If you’ve been to a medical spa or seen a dermatologist recently, you probably spotted Obagi products for sale there. Obagi is a line of professional, medical grade skincare products only available through its network of doctors. Here’s a look at Obagi skincare, what it offers and is it worth a try?
What Is Obagi?
The Obagi line dates back to 1988, when the board certified dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi created a line of prescription-based skincare products. It was called WorldWide Products and after its sale in 1997, the new owners renamed it Obagi. Dr Obagi left the company and created a new line, called ZO Skin Health in 2006.
Today Obagi is still known for its prescription strength skincare products which are administered by its network of doctors and aestheticians. The company launched the Obagi Clinical line at Sephora.com in late 2018, which marks the first time Obagi has entered the retail market.
What Is the Concept Behind Obagi?
A cornerstone of the Obagi philosophy is the belief that “skin care is more than ‘correcting’ or even ‘preventing,’ it’s about unleashing your skin’s full potential.” The company says its products are scientifically backed, clinical-quality formulations that work on a diversity of skin types. The Obagi line is meant to address a multitude of skin issues, including hyperpigmentation, acne, dry skin and aging.
What Does Obagi Sell?
Obagi sells skincare products individually as well as in various systems. Here’s a breakdown
The Nu-Derm System- Nu-Derm is designed to tackle the signs of aging and includes seven products, including a cleanser, toner, Clear (a 4% hydroquinone solution), Exfoderm (an exfoliating lotion), and Blender, which also contains hydroquinone. Nu-Derm is available for normal to dry, as well as normal to oily skin.
Obagi 360– Designed to “preserve youthful looking skin,” the 360 System is aimed at a younger clientele and contains an Exfoliating Cleanser, Retinol 0.5% and HydraFactor Broad Spectrum SPF 30, a moisturizer with broad spectrum sunscreen.
ClenziDerm– This system is for acne prone skin and consists of Daily Care Foaming Cleanser with salicylic acid; Pore Therapy cream which also has salicylic acid and Therapeutic Lotion, a benzoyl peroxide based cream.
Obagi C RX– The C RX line is formulated to target the signs of aging. The kit includes C-Cleansing Gel with vitamin C and oat amino acids; C-Clarifying Serum which contains vitamin C and hydroquinone; C-Exfoliating Day Lotion, a lightweight moisturizer with glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E; Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50, a zinc oxide based sunscreen and C-Therapy Night Cream which is meant to help fade dark spots with 4% hydroquinone, and Vitamins C and E. The kit comes in two versions, one for normal to dry skin and another for normal to oily skin.
Obagi Targeted Products
Obagi Hydrate Moisturizers – These moisturizers are formulated to hydrate skin and keep it feeling smooth. The formulas are hypoallergenic and non-irritating
KèraPhine Body Smoothing Lotion – This exfoliating body lotion helps smooth our rough and bumpy skin. It is powered by 15% glycolic acid and 5% ammonium lactate, which has mild antibacterial properties.
ELASTIderm Eye Products – The ELASTIDERM eye range is designed to help soften the look of fine lines and leave the eye area looking smoother and tighter.
Retinol – The Retinol range has a few products with a range of strengths, from 0.025% to 0.5%. Some products require a prescription.
Suzan Obagi Collection – This line is meant to cleanse the skin while protecting it from UV rays. The collection includes a cleanser, toner, acne wipes and Soothing Complex Broad Spectrum SPF 25
Obagi also offers two in-office procedures. The Blue Peel is a medium depth chemical peel, and the Obagi Facial is offered at select locations.
Obagi Clinical – This collection, which is available at Sephora.com, has seven products including a Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum; Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing Cream; Kinetin+ Hydrating Eye Cream; Vitamin C Eye Brightener and Vitamin C Suncare Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen.
How Much Do Obagi Products Cost?
The price of Obagi medical grade products is set by each reseller, but suggested prices by the company are $245 for the Nu-Derm trial kit; $374 for the Obagi –C RX system and the ClenziDerm system is $147. The suggested retail price for the Gentle Rejuvenation Soothing Cleanser is $40, $115.50 for the ELASTIderm Eye Cream and $102 for the Tretinoin 0.1% Cream.
The Clinical range at Sephora.com is lower priced, ranging from $55 (Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing Cream) to $95 for the Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum.
Is Obagi Cruelty Free?
Obagi states on its website, “Unless mandated by the FDA for drug safety purposes, Obagi does not test its products on animals. Non-prescription Obagi products have not been tested on animals.”
