The importance of exfoliation in your ZO Skin Health routine

Rachel Meyer

If you regularly walk past the exfoliating skincare products in the shops, you may be surprised to learn exfoliation is a key element of any skincare routine for healthy, clear, smooth skin — especially if you use ZO Skin Health products.  

At Face Dr, our Skin Experts regularly recommend ZO Skin Health products to our clients due to their effective results, and when it comes to skin exfoliation, their products — such as their ZO Exfoliating Cleanser and ZO Exfoliating Polish — are second to none. 

From ZO’s iconic ‘Getting Skin Ready®’ routine, to the difference between physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation, to the very best exfoliators you can buy, we’re sloughing away any confusion around skin exfoliators, right here… 

Thinking “you had me at smooth skin”? Skip ahead to book an appointment with one of our Skin Experts here:




Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • What is ZO Skin Health? 
  • What is exfoliation in skincare? 
  • What are the different types of exfoliation? 
  • Why is exfoliation important? 
  • What is the ZO Getting Skin Ready® protocol? 
  • What skin types could benefit most from exfoliation? 
  • What ZO products are best for exfoliation?
  • Summary: Should I start exfoliating with ZO Skin Health products?



ZO Skin Health



What is ZO Skin Health?

ZO Skin Health is a medical-grade skincare brand originally founded by leading dermatologist Dr Zein Obagi, and their formulations utilise the very best in skincare science to help alleviate some of the most difficult skincare conditions and issues. 

Their signature ‘Getting Skin Ready’ philosophy is focused on a three-step skincare routine; cleanse, exfoliate, and tone. By adopting this philosophy in your own skincare routine, you can benefit from their effective formulations which keep skin clear and healthy long-term. As a highly effective range, our Skin Experts regularly recommend ZO Skin Health to our clients if they want to see real, game-changing results.  





ZO Skin Health Exfoliator Swatches



What is exfoliation in skincare?

Exfoliation is the act of removing any dirt, impurities, dead skin cells or rough skin to leave behind a softer, smoother complexion. Many people like to do this before applying makeup so they have a smooth canvas for application. However,  regular exfoliation is a great way to keep your skin healthy and bright in the long run. 

Our skin naturally renews itself in a cyclical fashion, removing dead skin cells and impurities on its own in order to make way for new, healthy skin cells. However, as our skin ages over time and becomes compromised by environmental damage (such as pollution or sun damage), the natural exfoliation process slows, so implementing exfoliation into your skincare routine can help encourage skin renewal and keep your complexion looking youthful for longer. 

What are the different types of exfoliation?

There are two main types of skin exfoliation: chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation. 

Let’s start with chemical exfoliants.

These are acids (in various strengths) applied to skin to dissolve dead skin cells and other impurities. You can often buy weaker chemical exfoliants over the counter or in shops, but if you want a medical-grade chemical exfoliant that provides impressive results, you should go to a specialist clinic, or speak to a service such as Face Dr. Some of the most common chemical exfoliants include glycolic acid, lactic acid, retinoic acid, salicylic acid, and more. 

Then there are physical exfoliants.

Chemical exfoliants will dissolve away the outer layers of skin, while physical exfoliants will slough off any dead skin cells manually. This can be achieved with a product containing lots of tiny abrasive elements (like a face scrub), or an object that can exfoliate (like a brush or loofah). Plastic microbeads were previously used to provide an exfoliating feel on skin, but these have been banned in many places around the world to avoid microbeads being washed down the drain and contaminating our oceans.

If you are unsure whether or not to use a chemical or physical exfoliant, that’s OK. Your Skin Expert can advise on which type might be best for you depending on your skin's health, history, and the goals you would like to achieve. 




Why is exfoliation important?



Why is exfoliation important?

Exfoliating products essentially remove the top layers of your skin in order to encourage skin health and improve its appearance. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation can:

  • Leave skin looking brighter and fresher
  • Provide a better surface for the absorption of other topical skin care products
  • Prevent clogged pores, which results in fewer breakouts for those with acne
  • Increase long-term collagen production, which enhances skin glow and radiance

If you are wondering when to exfoliate, this is usually all about personal preference, although if you are trying to treat a specific skin condition or achieve a goal with your skin, your Skin Expert can advise on the frequency of exfoliation required. 

