Zo Skin Health Review - The Dermatology Review

Zo Skin Health Review

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

04.22.21DISCLAIMER

If you haven’t heard of ZO Skin Health, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of its founder, world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi. Dr. Obagi is also the creator of his namesake line of products — Obagi skin care — which are available everywhere from TheDermStore.com to Walmart. He left that brand in 2006 and launched a new skincare company in 2007 called ZO Skin Health.

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?

ZO Skin Health believes the only way to achieve skin health is through the power of science. We share this belief here at The Derm Review, which is why we’ve evaluated the ZO Skin Health product formulations through a scientific lens. Below we’ll discuss the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products. We’ll also share ZO Skin Health reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.

Zo Skin Health Review

What Are The Top 10 Best ZO Skin Health Products?

ZO Skin Health offers products for creating and maintaining healthy skin for anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, unique skin condition or skin type. From correcting sun damage and pigmentation, to preventing and protecting against future damage, ZO Skin Health has a solution for your skin care needs. Below we’ll give you a breakdown of the top 10 best Zo Skin Health products. 

 

ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish

  • A facial exfoliant that uses magnesium oxide crystals to exfoliate dead skin cells, creating a clear, smooth, and even toned complexion
  • Additional key ingredients include vitamin C and E, tea tree oil, and retinyl palmitate
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients

 

ZO Skin Health Oil Control Pads

  • Acne treatment oil control pads that are said to remove oil, normalize pore size, help smooth skin’s surface and reduce irritation
  • Designed to be used with a complementary acne treatment program
  • Key ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA)
  • Formula contains a high concentration of denatured alcohol
  • Contains a synthetic fragrance blend

 

ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense

  • An antioxidant serum that is said to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles, as well as promote overall skin health.
  • Key ingredients include glycerin, silicones, synthetic emollients, retinol, and peptides
  • The formulation contains very low concentrations of vitamin E and peptides
  • Contains many fragrant essential oils

 

ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Serum

  • A lightweight gel for all skin types that is said to strengthen skin, support skin rejuvenation, and protect against future signs of aging
  • Key ingredients include glycerin, many different silicones, disodium acetyl glucosamine phosphate, fermented red ginseng extract, dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamine diacetate, and Buddleja stem cells
  • Contains a synthetic fragrance blend

 

ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser

  • Gentle exfoliating cleanser for normal to oily skin that is said to target surface oil leaving the skin feeling clean, but not stripped and dry
  • Key ingredients include surfactants, glycerin, and jojoba esters
  • Surfactants contain one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspends oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away. 
  • Contains a synthetic fragrance blend

 

ZO Skin Health Vitamin C Self Activating

  • A vitamin C serum with 10% ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C), as well as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (vitamin C derivative)
  • This serum is said to brighten and redefine skin, promoting a more even skin tone and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • The formula contains several different silicones and the emollient squalane
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients

 

ZO Skin Health Retinol Skin Brightener

  • An anti-aging facial serum that contains 1% retinol
  • After absorption, retinol must be converted to retinoic acid before it can provide any benefits
  • Retinoic acid works deep within the skin where it boosts collagen synthesis, repairs connective tissue, and increases cellular turnover
  • According to a publication in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, retinoic acid can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients

 

ZO Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads

  • Moistened facial pads that are said to help minimize surface oil and exfoliate pore-clogging dead skin cells and dirt
  • The texture of the pads is specifically designed to help promote exfoliation
  • The highest concentration ingredient in these pads (after water) is denatured alcohol — keep reading below to learn why this is a major problem
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients

 

ZO Skin Health Wrinkle + Texture Repair

  • Another ZO Skin Health retinol serum (contains 0.5% retinol) that is said to reactivate the process of skin renewal to restore natural hydration, visibly improving the appearance of wrinkles and refining skin texture
  • Additional key ingredients include glycerin, silicones, synthetic emollients, lavender oil, apricot kernel oil, and Buddleja stem cells
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients 

 

ZO Skin Health Firming Serum

  • A mild, lightweight serum for all skin types (including sensitive skin) that is said to reinforce skin health and hydrate to support the visible improvement in skin elasticity and firmness
  • Key ingredients include glycerin, sodium DNA, plant stem cells, vitamin E, and retinyl palmitate
  • Contains synthetic fragrance ingredients 

What Are The Key Ingredients in ZO Skin Health Products?

As you probably noticed from our product descriptions above, the brand doesn’t use just one key ingredient in their skin care collection. Rather, each ZO Skin Health product contains different key ingredients in different concentrations. 

With that being said, the key ingredients that are used in ZO Skin Health products are pretty standard, such as vitamins C and E, retinol, glycerin, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. You can find these ingredients in countless products by other skin care brands.

Unfortunately, Zo Skin Health tends to use low concentrations of these beneficial ingredients in some of their products, and high concentrations of potentially damaging ingredients. 

For example, both the ZO Skin Health Oil Control Pads and ZO Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads contain a very high concentration of denatured alcohol. So why is this a problem? Let’s take a closer look at what high amounts of denatured alcohol will do to your skin. 

