Obagi Skin Health Institute

I’ve always been a fan of spa treatments that tend to be more clinical, likely due to my time working on our sister magazine MedEsthetics, which covers cosmetic dermatology. So when I was invited to sample a treatment at the ZO Skin Centre in the heart of Beverly Hills, California—aka renowned dermatologist Zein Obagi, MD’s flagship aesthetic dermatology and plastic surgery center—I knew my skin was in for a real treat.

The front desk staff were quick to greet me and introduce me to medical esthetician Liz Owens, who led me to a minimally decorated treatment room for an intensive facial service. Owens tailored it to my personal skin concerns—blemishes, congestion and some pigmentation.

Obagi Skin Health Institute

The facial began with a gentle, foaming antioxidant cleanser while steaming, followed by a HydraFacial with lactic and glycolic acid solutions to exfoliate, clean out my pores and lighten some visible sun damage. After that, extractions were a cinch!

Owens then performed a series of treatments designed to relieve my acneic skin and stop new blemishes from forming, including: high frequency to kill bacteria; blue, red and amber light therapy to kill bacteria, soothe inflammation and stimulate collagen production; and a medicated sulfur mask—applied to my face, neck and décolleté—to prevent clogged pores, during which Owens gave my neck, shoulders, arms and hands a relaxing massage.

Obagi skin care

Once the mask was removed, I received a final HydraFacial treatment—this time with vitamins and minerals. Owens then lightly dusted a sponge, soaked in dry ice, across my face to soothe any irritation and close my pores; the cooling application felt delicious, the perfect close to an intense service.

Once Owens finished by smoothing on the ZO Skin Health reparative and antioxidant Ossential Daily Power Defense followed by a tinted sunscreen, I was sure it was time to go home—but she had other plans! Before sending me on my way, Owens arranged to have on-site dermatologist Sameer Bashey, MD, FAAD, inject a small droplet of cortisone into a cystic acne blemish on my chin—a practice I’d always been eager to try, as these cysts are not only painful but also tend to scar. Dr. Bashey was very gentle; the sensation of having something injected into a blemish was strange, but it was relatively painless.

Obagi Treatment Room

Finally, the team sent me home with a form containing a personalized at-home skincare regimen (with product suggestions, naturally), as well as a couple of full-size ZO Skin Health products to help me get started. Talk about going the extra mile!

By the next morning, the inflammation in the injected blemish had gone down significantly, and within a few days the cyst had disappeared completely, scar-free!

—Laura Waldon

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