As a general tip, exfoliating in the morning can improve skin brightness, while exfoliating in the evening can remove any makeup or impurities that have built up during the day.



ZO Getting Skin Ready



What is the ZO Getting Skin Ready® protocol?

ZO Skin Health promotes their Getting Skin Ready® protocol, which is a simple three-step skincare routine — cleanse, exfoliate, tone — that preps skin in advance so any targeted treatments can achieve optimum absorption. This routine has helped many of our clients to treat skin concerns and keep their complexion clear and healthy.

Exfoliation is a key step in this protocol when using ZO Skin Health products, which can help to ensure skin functions properly, tolerates daily exposure, and prevents issues forming such as acne, rosacea, pigmentation, enlarged pores, rough skin texture, and more. 

You can read more about this in our article; What is ZO Skin Health's "Getting Skin Ready" or GSR?


What skin types could benefit most from exfoliation?

If you’re wondering what works best for your skin type when it comes to exfoliation, your Skin Expert will be able to help you implement this key step into your routine to provide the best results. As a general rule, here are the skin types that could benefit from including exfoliation in their skincare routine: 

  • Sensitive skin can struggle with abrasive physical or harsh chemical exfoliants, so sticking to BHAs can be the best choice as these are less irritating.
  • Acne-prone skin will benefit most from chemical exfoliants such as retinoids, salicylic acid or glycolic acid.
  • Normal skin can typically try multiple exfoliating techniques and products without adverse effects, but it’s best to get advice from your Skin Expert as there may be a specific product that can get you the skin results you want.
  • Dry skin that is rough or flaky should stick to chemical exfoliators such as AHAs to break through the top dry layer of skin and effectively hydrate and smooth.
  • Oily skin that produces a lot of grease can often use stronger chemical or physical exfoliators, so speak to your Skin Expert for the best recommendation for you.
  • Combination skin may benefit from focusing on individual areas of skin, and only exfoliating the areas that require it. Your Skin Expert can talk you through the best areas to exfoliate and how to alternate products if your skin changes from day to day. 

For all skin types except oily skin, you should limit your at-home exfoliating routine to once or twice a week to avoid making your skin more sensitive due to overuse. 


ZO Exfoliating Cleanser



What ZO products are best for exfoliation?

ZO Skin Health offers a huge range of amazing exfoliating products that provide our clients with incredible results. Here are a few of the most popular in the range: 

  • ZO Exfoliating Cleanser is best for normal to oily skin as it contains gentle foaming surfactants to remove dirt and sebum from pores without stripping or drying skin. The ingredients help to calm and soothe irritation, and leave behind smooth skin. 
  • ZO Exfoliating Polish uses magnesium crystals to exfoliate and restore a smooth texture and healthy glow. The formulation helps even out skin tone by stimulating cellular renewal while removing dry, flaky skin. If you are planning to use a targeted serum, ZO’s Exfoliating Polish helps enhance product penetration.
  • ZO Dual Action Scrub is perfect for dull skin, acne-prone skin, or textural issues as it helps to buff away excess oil, dirt, and impurities and introduces ingredients that restore lipids to enhance skin barrier protection.
  • ZO Enzymatic Peel helps to smooth uneven, rough textured skin and boost brightness. With a combination of papain and bromelain plant enzymes as well as exfoliating glycolic acid, this effective formulation is used in professional skin clinics.
  • ZO Exfoliation Accelerator contains a glycolic and lactic acid complex that provides a gentle yet effective exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and increase cell regeneration for smoother skin. Antioxidants also help prevent future damage.


Summary: Should I start exfoliating with ZO Skin Health products?

ZO Skin Health products are some of the best you can purchase in the country. The medical-grade ingredients and required prescription means you not only come away with highly effective products but also a tailored skincare routine and advice you can trust. ZO offers many exfoliating products to suit all skin types and help with many skin conditions. 

We always recommend booking a free video call with one of our Skin Experts to discuss your skin history, goals, and any other skin issues you may be experiencing. By having a no-pressure chat with our team, you can benefit from specific skincare advice that will move the needle on your skin goals. 
Want to find out more about ZO Skin Health and the products they offer? Book a consultation with a Skin Expert here:





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