If you’re a seasoned skincare junkie or just starting out, Zo Skin Health and Skinceuticals are two brands that have probably crossed your radar at least once. You might even have a few of their products on your shelf right now.
Whether you’re looking to expand your investment in these brands or interested in purchasing your first product, you’re in the right place! We’re providing you a definitive guide putting each brand’s top three products head-to-head. Keep scrolling as we compare Zo Skin Health and Skinceuticals’ exfoliators, cleansers, and face creams to decide which is best for you!
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Zo Skin Health vs SkinCeuticals Exfoliator
If you have the basics of a good skincare routine covered—cleanser, vitamin C, retinol, SPF, and a moisturizer—but are looking for a way to add a little extra luster to your skin, your next step to consider is an exfoliator.
A good exfoliator will help slough away dead skin cells, revealing youthful more radiant skin, and even help all your other products absorb better! We’ve been researching and testing two of the most popular exfoliants on the market: Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish and Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub. Let’s get into their ingredients and efficacy to find you your new fave!
Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish vs Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub
Since both Zo Skin Health and Skinceuticals are medical-grade skincare brands and backed by impressive reputations it can be SO hard to choose between their products, so we are getting really critical with this review.
We’ll start with Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish. What we love about this product is that is uses ultra-fine exfoliant crystals (think baking soda type texture), glycerin, and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate aka super stable vitamin C. And those are just some of the ingredients they market!
It’s also packed with two other antioxidants—tea tree oil and vitamin E as well as linoleic acid which is an omega-6 fatty acid. I mean they thought of everything! Users with concerns like dry, flaky skin to wrinkles, and even acne scars RAVE about how much this exfoliator has improved their skin (with consistent use of course)!
Before you make up your mind, let’s jump to what we love about Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub. As advertised on their website, this scrub is formulated with hydrated silica (a much larger exfoliant than Zo’s, think St.Ives’ face scrubs), glycerin and aloe.
Unlike Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish, they’ve kept it simple and the only other active you’ll find is crowd-pleaser antioxidant vitamin E. Regular users love how gentle this scrub is and how well their make up goes on after. An added bonus, it has a nice smell!
You may be thinking, well it’s a no brainer—Zo Skin Health’s exfoliant packs in so many more actives, it must be better—but let’s talk about tolerance and sensitivity. Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub is alcohol-, fragrance-, and essential oil-free, and since they’ve kept it simple you don’t have to worry about all the added actives causing more irritation to your skin—some skin types can’t tolerate any type of vitamin C like found in the Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish.
We also have to point out that the Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish is packed with SIX different types of fragrances. If you have sensitive skin, please spot test, and immediately stop use if you see irritation. That being said, if you don’t suffer from sensitive skin, we prefer the texture and ingredient line up of the Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish and rate it the better exfoliant of the two!
Exfoliating Polish by Zo Skin Health
Our rating: ★★★★★
Gently removes dead skin cells to instantly reveal smoother, softer + glowing skin.
What makes it special? Awarded one of the Best Face Scrubs by Good Housekeeping, this power-packed formula is formulated with ultra-fine magnesium oxide crystals, vitamin C, vitamin E, tea tree oil, and omega-6 fatty acids physically exfoliates dead skin revealing youthful, radiant skin!
Which skin types? For all skin types.
Micro-Exfoliating Scrub by SkinCeuticals
Our rating: ★★★★★
Smoothing exfoliating scrub with hydrated silica.
What makes it special? Combining hydrated silica, glycerin, aloe and vitamin E, this exfoliant gently sloughs away dead skin and nourishes to reveal a healthier skin barrier and more even skin texture.
Which skin types? Dry, Normal, Oily, Combination.
Zo Skin Health vs SkinCeuticals Cleanser
The first, and some say most important, step to your routine is your cleanser! A good cleanser will wash away make up, bacteria, oil and environmental irritants that build up on your skin throughout the day and night. An even better cleanser will have some actives in it itself to add extra nourishment to your skin. This preps your skin and sets the stage for the rest of your skincare routine.
Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser vs Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel
Do you struggle with oily skin or acne? This product review is for you! Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser and Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel are each of these brands’ top cleansers for battling breakouts and controlling oil.
Both cleansers contain salicylic acid—a well-known superstar in treating acne (as well as other skin concerns)—as well as glycerin—an oldie, but goodie at hydrating the skin—but that’s pretty much where the similarities stop.
Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser is also formulated with jojoba esters (soothing exfoliating beads), vitamin E and niacinamide—just to name the standouts. Combined these ingredients exfoliant, nourish, soothe, brighten, and hydrate your skin.