The problem with this type of alcohol is that, at first, it seems like it’s benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, immediately degreases the skin, and imparts a weightless feel. This is why you’ll notice that ZO Skin Health Oil Control Pads really do reduce excess oil on your skin. But not in a healthy way!

The immediate de-greasing effects of alcohol-based products can actually stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, causing skin to look even more shiny and oily than it was before. This excessive oil production combined with the possible irritation that denatured alcohol can cause may lead to an increase in acne breakouts. 

Another major problem with using high concentrations of denatured alcohol is that this ingredient is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier. According to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes., alcohol disrupts the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin). While alcohol may provide short term benefits, it’s not doing your skin any good in the long run. 

Another problem with the Zo Skin Health products is that they all contain fragrance. Some products contain fragrant essential oils, while others contain a synthetic fragrance blend. While these fragrance ingredients do make the products smell nice, they could be damaging your skin.

This is because all fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin.  In addition, the use of synthetic fragrance ingredients can be a problem because the brand can use a proprietary blend of chemicals to create the fragrance, and they do not have to disclose which chemicals they use on the label. They are allowed to list this blend as “Fragrance (Parfum)” on the ingredient list.

A 2018 study by Women’s Voices for the Earth discovered that in over 3,000 chemicals reportedly used for fragrances, 1,242 were chemicals of concern – and that included at least 7 possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents. Fragrance ingredients also have the potential to cause skin irritation and sensitivity.

Where to Buy ZO Skin Health Products?

ZO Skin Health products are only available through the brand’s Physician Online Store and ZO Authorized Physicians.

What is The ZO Skin Health Return Policy?

The ZO Skin Health return policy states, “If you are not 100% satisfied, a 30-day money-back guarantee is offered on all ZO products purchased from www.zoskinhealth.com. Please make sure the product is returned within 30 days of the order date on the packing slip to ensure a refund (excludes shipping and handling charges).”

Is ZO Skin Health Cruelty Free?

ZO Skin Health is cruelty free. 

ZO Skin Health Reviews

ZO Skin Health reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, but almost too positive. It seems as though the brand may only display the 5-star ZO Skin Health reviews. After looking through countless pages of ZO Skin Health reviews, we could not find even one review that was less than 5 stars. Keeping that in mind, we’ll still share a few ZO Skin Health reviews for you to consider. 

The brand’s most popular product — ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish — has received many raving 5 star reviews. The reviews mention that it exfoliates the skin well without being too harsh.

For example, one review says, “Exfoliating Polish is my all time favorite exfoliator. Most products are either too harsh or too soft. This one feels just right. It’s gritty enough that I get a good exfoliation, but not harsh enough that it tears my skin. I always recommend this product to my patients. It’s great for all skin types.”

And the ZO Skin Health Vitamin C Serum has plenty of reviews that confirm that this serum can improve skin tone, texture, and brightness. For example, one review says, “This is the most effective vitamin C serum I’ve used. My old pigmentation from acne started to clear within one week of use. Highly recommend this product.”

Our Verdict

Overall, we don’t recommend ZO Skin Health products simply because the cons outweigh the pros. 

Pros

  • Many positive ZO Skin Health reviews
  • Beneficial (yet standard) ingredients used in the formulations

Cons

  • High price point (e.g. ZO Skin Health Firming Serum is $235 USD for 1.6 fl oz)
  • Some products contain very high concentrations of denatured alcohol
  • All products contain fragrance 

What Are Some Alternatives to ZO Skin Health Products?

Since we don’t recommend ZO Skin Health products, we wanted to give you a couple alternatives to consider. One brand we recommend is Formulyst because they believe in long term skin care treatments rather than short term cover-ups.

One example is the Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate, which contains a concentrated combination of five unique peptides that can stimulate the production of Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF). It is thought that EGF sends signals to cells called fibroblasts to produce more collagen, which may help to reduce signs of aging. Applying products that increase EGF production — such as the Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate — may increase skin strength and integrity, thereby softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products.

References:
Clin Interv Aging. 2006 Dec; 1(4): 327–348.
BBA Biomembranes, May 2012, pages 1410-1419
Women’s Voices for the Earth “Unpacking The Fragrance Industry” 2018

THE BEST SKIN CARE LINES 2021

1

Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds.Read More
2

Formulyst

The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Read More
3

Advanced Dermatology

The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns.Read More

Zo Skin Health Growth Factor Serum Review

The Zo Skin Health Growth Factor Serum was designed to serve as an all-in-one, hydrating gel that specifically targets wrinkles and fine lines. Unlike most serums, this product comes as a gel-like formula, blurring the lines between serum and moisturizer. Additionally the ingredients behind this formula are loaded with humectants and other hydrators to plump sagging skin and reduce moisture loss, both of which can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. But the real star of the show with this product is the abundance of anti-aging fighting ingredients. These include dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate and buddleja stem cell, as well as unique complexes like Zo Skin’s ZPRO technology. Some of these ingredients help to target wrinkles and fine lines that have already become visible, while others work to prevent new or worsening fine lines from becoming visible in the future. With all this in mind, we would recommend this product for those of you who are looking for a gentle and super hydrating anti-aging treatment.

