Tag Archives: hyperpigmentation

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.

WHY YOUR SKIN NEEDS ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are vital to a healthy skin care regimen.  The major antioxidants found in the skin are Vitamin C and E, which we should get from our diet, and coenzyme Q10, glutathione and lipoic acid, which are produced by our bodies.  Free radicals cause chronic damage to your skin cells, and antioxidants can neutralize these dangerous molecules.

Increasing these antioxidants with supplements can replenish your natural reservoir, but you need pretty large amounts to get only a modest effect.

Many antioxidants are basically unstable compounds, so their ability to get delivered into the skin in topical preparations is not always a guarantee.  But there are health benefits and anti-aging benefits to getting more Vitamin C, for example. Ask your doctor if you should increase your oral intake of antioxidant vitamins, and use topical Vitamin C therapy. Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid and is essential for the production of collagen, the strong connective tissue that holds the skin together. Think of it as your skin’s glue.  Because Vitamin C can theoretically both prevent free radical damage to the skin and promote new collagen production in the skin, it is ideal for topical therapy using a serum that helps it penetrate through the superficial layers of the skin.

ZO® Medical C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum provides a potent, pure dose of stabilized vitamin C that brightens and re-texturizes skin. Containing a full 10% of ascorbic acid, C-Bright exfoliates surface pigmentation for a more even tone and brighter complexion. The addition of tocopheryl acetate & coenzyme-Q10 provides multiple antioxidant protection and squalane mimics your body’s own natural moisturizer factor for added hydration.

 5 LOVELY WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS

Stress increases the production of hormones that damage collagen and elastin. Too much stress also takes some of the joy out of life–so you’re more likely to frown or scowl, which induces wrinkles.

  • Take good care of yourself by eating a healthy diet loaded with antioxidant-rich fruits, veggies, and good-for-your-skin foods.
  • Try to get enough sleep so your body can rest and your skin has time to renew itself. Thirty minutes before bedtime, apply a retinol. We recommended ZO® Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair Nighttime is the best time to repair your skin. You’ll look and feel better–and wake with more youthful-looking skin in the morning.
  • Consuming too many glasses of wine and cups of coffee and not enough water can dehydrate your skin. Drink water throughout the day and reduce the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink, including coffee, tea and cola drinks. Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, including juicy fruits like pears, apples, oranges, and vegetables high in water content, such as lettuce, celery and mushrooms.
  • Get plenty of exercise and work up a sweat at least three times a week. Take a brisk 30-minute walk during your lunch hour whenever possible, or go to a Yoga or Pilates class after work to stretch and tone your muscles. When you work up a sweat, you are also moisturizing your skin from the inside out.
  • Treat yourself with a visit to a spa for relaxation and to keep your skin in optimum condition. Massages can work wonders to soothe sore muscles and moisturize the skin of your back, shoulders, arms and legs. Facials are ideal for deep cleansing and taking a break from your electronic devices to enjoy an hour of solitude and tranquility. Avoid the temptation of saunas and steam rooms as they can actually dehydrate your skin.

SMART SUN PROTECTION

The new buzzword in sun protection isn’t UVA or UVB. It’s HEV – high-energy visible light. HEV is an enemy of healthy skin due to its ability to damage cells.

Exposure to powerful forms of light can be a safety hazard. This hazard concerns doctors more and more as people are continuously surrounded by an increasing variety of artificial light sources, such as computers, digital devices, fluorescent lights and LED sources. These unnatural forms of light release large amounts of powerful radiation known as High-Energy Visible Light.

High-Energy Visible (HEV) Light is made up of certain colors that you can see.  When you look at a rainbow, these particular colors are visible as a thin edge of deep purple and blue on the one side.  HEV light is very closely related to Ultra-Violet (UV) light and has similar physical characteristics.  Invisible ultra-violet (UV) rays cause sunburn, tissue damage and eye disease.  HEV light has been shown to cause similar damage.

Developed by Beverly Hills dermatologist Zein Obagi, the newest sun protection technology from ZO® Skin Health is Oclipse® Smart Tone, that offers a powerful dose of UVA and UVB all day sun protection, while also helping to shield the skin from HEV light. The multi-tasking formula helps to skin support its own natural repair process to helping tackle irritation and pigmentation, while softening and soothing skin with rich conditioners. ZO® Oclipse® Smart Tone SPF 50 (SPF) is also formulated with patented color-bursting beads that match any skin tone. These micro-beads burst when rubbed into skin to create customizable color on any skin tone, creating a perfect tint to be worn alone or as a primer under foundation.

“I developed this sunscreen to protect the skin, restore the skin, and maintain skin health,” says Dr. Zein Obagi. “Now everyone can reap the benefits of this science.”

This advanced formula is also super-charged with soothing extracts of Petasites Japonicus Root Extract and Beta Glucan to minimize irritants that can cause redness. Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil also moisturizes and aids in lipid repair, as well as Vitamin C to protect against the formation of pigmentation and sunspots.

