Nu-Derm Clear
2 fl. oz. for $104.03
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Lighteners With Hydroquinone
Last Updated:03.16.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Nu-Derm Clear is a prescription-only skin lightening product formulated with 4% hydroquinone. Althought the amount of hydroquinone can be very effective for stubborn discolorations and conditions such as melasma, this isn't nearly as elegant other prescription-only skin lighteners with hydroquinone (those that come in a creamy base). The amount of sodium lauryl sulfate in Nu-Derm Clear has the potential to cause irritation, and the tiny amount of vitamin-based antioxidants Obagi included doesn't justify this product's price or greatly enhance its efficacy.


Formulated with 4% Hydroquinone to correct uneven surface skin color and brown spots.


Active: Hydroquinone (4%), Other: Purified Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite, Lactic Acid, Saponins, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, BHT, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

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.

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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Amazing Product

I've been using Obagi Clear and Blender with a tretinoin cream for 6 months now. My dark spots have mostly lightened where a sheer tinted moisturizer is all I need now, but I often go out with bare skin too with confidence. I saw results within a month, and my skin keeps getting better with continued use. These are the only products that have made a difference for my hyperpigmentation, and I've tried many! I have even considered laser treatment because it was so bad.

Reviewed by
Great product

I have been using this product now for a year. It has lighted several dark spots on my face and it also has done wonders for my complexion . Even though this product is expensive ,after applying twice a day faithfully for a year I am still using the same bottle . I do plan on purchasing again I love the results.

Reviewed by
Chris v
Another waste of money

I tried this after the RN at my PS skin care office recommended the Obagi line . It did lighten some discoloration due to sun damage, but certainly wasn't worth the price tag! I will be trying another form of skin lightening, possibly vitamin C??

Reviewed by
becc w.
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