If you’re concerned about wrinkles, and you know you can’t expect to solve all of your problems overnight, where do you start? Should you avoid sunshine and UV damage, reduce stress, change your diet, quit smoking and/or drinking, use better (or more!) skincare products, eat foods rich in anti-oxidants, take nutriceuticals, stay hydrated, exercise, have more facials?
Taking good care of your skin isn’t your only priority, so let’s address the worst offenders, as well as the best solutions.
- UV exposure. This one is the real culprit of aging. UVB rays cause burning, but UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, cause wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and photoaging. You’re exposed to UVA rays even when you’re inside—about 90% of UVA rays are transmitted through ordinary glass and windshields. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen (like Oclipse SPF 30) every day, and use skincare products high in anti-oxidants.
- Wake up your skin cells. Dormant skin cells exacerbate all of the signs of aging. You need to activate and stimulate them with high concentrations of retinol, which is generally considered the best topical anti-aging ingredient. In fact, scientists recently revealed that retinol (and other Vitamin A derivatives) is the only topical ingredient proven to provide anti-aging benefits.
- Kick the sugar habit. Too much of the sweet stuff—either as sugar or as fructose—is the most common cause of glycation and inflammation. It binds to collagen, weakens it, and then induces sagging and wrinkles. Too much sugar will also reduce skin circulation and damage the texture.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking 8 glasses of water/day is important for digestion, circulation, and excretion. For skincare, you need even more than that, especially after reaching age 40. Water helps hydrate the skin (thereby disguising wrinkles), flushes toxins from the skin (reducing acne), reduces dark circles underneath the eyes, and reduces eczema and psoriasis. Water is surely the most readily available, and the cheapest, skincare remedy.
- Huff and puff—but not nicotine. Cardio-vascular exercise is good for your skin. It improves the circulation and delivers nutrients. Plus it makes you feel better about yourself, and the radiance shines through.
- Relax. Many aspects of daily life can lead to increased stress, and that stress can cause or exacerbate a blotchy complexion, blemises, dullness, and acne and rosacea flare-ups. It’s impossible to eliminate stress, but you should help reduce it. Find time for yourself, exercise, get 7 hours of sleep a night, enjoy friends, practice yoga—whatever works for you.
It’s also important to eat a healthy diet, rich in anti-oxidants and Omega-3’s—the perfect excuse to have an ounce of dark chocolate. Peels, laser treatments, Botox, and fillers may be an option, but they shouldn’t be your first choice. What you do every day and how you treat your skin every night help to make medical procedures unnecessary. So take good care of yourself.
The story goes that if world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2 at Gobbler’s Knob, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. At the beginning of the month, there was no shadow in sight, and Phil says we can look forward to an early spring. That means it’s almost time to store the sweaters, pull out the beach towels, and put the top down. But what are you doing to get your skin ready?
According to Dr. Obagi, it takes hard work to get great skin, and preparing it for the changing seasons is no exception.
“Your skin doesn’t automatically adjust itself,” says the Dr. Obagi. “You need to do the initial work and it will respond.”
But you need to do the right work, which is why the first step to transitioning your skin from winter to spring is to amp up on SPF and cut back on moisturizer. The SPF will protect you from the harmful UVB rays your skin will be seeing more of in the months ahead, and less moisturizer will activate your skin cells, the key to Dr. Obagi’s healthy skin philosophy.
“Too much moisture trains the skin to rely on outside sources for hydration instead of producing it from within,” says Dr. Obagi. “In trying to counteract the dryness with a lot of moisturizer, you’re actually perpetuating it.”
Less moisturizer isn’t always received with open arms, but neither was Dr. Obagi’s healthy skin concept 30 years ago. Today, it’s mainstream.
The second step in preparing skin for spring is much easier to swallow. It comes in the form of berries—blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. They’re all in season during the spring months and great for your skin. Each is high in antioxidants, which protect skin cells from the damage that increased sun exposure can cause.
Next up is your cosmetic bag. If not cleaned out regularly, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that will ultimately transfer to your face. Pay special attention to water-based products, which degrade and become useless after a year at the longest. Mascara has a 3-month life span. Anything without water—powder, eye shadow, etc.—can last up to two years.
Once you’re done trashing the expired products, thoroughly clean your brushes. Wash them with shampoo until the water in the sink drain runs clear. To make this process easier, keep a brush-cleaning spray like Brush Off handy and clean off your brushes after each use.
