective, and when texture and anti-aging benefits are part of restoring even color tone.

In the ZO family of products and treatments, the ZO® Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System For Restoring Even Skin Tone includes 5 key products. These potent products will not cause the level of irritation and side effects commonly associated with hydroquinone, but are effective at improving skin tone and texture and reduces the signs of pigmentation.

  • BRIGHTENEX
    Skin Brightener & Correcting Crème, Non-Hydroquinone
  • RESTORACALM
    Soothing Recovery Crème
  • RETAMAX
    Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion
  • Ossential® Daily Power Defense
  • Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50

Of course, Dr. Obagi strongly recommends daily liberal use of a broad spectrum SPF50 to guard against further UV damage that causes discoloration.

Skin Care in Your 30s

The thirties are the time when your skin starts to show visible signs of aging. At around age 35, cells get lazy and slow down so they don’t turnover as easily without a little help. Fine lines and wrinkles appear, and skin tone becomes more uneven from daily UV exposure, even if you are diligent about wearing your SPF. Brown spots and wrinkles start to develop, especially for smokers and sun worshippers, and those who have not taken good care of their skin until now.

If you are prone to acne breakouts, you may find that your skin is less oily and therefore, you have fewer pimples, cysts and blackheads. In some cases, acne can continue into the 30s and beyond.  Many women are also starting a family in their 30s, which may bring on another set of skin concerns, including rosacea and melasma due to hormonal changes.

The first thing to do is to step up your skin care regimen and add some more intensive formulations to combat the signs of aging. ZO SkinHealth Oclipse Sunscreen-Primer SPF30 is a great place to begin. This best selling multi-tasker acts as a primer under makeup, and has a sheer, light tint that can make it your every day go to skin saver. Packed with SPF30, it also protects from sun damage whether you are walking outside or sitting in your office all day by a window.

Another handy kit to try in your 30s is the ZO GSR (Getting Skin Ready) System. This trio of essentials will help optimize the effectiveness of your ZO® treatment program. As the first basic step in your anti-aging skin care protocol, three key products are included: Offects Exfoliating Cleanser, to be followed by the Offects Exfoliating Polish, and your new BFF – ZO Skin Health Offects® TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment to control excess oil and keep skin smooth and clear.

Take on your 30s armed with a super advanced customized skin care regimen to maintain your youthful, healthy skin well into your 40s.

 

Ditch the Dark Spots

Discoloration is a fact of life. The sooner you see dark spots and brown patches has a lot to do with heredity and lifestyle, but by a certain age, we all get some. There are several factors that cause skin to become darker (hyperpigmentation), starting with an increase in melanin, the substance which regulates pigment. Primarily, hyperpigmentation is caused by exposure to the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. But dark spots can also appear due to melasma and after acne or other skin trauma. Of course, the worst culprit is cumulative sun exposure, says Dr. Zein Obagi, Beverly Hills Dermatologist.

Causes of Melasma

Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to melasma, also called the “the mask of pregnancy.” About 70% of pregnant women develop some brown patches on their face, upper lips, cheeks and forehead, as well as their bellies. Melasma frequently clears up after you give birth, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately, you are not advised to use potent topical formulations containing retinoids or beta hydroxy acids while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. NOTE: Ask your obstetrician or dermatologist what products or ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Dark marks from acne can often develop in areas where blemishes have been. The same is true for insect stings, cuts, bruises, kitchen burns, and other skin traumas. These marks often take months to fade and some never fade much at all. And PIH is more common in darker skin types. The first course of action is to avoid direct sunlight during the healing process.

Zein Obagi, MD specially developed the ZO Non Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System to treat skin discoloration without the potential risks and side effects of using hydroquinone. This potent system has 5 effective products that work together to even skin tone, improve texture and rejuvenate the skin.

  • BRIGHTENEX
    Skin Brightener & Correcting Crème, Non-Hydroquinone
  • RESTORACALM
    Soothing Recovery Crème
  • RETAMAX
    Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion
  • Ossential® Daily Power Defense
    Time-released retinol, antioxidants and specialized DNA-repairing enzymes
  • Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50

 

 Spotting Sun Damage

Fortunately, early diagnosis and early treatment can prevent and reduce the appearance of dark spots, brown patches and other signs of pigment changes and sun damage. Uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation will also make you look older earlier. Apply sunscreen every 2 hours if you will be outdoors in direct sunlight as a first course of action.

Talk with your ZO skin care professional about your specific condition and concerns.

Skin Care in Your 20s

Your 20s is the time to set up a good foundation for basic skin care and age prevention. In your 20s, your skin is still building enough collagen to keep it supple and resilient. Breakouts are often the biggest concern, especially caused by stress, hormonal flux, late nights out, and general bad habits.

Start by using the right cleanser for your skin type, twice daily. If your skin is normal, a gentle cleanser will do the trick while not drying out skin too much. If you skin tends to be oily or combination (some oily areas, and some drier parts), use a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid to keep clogged pores and breakouts at bay. Our most popular cleanser is ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser that has microbeads for sloughing away debris and is suitable for all skin types.

If you learn to practice safe sun early, you can keep sun damage and wrinkles at bay.  Use a broad spectrum SPF30-50 daily for daily protection. If you are tend to be more oily, look for an oil-free formulation so as not to cause clogged pores and acne. The NEW ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sun Spray SPF50 is a great choice because it comes in an easy to use spray formula and is non-greasy and feels weightless on your skin.

In yours 20s, you should also start slowly with anti-aging products such a retinol. According to Dr. Zein Obagi, you are never too young to start an age prevention regimen. He always recommends retinol to not only smooth fine lines, but to help turnover dead cells and keep pores open and clean. Try our best selling ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair Plus.

Never go to sleep with your makeup on, no matter how tired you may be. the oils in your cosmetics can clog pores and make breakouts worse.

The M Word

Menopause is a word most women would rather not ever hear. But sadly, it can start in your 30s and last til your 60s in some cases. Among the many changes that women experience during this time are those affecting the skin, and unfortunately it’s not great news.

Menopausal Skin Changes

  • Dry skin as oil glands become less active
  • Skin thinning
  • Decrease in collagen and elastin
  • Loss of facial volume
  • Deepening of wrinkles and folds
  • Increased levels of testosterone and facial hair
  • Pigmentary changes

The best defense against all these changes is a comprehensive skin care program along with sun and nicotine avoidance, a healthy diet, regular exercise and sleep, as well as cutting down on alcohol intake. The healthier your skin is when you approach menopause, the better it will be able to manage the hormonal shifts.

According to ZO Faculty Member Anthony Youn, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon in Michigan, “The key ingredients women should look for in skin care include retinol, antioxidants, pigment regulators, growth factors, and DNA repair enzymes. During perimenopause, we may also consider doing treatments that help tighten slack skin and boost collagen production.”

The ZO Medical range represents Dr. Obagi’s newest thinking in maintaining healthy skin with therapeutic treatments, new protocols, prescription pharmaceuticals and products that treat a wide range of anti-aging concerns.

Your ZO physician may start you on BRIGHTENEX 0.5% Retinol Skin Brightening & Correcting Crème that contains a potent blend of retinol, melanin inhibitors and antioxidants to rapidly brighten and even skin tone quality. As your skin gets used to Brightenex, you may be switched to the higher strength of 1.0% Retinol. Another one of our most popular products is C-Bright™10% vitamin C Serum that gives skin a mega-dose of pure vitamin C to retexturize the skin.

To design a daily regimen that is right for your skin, consult with your ZO Physician.