Obagi Review

Have some questions about the Obagi line?

Obagi is a line of skincare products that includes anti-aging formulas. The company started in 1988 and is now a part of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. You have to visit a professional to make a purchase. Formulas are not available from the official website or directly from the business.

What is Obagi?

Obagi Medical Products is the official name of the company. The line is sold to fight skin damage and issues of all kinds. Though it is owned by a pharmaceutical company, you do not need a prescription to purchase. We were unable to find a list of ingredients for any of the products and no FAQ section is available.

Quick Facts on Obagi

  • Obagi is owned by a pharmaceutical company.
  • You cannot purchase the products direct.
  • You do not need a prescription for Obagi formulas.
  • Prices and ingredients are not listed.
  • Clinical tests are listed, but we did not find them online.
  • Some studies included fewer than 30 subjects.
  • We cannot say whether or not irritants are used.
  • There are reports of poor packaging.

What’s Our Skincare Editor’s Take?

“We should be impressed that Obagi is owned by a pharmaceutical company, but that could actually be a negative,” explains our Skincare Editor. “We didn’t find the studies mentioned on the website. A business like Valeant must know the importance of proof.”

Here’s What People Are Saying

The two most common issues we found in customer reviews were peeling skin and lack of results.

  • “I put it on three days in a row and am peeling quite a bit. I will hold off for a few days. My skin is not sensitive.”
  • “Makes my face peel after two nights.”

Users also felt that the product worked better than others on sensitive skin.

  • “Using this product in my sensitive skin for almost 2 weeks and my skin is free of irritation.”
  • “So far my skin seems smoother with a slight improvement of dark spots being lightened. No irritation or odors.”

Lack of results was something we found mentioned time and again. However, customers also reported seeing positive effects.

  • “I have been using this product nightly for the past couple months and I am not completely impressed.”
  • “I wish I was as Wowed as the others but for the money it was NOT worth it to me.”

Positive reviews said:

  • “This is a good product, it works well around the eye area.”
  • “I use this in the morning. I have seen improvement.”

Is It Time to Pick Up Some Obagi Products?

We have to revert back to what our Skincare Editor’s comment. This company is owned by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, but the clinical testing doesn’t appear to be published in peer-reviewed journals. There are reports of poor product packaging and lack of results, which we also have to take into consideration. This leaves us a little hesitant to recommend Obagi.

What Do We Like Better Than Obagi?

We’ve reviewed hundreds of products in 2016 and our top pick is BioGeniste. This anti-aging formula is made with clinically tested ingredients, so you know you’re getting the best. Plus, customers are reporting some amazing results.

Click here to learn more about BioGeniste today.

90 thoughts on “Obagi Review”

  1. I have been using the Obagi NuDerm for five weeks. I feel like I look worse now than when I began. I have peeled layer after layer of skin and I get soooo red. I want the best anti aging products. Will the peeling be worth it and is this the best antiaging product around?

    1. I have began using the Obagi products two years ago, then stopped for about 9 months and tried some other high end and medium end products. Nothing works better for my skin than Obagi. I am 43 and my skin looks like a 26 year old! Stick with the program for at least 4 weeks. I was very disheartened as well the first few weeks because I felt my skin was drier, flaking, dull and red. But then a metamorphosis happened: my new skin emerged looking incredible! Please stick it out for the duration of the product you have….you won’t be displeased!

        1. My face got very red and peeled at first to but it does go away if u keep using it. If u peel to bad stop using in the spots u peel bad every day. Don’t rub in so much in those hot spots.

          After using on and off for 7 years when I start up now I no longer get red or have those hot spots that peel real bad

    2. I have been using Obaji for years and am only 42. I have tried expensive products and Obaji is by far the best! If your skin is red, you need to consult with your doctor’s office to develop a different skin regimen because whatever you are using you may be using too much of. Consult with your doc’s office and I am sure you will be pleased.