The final step for prepping your skin for spring is exfoliation. After months of exposing your skin to heated indoor air, the dead skin cells accumulate at the surface. According to Dr. Obagi, if your skin has seen signs of aging then your skin cells have already slowed down the natural sloughing off process, making your need for exfoliation even more urgent.
Your skin needs epidermal turnover, something ZO Skin Health’s Exfoliating Polish earns praise for. The round magnesium crystals and Vitamins A, C and E in the product put in overtime to banish dead skin cells.
“Collagen gets a boost and cells become active,” says Dr. Obagi of the exfoliation process. “When you put in the work it pays off. The reward is beautiful, healthy skin.”
Now you’re ready for spring!
It’s easy to spend money on skincare products. It’s also easy to waste money on skincare products. Your success with a skincare regimen depends not only on the products, but on your discipline (a cleanser and a moisturizer are not enough!), your patience (wash your face for two minutes, and don’t expect overnight miracles!) and your persistence (every night, whether you’re tired or not!).
Surely you know people who have joined a gym, and then never go again. Buying a skincare system, and then not using it regularly, is not much better.
Don’t buy ZO Skin Health products (or any other brand) if you’re not going to use them regularly and properly. You’re wasting the products, time, and most importantly, your money. Make good skin a habit. Accept responsibility. It’s up to you.
For Valentine’s Day this year, skip the hearts and flowers; go straight for the wine and chocolate—they’re rich in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help prevent the damage caused by free radicals, and also help skin tolerate UV exposure and environmental pollutants.
But not all wine and not all chocolate are equally good, so make sure that you get the right stuff.
Chocolate—it’s good for you, so indulge a little!
- Dark chocolate is much richer in anti-oxidants; it has more chocolate liquor and less sugar. Eat dark chocolate whenever possible—it’s the milk, cream, and dairy products in milk chocolate that reduce its anti-oxidant value.
- Go for the good stuff. High quality chocolates are generally made from natural ingredients, and contain higher percentages of cacao and less sugar.
- Eat while you enjoy it. It will help reduce stress.
Wine—propose a toast to your health!
- Red wine. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s merlot, cabernet or pinot noir—all red wine is rich in anti-oxidants because the skin and the seeds ferment in the grapes’ juice during the fermentation process.
- Stick to one glass per day—120 calories is plenty. If you have two glasses, you’re getting more calories, but not more anti-oxidants.
- Moderate amounts of red wine may help protect against estrogen depletion.
- Sit down and enjoy your wine—especially with a good friend. Reducing stress is good for your heart and for your skin!
Happy Valentine’s Day—it’s a perfect excuse to enjoy some dark chocolate and red wine. Remember, it’s Doctor’s orders! For the other 364 days, be sure to also use skincare products that are rich in anti-oxidants, too!
Skin doesn’t recognize differences in gender, so why does it seem like there so many differences between skincare products for men and products for women? The truth is, there really aren’t that many difference—men’s skincare products and women’s skincare products are basically the same. The only real differences between a men’s line and a women’s line are these:
(1) Packaging. Packaging that appeals to men is generally more “robust”—with bold type and dark colors. It assures men of their masculinity.
(2) Fragrances. Men may be more partial to outdoorsy scents (like wood and leather), and women to floral notes and fruity fragrances. Scents like citrus and spices are common in fragrances for both men and women.
(3) Simplicity. Men generally like just a few items and no complicated regimens. Until a few years ago, they may have stuck to just a cleanser/facewash, shampoo, and aftershave. These days, men have become more sensitive to lines and wrinkles and have added anti-aging products and sunscreen to their daily regimen.
Now, more than ever, men are looking at skincare products that prevent and repair lines and wrinkles. Here are some recommendations that your man might enjoy:
- ZO Skin Health Offects™ Hydrating Cleanser hydrates, rejuvenates, and includes panthenol (which soothes, repairs, and restores skin) and allantoin (which cleans away dead skin cells and supports cellular renewal). Cleansing has never felt so good.
- ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish sloughs off dead skin cells, smooths pores, evens skin tone, and promotes the growth of healthy new skin. Vitamins A, C, C-Esters, and E provide anti-oxidant protection and help boost collagen production.
- ZO Skin Health Ossential Daily Power Defense uses DNA repair enzymes to enhance skin’s recovery capabilities. These special enzymes attach directly to DNA molecules and repair oxidative damage caused by UV exposure. It works all day with time-release retinol, enzymes and anti-oxidants to repair damaged cells and protect against future damage.
