How to Pick the Right Obagi Products for Your Skin Concern
Have you been wanting to try Obagi Medical’s impressive line of skin care products and systems but don’t know where to start? Do you know anyone who’s raving about its results but still unsure if it’s the right brand for you? Have you always wanted to try a more professional approach to your skin care routine but just never had the chance to talk to a dermatologist about it? You’ve come to the right place. Here, the experts at Obagi Medical give us the lowdown on your most pressing skin concerns, as well as share their top advice on how to pick the right Obagi skin care products based on what your skin needs.
If You’re Dealing With Fine Lines & Wrinkles
What happens to your skin: Lines and wrinkles often first appear around the eyes, seemingly out of nowhere one day, long before other wrinkles start to show. This can appear prematurely if one hasn’t been vigilant with the sun or if one has neglected to moisturize. As always, the sun is the main culprit, with the usual consequences such as collagen matrix degradation, elastin rigidity and decay, and glycosaminoglycans deterioration. A compromised barrier function creates water loss and weakens the defense against environmental attacks, ultimately resulting in lines and wrinkles.
What ingredients/products to look for: Staples of any solid skin care regimen should always include a mild cleanser, an antioxidant, a good exfoliator, a strong moisturizer and a sunscreen offering a minimum SPF 30, if possible 50. This is necessary for good maintenance and protection in order to effectively fight the look of skin aging (such as lines and wrinkles).
As for ingredients, one should look for retinoid (an in-depth skin renewal ingredient), vitamin C (well known for its antioxidant properties) and hyaluronic acid (recognized for its water-bearing capacity). Reliable exfoliants such as glycolic acid should also find their place in efficacious products. Finally, make sure your moisturizer delivers long-term hydration throughout the day.
Which Obagi skin care line would be best for this concern: Obagi Medical currently offers a full portfolio of products that address this particular concern. The choice is determined by severity, area of concern as well as skin type. For example, we address peri-orbital lines with our proprietary Elastiderm technology, found in our line of eye products (both Cream and Serum). Our Elastiderm eye cream is clinically proven to dramatically reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eye, thanks to its proprietary bi-mineral complex technology. At the end of an eight-week study on women who tried ELASTIderm Eye Cream, 97% of patients considered the roughness/crepey texture of the skin around their eyes to be barely or not noticeable and 88% of patients considered the laxity/looseness of the skin around their eyes to be barely or not noticeable.
We extend our care to the entire face with retinoids. For the face, our retinol, which comes in two strengths (Retinol 1.0 and Retinol 0.5), features entrapment technology, a unique means of encapsulation that dramatically reduces irritation potential and is clinically shown to deliver efficacy without the redness or flaking one would expect from such a high dose of retinoid. In fact, 90% of study participants saw an improvement in facial appearance (i.e. lines and wrinkles less visible, face appeared firmer, improvement in appearance of texture, etc.) by week three with Obagi Retinol 1.0.
We also offer retinaldehyde, another type of retinoid, just under prescription-strength, which is part of the Suzan Obagi MD line, under the name, Retivance.
How to use this line for best results: For the retinol, it is always best to acclimate, especially if your skin is retinoid-naïve. We recommend slowly easing your way into retinol 0.5 before moving on to retinol 1.0. Use at night and combine with daily exfoliation, whether it be chemical exfoliation (like our Exfoderm or Exfoderm Forte), or a combination of mechanical and chemical exfoliation (like our Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser). Use Elastiderm Eye Cream day and night for optimal results; it can be used around the entire upper and lower eyelid area.
Other tips on how to address this skin concern: Wear sunscreen every single day, if possible with a broad spectrum high SPF such as Obagi Sunshield Matte SPF50. Remember that you are most likely not applying enough sunscreen, so reapply often. Wear a hat and sunglasses (squinting will bring on those crow’s feet faster).
If You Struggle With Acne
What happens to your skin: Acne comes from a trifecta of events that precipitate the emergence of breakouts: P.acnes invasion, overactive sebum glands and plugged pores. Sometimes inflammation can add to the condition and make things worse. Flares typically begin at puberty and are triggered by hormonal fluctuations, but they also can happen in adulthood depending on genetics, lifestyle and stress.
What ingredients/products to look for: The FDA has a precise list of sanctioned ingredients that are approved for acne. The most commonly used (and most efficacious) are benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and salicylic acid. BPO kills P. acnes whereas salicylic acid promotes exfoliation by exerting its keratolytic effect. These ingredients work but tend to be aggressive and can dry the skin.
Which Obagi skin care line would be best for this concern: We use the FDA’s approved gold standards for acne care in our Clenziderm line. However, we use specific versions of these compounds and put them into formulations that enable their efficacy while minimizing side effects. For example, our Clenziderm Therapeutic Lotion uses a unique, solubilized BPO molecule that spends less time at the surface of the skin, thus reducing its irritation potential. Also, our proprietary formulation of 5% benzoyl peroxide gets delivered directly to the follicles to reach the source of acne. In fact, this highly effective yet tolerable system is backed by clinical studies that show it reduces breakouts in as little as one week with continued results through 12 weeks.
Aside from the Clenziderm Therapeutic lotion, the line also features a special toner named Pore Therapy, which works so well it is a cult item even among those who have no acne but want their pores to look smaller, achieving a more matte look. Pore Therapy is a 2% salicylic acid solution that unclogs pores and clears away dead skin cells. There is also a salicylic acid–containing foaming cleanser that complements the regimen and has the maximum chance for efficacy without the usual side effects. 81% of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their acne improvement and 87% reported that the system was effective or very effective.