      1. I’ll guess you are using the tretinoin which i think is what is making your face red and peel. It’s actually supposed to do that. It gets rid of the top layer so new clean evenly tones skin comes out. What i was told, since i get in the sun alot is to use the tretinoin 2 or 3 times a week. It will still peel slightly but not as bad. Also get a good exfoliating lotion. I use the Obagi exfoliating day lotion. They also said the same things as the second reply. Keep using it and it will get better.


    4. I am 68 years of age….
      I have been using Obagi for almost 5 years…I think it is worth every penney I spend. I found Obagi while in my Doc’s office to have some sun damage on my face exaimined. She suggested Obagi and I am so pleased with the results….It took a few weeks to peel and now it is just maintainence. Obagi is a daily ritual, AM and PM, for life….stay with it. I love my skin and I get compliments all the time…. I love the way I look…I use very little makeup!

    5. I love Obagi! I’m 40 yrs old and have been using it for about 1yr, I’ve also been told that I look 10 yrs younger! I know that it could be frustrating at first, the peeling and the dryness but it all goes away and your skin then is transformed to a radiant beautiful young complection. you don’t need to use all of them for ever. The Obagi website has wonderful information as to how to use it once you reach a stage where you are happy. It is expensive but worth every penny. I wouldn’t go back to using any other product. Obagi removed my dark spots, should say butterfly on my face, transformed my skin and helped build up my self esteem.

    1. That peeling can last a long time, mine did it for 2 months, but I am 58 so have a lot of damage. Stay with it your skin will be much better in time.

  2. I have been using Obagi for about 2 1/2 years now. Use 2 times a week, but I have dry areas around my mouth wrinkles. Any idea what I can do about that? It seems to flare up the two times a week I continue my routine. Should I change my useage?

  3. Love the Obagi!! I have been using it since the first part of April 2010 (after having Total FX). I am 60 and never took time to avoid the sun or to use skin care products. Yes, I had some redness and peeling but can see results on fading of brown pigmentation and have “fresher” looking skin.
    Keep using it.

  4. I have been using for over five years. My skin was very delicate and so for the first year I used only every other day, actually only about t wice a week first six mo. I would not live without it,now. I have skin that noone my age should have 🙂

  5. I have been useing the nu-derm for 8 weeks now and cant see any difference i was told my skin would be more radient clear and hydrated all it has done is thin my skin in fact it looks worse also i was shocked to see the huge amount of cemicals that are in these products i feel like iv been conned iv had better results from skin care products in a health food shop that are natrual and at a fraction of the price,i will go back to useing barfoot doctor antiaging range ‘rosa mosquita range’ love it, its the best.

    1. I’ve had dramatic results as has many of my friends. Are you using the system as prescribed? The Tretinoin actually thickens the skin.

      1. yes i did use the system correctly as perscribed by the doctor i went back to see and said the same as you didnt look at my skin as hes not a dermatolagist it has been 6 months since i stopped using it and my skin is still damaged from this treatment my skin before was very good no lines or wrinkles just very oily skin i will be seeing a qualified dermatolagist to see what went wrong will post again as soon as i get checked out,my thought on this is maybe i was given the wrong treatment for my skin type and maybe it was too strong for my sensitive skin.

    2. Kathy I felt the same way after 8 weeks I was frustrated and disappointed that I didn’t see Bette results and was still peeling but I persevered and around weeks 10 r12 I noticed my skin seemed to magically transform, I started getting comments about my skin looking great! Trust me, give it a little more time and I think you’ll be glad you did!

  6. I’ve been using Oagi for 3 yrs and I love it. Yes in the beginning your skin peels for awhile but eventualy your skin will look beautiful!

  7. I love Obagi! Have been using the product for over a year. However, I am worried about the cream with 4% hydroquinone. Is it safe to use the product long term?

  8. Question: I am doing research on the Obagi line – not currently a user. Do you have to use the 5 step program forever? Is there a maintenance program? Don’t mind the initial program cost, just wondering if you have to stay on the 5 step program forever. Thanks!