Will ZO products appeal to the testosterone-inclined? Absolutely. With the cobalt blue color scheme, many men think that ZO Skin Health is a men’s line. And as for the fragrance, ZO Skin Health products are lightly scented with citrus or grapefruit—so they appeal to both men and women. And when you get right down to it, beneath the packaging and fragrances, all skincare products are gender neutral. So choose the products that are going to work best for your skin.
So caught up with skin damage control and repair above your neckline, you might forget all about the other two body parts that can give away your age if not properly cared for: YOUR HANDS.
Yes, your hands. You know, the things you use to punctuate a lively story, greet people for the first time, exchange money, make a toast, break bread, hold your steering wheel, check the time, and ,well, do just about every other human function?
We realize your face is your face, but your hands attract their fair share of attention, too. And, if you don’t care for them properly, you could essentially be adding 10 years to your age.
That’s exactly why Dr. Zein Obagi created the 3-step Oraser Anti-Aging Hand Care Program. Take a look at the kit and decide if your situation requires all three products or if you can get away with just two. If your hands just recently started showing signs of aging, you might even only need to use one independently.
Designed to correct the damage that’s already been done and to prevent future damage, the products will make it look like you never experienced that panic-stricken moment of realizing you overlooked your hands. And it’s never too late to get started. Let’s face it, you can’t get away with gloves year-round.
In her book When You Lie About your Age, the Terrorists Win, Carol Leifer says, “At age 45, you’re only called ‘young’ if you drop dead.”
While age 50 might be considered the new 40, there’s no doubt about the fact that our culture values youth—if not the reality of youth, at least the appearance of youth.
The fact is that at age 30, your skin cells go dormant, become lazy, and slow down cellular turnover and activity. Basically, your skin ages considerably earlier than the rest of your body.
If you want to fight aging, fight hard. Beginning around the age 30, be sure to use a skincare product that activates and stimulates your skin cells so that your skin cells regenerate, produce collagen, and maintain a youthful appearance. During the daytime, consider a product like ZO Skin Health’s Daily Power Defense. Another option is ZO Skin Health’s cult-favorite, Radical Night Repair-Plus. It’s better than ever—and very effective when it comes to anti-aging. For nighttime use, try ZO Skin Health’s Ossential Growth Factor Serum. Each of these products will help tp keep those skin cells active and vital, so you no longer have to lie about your age.
It used to be, when you asked a doctor for Botox®, you got Botox. That’s because Botox was first in the market and had no competition. These days, that’s all changing. The FDA has approved Dysport®, a new anti-wrinkle injectible also made from botulinum toxin. Should you ask your doctor to make the switch, especially if Dysport’s a little cheaper? That’s an important question, so let’s face the facts.
Dysport spreads after it has been injected. This is both a good and a bad thing. The advantage is that if large areas (like your forehead) need injection, theoretically it requires fewer injections, thereby reducing discomfort. In our experience, however, this migration can cause a dilution, so more units need to be injected—leaving us right back where we started.
Another disadvantage is that unless your doctor is experienced and has a good understanding of complex musculature (around the eyes, between the eyebrows, etc.), it’s possible for Dysport to migrate and cause blurred vision or sleepy eyelids. Those are some pretty devastating consequences, even if they last only 3-4 months.
The best thing to do is to find out what other consumers are saying about Dysport, read about what physicians have to say, and ask your physician to discuss it with you. Here are some things to think about.
- The price of Botox is high, but competition may bring that price down.
- Dysport paralyzes the muscle, and becomes effective in about 2-3 days; Botox generally takes longer than that.
- The FDA requires drugs like Botox to carry a warning label, saying that the drug may spread from the injection site to distant parts of the body, and can have serious side effects, such as problems swallowing or breathing. While anything is possible with botulinum toxin, problems are less likely with Botox Cosmetic. They’re of greater concern when Botox is used to treat spastic muscles of the eyes and other systemic usage.
- Once popular Botox parties are now making a comeback. The hostess usually gets her treatment for free, compliments of the doctor, and the doctor hopes to meet some new clients—it can be a marketing tool. But for the patient, is it worth the risk? In our opinion, the risk of complications is too high, and doctors should give Botox injections under the right lighting and conditions, and in the privacy of their own office.