How to use this line for best results: Saturate a flat cotton pad with Pore therapy for best application. If you use the Therapeutic lotion at night make sure your pillowcase is white, as the benzoyl peroxide can bleach colored textiles.
If you are still experiencing side effects such as dryness or flaking, use the Clenziderm Therapeutic Moisturizer to remedy as needed; it has a very high glycerin content that will mitigate dryness.
Other tips on how to address this skin concern: Have trouble sticking to your routine when you’re busy? Use Suzan Obagi MD Acne Wipes for those times when you’re on the go and need a convenient option to cleanse. Also, some studies suggest that avoiding short carbohydrates can help diminish flare frequency. It is also a good idea to reduce sun exposure so as not to aggravate the inflammatory process that may already have started.
If You Have Dull, Dry or Dehydrated Skin
What happens to your skin: Dry skin typically is the result of lack of care, chronic abuse of the skin barrier and photodamage.
What ingredients/products to look for: Everyone needs a good moisturizer. However, many moisturizers on the market do not deliver real moisture but instead sit on the skin passively. This is good because it can help with transepidermal water loss, but a great moisturizer should deliver more.
Hydromanil, shea butter, mango butter, avocado and glycerin in Obagi Hydrate provide rapid and all-day moisturization. These ingredients and more, chronoline and kollaren, in Obagi Hydrate Luxe work while you sleep for long-lasting moisturization and a rejuvenated-looking complexion. Also, L-asorbic acid is great for retaining moisture and brightening the skin.
Which Obagi skin care line would be best for this concern: Our Obagi Hydrate moisturizer has 2-in-1 moisturizing action that goes above and beyond and actually provides moisture all throughout the day thanks to our hydrating matrix technology derived from Tara seed. In addition, our rich Hydrate Luxe also features two biomimetic peptides designed to deliver benefits to the skin while you are sleeping and/or feeling extra dry.
Both Obagi moisturizers are special from an innovation perspective as well as a benefit perspective. Hydrate integrates within the Nu-Derm system to reduce potential side effects such as dryness or flakiness, but it can also work by itself as an all-day moisturizer. Hydrate Luxe is designed to work with the skin’s circadian rhythms to deliver benefits when the skin is most receptive.
Also, the Professional-C Portfolio offers a number of options to help skin appear more rejuvenated, including Obagi Professional-C Serum in 10%, 15% or 20% and Professional-C Peptide Complex. The Professional-C Portfolio’s Professional-C Serum 10% is a concentrated formula recommended specifically for dry, irritated or sensitive skin. In a clinical study, 91% of users reported that their skin appeared brighter and/or more hydrated.
How to use this line for best results: Hydrate Luxe can also be used during the day as well, when there is a need to treat extra dry skin.
If You Have Hyperpigmentation or Dark Spots
What happens to your skin: Hyperpigmentation can be brought about by genetics, hormonal changes (melasma), excessive sun/environmental exposure or a past inflammatory event (PIH). It manifests itself as age spots, melasma or mottled hyperpigmentation.
What ingredients/products to look for: In order to correct the appearance of hyperpigmentation, a brightening agent is needed. There are specific ingredients that target the look of age spots or mottled hyperpigmentation, and we only use the most physician-trusted ones. Arbutin is a long-standing alternative to prescription-strength lighteners that is clinically proven to deliver brightening benefits when used as part of our Obagi regimen. And as always, vitamin C with its antioxidant benefits is one of our most reliable compounds for preserving a radiant, bright look. But not all forms of vitamin Cs are created equal, and there are many derivatives on the market. We only use L-ascorbic acid because it is known to be the most bioavailable and thus most efficacious form. It is hard to stabilize but we have created a base that does just that!
Which Obagi skin care line would be best for this concern: The Obagi Nu-Derm FX system is clinically proven to brighten skin tone and reduce the look of mottled pigmentation when used with a retinoid. We suggest using our special retinol technology to get maximum efficacy.
Nu-Derm FX combines all of our original, trusted products but features arbutin instead of prescription-strength hydroquinone, in both the Clear FX™ and Blend FX™ products. Both Clear Fx™ and Blend Fx™ are skin-brightening creams formulated with 7% arbutin, antioxidants and lactic acid. Clear Fx™ enhances the appearance of even skin tone, while Blend Fx™ helps clarify and brighten the skin with a richer, thicker formula for nighttime use.
How to use this line for best results: You can layer any retinoid with Blend FX™ or you can mix them together before applying to your face, but we recommend our Retinol 0.5 or 1.0 for its gentleness and efficacy. Remember to limit retinol use to your nightly routine.
Additionally, patients may consider adding an antioxidant for additional defense against oxidative stress during the day. Obagi Pro-C Serum in 10%, 15% or 20% can be layered before Clear Fx™ for morning application.
Other tips on how to address this skin concern: Be religious about sunscreen. Even the strongest topical treatment will deliver efficacy if you defeat its purpose with unprotected sun exposure. Always use a sunscreen with the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommended SPF of 30 or higher, such as Obagi’s Sunshield Matte.
In addition, the latest science has uncovered evidence that pollution does induce hyperpigmentation, so make sure to protect your skin with antioxidant products as well!