Category Archives: ZO Medical

WHAT’S THAT GROWING ON YOUR SKIN?

Lumps and bumps can appear on your skin – seemingly out of nowhere. Before you hit the panic button, take a deep breath and remember that not all skin lesions are dangerous.

Trinidad-based dermatologist Rachael Eckel, MD, the principal trainer for ZO® Skin Health in Europe, sheds some new light on a few of the more common benign skin lumps and bumps.

Sebaceous Cysts are noncancerous, closed pockets of oil on the skin.  They usually feel like large peas and can develop as a result of infection or clogging of sebaceous (oil) glands. Sebaceous cysts typically grow slowly, are usually painless, and have a smooth appearance. If a sebaceous cyst is bothersome, it can be removed surgically. Occasionally, cysts become infected and require medical care. How can you tell? When a cyst becomes infected it usually grows rapidly, hurts, and the skin surrounding the area can become very warm to the touch and red. In these cases, your dermatologist may drain the cyst and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Sometimes steroid injections are also needed to cool inflammation.

Lentigines (liver spots) are freckles or age spots that occur on the arms, legs, and face or any sun-exposed area of the skin. They are various shades of brown and have a clearly-defined edge surrounded by normal-appearing skin and a flat surface. There are lasers and many bleaching creams available to help eliminate lentigos, but they are harmless. If you have a lentigo that starts to rapidly grow, change color, itch, or bleed see your doctor for evaluation. This may signal lentigo maligna, a form of the potentially fatal skin cancer melanoma.

Seborrheic Keratosis has a waxy brown, black, red or white appearance. These are rough lumps that can grow rapidly anywhere on the body. A Seborrheic Keratosis can appear suddenly, grow rapidly, be multi-colored and itch. They are harmless, but if bothersome, there are many ways to remove Seborrheic Keratosis. Most removal treatments involve lasers or excision. There is, however, much hope being pinned on an investigational topical product called A-101. It works by penetrating into the lesion and causing oxidative damage, which can ultimately result in the sloughing of the cells. Stay tuned.

Warts are viral-caused painless growths typically caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can be disfiguring and embarrassing and they can sometimes itch or become irritated. Your dermatologist has a whole tool box to address warts including “painting” them with cantharidin to cause a blister to form under the wart, killing it and cryotherapy (freezing) among others.

Skin Tags (acrochordon) are soft, skin-colored growths that hang from the surface of the skin on a thin piece of tissue. They typically appear the skin folds of the neck, armpits, and torso, beneath the breasts or in the genital area. They are harmless, but can become irritated if clothing or jewelry rubs against them. They are permanent unless you have them removed. There are many ways for a dermatologist to remove skin tags that become bothersome.

This is just a guide.  There is no substitute for a visit with your dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to diagnose any skin condition. When in doubt, always check it out. If something on your skin is bothering you, there is no downside to scheduling a visit with your doctor to find out what you need to know.

To locate a ZO skincare specialist near you, visit https://zoskinhealth.com/zo-near-you

CARING FOR YOUR DRY SKIN

Dry, flaky, itchy skin and cold weather go hand in hand.

Winter winds and cold weather leaves skin flaky, red and rough. Severely dry skin (xerosis) can show up on your arms, hands, lower legs, ankles and even your scalp.

Dry skin needs more moisture and barrier protection so that your skin’s natural moisture does not escape.

Reverse dry skin and restore moisture by:

Taking shorter showers

Limit yourself to a single 5- or 10-minute shower or bath each day. Spending more time in the water often leaves your skin less hydrated than before you started, the American Academy of Dermatology states.

Cooling it

Hot water strips the essential oils from your skin, drying it out. Opt for warm or cool water, never hot.

Smearing on lotion

Apply body lotion right after your shower and bath when your skin is still moist. Read the labels and look for certain ingredients. Ceramides, or synthetic ceramides, help skin retain water and soothe dry skin. Dimethicone and glycerin draws water to the skin and keeps it there. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is like ceramides and also helps the skin to retain moisture. Lanolin, mineral, and petroleum jelly help skin hold on to the water absorbed during bathing.

Dr. Zen Obagi recommends Ommerse® Overnight Recovery Crème. It works overnight to repair and regenerate severely dry, irritated skin. He suggests applying one or two pumps on the face and neck 30 minutes before bedtime for best results.

