C-Exfoliating Day Lotion With Vitamin C SPF 12
2 fl. oz. for $67
Last Updated:12.05.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

A sunscreen with SPF 12 is below the minimum sun protection recommended by almost every medical and dermatologic organization throughout the world. In fact, most recommend far higher SPFs, especially in sunny environs. Add to that the fact that Obagi is a line created by a physician and the SPF rating is just downright embarrassing.

An even greater problem than the rating is the fact that the active ingredients fail to supply sufficient UVA protection, leaving your skin vulnerable to wrinkles. Any sunscreen should contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, Tinosorb, Mexoryl SX, or ecamsule. Given that you must apply all sunscreens liberally to get the full benefit of the SPF rating on the label, this product price isn’t going to encourage most people to do that. Considering the formulary problems and the price, this isn’t a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen that’s worth your time or money.

In terms of the exfoliating claim … this contains glycolic acid and is within the correct pH range for exfoliation to occur, but the amount of glycolic acid is too small, so you won’t see much, if any, benefit. Those looking for a daytime moisturizer with AHAs should consider the many options from NeoStrata and their Exuviance line.


This unique formula gently exfoliates and accelerates skin cell turnover while hydrating and protecting skin. Use C-Exfoliating Day Lotion after C-Clarifying Serum to enhance the radiance in your skin delivered by using the other products in the Obagi-C Rx System.


Active: Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, Oxybenzone 4.00% Other: Arginine, Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C), Bisabolol, Butylparaben, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, PEG/PPG-10/2 Ricinoleate, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 60, Propylparaben, Purified Water, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Sodium Hydroxide, Squalane, Steareth-2, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).

Brand Overview

Obagi At-A-Glance

Strengths:Selection of good water-soluble cleansers; some effective skin-lightening and tretinoin products.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products available only via prescription, which can be inconvenient; disappointing anti-acne products; moisturizers should contain more state-of-the-art ingredients.

Obagi is a skincare line which got its start back in 1988, spearheaded by Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi, who has since left the brand. Choosing to focus on the skin issues that plague many aging adults (chiefly, skin discolorations from sun damage and other sources and wrinkles), Obagi offers a mixed bag of cosmetic and prescription products sold only through authorized physicians, plastic surgeons, and accredited medical spas. That exclusivity may increase this line's cache with consumers, but let me assure you that most of what's offered isn't all that exceptional—and what's available by prescription can be prescribed in other forms by any dermatologist, so you don't need to seek one that retails Obagi's products. The highlights of this line are actually the prescription products. Several options with 4% hydroquinone are available as well as two products with tretinoin. There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that 4% hydroquinone, especially when combined with tretinoin, has a high success rate for persons dealing with stubborn skin discolorations or the skin condition melasma (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 36–39; Cutis, January 2005, pages 57–62, and March 2006, pages 177–184).

The skin-care products Obagi sells to support the prescription-only options are either standard or below-average formulas that are easily replaced by less expensive options from other lines. Beware: This is a line whose proponents are adamant about the products being used as a system, so expect pressure to purchase an entire routine rather than cherry-pick what you really need. Savvy shoppers will find some viable options from Obagi, including a very gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen for someone with sensitive skin.

For more information about Obagi, call (800) 636-7546 or visit www.obagi.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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