What Ingredients Are in Obagi Products?
Both Obagi Medical and Obagi Clinical products contain commonly used skincare ingredients, such as acne fighters salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide; the exfoliator glycolic acid; vitamin C, a skin brightener; glycerin, a humectant, and retinol, a vitamin A derivative that is considered the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging. Obagi products also contain hydroquinone, which is effective at fading dark spots but controversial. Some countries have banned it because it may be a carcinogen, while some doctors feel that it is fine to use under supervision. But what makes Obagi products different is the high amount of certain ingredients, such as retinol and glycolic acid.
Where Can I Buy Obagi Products?
Obagi products are available through physicians and medical spas.
Do Obagi Products Work?
It’s important to remember that beauty and skincare does not have a one sized all approach. A little trial and error is always necessary, as one person’s hero product may do nothing for you. It’s always helpful to look at customer reviews and editorial write ups as a starting point.
Obagi products have received their fair share of editorial coverage over the years, with write-ups in Women’s Health, New Beauty and New You magazine. The brand recently appointed the actress Priyanka Chopra as its first spokesperson. In a recent interview, she cited her favorite Obagi products as The Professional-C Serum 10%, Professional-C Suncare, and the Medical Hydrate Facial Moisturizer.
What do real customers think? There aren’t a huge number of Obagi professional reviews as the products are not available online but MakeupAlley.com has more than 200 reviews of the Obagi C-RX system. It gets a 4 out of 5 star rating, and 77% of users said they would purchase it again. Reviewer AllieC3 wrote, “Are you getting younger? That’s what my husband said last night at dinner. He’d been gone a week.” HibiscusAddict gave it 5 stars, writing, “This stuff works.” Reviewers did note the high prices, and most of the complaints had to do with the products being over-drying. Dollyrama noted, “It was expensive about $550 for the set so I was definitely expecting some kind of miracle. All I can say is that it is very irritating, basically it’s peeling and trying to bleach your skin pigments …”
Sitejabber.com has around 45 customer reviews of Obagi, where it gets a 3.9 out of 5 star rating. SelenaZ had praise for the acne fighting line, writing “Both of my teenagers have had acne issues and the Cleanziderm line working incredibly well.” Customers who gave Obagi low ratings wrote that it irritated their skin. AngelaD had a bad reaction– “ I used the complete Obagi Nu-Derm Rx only kit by the second day my face was full of little dots. My cheeks were extremely red and burning. My nose and cheeks were also swollen” while VickiD wrote that she saw no results.
A recent review of the Nu-Derm system on the After 40 Mommy blog was largely positive. The author wrote, “Believe me, using Obagi skin care line changed my life and made me more confident with my skin.”
The new Obagi Clinical line does have some customer reviews on Sephora. One of the top rated products is the Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum, which gets a 4.4 out of 5 star rating from more than 100 reviews. Yutyyama called it “BEST vitamin c serum out there” and Hollyhook24 found the “serum is a total game changer!!” Customers who gave it low ratings complained about the smell, or found that it did nothing for them- or made them break out. “I wanted to like this product but it made my face red and dried it out. After 3 days I had to stop as it made my face flaky,” wrote MelParis.
Another top rated Obagi product is the Kinetin+ Hydrating Eye Cream, which gets a 4.4 rating from 112 reviews; 88% of customers said they would purchase it again. Fans like Britnic23 called it “The perfect eye cream. The best part not only did it work but it also did better than any other eye creams I’ve tried in the past.” Those that left negative feedback said the product did nothing for them. “Haven’t noticed a difference in fine lines and formula does not feel very moisturizing,” found Hildubs.
What Are Some Alternatives to Obagi?
Obagi may not be for everyone, due to the high price or perhaps you don’t want to (or cannot) see a dermatologist. There are other options.
Consider Formulyst. The brand’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare, and the company wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin.
Although hydroquinone is effective in lightening dark spots, it is not the only choice for fading dark spots. Formulyst’s Dark Spot Solutions is powered by HyWhite, which is derived from alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. It works to minimize the appearance of dark spots while also hydrating the skin thanks to hyaluronic acid.
Some of the biggest causes of aging are environmental, such as the sun and pollution, so protecting skin from these aggressors is key to help it looking and feeling its best. Formulyst’s Active Serum – Vitamin B, C, E, Ferulic + Niacinamide is packed with a cocktail of antioxidants and vitamins to help protect skin and keep it looking bright and healthy. The potent blend leaves skin looking smooth and hydrated.