Choosing and using gentle products

Look for unscented, soap-free, or mild soap cleaners. These will be the least likely to irritate and exacerbate dry skin problems.

Turning the humidifier on

Indoor air is dry, but using a humidifier at home to keep skin hydrated during winter months.

If you feel your skin is itchy or inflamed, apply a cool compress or an over the counter hydrocortisone cream on the area for a few days to one week. See your dermatologist or ZO skincare professional for more tips and tools to help resolve your dry, itchy winter skin.

NEW YEAR, NEW SKINCARE

I will lose weight … I will join a gym …I will get a clearer complexion. A coming New Year often heralds a laundry list of resolutions about things we will do more of or less of in the future. Many are set ups to fail. In fact, fully 45 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions every year, and just 8 percent of us keep them, according to Statisticsbrain.com.

The key to sticking with your New Year’s resolutions is to create an actionable plan that is not too overwhelming yet provides clear and visible benefits. If your resolution is to get your glow on and achieve a clear, youthful complexion, Dr. Zein Obagi’s “GSR Getting Skin Ready” plan can help. GSR eliminates skin sensitivity, restores hydration and enhances skin health.

Start fresh

Starting fresh is the perfect way to ring in a new year. That’s why the first step in Dr. Obagi’s GSR regimen is to use a cleanser such as Offects® Hydrating Cleanser to remove surface debris.

 

ZO Rx: Moisten your hands and apply a small amount to your damp face and neck. Massage for one minute and then rinse thoroughly.

Out with the old

Sticking with the New Year’s theme here, the best way to jumpstart skin health is to exfoliate regularly. This helps get rid of dead skin cells and makes room for newer, healthier ones. Offects® Exfoliating Polish does just this.

ZO Rx: Exfoliate your skin two to three times a week. Bonus: regular exfoliation enhances the penetration of other your skincare products.

Oust Oil

 

Oil control puts the brakes on breakouts and keeps skin healthy and vital.  Offects® TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment works well on all skin types, and gets the job done.

ZO Rx: Use pads twice a day, AM and PM.  A toner may also help eliminate oil. Dr. Obagi suggests using Balatone™ Calming Toner, pH Balancer in the morning and evening after cleansing.

Following the GSR plan will surely reboot your outer glow and keep your complexion healthy for the rest of the year.

IS YOUR SCALP HEALTHY?

We spend hours styling and caring for our hair, but most of us don’t give our scalp the time of day. That’s unfortunate as healthy hair and a healthy scalp typically travel together. If your scalp isn’t in prime condition, odds are your hair is isn’t ready for prime time either.

Here’s how to care for your scalp (and your hair!)

Go on a shampoo diet

As the weather grows cooler and the humidity drops, your scalp and hair will retain less moisture.  Over shampooing will further strip away this needed moisture. During your daily shower, either wet your hair without adding shampoo, or cover it completely and save yourself another blow dry. Dry shampoo can also sop up the oil that makes your hair look greasy and buy time between shampoos and pricey blow drys.

Tip: A scalp massage during your shower will help stimulate blood circulation to the hair follicles (and it feels great).

Ditch the dandruff

If you notice white flakes on all of your clothes and it’s not snowing outside, you may have dandruff. Try an antidandruff shampoo to see if it improves the situation. Follow the instructions on the label for maximum benefits. See your dermatologist if your condition doesn’t improve or worsens.

Add a conditioner to your routine

Occasional use of a moisturizing conditioner (even just on the ends of your hair) can decrease static electricity, smooth split ends and protect your hair from harsh winter weather. Deep conditioning hair masks can also rejuvenate damaged hair. Use a mask once a week.

Dial down the heat

Blow dry your hair on the cool or warm setting, never hot as heat can burn the scalp and damage the hair. Air dry your hair occasionally as well to minimize damage.

Dim the (high)lights

Consider going one or two shades darker for the fall and winter to give your hair a break from the damaging effects of over highlighting. If you also get treatments that change your hair texture – straightening, for example, decide which one is more important to you or discuss the best ways to space them out with a trusted hair stylist.

Just chillax

Stress and anxiety make everything worse – including hair loss and scalp health issues. Find something that helps you take the edge off and do it on a daily basis. Medication, yoga, regular exercise and deep breathing can all reduce stress.