We’re starting to see a trend here that in general, Skinceuticals sticks to the basics and does them well. The Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel combines three chemical exfoliants, salicylic acid like we mentioned above, but also glycolic acid and lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA, hence the name). Its final active is menthol which is a somewhat controversial ingredient. It is soothing, antibacterial, and antifungal, but it’s also been found to irritate sensitive skin and increase water loss.
If acne is your top skincare concern, then Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel is the way to go. You just can’t beat the thoughtfully formulated exfoliant trifecta that will eliminate dead skin cells, clear your pores, and keep acne-causing bacteria at bay.
Exfoliating Cleanser by Zo Skin Health
Our rating: ★★★★★
Gentle exfoliating cleanser for normal to oily skin.
What makes it special? This gentle exfoliating cleanser combines the strength of salicylic acid with the nourishing properties of niacinamide and vitamin E to clear your pores chemically and physically, leaving your skin feeling clean and oil-free but not dry.
Which skin types? For normal to oily skin.
LHA Cleansing Gel by SkinCeuticals
Our rating: ★★★★★
Exfoliating gel cleanser decongests pores, smoothes skin texture, and brightens skin.
What makes it special? With a trifecta of lipo-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, as well as moisturizing glycerin this cleansing gel is serious about tackling oil, bacteria, dead skin and clogged pores without stripping your skin.
Which skin types? For acne-prone skin.
Zo Skin Health vs SkinCeuticals Moisturizer
A must-have for all skin types and key to even the most minimalist of skincare routines is a good moisturizer. Moisturizers are so critical because they help maintain a healthy skin barrier. One of your skin barrier’s biggest jobs is managing water loss—a moisturizer helps your skin barrier keep an optimal level of hydration and protect your skin from the environmental stressors, premature aging, bacteria and more! To put it simply, don’t skimp on your moisturizer!
Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cream vs Skinceuticals Face Cream
Searching for a restorative, lightweight moisturizer to get you through the spring and summer months? Look no further! We put Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cream and Skinceuticals Face Cream under some serious scrutiny to find the BEST overall moisturizer.
Aside from glycerin (yes, it’s so good it’s basically in everything!) and vitamin E, there’s no other active ingredient overlap, but you’ll notice some of the approaches are similar. Both moisturizers put a heavy emphasis on antioxidants and collagen stimulation, making this head-to-head even more interesting!
Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cream takes soothing and sensitive-skin awareness to a whole new level with their formula. So much so it’s received recognition from the National Eczema Association. It combines japonicus root extract, myristoyl pentapeptide-11, colloidal oatmeal and ZOX12. These aren’t very common ingredients, so let’s dive into them a little deeper.
Japonica Root is a traditional herb most commonly seen in J-Beauty and K-Beauty known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties—basically an unsung hero. Myristoyl pentapeptide-11 is a peptide that stimulates collagen production, helps repair skin cells and supports a healthy skin barrier.
Finally, let’s talk about Zo Skin Health’s patented ZOX12 technology. This is an antioxidant trinity of vitamins A, C and E specially formulated for 12-hour controlled release to keep your skin protected for longer.
Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cream isn’t the only one packed with antioxidants. Skinceuticals Face Cream sees their three antioxidants and raises it to four! To be clear though, the only antioxidant they have in common is vitamin E. The Skinceuticals moisturizer uses silymarin, grape seed oil and green tea—great plant-based antioxidants.
And if we could just fangirl out about green tea for a minute. It’s one of the most well-researched plants and all of the amazing anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, and antimicrobial effects you’ve heard about when consumed also go for topical application! Last but not least, Skinceuticals Face Cream utilizes soy isoflavones to stimulate collagen and hyaluronate production—both key for healthy, youthful skin!
As for our favorite? We can’t ignore the stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association so we’re voting Zo Skin Health Hydrating Cream as the best overall moisturizer. We also love that it’s alcohol-, fragrance- and essential oil-free whereas Skinceuticals’ moisturizer uses all three which can cause issues over time for even resilient skin types.
Hydrating Cream by Zo Skin Health
Our rating: ★★★★★
Temporarily relieves symptoms of severely dry skin while calming skin.
What makes it special? With a patented 12-hour time release antioxidant complex and the Seal of Acceptance by National Eczema Association, this lightweight moisturizer is corrective, healing and hydrating for even the most sensitive skin types.
Which skin types? For normal to dry skin.
Face Cream by SkinCeuticals
Our rating: ★★★★★
A lightweight moisturiser that hydrates and leaves skin looking more radiant.
What makes it special? This four-antioxidant, lightweight corrective cream combines the power of soy isoflavones, vitamin E, silymarin, grape seed oil and green tea for a daily moisturizer great for anti-aging.
Which skin types? For ageing skin types.
This article was originally published on April 18th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 1st 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.