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What is Zo?


ZO is a brand of skincare products designed by world-famous dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi. His company, Zo Skin Health Inc., formulates products using high-quality ingredients and proprietary technologies to maintain healthy skin for life. There are actually two different collections in this brand, with one collection only available through medical professionals:


  • ZO Skin Health: This line consists of products that can be used as part of an effective daily skincare routine and that can prolong the effects of therapeutic aesthetic procedures. These products also provide protection from environmental factors like sun exposure and pollution in order to maintain healthy skin


  • ZO Medical: As the name suggests, this line includes products with potent ingredients to treat a wide range of skin disorders like hyperpigmentation and acne. Only certified physicians can prescribe these aesthetic solutions to patients.


What is the product range?


This product range includes products that are integral to a good skincare routine, with products that provide the help needed to remove dirt, impurities, and dead cells as well as increase new cell turnover for a soft, supple, and blemish-free skin. The ZO brand includes products that are appropriate for every step of a comprehensive skincare regimen.


  • Cleanse: This is the first step in a skincare routine. The cleansing process removes impurities like excessive sebum, environmental dirt, and makeup. It is best to cleanse the face at least twice daily. The ZO products that are categorised as cleansers are:


  • Offects Hydrating Cleanser
  • Offects Exfoliating Cleanser
  • Normacleanse Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin
  • Oilacleanse Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin
  • Foamacleanse Cleanser for All Skin Types


  • Exfoliate: This step is important to effectively remove the dead and keratinized skin cells in order to make way for new cells to grow. There are 2 types of exfoliation—physical and chemical exfoliation. The former makes use of small grains or a brush to slough off dead cells. Do not use physical exfoliators with large grains like fruit pits and nut shells, as they have a tendency to cause micro-tears on the skin. Chemical exfoliators make use of chemicals like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) to gently break down the dead cells and unclog pores. Usually, the exfoliation part of a skincare routine is only done a few times a week depending on the skin condition and a dermatologist’s recommendation. The ZO products that are categorised as exfoliators are:


  • Offects Exfoliating Polish
  • Vitascrub Acne Treatment Salicylic Acid 2%


  • Tone: Toning is usually done after cleansing the skin. This stabilises the skin pH while removing any leftover cleanser, makeup, and oil. It also tightens pores and prepares the skin to receive the benefits of the next product being used in the routine. The ZO products that are categorised as toners are:


  • Offects TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment
  • Balatone Calming Toner, pH Balancer
  • Cebatrol Oil Control Pads, Acne Treatment


  • Hydration & Calming: Moisturisation is a vital step in ensuring the skin barrier remains hydrated and well-regulated. The protective barrier of the skin is made up of dead cells embedded in lipids and covered by a layer of slightly acidic hydrolipid film. Generally, this film shields the body from extreme temperatures, climate, chemical substances, microbes, and even water. If the barrier layer fails, skin problems like dryness, itchiness, irritation, and sensitivity emerge. When the skin is hydrated, the barrier layer remains healthy, providing calming and soothing benefits to the skin. The ZO products that are categorised as moisturisers are:  


  • Ommerse Renewal Creme
  • Ommerse Overnight Recovery Creme
  • Restoracalm Soothing Recovery Creme
  • Revitatrol Epidermal Repair Creme


  • Treatment: This optional step makes use of targeted solutions depending on personal skin conditions and preference. Some common targeted solutions include acne-fighting, pore-reducing, and skin-brightening products. Usually, the ingredients in these solutions exist in concentrated quantities in order to deliver maximum treatment effects in the problematic areas. The ZO products that are categorised as treatment solutions are:  