See your dermatologist

Increased itching, dryness, and irritation can mask a more serious scalp condition such as scalp psoriasis. See your dermatologist or ZO skincare professional to find out more.

KEEP CALM AND REVERSE ROSACEA

More than 16 million Americans have rosacea, according to the National Rosacea Society. The first signs can include redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. With time, the redness often becomes more persistent and visible blood vessels can appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples can develop and the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue, a condition called rhinophyma (think Santa Claus, W.C. Fields, Bill Clinton). The laundry list of rosacea triggers ranges from sun exposure, emotional stress to wind, exercise, alcohol, fragrances and spicy foods. Changes in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot can also cause rosacea flares. Many doctors recommend keeping a diary of your personal triggers to know what to avoid, such as certain foods, activities or environmental exposures that correlate to when you have a flare-up.

More than just a nuisance, rosacea can also cause physical pain and psychological duress, not to mention the embarrassment of flushing and blushing without warning in social situations. Symptoms may include a red face, dry, sensitive, or tight feeling skin, burning or stinging, little bumps or acne-like pimples, broken blood vessels and skin irritation. People with rosacea may use heavy camouflage makeup to cover up the signs of redness, but this can often make the condition even worse.

But rosacea can be reversed and controlled with the right skin regimen. The first step is a consultation with a dermatologist or skin care professional to get a diagnosis, as rosacea and acne are commonly confused. Once rosacea is ruled in, Dr. Zein Obagi recommends a daily skin care regimen consisting of ZO® Skin Health products to soothe and calm the skin and repair the skin barrier, such as:

ZO® Medical Foamacleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser removes all traces of makeup and oil without drying out your skin

ZO® Skin Health Ommerse Renewal Crème is a lightweight hydrating crème infused with antioxidants for gentle skin repair

ZO® Ossential Growth Factor Serum Plus is a light-textured gel that won’t irritate even the most sensitive and reactive skin types

For more severe cases of rosacea, Dr. Zein Obagi recommends in-office treatments to reduce redness, such as IPL therapy and vascular lasers, combined with daily at-home use of redness-reducing products. Avoiding triggers is also a key component of a lifelong commitment to help rosacea sufferers.

THE NON-SUGAR-COATED GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR SKIN

A recent New York Times article alleged that the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and instead, throw shade on fat.

With the sugar-heart disease connection in the spotlight today, sugar’s effects on the skin is also getting some much-needed attention and fat is getting a bit of a reprieve.

Sugar has always been on the “most-wanted” list when it comes to skin saboteurs. Sugar contributes to chronic inflammation, and that can age our skin more rapidly. Put another way, sugar equals wrinkles.

Here’s the deal: Sugar and high glycemic ingredients, which are also found in refined grains such as pasta and bagels, convert to sugar which causes blood sugar to spike. This in turn raises insulin levels and puts a burden on your body to handle the food you ingested. This leads to an inflammatory response that produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of healthy, youthful and resilient skin. They give young skin its bounce factor.

There’s more: undigested sugar attaches to the collagen in your skin through glycation, forming harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This process can accelerate aging and exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. This is another good reason to minimize your sugar intake, aside from just managing your waistline and cellulite.

Among the worst skin offenders are all of the simple carbohydrates (and there are a lot of these), including candy, fried foods, ice cream, fruit juice, pasta, sugary jams and jellies, pizza, processed foods like packaged snacks, cookies and chips, and sodas. There is also a long list of foods that may contain hidden sugars that you aren’t even aware of, like ketchup and cream cheese.

3 Ways To Save Your Skin

  1. Go for complex carbohydrates. Switch over to whole grains like brown rice and wheat bread alternatives to their less healthy white rice and bread counterparts. These break down at a slower rate (and won’t cause a blood sugar surge).
  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet replete with healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and salmon. Healthy fats keep your skin aglow.
  1. Choose and use products regularly that contain potent retinoids such as our hero anti-aging products: ZO® Skin Health’s Ossential® Advanced Radical Night Repair and ZO® Medical Retamax Vitamin A Micro Emulsion. Retinoids have been clinically proven to help build new collagen to undo the negative effects of sugar from the inside out.

LOVE YOUR PORES AGAIN

Are you obsessed with your pores?

