Category Archives: epidermis

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.

Treat Yourself to a Spa Night In

Who doesn’t love the pampering, skin reviving benefits of a day at a luxurious spa?!

Dr. Zein Obagi has recreated some of the fabulous treatments sought out by celebrities and offered at the Obagi Skin Health Institute in Beverly Hills for you at home.

Send your kids and the hubs to the mall or a movie, so you can finally have some ME time. Then start by lighting a few aromatherapy candles to set the mood. Lavender is especially soothing and calming. Pour yourself a chilled glass of champagne to relax. Put your hair up or wrap in a soft, fluffy towel. Wash your face, pat dry, and you’re ready for your treatment.

One of our all time favorite spa-like treatments is our signature ZO Medical Invisapeel Intensive Resurfacing Peel. It can be used for your face, body, decolletage, arms, legs, even your hands. The formula uses papain and bromelain enzymes to gently renew the epidermis or outer skin layer, leaving skin visibly smoother, firmer and brighter. For added benefits, Dr. Obagi added some kukui seed oil and safflower seed oil to restore hydration and extra lipids for skin barrier reinforcement. This single treatment does it all.

If your skin is oily and breakouts are getting you down, indulge yourself with the NEW ZO Medical Offects Sulfur Masque. This deep-pore cleansing masque was created to target oily and acne prone skin.  It works to absorb surface oils, reduce oiliness, and prevent clogged pores which cause pimples and inflammation. What’s more, this little tube is a lifesaver as a spot treatment for flare ups. You will want to take one of these babies in your travel bag wherever you go.

Voila! These two great skin loving treatments that you can do at home are sure to have your complexion glowing and clear.

Getting Skin Ready – 3 Steps to Gorgeous

The perefect first step in your skin care protocol is the ZO® GSR™: Getting Skin Ready system. It was designed to help you optimize the effectiveness of your ZO® treatment program.

This basic system includes 3 key products; a cleanser, scrub and our best selling oil control pads, that work synergistically for maximum results.  You’re just 3 steps away from gorgeous skin!

STEP 1: CLEANSE

Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser

This light clear gel cleanser comes in a generous sized tube for daily cleansing that will last you well. It contains blue microparticles to gently exfoliate your epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin. Cleanse your face twice a day to remove impurities, and refresh and revive skin.

STEP 2: SCRUB

Offects® Exfoliating Polish

One of our most popular products, Exfoliating Polish is a turquoise blue paste that smells delicious and scrubs away dirt and debris, while keeping pores open and clean.  Scrub your skin 2-3 times a week to remove buildup and activate skin cells. Your skin will feel smooth as silk – like you just had a luxurious facial.

STEP 3: OIL CONTROL

Offects® TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment

According to Dr. Zein Obagi, Oil Control is one of the best ways to fight aging, acne breakouts, and keep skin healthy and vital. Our TE-Pads work wonders to keep skin squeaky clean and remove surface oil and dirt, without causing irritation or dryness. Works well for all skin types, not only acne prone 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.

Do Cleansing Brushes Really Work?

Anything that makes your life easier and your skin healthier gets four stars around here—that’s why we like the Clarisonic cleansing brushes. The best part is that they’re programmed to operate for one full minute. This is the amount of time required to break down sebum, which Dr. Obagi calls “the enemy of healthy skin.”

Many ZO users like to use the Clarisonic with our Hydrating Cleanser. Used in combination, the two get 5 or 6x as much dirt, cosmetics, and oils off of your skin. For fighting acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and large pores, that’s powerful.

The Clarisonic is pricey—about $150-$225. If you want to save some money, make it a habit to cleanse with your fingertips for one full minute—both in the morning and at night. Be sure to rub your face vigorously as this works to stimulate the skin cells.

If sebum and dirt are the enemy of healthy skin, Clarisonic (or a self-timer) and our Hydrating Cleanser may very well be your best friends.