Bridging the gap between skincare and therapyBy Alex Y. Vergara
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After launching Zo Skin Health, Obagi’s new “cosmeceutical” line, late last year, the Belo Medical Group (BMG), exclusive distributors of Zo products in the Philippines, recently launched Zo Medical at the Peninsula Manila’s Rigodon ballroom.
The launch coincided with the “unmasking” of Zo’s beauty ambassadors led by Cristalle Henares, BMG’s managing director, Frannie Jacinto and Atticus King as well as Zo’s “New Face of Beauty” in the person of singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla.
“This new line promises to bridge the gap between daily skin care and therapeutic skin care products, giving our patients healthy and renewed skin at every age, for every skin condition and at every stage in their lives,” said Dr. Karen Lipana, Zo’s medical director.
Unlike Zo Skin Health, Zo Medical literally goes deeper into the skin to address such skin problems as pigmentation disorders, sun damage, oily skin and other inflammatory disorders. Because of its therapeutic nature, the new line is categorized as prescription medicine to be dispensed and monitored by licensed dermatologists.
The Zo Medical line comes with a range of products such as Brightenez, Retamax, Melamin and Melamix that brighten, exfoliate and lighten the skin as well as boost collagen production. Its cleansing system, the Oilacleanse and Normacleanse, are designed to address and respond to a person’s particular skin type.
Zo Medical has also come up with a better alternative to Obagi Blue Peel with Zo Controlled Depth Peel, a beauty kit designed to safely hasten the resurfacing of damaged, wrinkled, leathery and uneven skin while helping new skin absorb complementary topical formulations.
Like every product in the Zo Medical line, the Depth Peel works on almost every adult regardless of age, skin type, gender and ethnicity. But people with problem skin are cautioned not to do the routine by themselves at home, as the Depth Peel is for professional use only.
Zo stands for Zein Obagi, the Los Angeles-based doctor and skincare visionary who first introduced the Obagi Nu Derm line 25 years ago. The Zo line is said to be an improvement of the original line. For one, it uses previously unidentified bioengineered complexes and plant stem cell components rich in antioxidants.
“Skincare science, like any other science, is not a static science,” said Hayden Kho, operations manager of Zo Skin Health and Zo Medical. “Like Dr. Obagi, we can only offer optimal results to our patients by continuously enhancing our offerings. It’s necessary that we adjust protocols all the time.”
Because stem-cell technology, for instance, wasn’t part of mainstream research 25 years ago, Obagi was limited to producing products based on available technology. This time, Zo Medical has so-called information-control agents that allow active ingredients to penetrate and target problem areas with more accuracy.
“And after 25 years, Dr. Obagi has also come up with a better alternative to hydroquinone,” said Kho. “After pioneering in the principles of skin correction, stimulation and pigmentation management, he has added DNA repair, inflammation control, bio function and non-hydroquinone treatment.”
Although hydroquinone and retinoic acid, two active ingredients present in the Obagi Nu Derm line, promote general repair, they also cause photosensitivity and hyperpigmentation or splotchy, uneven skin tone on certain people after several months of use.
Obagi has replaced these ingredients with prescription-grade retinol, which, unlike hydroquinone, is better absorbed by the skin because it’s made up of smaller molecules. Thus, the chances of skin irritation due to topical treatments not being fully absorbed by the skin are minimized.
In more graphic terms, Zo Medical users can now say goodbye to red, flaky or irritated skin, which were among the most common side effects raised by first-time Obagi Nu Derm users. And unlike Obagi Nu Derm, Zo Medical is said to utilize the so-called “universal skin-health approach.”
“With Zo Medical, doctors can now give their patients one protocol or one set of products regardless of age, gender, skin type and ethnicity,” said Kho, echoing what Lipana said earlier.
This one-size-fits-all approach will vary depending on the amount and combination used as well as the duration of treatment. That’s why only doctors can dispense these products. To protect both doctors and the public, BMG will not be selling any products from the Zo Medical line through the Internet.
“It’s very important that these products are controlled by a qualified physician,” said Kho. “We now have the products. We now have the science. We now have the protocols.”
PHOTOS: ANDREW TADALAN