INGREDIENTS

Zo Skin Health Daily Power Defense Review

The Zo Skin Health Daily Power Defense Serum was designed to serve as a multi-purpose, active ingredient rich serum to improve the skin from several different angles. Loaded with antioxidants, ceramides, peptides, retinol and more, this product aims to tackle some of the most difficult aspects of skincare including skin damage, premature aging and moisture loss. Zo Skin Health is the latest brainchild from Dr. Obagi, the founder of cult classic skincare brand, Obagi Medical. This new venture utilizes the best and most well researched active ingredients to produce noticeable improvements to the skin with consistent use. For example, using the Zo Skin Health Daily Power Defense Serum consistently can help to prevent environmental damage caused by UV rays, pollution and stress, while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even acne, thanks to the retinol that is present within this formula.

INGREDIENTS

Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish Review

For a polish scrub that can be used weekly, we’d recommend trying out a dedicated product like the Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish. This product was designed to serve as a powerful facial scrub that helps to clear away dead skin cells as well as any additional debri that has accumulated on the surface of the skin. But what makes this exfoliating polish different from other physical exfoliants on the market? One of the key distinctions between the Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish and others on the market is the use of magnesium crystals as the main exfoliating agent. These crystals help to remove the dead skin cells while also preventing the formation of clogged pores due to excess buildup. With that said however, magnesium crystals can also be potentially irritating since these particles due have uneven edges which can cause microtears on the skin. In order to avoid this, we recommend applying very light pressure to the skin as you rub it into the skin and being sure to be gentle when applying and removing the scrub.

INGREDIENTS
  • TDR Original review: Mar 05, 2021. Reply

    Often people compare Zo Skincare with Obagi. Zo was founded by Zein Obagi (ZO are his initials), and he is also founder of Obagi. Obagi was later sold to a group of investors and he is no longer involved with Obagi. If you have not heard of Obagi, it is a clinic are skin care range with treatments focused on acne and hyperpigmentation. Zein Obagi owns Zo Skincare and is now actively involved with the brand. Their formulation philosophy is focused on skin health restoration. Zein’s product range is innovative and based on the latest science. In terms of pricing, both are expensive but Zo is even more expensive.

    Zo products are clinical in nature and side effects are common. ZO Skin Health Radical Night Repair contains 1% retinol. If you have not used retinol before, you will likely experience redness and. Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads are not suitable for sensitive skin.

    Zein Obagi owns Zo Skincare and is actively involved with the brand. Their formulation philosophy is focused on skin health restoration. Zein’s product range is innovative and based on more recent product data.

  • TDR Original review: Mar 04, 2021. Reply

    Here’s a full list of Zo skincare products

    GENTLE CLEANSER
    EXFOLIATING CLEANSER
    HYDRATING CLEANSER
    EXFOLIATING POLISH
    COMPLEXION RENEWAL PADS
    OIL CONTROL PADS ACNE TREATMENT
    CALMING TONER
    DAILY POWER DEFENSE
    GROWTH FACTOR SERUM
    FIRMING SERUM
    WRINKLE + TEXTURE REPAIR
    RADICAL NIGHT REPAIR
    10% VITAMIN C SELF-ACTIVATING
    INSTANT PORE REFINER
    EXFOLIATION ACCELERATOR
    ENZYMATIC PEEL
    BRIGHTALIVE
    RETINOL SKIN BRIGHTENER .25%
    RETINOL SKIN BRIGHTENER .5%
    RETINOL SKIN BRIGHTENER 1%
    PIGMENT CONTROL CRÈME 4% HQ – RX
    PIGMENT CONTROL + BRIGHTENING CRÈME 4% HQ – RX
    ACNE CONTROL
    COMPLEXION CLEARING MASQUE
    CORRECT + CONCEAL – LIGHT
    CORRECT + CONCEAL – MEDIUM
    ROZATROL
    INTENSE EYE CRÈME
    EYE BRIGHTENING CRÈME
    RENEWAL CRÈME
    RECOVERY CRÈME
    HYDRATING CRÈME
    CELLULITE CONTROL
    BODY EMULSION
    SUNSCREEN + POWDER BROAD-SPECTRUM – LIGHT
    SUNSCREEN + POWDER BROAD-SPECTRUM – MEDIUM
    SUNSCREEN + POWDER BROAD-SPECTRUM – DEEP
    SUNSCREEN + PRIMER SPF 30
    SMART TONE BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF 50
    DAILY SHEER BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF 50
    BROAD-SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN SPF 50
    FIRMING SERUM ACCELERATED
    ROZATROL SERUM ACCELERATED
    HYDRAFACIAL ROZATROL BOOSTER
    HYDRAFACIAL BRIGHTALIVE BOOSTER
    ZO 3-STEP PEELZO CONTROLLED DEPTH PEEL
    POST PROCEDURE PROGRAM

  • Fran Original review: Feb 04, 2021. Reply

    I saw an estetician for rosaecea. The products are not working. At first it seemed like they were then my face flared up. Going to go the course until we meet again. Sometimes this happens before it gets better?

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