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Courtyard Acne Protocol - Fight Sebum, Fight Acne

Are you fed up with spots? Think you are too old for acne?!

There is something BRAND NEW on the block and it has made me rethink the acne protocols for our clients at The Courtyard.

INTRODUCING ZO Complexion Clarifying Serum - It is just BRILLIANT!

Complexion Clarifying Serum is a water-based serum engineered with ZO® sebum-targeting science and water-soluble salicylic acid. It is clinically proven to reduce surface oil, congestion and visible redness for a continually clear and balanced complexion. This foundational staple is formulated for a range of skin types, especially combination, oily and blemish-prone skin.

Complexion Clarifying Serum is engineered with a new Sebum-Targeting Complex of 3 plant extracts that deliver a clear and balanced complexion - without dryness. The ZSEB3™ Complex contains the following extracts:

Eugenia Uniflora delivers exceptional astringent, antioxidant and soothing benefits for ongoing clear and healthy skin.

Rosa Canina promotes a healthy microbiome by minimizing excess sebum - the food source for microorganisms that contribute to blemishes and redness

Syringa Vulgaris reduces unwanted shine throughout the day

Fragrance and alcohol-free it is a MUST HAVE for anyone with acne and can also be used for redness and oil control.


Dr Zein Obagi famously said:

"Reduce the sebum, acne disappears.

Reduce the sebum, rosacea disappears.

Reduce the sebum, melasma disappears!"

He is not wrong! Sebum creates an oily surface to the skin and excessive sebum secretion causes:

1. Lack of sebum drainage & obstruction of the follicles

2. Leads to congestion/acne and grease-rich environment

3. Creating an imbalanced microbiome - over production of C. acnes (bacteria). When this occurs, bacterial diversity is altered, generating negative consequences that causes an inflammatory response and affects the barrier function of the skin.

I am always sceptical about any new product, but this one has great scientific credentials. It contains salicylic acid a recognised top ingredient for congestion-prone skin due to its unique ability to exfoliate within pores and to calm inflammation. However, it is most effective in solvents such as alcohol - which can dry and irritate skin. What’s special about this product is that Dr Zein Obagi has formulated a WATER-SOLUBLE salicylic acid which powerfully decongests skin without drying or irritating solvents. It is shown to be as effective as traditional SA formulations - while being gentle on a range of skin types. Perfect!

Clinical studies have shown significant skin balancing benefits:

• Reduction in oil and shine

• Reduction in visible pore size and number

• Reduction in facial redness


98% said it provides decongesting benefits without irritation.

86% said it rebalances combination skin.

86% said it reduces the appearance of redness + blotchiness.

95% said their skin is healthy looking.

These are amazing statistics for any acne product. I have started to prescribe it for all of my clients with congested acne skin. There is no reason why we can’t visibly reduce congestion and surface shine within a couple of weeks, optimise hydration and create a more uniform complexion. What’s really lovely about this product is that it is such a light, water-gel formula that is layers so easily with other products.



1. ZO Exfoliating cleanser

2. ZO Dual Action Scrub 2-3 times a week

3. ZO Oil Control Pads

4. ZO Daily Power Defense

5. ZO Complexion Clarifying Serum

6. ZO Correct and Conceal for spot coverage if needed


1. ZO Exfoliating cleanser

2. ZO Oil Control Pads

3. ZO Daily Power Defense

4. ZO Complexion Clarifying Serum

5. ZO Complexion Clearing Masque for breakouts or as a masque 2-3 times weekly

Addition therapies to assist in our fight against acne include the incredible Hydrafacial and NEW Dermalux LED phototherapy.

Keep an eye on our blog for more information on this fantastic new product and these other acne treatments.

Dr Hayley Elsmore is ARAUK and Save Face accredited and has treated acne for over 20 years both in general practice and aesthetic clinics.

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