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Health & Wellness

ZO To You: You Don’t Have to Live With Acne or Melasma!


“Look at my skin! That’s what took care of my acne. I am living proof of the fact that it works.”

Florenda N. Ruffell-Smith, Registered Nurse and Aesthetician at Bougainvillea Clinic on Tortola, BVI, was filled with excitement as she told us about her work, how she came to specialize in the field, about her discovery of ZO Skin Health Products and her eagerness to expose more persons, young and older, to this particular treatment.

And by the way, yes, her skin is flawless. At her age…not a blemish in sight!

Ruffell-Smith started off in nursing at home in The Philippines. She gained invaluable experience working in Saudi Arabia and England. 

It was a holiday trip to the British Virgin Islands in 1988 with her husband that convinced her family where they would settle in the next couple of years, at least for a while.

Ruffell-Smith’s career in the Virgin Islands started at Bougainvillea Clinic in 1994 with Dr. Robin Tattersall, who had a thriving Plastic Surgery operation. “I was focusing on plastic surgery back then, but at the same time, we had to be ‘jack of all trades’, she recalled. 

She developed an interest in skin care when she was affected by adult acne due to hormonal factors. Her skin started breaking out and she got tired of trying various products which did not work. Desperate to help herself and others, she decided to further her studies in the US. 

Back in the BVI by 2001, she took up skin care at Bougainvillea Clinic and has been doing that ever since.

Through continuous education, Ruffell-Smith expanded into training for laser hair removals using IPL or Intense Pulsed Light and Blue Peel treatments, which helps to address pigmentation or discoloration of the skin. She also does microdermabrasion, a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure which uses crystals to exfoliate dead cells, leaving the patient with that extra glow and healthier, younger-looking skin. In addition, she finds herself seeing more and more patients who come for skin rejuvenation, such as facials.

Now while many persons may understand exactly what this is all about, there are some who should know but really don’t. You will find that this is a service that either you or someone you know should take advantage of.

As explained by the Aesthetician: “As we get older, our bodies physically age. Because of environmental factors such as pollution, the sun, and even our lifestyles, meaning our diet and whether we smoke, drink alcohol or eat too much refined or dairy foods, those contribute to the aging process of the skin, damaging your cells.“

She went on to point out that we naturally exfoliate every six weeks, so once the upper level of new cells come to the surface, normally in washing our faces we get rid of some of the dead skin. However, if we don’t do much of that and do anything to protect our skin from the burning rays of the sun as well, the cells keep piling on each other. If you have oily skin, you would then get blocked pores, leading to a false sense of dryness. 

The Bougainvillea Clinic Aesthetician explained that these hormonal, genetic and lifestyle factors that trigger acne, exacerbate the production of oil glands. Body oils are not beneficial, rather harmful to the skin, not only contributing to sagging but the increased production of melanocytes that are responsible for the coloring of the skin.

“So you reach for an over-the-counter moisturizer or other product and lather your skin and you may see some result,” Ruffell-Smith said. “But that does not address the root of your problem; that is only temporary.”

She pointed out that with some products, the moisture impedes the natural exfoliating process of the skin and the skin tries to work harder to unblock the pores, resulting in blackheads and pimples and ultimately scarring. 

Are you looking at your face or some other part of your skin right now or maybe thinking about somebody who suffers from acne or melasma? Then you would be so pleased to hear about the ZO Skin Health Products, developed by Dr. Zein Obagi, Dermatologist and world-renowned skincare expert. 

Dr. Obagi created a line of skin health products in 2007 in the US to provide physicians and patients with what his company calls the world’s most innovative and effective skin health solutions. The products contain formulations which maintain the results of therapeutic treatments, provide effective daily skincare and protection from the environment and treat a range of skin disorders and chronic conditions.

Ruffell-Smith attests to the fact that ZO goes deep into the cellular level and addresses the cells that are acting abnormally. She said these products are great for any type of skin, including blacks, Caucasian or Asian.

The products are medical grade and as such are not available over the counter. However, after an analysis of your skin at Bougainvillea Clinic, she would be happy to recommend an appropriate skin care programme and introduce you to ZO.

“My focus really is to help men and women and students as well with regards to their skin conditions,” the Aesthetician summed up. “There is a great need for that here because of the tropical climate. The number one enemy of the skin is the sun and number two is oils.”

She encouraged persons with pimples or skin discoloration to make an appointment to see her for a consultation at Bougainvillea Clinic. She said even though persons might say they cannot afford the entire line of products, she would encourage them to get the sunscreen and apply that before leaving home.

“Everybody burns, just at different levels,” she declared. She said once you treat your skin properly, you will find renewed confidence and your insecurities will disappear. 

Ruffell-Smith said persons using ZO will see full skin renewal in six months if they follow the treatment regimen, patient compliance.

How’s that for saying bye to acne and melasma!