    1. I just started the program and my instructions indicate that I will do the 5 steps for 26 weeks then go into maintenance.

    2. Talk to your doctor, it depends on how damaged your skin is. It could take up to 3-4 months ab=nd than you go on maintenance.

    3. @Vicki & Sandy, thank you for your comments. Here’s another question – What products are used for maintenance?? All 5 step again?

    4. I had a mini face lift and was put on the eye cream and the tretinoin,should I start the other products because i feel I’m not getting the full affect. I’m 60 years old. what is the price for the full kit?

  9. i’ve been using obaji for 3 years. now bt my skin got sensitive from it lately i was just wondering abt the 4% hydroquinone does that have anyside efffects in long term.

  10. system harsh drive force of this product is retin a 0.05 to 0.01 plus hydroquin a bleaching agent also known to be cancerous use retin a 0.05 at night and azalex 20% will do the same thing

    1. I have the same concerns too. I’ve been using Nu-Derm system for a year and the result is good. But I recently found out that the side effect of hydroquinon could be cancerous and is not supposed to be used for long term. So what is the safe period of continue using of this product? Is it safe to use it during pregnancy? Pls help!

  11. I have been using 5 step since the end of Feb. I have not had any peel or dryness. I makes my skin really, really oily. I did go throught a stage of more outbreaks on my chin area that where huge pimples. My skin gets so oily that my hair is oily. Does anyone else have this problem?

    1. Just started the system myself, and was given the business card for my esthetician to call anytime along the way if I had questions or concerns. I have complete faith in the system and will follow through. So far no problems. But always stay in touch with your doctor if you have concerns.

    2. I started the product in mid november 2010 and had no problems until 6 weeks into the program. I have zits all over my face and every morning a new zit appears. I stopped using about two weeks ago and my skin is still breaking out. Did you ever find a reason behind the breakouts?

    3. Pam,
      I am right there with you. I started using the Obagi system in mid November and had no issues, loved the way my skin was looking and then I started breaking out on my cheeks and now that has spread to my chin and forehead. So upset because I invested the money and it has been sitting in my drawer for the past two weeks.

  12. I’ve used Obagi for two years and am pleased with the results. I’m 53, still cycling,; and I still get three or so large pimples before my cycle. Any ideas?

  13. i have purchased obagi nu derm off the net without prescription, i havent received my tretonoin yet but i had trouble getting it and i orderd the strongest type obagi 0.1%, im worried that it may be to strong and make my skin worse i am 34 yrs old with old scrring and bad pigmentation which is making my life a misery, my skin isnt particularly sensitive, have used glycolic acids and dermabrasion previously. can anyone suggest how im best 2 use my products and how often?

    1. if i was you i would start of using it twice a week at night time, and see how your skin reacts to for a couple weeks. peeling and redness is normally but if it to much, cut back to once a week.

  14. I just purchased the line and am worried about ugly long lasting peeling…but plan on sticking with this. If there is any words of wisdom from anyone that has used the line, please share!

  15. I have been using Obagi five step without the tretonoin for 4 mo. I have been really pleased with the results in general. My skin tone has become much more even, however I have noticed more wrinkles forming around my eyes. I think because it dries out my skin. Has anyone else had this problem? I am not under the care of a physician to ask.


    I too had similar reactions; red skin, flaky, burning and irritated.

    My doctor suggested I wait 5 minutes between each application as Obaji might be too-much-too-fast…for my skin…if that makes sense.

    I listened…hey, I already had hundreds of dollars invested—why wouldn’t I? Well, he was right, it worked.

    Morning: I use the GENTLE CLEANSER in the shower…get out, apply the TONER…brush my teeth…apply the EYE CREAM (I use the night cream: ELASTIderm; day and night/love, love, love this stuff) then apply CLEAR…dry my hair…apply the EXFODERM…get dressed…apply the BLENDER…

    Same for the evening, I break it up between brushing my teeth, putting away laundry and getting into PJ’s.

