Battle of the Blemish

Acne can mar a beautiful complexion at almost any age. Most prevalent in teens and young adults, it can plague women well into their 50s. The causes of acne may include genetics, hormones, excess oil production, diet, sleeping habits, hygiene, and stress. Therefore a successful acne treatment needs to be customized to your specific kind of acne condition.

“Drug store and prescription treatments that claim to treat acne can actually perpetuate the condition,” says Dr. ZeinObagi. “From the synthetic oils in so-called ‘oil-free’ cleansers to the pore-clogging agents in moisturizers, unnecessary ingredients can aggravate acne, leaving people afflicted with acne and blemishes to assume that their skin issues are incurable. With the right regimen, many people can clear up their skin without a prescription.”

Despite the cause, the mechanism of acne is similar. When skin does not exfoliate properly, dead cells build up on the skin surface and inside pores. The dead cells mix with trapped oil and cause pores to become clogged, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads. Through bacteria into the mix, and you’ve got inflamed and irritated skin.

ZO® Skin Health by Zein Obagi MD offers a targeted regimen designed to heal and prevent blemishes, effectively breaking the cycle of acne. With the Acne Prevention +Treatment Program, ZO® Skin Health combines three key acne-fighting products as well as an exclusive Bio Sulfur-Masque to deliver the ultimate acne solution.


Cleansing is an important step in any skincare regimen, but when treating acne, it is critical. ZO® Skin Health Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser targets the dead skin cells that trap bacteria, reduces excess oil, and neutralizes free radicals. “Skin must be cleansed for one full minute,” according to Dr. Obagi. “That is the time required to adequately reduce surface sebum and remove dirt and debris.” The exfoliating action in the Offects® cleanser comes from smoothing micro beads that leave skin clear and soft.


Even with diligent cleansing, dead skin cells, a key acne trigger, can still build up. ZO® Skin Health Offects® Exfoliating Polish used twice a week will help to remove the build up and promote the healing process. “Exfoliating is a crucial step in fighting acne,” says Dr. Obagi. “Unclogging pores and clearing away debris also prevents new blemishes from forming.” Offects® Exfoliating Polish uses round magnesium crystals to gently, yet effectively, remove dead skin cells, increase epidermal turnover, and create a clearer, smoother, more even-toned complexion.


In addition to exfoliation, reducing sebum—the oil on the skin’s surface—is paramount. ZO® Skin Health Offects® TE-Pads used twice daily sweeps away any excess oil and dead skin cells left behind after cleansing. The multi-tasking pads are soaked in 2% salicylic acid—the highest over-the-counter concentration—to gently exfoliate and control breakouts by reducing oiliness. “These one-of-a-kind pads also prep skin for future treatments,” says Dr. Obagi. “The treatment actually increases the benefits of other therapies used in conjunction with salicylic acid.”


The fourth product in the ZO® Skin Health acne regimen is available only in the ZO® Skin Health Acne Prevention + Treatment Program. The ZO® Skin Health Bio-Sulfur Masque continues the system’s attack on excess sebum, but also calms acne prone skin. Use it once per week, applying the paste evenly to face and neck and leaving it on for 15 minutes. It can also help spot treat pimples overnight.