Products Used in Maintenance on the Obagi System

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The Obagi system improves the appearance of aging skin by strengthening skin function at the cellular level. It accelerates the turnover of new cells on your skin’s surface, reduces splotchy pigmentation and increases collagen and elastin to promote firmer skin. A maintenance regimen to sustain these improvements follows the three-stage transformational program.

Foaming Gel Cleanser

Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel Cleanser combines herbs, aloe vera and natural cleansers. It rids your skin of pollutants and excess oil but does not rob it of its natural moisture, according to the Obagi Skin website. Suitable for even oily skin, this product leaves skin clean, clear and soft. Zein Obagi, M.D., the dermatologist who created the system, recommends that you use the cleanser daily for morning and nighttime cleansing. He recommends washing your face for a full minute using cool or tepid water.


The Obagi Nu-Derm toner is an herbal blend that tones and hydrates your skin. Used morning and night, it restores the normal pH balance of your skin, Obagi reports, and prepares it to absorb maximum amounts of Nu-Derm system products.

Professional-C Serum

Vitamin C in the serum neutralizes free radicals that can damage your skin cells and accelerate aging, according to Obagi Skin. Obagi claims its superior transdermal delivery system ensures that the product penetrates all layers of your skin to help sustain cellular turnover, build collagen and brighten your skin tone. Apply a few drops to your face after washing every morning. Initially, you may experience some stinging, but this is normal and usually stops after your skin adjusts to the treatment.


This 4 percent hydroquinone cream bleaches your skin and corrects hyperpigmentation, according to the Obagi Skin website. It is used morning and night during the repair phase. You may discontinue it after that phase if your pigmentation problems are resolved, or continue to use it twice weekly for maintenance. This product requires a prescription due to the level of hydroquinone it contains.


Use Exfoderm twice a week. Apply it in the morning after your toner. An exfoliating lotion, Exfoderm removes dead and damaged skin cells and reveals smoother, healthier skin, reports Obagi Skin. Massage one-half to 1 g into your skin until the lotion is no longer visible. Always follow with sunscreen.

Alternate Exfoderm with Daily Power Defense by ZO Skin Health, another Obagi company. DPD provides daily DNA repair and antioxidant protection for your skin, makers claim. It contains time-released retinol, enzymes and antioxidants to repair cellular damage. In addition, DPD stimulates cell activity to facilitate cellular rejuvenation.

ZO Complex and Blender

Both of these products require a prescription. ZO Complex A is Obagi’s tretinoin formula. Use it in combination with Nu-Derm Blender to stimulate healthy skin cell growth and to treat rosacea, hyperpigmentation and actinic keratosis as well as aging skin. Use the combination every other night after cleansing and toning. Alternate with Ossential Growth Factor Serum by ZO Skin Health.


Apply sunscreen every morning after treatment and before makeup.