    Works for me…each product gets an opportunity to penetrate my skin.

    I am a teacher, before this new sequence my student asked many questions including if I’d been burnt. One student even asked if I was running on my lunch—he said I looked flushed—like I’d just worked out.

    Now, my skin is a little pink, but nowhere where it was prior—it looks smoother and smoother every day. I’m loving not wearing make-up…for the first time in my life!

    Yes, it all takes time…but totally worth it. I’m not a smoker, but have sun damage from my teen years. I am a mom of three in my late 30’s. My skin is looking more and more like a 20 year old! Nothing like the feeling of going into my 40’s with grace!!!

    Not sure if we are suppose to use Doctors names, but I use Dr. Golger in Toronto…

    1. I have just started using a couple days ago and my skin is seriously dry, i will def try your suggestion. How long have you been using Obagi?

    2. Thanks for your comments. I have only just started a couple days ago and my skin is really really dry. will break it up as you suggest. how long have you been using the product?

      1. Hi There,
        I’m still on it. I’ve been using it since last August. I use the cleanser (1), toner (2), clear (3), and Sunscreen (6) every day and the same as above except for blender (5) at night (not the sunscreen).

        I cut back on the Exforderm when dry or too red. If I needed extra moisture, I simply used more sunscreen (6).

        Hope this helps!! Hang in there—it really works.

        1. Hello everyone well after rheading everyones comments…
          Ihavent hade any facial peeling . just hade fraxel done on my face and dermo suggested that i use this systebut 500.00 latter.. i thought ok verry expensive…she said that i wouldnt have good results with fraxel if i didnt use obagi 12345system day night; so in now for a week so far nothing cant wait too see if this somewhat cream works for the moneythat i spent i could have gotten botox hahahaha kimmy

  17. I am 59, have been using Obagi 2 years. Peeling ended after 1st 2 weeks.I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances if I’ve had a FACELIFT.It did not tighten my skin but the age spots are gone,there is an even tone, no dry spots, & the texture is smooth.I rarely use my Bareminerals foundation now because the skin looks so fresh. I am on maintenance, which means the products last twice as long. Love it, will never leave it.

  18. can i purchase obagi without a prescription. and if so,will i get the benefits from it as if i would to to a dermatologist.(the same ingredients) how do i know which product to start with in the beginning. also is it good for afro american skin? have a lot of dark spots

  19. My son is on acutane and having serious reactions. I was told to try obagi for his skin. I was told it works great for acne. Has anyone used it for very active acne.

    1. My son uses it and it has made a HUGE differance.. But make sure he washes his face at night and in the morning. I got his for only 58.oo on line.. I use the Nu derm system and LOVE it… I will also put some of my tretinoin on his face before bed twice a week.. we tried EVERYTHING…

  20. I’m 54 years old, I use to sell Obagy creams when I was in my 30th when I first use Obagy I had all the reaccion of the creams THE BURNING THE ITCHING THE FLAKING AND OF COURSE THE REDNESS all that will go away when you stop the treatment that will last you from 6 to 8 weeks please take care of your skin after the treatment and use it again when some day you need it again I’m buying obagy again after so many years I feel that now I’m 54 years old I need it again I look today 15 years younger after I use it again I know I will look 20 25 years younger there is nothing in the world that works like Obagy Creams I meet him years ago when he use to have his clinic in Beverly Hills I remember seeing doctors from all over the world to have one of his seminars to be able to buy the creams. Good luck the flaking is normal the it is the dead skin you exfoliating the redness is also normal everything is normal.

  21. i just purchased obagi and can’t wait to start using it. i know it will help with pigmentation, firmness, etc., but does it help with wrinkles, deep wrinkles? i’m only 43 but have some deep wrinkles. 🙁

    1. Yes and No. DO NOR use Clear, Blender, Sun-fader (these 3 contain Hydroquinone not good for the baby) and tretonoin (a version of Retin A a type of vitamin A also not good for your baby). I know this because I had to get off of Obagi when I got pregnant. If you want to make sure ask your OBGYN doc. He or she will tell you.

