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Dr Zein Obagi’s skin commandments

I met world-renowned dermatologist, and ZO Skin Health founder, Dr Zein Obagi, and these are his ultimate skin care tips

Trailblazing skin health pioneer Dr Zein Obagi, sat down with Etre Vous to share his ultimate skin care advice. Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to sport a glowing and healthy complexion, believes this iconic dermatologist and founder of ZO Skin Health.

Focus on overall skin health 

“Most people focus on treating skin disease like acne, and hyperpigmentation. But when you stop these targeted treatments the skin still isn’t healthy, which sees the return of these concerns. The ZO science of skin health is based on making cells work in harmony to boost the health of the skin so it can self-regulate and overcome changes that occur as we age. Skin health is the future.”

Don’t use face cream

“If you regularly use moisturisers the dead skin cells will stick to the skin which reduces their ability to shed, leading to dullness. Over time the pores start to clog, and white and black heads ensue. By only using moisturisers occasionally and using a serum like the ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense instead, you can restore your barrier function, support your skins natural hydration system, protect against external aggressors and boost collagen and elastin production too.”

Sensitivity is a myth

“Many people claim to have sensitive skin but medically there is no such thing. There’s damaged skin or healthy skin. Healthy skin is smooth, even in tone, hydrated, tolerant, and firm. Those who complain about sensitive skin, simply need to strengthen and heal the skin so that it functions as it should.”

Prevention is better than cure

“When it comes to preventing skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and dermatitis, sebum reduction should be a focus. A small dose makes skin pliable and not rigid, but in excess troublesome skin conditions are inevitable. This makes constant oil control important to prevent unhealthy skin in the future.”

Collagen and elastin are the key to anti-ageing

“We naturally start to lose collagen at around 30, but this can be sped up by sun exposure, lifestyle, and diet choices. This makes tag-teaming a retinoid with vitamin C imperative. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps stop the breakdown of collagen. While retinoids boost collagen and elastin to keep skin youthful.”

You must target inflammation

“Chronic inflammation caused by sun, pollution, smoke and chemical exposure, alongside internal stressors like poor diet, lack of sleep and mental stress all contribute to leaving the body in a constant state of inflammation. The accumulation of free radical damage caused by extrinsic and intrinsic factors leaves the skin unable to repair as well as it should. This leads to chronic skin conditions that exhaust the skins defensive and regenerative capacity, resulting in inflammaging. It’s a low-grade asymptomatic condition, so you don’t see a lot of redness, but over time you will notice dehydration, sagging, uneven skin tone, and lines and wrinkles. This is because inflammaging impairs the protective barrier function, triggers pigmentation and leads to a loss of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. The ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense, cleverly calms down the receptors responsible for triggering inflammation, and studies have shown this has a direct impact on skin hydration, tone, radiance and wrinkle depth.”

Start early with acne treatments

"At around the age of 11 our oil glands kick in - due to genetic factors and hormones - so you’ll start to see acne develop. Before that children only need to cleanse and use sun protection, but as puberty begins children should add an oil eliminating step to their daily regime. By doing so they can avoid the development of acne.”

Be patient with retinoids 

“Vitamin A, aka retinoids are one of the most beneficial anti-ageing actives in our toolbox, but it can take up to six weeks for skin to begin to tolerate a retinoid. Peeling and dryness are unavoidable so keep this in mind and keep going, once you get over the purging stage you’ll end up with stronger, healthier, smoother skin.”

Asian and Black skin is more sensitive to the sun 

“Asian skin, even if it’s fair in tone has more melanin and melanocytes than Caucasian skin making it more sensitive to sunlight. While Black skin has a weaker barrier function and harmful UV can further impair barrier function which leads to dryness, itchiness, photoaging and serious skin diseases.”

Stay hydrated

“One of the easiest youth-boosting practices is to drink water. So many people don’t drink enough water, and internal dehydration can have an effect on your collagen breakdown rate. Just by drinking enough H20 daily you can improve your skin.”

Factor in lifestyle when choosing an SPF 

“If you’re regularly out and about in a big city, then not only is UVA/UVB protection important but pollution protection is key. Similarly blue light protection should be a consideration for almost everyone as we are constantly looking at screens that emit damaging blue light. The ZO Skin Health Sheer Fluid Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 has you covered on all three counts. But protection isn't the only thing to consider, how your SPF is formulated is important too. For example, if you’re prone to getting sweaty during your day or you’re outside swimming, you’ll need a water and sweat resistant sunscreen like the ZO Skin Health Gel Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50.”

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