Tag Archives: retinol

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

First Signs of Spring

The first day of Spring is finally in our sights. In many parts of the country, the first sign of tulips and green leaves on the trees with birds chirping will bring a welcome relief from a cold, harsh winter. And the anticipation of spring making its way is also a reminder that it’s time to step up your skin care regimen as the seasons are changing.

Springtime will naturally be about spending time outdoors, running, jogging, playing sports and taking the kids and dogs to the park. So your first defense against UV rays and protect your skin from free radical damage is a broad spectrum sunscreen. To insure adequate protection, the general rule is to use a tablespoon of SPF 30+ for your face and a shot glass to cover your body. ZO Medical Oclipse-C Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF50 offers daily multi-defense protection. If you plan to sweat or go swimming, reapply your SPF as needed to maintain coverage.

Think of spring as the season to exfoliate and get rid of lingering dead skin cells that have built up during the winter and can cause your complexion to look dull and pale. Slough off dead skin cells with gentle scrubs for your arms, legs, chest, neck and face that contain microbeads, such as our bestselling ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish.

For your face, dead cells and debris will come off to reveal softer, fresher, rosier skin beneath with a dose of ZO Medical Invisapeel Intensive Resurfacing Peel.  Use Invisapeel several times weekly, or once per week if your skin is thin or tends to be dry, and watch your radiance return.

Since skin tends to be dry the during cold winter months, switch out the heavier creams you may have been using for lighter lotions or serums. In the spring, your skin will benefit from retinol to help improve tone, texture, fight acne, and minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores. ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair is the pen ultimate retinol serum for daily use.

If your skin is oily, make sure to use ZO Medical TE Pads Acne Pore Treatment to keep breakouts under control, as skin tends to have more oil production when the weather starts to warm up.

Lastly, spring is the ideal opportunity to see your dermatologist for a full body check to make sure your skin is free of any suspicious lesions that could be pre-cancerous or skin cancer. It could save your life!

For Your Eyes Only

The skin around the eyelids is the thinnest on the body, and therefore, more delicate and subject to daily damage from UV exposure. By starting to use a protective eye cream as early as in your 20s, you can effectively help delay the visible signs of aging. A good eye cream, depending on the active ingredients, can keep eyelid skin hydrated and smooth.

Laguna, California plastic surgeon Dr. Aaron Kousins recommends ZO® Medical Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Creme. “Puffiness under the eyes can be caused by several issues, including fatigue, fluid retention, seasonal allergies, excess salt intake, and of course, heredity. The cause of dark circles can include darkening of the skin from chronic rubbing or a genetic predisposition. Additionally, some patients with thin under eye skin can have darkening from underlying blood vessels that are visible.  Volume loss or hollowing under the eyes can cause shadowing that can create a dark appearance. An eye cream that contains caffeine that will help tighten the skin, reducing the puffiness, and also help with drainage.”

The powerful combination of caffeine, enzymatic vasodilators, retinol, arnica montana, and coenzyme A in ZO Medical Hydrafirm works together to rapidly reduce the appearance of puffiness around your eyes. In the AM and PM, use only a pea size amount for the entire under eye area – and blend in gently with fingertips. Hydrafirm absorbs quickly and can be used year round.

To keep your eyelid area looking young, never pull or tug on the thin skin around your eyes, and always wear an SPF30+ when you will be exposed to sunlight.

6 Healthy Skin Solutions for a New Year, New Glow

Have you noticed that you tend to look older during hectic times of year? Stress can show up as wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and even rosacea and acne breakouts. 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 also induces wrinkles.

What’s the answer? Take good care of yourself, exercise, and try to get enough sleep so your body can rest and your skin has time to renew itself. Thirty minutes before bedtime, apply your dose of retinol, since nighttime is the best time to repair your skin. You’ll look and feel better–and feel better about yourself–in the morning.

Follow these 6 solutions to energize your skin for a glowing 2015:
1.    First, undo some of the partying damage, and exfoliate—from head to toe. ZO Skin Health Offects Exfoliating Polish does a great job of scrubbing away dull, dry skin so that fresh, healthy cells can emerge. It’s more aggressive than most, so if you have weak skin, be gentle at first. You will love the difference in your skin. For your body, use a lotion high in lactic acid—such as ZO Skin Health Oraser Body Emulsion Plus. It’s not a typical smell-good body lotion—it will really work hard to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin.
2.    Fill ‘er up—with water! Too many glasses of wine and champagne and not enough water can dehydrate your skin. Drink at least 64 oz. of water throughout the day. If you don’t like water, reduce the amount of caffeinated beverages, and increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables like pears, apples, oranges, lettuce—all of which have high water content.
3.    Book yourself in for a relaxing facial at your favorite spa or medspa. If you’re confused by the menu of options available, look for adjectives like hydrating, restorative, comforting or anti-aging for the best results.
4.    Prefer an at-home treatment? Try ZO Medical Invisapeel Intensive Resurfacing Peel  that contains specialized enzymes and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to promote exfoliation to improve skin texture and even skin tone.
5.    Keep your skin active. High concentrations of retinol will work to rejuvenate your skin, produce more collagen and accelerate cellular turnover. Make sure that it’s a potent concentration, though—like ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair.
6.    Here’s a resolution that’s not so easy – work up a sweat at least three times a week. Take brisk 30-minute walks–you can stop and smell the roses later. When you work up a sweat, you moisturize your skin from the inside out. Avoid saunas and steam rooms, however. They may seem therapeutic, but can actually dehydrate 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.