THE TRUTH ABOUT LASER SKIN RESURFACING

The CO2 laser is widely considered to be the most versatile laser system because it can be used to treat multiple degrees of scarring and visible signs of aging and will give a more dramatic response in a single treatment. However, because there is usually significant downtime and higher risks associated with ablative or deep resurfacing, not everyone can tolerate the treatment.

The adverse events vary based on the treatment modality chosen. With any injury to the skin you must be concerned about initiating an infectious process. Ablative resurfacing is more likely to cause changes in the pigmentation of the skin that is less frequent with a non-ablative treatment.

Many dermatologists and plastic surgeons have chosen to offer non-ablative laser skin resurfacing for this reason. Non-ablative devices can be very effective and over time, you may achieve the same results as with deeper treatments if you have several sessions.

For example, one very popular technology is Fraxel® for non-ablative skin resurfacing. Among the many benefits are the significant improvements in skin tone and texture that can be achieved. The dual wavelength of the Fraxel technology can also be used to treat dark blotches and sunspots.

When undergoing fractionated CO2 laser treatment, you can expect to have about five days of downtime. Most doctors will recommend using an occlusive ointment for the first several days while they are peeling. The ZO® Post Procedure Recovery System can greatly improve the post-laser experience. It contains three key products formulated to synergistically deliver the most advanced technology to protect and soothe skin.  The products were designed to help prevent scabbing and restore the skin’s barrier to speed up the skin’s natural regenerative process.

Around day five after Fraxel, you will have completed the peeling and your doctor may allow you to apply camouflage makeup.  Your skin will be slightly pink which gradually fades. Some fair skinned individuals may be pink for several weeks or longer, depending on how aggressively the treatment was performed.

Wrinkle-reducing results can be dramatic with Fraxel after a series of 3 – 5 treatments based on your skin type and concerns.

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.

 

Skin Cancer Detection

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, as it can spread quickly throughout the body if not treated at an early stage.

The good news is that early detection is the best defense against deadly skin cancers. Regular check ups and screenings every 6-12 months with your Dermatologist can literally be life-saving. Consult with your dermatologist immediately if you see any abnormal changes to your skin, such as new moles or irregular dark spots. And don’t forget to check the areas that get the most sun exposure, such as scalp, back of the neck, hands, feet, and the bridge of the nose. These parts of your body are most prone to sun damage and also skin cancer. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of survival.

Another critical step to prevent actinic keratoses, and all types of skin cancers from forming, is daily broad spectrum protection with a high SPF. And by daily, we mean 365 days/year.

ZO Medical Oclipse-C Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 is a lightweight natural mineral sunscreen that offers a powerful UVA/UVB protection. This formulation shields your delicate skin from high energy blue-violet light that has been shown to induce premature aging. Oclipse-C goes on smoothly and blends nicely, and is so light that is indicated for sensitive skin types. Many ZO physicians also recommend this new formulation for post-procedure sun protection after lasers, peels and injections.

Dr. Zein Obagi’s vision for prevention when it comes to skin health is simple: Minimize UV damage, prevent DNA damage and protect skin from environmental aggressors to improve overall skin health.

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.

The Anatomy of Dark Circles

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on the body, which accounts for why it is so prone to environmental abuse and the effects of stress and sun exposure. The skin around the eyes is one of the first places signs of aging like crow’s feet, crepey skin, puffiness and dark circles. The area around the lower eyelids is also prone to dryness because it is so thin, which can make fine lines and wrinkles appear earlier and become more visible over time.

The lower lid area is also quite sensitive so it is recommended not to overdo it with intensive and aggressive anti-agers. Use a moisturizing eye cream with essential fatty acids to combat dryness and smooth the skin around the eyes.  You want to decrease the potential for irritation while increasing the skin’s ability to build new collagen to strengthen the skin that has thinned with age.

Dark circles under the eyes are the result of several factors. For starters, genetics will determine whether you are more prone to darkened areas. Fair skin and thin skin around the eye area can make dark circles look worse and more prominent. Dark circles can also be the result of increased pigmentation, thinning skin that reveals blue and purple veins, or hollowness of the under eye area from fat loss that can create a shadow.

Eye creams with skin lighteners and brighteners such as Vitamin C, can be used to treat pigmentation of the area. Eye creams with ingredients that increase collagen production can help to thicken the skin around the eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles due to underlying blood vessels.

ZO Medical Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Creme contains active vitamin A and biomimetic proteins to encourage natural collagen production and help restore skin’s elasticity. Our exclusive blend of bioengineered plant stem cells provides potent antioxidants and inflammation management to protect against future signs of skin aging. We also added enzymatic vasodilators, caffeine and coenzyme A to reduce the appearance of puffiness along with optical diffusers soften the appearance of dark circles. Nourishing shea butter moisturizes and replenishes the delicate skin barrier.