Zo Skin Health
Strengths: Company provides complete ingredient lists on the Zo Skin Health Web site; good cleansers and scrubs; very good fragrance-free mineral sunscreen; all of the body-care products; the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection and include a mineral-based formula for those with sensitive skin or rosacea; some very good moisturizers and serums.
Weaknesses: Ridiculously overpriced; anti-acne products contain alcohol and one serum contains several irritants; some products contain fragrance chemicals known to cause irritation; inefficient options for those dealing with acne and sun-induced skin discolorations.
The "Zo" in Zo Skin Health are the initials of this line's creator, Dr. Zein Obagi. You may recall Obagi, this dermatologist's original namesake skin-care line, which initially was sold only in physicians' offices. Why he decided to create another line with an indirect and confusing association with his first brand is a question we couldn't get the company to answer to our satisfaction. We suspect this is just a way for him to sell his products to the mainstream market while also maintaining the exclusive dermatological bent for his earlier line. Actually, Obagi, the original line, is available online from lots of other skin-care sites as well, and there is no exclusive dermatology angle any more. In total, this adds up to ridiculous marketing nonsense that is neither medical nor good for your skin, and it’s all needlessly expensive. Whether or not women's interest will be sparked by the alleged formulary expertise, or by the blessing, of a dermatologist is yet to be seen.
The main differences between the original Obagi line and the Zo Skin Health line are that the Obagi line offers a couple prescription-only products that contain 4% hydroquinone and tretinoin. Curiously, some of the Zo Skin Health products have distinctly better formulas than similar products in the original Obagi line. The only other differences you'll find are packaging and the fact that Zo Skin Health products cost more.
As it turns out, despite a price point that's far from reasonable, there are more formulary victories than defeats in the Zo Skin Health collection. For the most part, this line does a good job of offering consumers formidable options to improve the appearance of skin and (in the case of sunscreens) to prevent further damage to aging skin. This is a worthwhile line if you're looking for products with retinol that also contain other state-of-the-art ingredients (most retinol products are one-note formularies).
The body-care products are also a cut above, though again, the prices are definitely not easy on the pocketbook. However, there are less expensive options, so there's no need to worry if you can't afford this line. Zo Skin Health is not one-stop shopping for all manner of sun-damaged or aging skin and it also isn't comprehensive enough to meet everyone's needs and preferences. However, formula- and appearance-wise it bests much of what Obagi touts as state-of-the-art in his original line. Ideally, he should've parlayed the best formulas devised for Zo Skin Health products into the Obagi line products because that would ostensibly give him reason to weed out the average to poor products that are still available.
For more information about Zo Skin Health, call 888-893-1375 or visit www.zoskinhealth.com.