My Obagi Experiment
A couple of months ago, I decided that I was going to really find out what this Obagi thing was that I have been hearing so much about. I don't know if you have heard the same things I have, but basically I had the impression that it is the holy grail of skincare. In short, I thought that at my age (41), anyone who was really serious and committed to taking care of their skin would be willing to sacrifice massive dollars because... well... it's the holy grail!
After searching online to find out what the deal was, I really was only able to come across two heavy hitting ingredients contained in the system. Hydroquinone, which is a well established skin bleacher/dark spot/melasma corrector (but shouldn't be used for more than 3-5 months). And Phytic acid, an AHA that exfoliates much like glycolic acid, but gentler. That was confusing. Why? Because I have been buying a 10% glycolic acid serum at the drug store for well under $30 with my coupons and rewards points. And Goop Beauty makes a toner that has phytic acid, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid for $68. Well, for the hundreds of dollars they asked, I assumed there must be more. Trusting in the reputation of Obagi, I assumed there would be more to it and I purchased a travel-sized kit for around $200. Full sized kits are well double that cost.
After bringing it home I examined the kit and here is what stood out to me. First, it was impossible to find a full list of ingredients. Second, no mention of any of the important age fighters like ceramides, niacinamide, retinoids, or vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Maybe they're in there, but I don't know why that wouldn't be prominently stated on the packaging.
So basically, given the fact that I was already using an AHA exfoliant in the form of glycolic acid, the only thing it was adding to my routing was hydroquinone. I would still need my CeraVe facial moisturizer (pictured below) for the ceramides and niacinamide. I would still need my hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate some fine line areas. And I would still need my vitamin C for its fantastic brightening effects.
Not to mention that some of the dark spot reducing power can also be found in niacinamide which is in the CeraVe facial moisturizer.
I could go on and on about the different ingredients and what they do but I want to just get to the point. For me, here is the bottom line. I insist on having ceramides, niacinamide, glycolic or lactic acid, tretinoin or some powerful retinoid, vitamin C in the ascorbic acid form, and moisturization. You can get all of that much cheaper with some CeraVe and a couple of serums. In this article, I have included pictures of some products that have the heavy hitters at a fraction of the price, many that I use!