Using protection against UV rays is the single most important thing that any of us can do to preserve the health and quality of our skin. This is news to no one but despite this skin cancer is still on the rise and photo-ageing is still a big issue. One of the problems is that sun protection products stop working after about 90-120 minutes of wear. They either get rubbed off, sweated off or become chemically altered and ineffective. This means SPF products need to be constantly re-applied and, unless you’re on a sun lounger with nothing more taxing to do than turning the pages of the latest beach read, the likelihood is that this isn’t going to happen.
Dr Zein Obagi has come up with a new approach to sun protection that gets round the practical problem of constant re-application and he’s called it Stabilization. Before I go into detail about this, it will probably be helpful to provide a bit of background on Dr Obagi and the two brands he’s associated with as it’s important not to muddle them up.
Dr Obagi has form when it comes to being at the forefront of skincare advances. He was the first to come out with a prescription-only skincare range when he developed the Obagi NuDerm series over twenty years ago. He then left the Obagi corporation as he felt they were resting on past achievements and not developing new products that took into account the latest scientific research. He has since developed the ZO Skin Health and ZO Medical ranges and protocols that focuses on prevention, treating all skin issues and maintaining results.
Now, back to Stabilization which I learnt about at FACE 2015 (the premier skincare/aesthetic conference). Dr Obagi gave two lectures on this subject and I went to both as I found this new approach so interesting. In essence, Stabilization is a system to help skin be more immune to the sun’s damaging effects. The best way to do this is to use a high concentration of anti-oxidants and sun protection that includes melanin. This way once the the sun protecting ingredients have stopped working you still have the anti-oxidants to neutralise the DNA damage sun causes and the melanin to help protect against the UV rays. The other advantage of using a a regime that includes a lots of anti-oxidants is that it helps repair old UV damage and maintain a strong barrier function which generally makes skin more resistant.
I’ve been trying out the new ZO Skin Health Oclipse Smart Tone Sunscreen SPF 50 which contains both a high level of time-released anti-oxidants and fractionated melanin. The reason I’m obsessed with protecting my skin from the sun and finding the most advanced way to do this (i.e using Oclipse Smart Tone) is that I know it’s the cheapest and easiest way to prevent poor quality skin down the line.
The list of good ingredients in the Oclipse Smart Tone is about as long as my arm and you can read about them in more detail HERE. It also protects against High-Energy Visible Light (HEV) which is thought to cause premature ageing and erythema (skin reddening). The cream itself feels quite dense when it comes out of the tube but spreads lightly and sheerly over skin and doesn’t feel at all heavy. It contains customisable colour bursting beads that release colour when applied. The claim is that they complement most skin tones and while I can only speak for myself I find the colour is a perfect match for my skin. Oclipse Smart Tone can be used as a primer under foundation but I find the colour beads even out my tone enough so that all I need is a sweep of powder on top.
I wear Oclipse Smart Tone over a serum (Dr Obagi recommends Daily Power Defence) but not a moisturiser as it has enough hydrating properties for me. Some sun protection products can make my skin feel dried out after a couple of hours but that doesn’t happen with Oclipse Smart Tone.
The bottom line is that, like all spf products, re-applying Oclipse Smart Tone approx. every 2 hours is going to bring the most benefits. However, if that’s not practical at least you know that the combination of the anti-oxidents and melanin in Oclipse Smart Tone goes a long way in helping to prevent photo-ageing.
Oclipse Smart Tone is £44 for 45ml. Because of the high concentration of actives in the ZO Health and ZO Medical ranges they can only be bought for authorised clinics in person. Go HERE to find your local clinic.
*First image taken at Dr Obagi’s press conference at FACE 2015
|L: Oclipse Smart Tone when it’s first applied. R: After it’s been lightly rubbed and the colour beads take effect.|