If the answer is a resounding yes, you are not alone. Many of us would do just about anything to shrink our pores.

Pores actually slack off with age as they get lazy. Therefore, they look larger or more open. Sun damage also contributes to the shape your pores are in and how visible they are. Chronic oil production and clogging from daily debris and dead skin is also a major culprit. You may find that the pores that bother you most tend to be in the oilier areas of your face, such as the forehead, around the nose and cheeks and the chin.

The good news is smaller-appearing fine pores are within reach.

Dr. Zein Obagi recommends these four steps for pores you will love.

  1. Cleanse. Your pores look larger when they are clogged.
    Use a gentle cleanser to clean your face in the AM and PM. Make sure to remove all make-up as it can clog pores along with dirt and oil.
  1. Exfoliate. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, which mix with dirt and sweat and clog your pores, making them look like they are under a magnifying glass. Dr. Obagi recommends ZO® Skin Health Offects® Exfoliating Polish and ZO® Skin Health Offects® TE-Pads to remove dead skin cells efficiently and effectively.
  1. Prevent. Avoid all skin care and cosmetic products that are not oil-free and non-comedogenic as they can clog your newly unclogged pores. Don’t touch your skin throughout the day as this can also add to the dirt and oil load in pores.
  1. Protect. Daily sun protection is also key to keeping pores in check. Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF30 is a perfect final step to your daily AM skin care regimen. The silky texture keeps skin smooth and protected while minimizing fine lines and pores under makeup.

GET TO KNOW YOUR HEV’S FROM YOUR UVA’S AND B’S

Blocking HEV light has been found to be as important as blocking UVA and UVB. There’s a new buzzword in the sunscreen world – it’s called high-energy visible light (HEV). And if you haven’t heard about HEV yet, it’s time to get with the program as what you don’t know may hurt your skin and your eyes.

Here’s the 411 on HEV and why blocking it really matters to your skin.

What it is:

The sun’s HEV, also called blue light, may actually be as harmful as UVA and UVB light combined. It may not cause redness or burns like UVA and UVB because it goes deeper.

What it does:

Exposure to HEV can cause just about everything you want to prevent your skin from having, including dryness, sensitivity, inflammation, redness, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, slack tone, uneven pigmentation, blotches and sun spots.

What to do about it:

To the rescue, choose a sunscreen that also blocks HEV such as Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30. This double-duty product blocks UVA, UVB and HEV light and helps to smooth the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Blocking HEV light can also save your vision. Research suggests that it may contribute to cataracts (clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss.

Besides the sun, blue light is emitted from computers, phones and/or other digital devices. If you spend a lot of  time in front of a screen, consider blue light filters for digital devices. Contact lenses and glasses that block blue light are also available.

Ask your ZO® Skincare Expert which sunscreen is right for you to protect your skin from HEV exposure.

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.

TEEN ACNE VS. ADULT ACNE  

You survived high school. You sailed through college. Your breakouts were still showing up in your twenties. But you hit your thirties and your acne is still flaring up, and you thought you would be done by now…

You’re not alone. Adult acne is more common than you think. But it is different than the acne you had during your teens in several ways.

The key difference is that teenage age is caused by active oil glands and excess oil production, whereas adult acne is caused by hormonal activity. As we age, cell turnover slows down, so in adults, the oil builds up and causes inflammation, cystic acne and pimples.

Teenage acne tends to show up all over the face, and back, chest and shoulders. Adult acne is more commonly found on the lower face, chin and jawline.

The way to treat teen acne is also different than the best treatments for adults. For starters, young skin that produces too much oil needs more aggressive treatments to reduce the presence of p.acnes bacteria and dry up all that oil that causes the areas around nose and cheeks to shine. Adult skin is more fragile, delicate and sensitive, so it tends to dry out more quickly. The best treatments are more gentle and easier to tolerate. In addition, adult women want to be able to wear foundation, so acne therapy needs to allow them to have a smooth surface to apply daily makeup without flaking and peeling.

Fortunately, the ZO® Skin Health and ZO® Medical ranges offer formulations that are suited to treat all types of acne for women and men of all ages, from blackheads to bacne.

For more advice on managing your acne, ask your ZO® doctor who can recommend the right ZO® Acne Solutions for you.