Dr. Zein Obagi, the charismatic face of ZO cosmetics, is on a worldwide mission to transform our understanding of skincare. A brand new line of innovative skincare products in addition to the new center in Zamalek are bringing his ideas right to our doorstep. We spoke to him to find out about his revolutionary skincare philosophy:
1) Why do you think having good skin is so important?
“Having that natural healthy look, with the skin smooth; even in color; hydrated; strong; looking natural and rich with vitality- is so essential to convey health overall!
“It is also about freedom, why should a woman have to wake up early and put on make-up? Back in the days of Cleopatra, make-up was used to highlight certain features, now it has become a cover. She should be free to just wash her face, taking about 3-4 minutes to look after her skin and leave it glowing and fantastic all day long.”
“Some people go every day to the sauna and the steam room thinking it is great. But it takes about 7 days to recover from sitting for 15 minutes in the sauna.”
2) What part of someone’s lifestyle can cause the most damage to their skin?
“We know that sun, without protection, will damage the DNA. People with oily skin have more skin problems; large pores, rough texture, breakouts. Diet also has a big impact.
Sleeping well and cleaning the skin properly is important. When you sleep you really have to take your make-up off so your skin can breathe. Sleeping on a high pillow and lying on the side of your face reduces the circulation to your skin, which means less nutrients.
Too much hot water is also detrimental as it increases coagulation and oil production. Some people go every day to the sauna and the steam room thinking it is great. But it takes about 7 days to recover from sitting for 15 minutes in the sauna. Do it once a month! But let skin recover.”
3) What skincare products that people regularly use are actually damaging the skin?
“Using any products that are not really suitable for your skin type is harmful. Healthy skin is supposed to be: smooth, even in color, hydrated, strong and free of disease. If you are missing one of these, you have to have a skincare programme that will restore this. Most of the products sold on the market are not interested, they are just about quick gratification: look good, smell good, feel good.”
4) What would you tell young women who don’t think they need to worry about skincare until they are much older?
“They are saying, ‘I am waiting until the damage has happened and then I will reverse it!’ Then you will need treatment and we might not be able to fix it 100%. Prevention, I will tell them, is important.”
5) Your brand aims to improve skin in a more natural way, do you think the fact that your clinics offer botox and filler treatment is a contradiction of this? And if not, why not?
“These are the icing on the cake. When you build a house, you need to build it on solid foundations. So you should always start with skin. Once you have activated the skin then look at what else is needed to help the patient look their best.
So we use other things, lasers, peels, injectables, but they are not essential. What is essential is the skin.”
“Our philosophy is the only message that makes sense when it comes to skin. Everybody is waiting for this message and now we have it.”
6) Do you feel that your philosophy is having a big impact on the industry as a whole?
“Most of the industry is driven by profit; it will be difficult for 10-20 years to overcome the financial power of big cosmetic skincare companies, because the idea of squeezing money out of people is so entrenched. There should be a movement of physicians all across the world, requesting that companies identify with labelling that their products might not be suitable for all skin types. We have to force them to do this or we will start boycotting their products. But the only way to reach that level is through education, through knowledge and through getting involved in this matter.
Our philosophy is the only message that makes sense when it comes to skin. Everybody is waiting for this message and now we have it.”
7) Could you outline for our readers, the perfect daily skin routine?
“Everyone has to wash their face twice a day to eliminate impurities, bacteria, pollution. Dead cells accumulate on the skin, so exfoliating is important. So wash, scrub and eliminate oil as much as you can.
Then put one cream to protect yourself for the pollution and sun. And if you have started aging then one cream to prevent that. It is very simple.”
Dr. Obagi ended on a powerful note: “I promised God one thing, I said, God you sent us to earth with beautiful skin, I as a dermatologist will send them back to you later with beautiful skin.”