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).
Dermatologist Zein E. Obagi is behind this line, which claims to be your skin's key to transformation. 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.
One more point: Obagi is also "known" for his Blue Peel. This is a standard trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel that has been performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons for years; Obagi simply instructs the practitioner to mix the TCA with a blue-tinted base. TCA is used for peeling the face, neck, hands, and other exposed areas of the body. It causes fewer pigmentation problems than other doctor-only peels such as phenol, and is considered excellent for "spot" peeling specific areas. It also can be used for medium or light peeling, depending on the concentration and method of application. AHA and BHA peels are considered light peels, and are often done in a series of six. TCA peels are best for fine lines and can be somewhat more effective on deeper wrinkling, but they are performed only once every couple of years. Many of the dermatologists we spoke to believe that a TCA peel is a viable option for many skin types, despite consumers' fascination with AHA peels.
For more information about Obagi, call (800) 636-7546 or visit www.obagi.com.