A while ago I was invited to a presentation by Dr. Zein Obagi, the well-known researcher of effectual skincare products located in Beverly Hills. Always keen to find out how I can improve my skin, I was hoping to come away with some great tips.
The principle of Dr Obagi’s skin health restoration process revolves around stabalizing the skin, improving the skin tolerance to negative stimulation and lastly epidermal renewal and thickening.
Dr Obagi started his presentation by dismissing most of the other brands. None of those creams would work he claimed (although he would later say that he highly respected those same companies, which was a bit confusing). He was emphasising that we should not always go for the creams that feel the nicest but for those that have the greatest effect. Although he was not mentioning this specifically, I assumed he was referring to creams that contain a high percentage of retinol, which tend to dry out the skin but have proven to be very effective in restoring the skin.
Retinol can also be found in one of the stellar products of the ZO Skin Health and ZO Medial product line he was promoting. ZO Medical Retamax™, contains a formula of 1% retinol, antioxidant buddleja plant stem cells, biomimetic proteins and vitamins C and E, which trigger the natural formation of collagen, reduce inflammation, strengthen and brighten the skin.
“It is irrefutable that our skin ages with time, and gets thinner and weaker. In response to this, we have established the concept of stabilization, which serves to increase skin strength and tolerance, even with age.” said Dr Obagi.
I personally use Skinceuticals’ Retinol 1.0 and below are a few more options.
Dr Obagi also greatly believes in the power of skin peels, which are an important part of many of his skin treatments.
When I asked him what I could do about my very prominent sleep wrinkles over my cheeks, Dr Obagi first comment was “I see you have very thin skin”, which he could spot from a distance. Clearly just cream wasn’t the answer here but a good peel would be required.
As a gift for attending the presentation I received The Sun Smart-ultimate skin protection range (pictured above), which is a set that is mainly aimed at women with healthy skin (not really the case for me). It contained the Ossential™ daily power defense cream, which contains “highly stable retinol, antioxidants and specialised DNA repairing enzimes that aim to minimise UV oxidative damage and uneven pigmentation, while restoring skin function and elasticity.” You have to use this cream in combination with Oclipse™ Sunscreen + primer SPF 30, which uses natural melanin, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It also smoothes out and primes the skin for a more even makeup application.
I have been using the products for one month and can’t see any noticeable difference, but then I never really can. My skin is aging rapidly and no matter how well I protect it from the sun, there is no stopping it as my skin is very thin, wrinkles easily and is heading south. I also found that the use of a product that contains retinol during the day is a bit tricky, since it does make your skin more sensitive to sunrays. This is why it’s really important to use it with the sunscreen primer. Retinol also has drying effects and after a while the skin just becomes more irritable. I have been using retinol on and off for a while now (during the night) and I have liked some of the evening-out effects but the jury is still out whether it is a good long-term solution for my particular skin. I will tackle the pros and cons of retinol in a later article though.
So the question really is, how best to care for your aging skin? Although a good protective cream can help delay the signs of aging, it has become increasingly clear to me that for many that have rapidly aging skin, a (chemical) peel may be needed to achieve a drastic improvement of the skin. Not particularly something I look forward to and may never do. On the other hand a more plumper, radiant skin can really improve your overall appearance.
I have not quite figured it out yet so I would love to hear about your experiences with skincare and skin treatments! I would like to write some follow-up articles on this topic, particularly on retinol and (chemical) peels, so if you have any good or bad experiences with any of these I would love to hear from you.
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