  22. I am glad to hear most of the comments are posititive. However, I was concerned about the person asking sheshould use on son who has been on Acutane. Firstly she does not say how old her son is. One would have to be off prescription medicines for a duration before starting an Obagi regime. NO ONE should be using these products without guidance from a Doctor who is prepared to give regular ‘free’ reviews for at least first 6 months. These are potent products and anyone selling on internet without a face to face consultation is highly irresponsible. My clinic offers free consultations and free reviews and we would not supply anyone who has not been in for the Doctor to assess. Beware too, as there are plenty of imitations flooding the internet which will do more harm than good. Just be sensible!

  23. Just using obagi recently,,and not my whole face turning red,bump,nd itching.I’m wondering is there’s something wrong coz my skin is so sensentive..

  24. I have been using Obagi now for a week. Yes, alot of peeling is going on. My question is around my eyes I have noticed I look more tired and it looks very winkled in the area. Is this normal? It looks like I have aged around my eyes. I have only used it for a week but not sure if this is normal.

    1. My eyes are much more wrinkled. Will this go away?
      Also, it looks as if the area around my mouth is drooping. Is that something that happens?

  25. I am 37 years old Japanese. I have been using Obagi Nu-Derm for 5 weeks, My skin have just peeled one layer, and I have been causious of getting any sunlight on my skin. But the other day, I had my daughter’s graduation celemony outside under the strong direct sun( Sothern California ) for almost 4 hours. I applied only one time SPF40 before attending the celemony and did not wear a hat. My skin did not turn red on this day;however, will this cause to have brown spots in the future? I had been very cautios about not haveing any sunlight on my face… I am so worried now. How does this day’s sunlight affect my skin that just have renewed?? Please advise!!

  26. This question is for those who just love obaji. What products do we use for maintenance? And when is it considered that you are finished all cycles?

  27. Question for Obagi users. I’ve read thru the comments on this page and am a tab confusred. My doctor is suggesting I start this program and I am seriously thinking about it.
    1) The price on the internet is so much cheaper than at the doctors office – how can the internet sell Obagi when Obagi’s web site states that their products are only to be sold via Rx? Are these knock off products??

    1. Let me know when you find out. I will ask at my next appointment. They started me out with the travel size for 350.

  28. I love Obaji already only been using it for 3 wks. My skin is very pale I normally use a fake tan especially for the face vita laberita one. would it still be ok to use this or does it contradict what the cream is trying to do ?


  30. Hello,
    Please I just started using obagi system and my face is peeling seriously and also very red,does anyone have an idea how long it will take to stop peeling?

  31. I have just purchased a starter kit plus a tube of tretinoin. I noticed the box was missing a travel bag as listed on the box and the clinic peeled the individual prices off of the individual bottles before putting them in the box. I have researched the products and think I have been overcharged. I was charged £650. Which means the average price for each product .. Is approx £80. This is an awful lot f money to me but I am desperate and just wondered if that’s the going rate.

  32. I have been o nu derm 5-6 weeks age 57, my nose is horrible peelig and I have assisted with the peeling which has made things worse.my question is why is my nose peeling so bad that once I peel it, it is raw skin,UGH! Also my eyes look like I have been beaten up, they are purple looking under on on top, looks they want to peel but I have resisted the urge to try and peel layer off with my tweezers as I did on nose… OVERALL after 6 weeks diligently using nu drem steps, I am horribly disappointed, I read all these post about how great skin looks after 4 weeks???? Am I doing something wrong or whats the story?

  33. I am going to try obagi on my face from tomorrow as i just received from my skin clinic.
    I have large pigmentation on my cheek area and i am hesitating whether it will work for me or not?
    Also i should try on obagi when weather is less hot in October?
    I will take my holiday for 2 weeks because i will have peeling,redness and dryness when using obagi so how long do i have to be home as lots of reaction?
    I start very nervous using obagi now please give me advice.

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