When it comes to Botox or Dysport, be careful and be informed. And before you make a decision, talk to your physician about it.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. With our skin starting to feel the dehydrating effects of winter winds and cold, dry air, what’s a woman to do? Slather their skin with moisturizers, right? Wrong.
A moisturizer is like “dessert” to your skin—it feels good, nice, and smooth, but does little to nothing for your skin cells that lay beneath the surface—the source of skin aging. That’s why it’s important to remember the “main course” of skin care: products that activate, stimulate, and protect your skin.
During winter, it’s especially important to:
- Exfoliate. The dull, dry skin cells on the surface of the skin should be exfoliated, and there are a couple of reasons for this. 1) Exfoliation allows younger, healthier skin cells to emerge. 2) You can enhance the penetration of other skin care products, because they don’t get trapped by the superficial cells—if anti-aging products remain on the surface of your skin, they’re pretty useless. 3) Exfoliation deep cleans the pores, and helps reduce excess oils. We like to recommend the ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish—it’s more aggressive than many of the exfoliating creams, because we want to provide a product that’s as effective as can be without damaging or irritating the skin. During the summer, Dr. Obagi recommends exfoliating twice a week, but during the winter, exfoliate every day.
- Protect. During winter the days are shorter, but UVB rays will still damage your skin, and UVA rays will penetrate through windows and go straight to the dermis—where they can create permanent damage. If you’re headed to the mountains for a day of skiing, remember that UV rays are intensified by snow and high altitude, so taking a vacation from sunscreen during the winter is a big mistake. Try ZO Skin Health’s Oclipse Sunscreen—two different physical sunscreens plus melanin all work to protect the skin.
- Avoid the use of hot water. It may feel good for a few minutes (no showers longer than 10 minutes, please!), but will dehydrate your skin, deplete the natural oils, and create parched, chapped, dry skin. After showering, pat your skin dry, and apply ZO Skin Health Body Emulsion while your skin is still slightly damp. The high concentration of lactic acid in Body Emulsion is a great exfoliator—be sure to apply it to the soles of your feet if they’re dry or scaly.
- Hydrate. With shorter days and colder temperatures, most of us spend more time indoors during the winter—where the air is warmer, but also dryer. Use a humidifer, don’t overuse space heaters (including your car), and drink plenty of water. Your face and hands especially need extra care during the winter, because they have greater exposure, so be sure to keep them hydrated (and exfoliated)!
- Escape. These are stressful times, so find time for yourself. Take a warm bath, read a good book, do something just for yourself. Do something that you enjoy for short, daily escapes.
While you take care of everyone else this holiday season, be sure to take care of yourself (and your skin!)
People usually workout with a very specific goal in mind: to chisel their abs, drop 15 pounds by the reunion, or just firm up for bikini season. But, when was the last time you heard someone say they were heading to the gym to clear up their acne or improve their wrinkles?
Most people don’t realize that working out benefits your skin just as much as your body.
As a board-certified dermatologist and the creator of ZO Skin Health, Dr. Obagi formulates anti-aging products with potent ingredients that combat wrinkles and fine lines. But the battle doesn’t stop there. He tells his patients all the time that products and procedures do most of the work; the rest is up to them.
You’ve probably noticed that many anti-aging products claim to boost collagen—that stuff youthful skin has a lot of and aging skin doesn’t. But guess what else boosts collagen? Yep, exercise.
A great cardio workout kicks your blood flow into motion. When that happens, your skin cells get a healthy delivery of oxygen and nutrients—the picture-perfect setting for natural collagen production. And how does that benefit your skin? You’ll see fewer dry patches, firmer skin, and fewer wrinkles.
For those who are acne-prone, the reasons to workout are even more attractive. Regular exercise improves blood circulation, which makes it easier for your pores to get rid of the toxins in your body that can lead to blemishes.
On top of this, stress levels drop. It’s no coincidence that pimples show up when they’re least welcome—right before big events. You’ve likely had a lot of headache-inducing planning prior to such events, which brings on a mountain of stress. Exercise balances out the hormones that go into overdrive when stress revs up. It may not produce an immediate difference in skin, but you’ll definitely take note of the absent flare-ups during your next big event.
It doesn’t stop here. Cellulite can improve, the elasticity in your face can bounce back, and a nice rosy glow often results from regular workouts, too. So, the next time someone asks what you’re trying to accomplish at the gym, tell them you’re toning and tightening—your skin.