  • Ossential Daily Power Defense
  • Ossential Growth Factor Serum Plus
  • Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair
  • Ossential Brightalive Non-Retinol Skin Brightener
  • Ossential C-Bright Serum 10% Vitamin C
  • Ossential Instant Pore Refiner
  • Olluminate Intense Eye Repair
  • Offects Sulfur Masque Acne Treatment
  • Glycogent Exfoliation Accelerator
  • Aknetrol Acne Treatment
  • Aknebright Acne Spot & Pigment Treatment
  • Melamin Skin Bleaching & Correcting Creme
  • Melamix Skin Lightener & Blending Creme
  • Brightenex 1.0% Retinol
  • Brightenex 0.5% Retinol
  • Brightenex Skin Brightener & Correcting Creme .25% Retinol
  • Retamax Active Vitamin A Micro Emulsion
  • Hydrafirm Eye Brightening Repair Creme
  • Melamin-C Skin Bleaching and Correcting Creme
  • Rozatrol Normalizing Serum


  • Sun Protection: Despite being an important step in a skincare regimen, a lot of people still do not pay attention to sun protection. Sunlight is a source of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can be very harmful to the skin. Sunblocking agents exist in 2 versions—physical and chemical. Physical sunblock creams are usually made of minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which deflect UV rays. On the other hand, chemical sunblock creams contain chemical substances like ethylhexyl triazone, which absorb UV rays. Sun protection is paramount in preventing premature skin ageing as it prevents free radicals from causing harm to the skin. The ZO products that are categorised as sun protection agents are: 


  • Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30
  • Oclipse Smart Tone SPF 50
  • Oclipse Sun Spray SPF 50
  • Oclipse Daily Sheer SPF 50
  • Oclipse-C SPF 50


  • Enhancers: Being true to its name, this optional step enhances the effects of other skincare methods. These are also products that can be used on different areas of the body for overall skin maintenance. The ZO products that are categorised as enhancers are: 


  • Oraser Correcting Hand and Body Scrub
  • Oraser Nourishing Hand Creme
  • Oraser Body Emulsion Plus
  • Oraser Cellulite Control
  • Offects Correct & Conceal – Light
  • Offects Correct & Conceal – Medium
  • Liprebuild Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment
  • Invisapeel Intensive Resurfacing Peel


  • Professional Treatments: These professional products are intended to be used as in-office treatments to complement skincare routines done at home. Only certified medical practitioners are allowed to handle these treatments for their patients. The ZO products that are categorised as professional treatments are: 


  • ZO Controlled Depth Peel
  • ZO 3 – Step Peel Professional Use Only
  • HydraFacial Brightalive Booster Serum


  • Programs + Kits: The products listed above can be grouped together in smaller bundles to provide optimal skin improvements to patients. There are kits for various skin types and problems. The different ZO programs and kits are: 


  • Phase I: Daily Skincare Program
  • Phase II: Anti-Ageing Program
  • Phase III: Aggressive Anti-Ageing Program
  • Acne Prevention and Treatment Program
  • Skin Brightening Program for Hyperpigmentation, Non-Hydroquinone
  • Multi-Therapy Hydroquinone System – RX
  • Post Procedure Recovery System
  • Non-Hydroquinone Hyperpigmentation System for Restoring Even Skin Tone
  • Skin Normalizing System


Any of these products can be used according to the patient’s skin needs. Conduct a thorough skin assessment to ensure product suitability for ideal performance and improvements.


What are the ingredients and technologies?


Most of the products stated above are packed with skin-curative and skin-protective ingredients of superior quality. Exclusive bio-engineered complexes also enhance the delivery of these ingredients into the skin for amazing benefits. Some of the common ingredients and complexes used in a majority of the products are:


  • Sodium hyaluronate: This substance is derived from hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring complex carbohydrate that hydrates cells. In skincare, sodium hyaluronate hydrates and replenishes moisture.
  • Glycerin: Also called glycerol, it is a good humectant, which binds moisture from the environment to the skin. It works best when used in conjunction with other hydration-boosting agents like hyaluronic acid. Glycerin ensures that the skin is well moisturised and that the patient is left without a tight feeling to the skin.
  • Allantoin: This is a chemical compound derived from the comfrey plant. It is highly regarded for its skin soothing abilities as well as for softening the skin to help it effectively absorb moisture. Allantoin also promotes healthy tissue synthesis.
  • Vitamin A: Also known as retinol, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin with many skincare benefits. This antioxidant expedites the cellular renewal process and erases wrinkles. With repeated use, skin tone is improved and the skin becomes firmer.
  • Vitamin C: This is a water-soluble vitamin with amazing antioxidant activity. It limits skin damage caused by UV rays and other free radicals. Not only that, vitamin C is known to brighten the skin, giving it a more even tone.
  • Vitamin E: This is another fat-soluble antioxidant that protects the skin from inflammation and repairs injured cells. Vitamin E also works synergistically with vitamin C in fighting against harmful UV rays.
  • Salicylic acid: This BHA is a good chemical exfoliator that sloughs off the uppermost skin layer, which is composed of dead cells. It is even effective enough to unclog pores, and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a potent acne-treating ingredient.
  • Glycolic acid: This AHA is another chemical exfoliator that works similarly to salicylic acid. It penetrates the skin easily due to its smaller molecular size, and disintegrates the tough superficial layers of the skin. It also stimulates greater cell production for a radiant finish.
  • Beta glucan: This polysaccharide sugar is derived from oats and is perfect for calming red and irritated skin.
  • Angelica polymorpha sinensis (ginseng) root extract: This herb extract calms and soothes irritated skin.
  • Buddleja davidii stem cell: Also known as summer lilac, the extract from this flowering plant is rich in antioxidant, which can prevent premature signs of ageing. 
  • Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil: Tea tree oil is a potent antimicrobial that can kill off acne-causing bacteria. It also keeps the skin healthy by protecting it from irritation.
  • Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7): These peptides stimulate collagen and elastin production to diminish wrinkles and improve skin texture.
  • Glutathione: This is a tripeptide molecule consisting of cysteine, glycine, and glutamate. In the body, it functions as a strong antioxidant and protects many organs. In skincare, it is a good skin whitening agent, as it inhibits the production of dark pigments. Therefore, hyperpigmentation can be lightened using this compound.
  • 4% hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a chemical substance that suppresses skin pigment production and therefore reduces hyperpigmentation, including age spots.
  • LiquiPatch: This technology allows the aesthetic solution to form an instant, invisible intradermal patch to deliver topical agents and seal them in for a sustained release.
  • ZOX Exclusive Complex: This complex is composed of encapsulated vitamins A, C, and E, and is designed to release these antioxidants over a span of 12 hours. It is vital in protecting the skin from free radicals and helps to slow down premature ageing.
  • ZPRO Exclusive Complex: This is a bioengineered complex made of antioxidant (buddleja davidii stem cell) and biomimetic proteins. While the antioxidant prevents further dermal damage induced by free radicals, hydrolysed sericin penetrates into the skin to boost hyaluronic acid and collagen synthesis. This allows the skin to remains healthy, well moisturised, and firm for longer.
  • ZO-RRS2 Exclusive Complex: This complex is made solely from the plant extracts marrubium vulgare (white horehound) stem cell and leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss) stem cell. Just like the other 2 bioengineered complexes, it is packed with potent antioxidant protection that provides anti-inflammatory action. 


What are the skin concerns that can be treated?


Some skin concerns that respond well to ZO products are acne, ageing, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, rosacea, sensitivity, and sun damage.  


How long does it take to notice improvements?


A complete skin cycle—the process of new cells growing at the deepest layer of the epidermis, which will eventually mature and slough off the uppermost layer—takes approximately 6 weeks. Skin improvements brought on by the continuous use of ZO products will only be obvious after about 4 to 5 months.


Is this product safe?


Most patients respond well to these products since they are designed with only high-quality ingredients. However, patients who are allergic to any of the ingredients should avoid the particular product in which that ingredient is found. Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not advised to use these products as the safety of use during these conditions has not been established. Read the product package inserts carefully to learn more about the warnings, precautions, and contraindications.


Zo Products side effects


Some of the products contain ingredients (e.g. salicylic acid, retinol) that increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Patients should therefore apply adequate sunscreen and wear protective attire to protect themselves from sunlight. Patients who do not use adequate sun protection may experience increased sun sensitivity, skin irritation, and rash. Hypersensitivity can also occur in patients who accidentally used products with offending ingredients in them. Read the product package insert carefully to learn more about possible reactions.