Let’s talk about two of the biggest names in medical grade skincare: SkinCeuticals and Obagi. With both brands being backed by medical experts, and both having been on the market for more than 30 years, it can be hard to choose between the two without delving a little deeper.
Well, that's exactly what we aim to do in this post! Keep scrolling to uncover the key differences between their best-sellers to find out which brand is best for you and your skin.
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SkinCeuticals vs Obagi Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most critical-yet-underrated ingredients in the world of skin care. It is an antioxidant that brightens your skin, reverses sun damage, corrects hyperpigmentation, and stimulates collagen production. It also helps to make your sunscreen more effective! Since vitamin C is such a powerhouse active ingredient, this is certainly an area in skincare where you don’t want to skimp.
Vitamin C serum comparison
When choosing a vitamin C worthy of joining your skincare lineup, the two most important factors to keep in mind are the dosage and the type of vitamin C. Skin experts recommend a dosage between 10%-20% to reap the most benefits without experiencing irritation. The two most common types of vitamin C are l-ascorbic acid and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, with l-ascorbic acid being the strongest.
Both Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum and Obagi Professional-C Serum are formulated with the most effective form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid. They also both use the recommended dosage; Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Acid contains 15% l-ascorbic acid and Obagi Professional-C Serum comes in 10%, 15%, and 20% options.
They’re both packaged in opaque glass bottles which help extend the shelf life of vitamin C and prevents it from oxidizing - a thoughtful added feature to help ensure you get all your money's worth out of them! That being said, be sure to screw the lid on tightly after use, as exposure to air will cause the serums to spoil faster.
The three biggest differences between Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum and Obagi Professional-C Serum are their formulations, smell, and texture. Allow us to compare and contrast...
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum is alcohol-, oil-, and fragrance-free. Obagi’s formula is alcohol-free but does include perfuming fragrances which some sensitive skin types will find irritating.
As suggested by the name, Skinceuticals’ CE Ferulic Serum is also formulated with vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. Combined, they’ve been shown to make l-ascorbic acid more stable and increase absorption. Vitamin E can also help soothe and hydrate skin, helping it tolerate some of the adverse adjustment side effects of using vitamin C.
SkinCeuticals and Obagi are two of the few brands that develop their Vitamin C serums according to the Duke Antioxidant patent - which specifies the parameters for optimal Vitamin C absorption for skin.
The CE Ferulic Serum has a pH level of 2.5-3.0 and a concentration of 15%, Obagi's Professional-C serum has a pH level of 2.0-3.0 and concentrations varying from 10-20%; both sets of parameters fall between the guideline 2.0-3.0 pH and 10-20% concentration as specified by the patent. This means that both serums, in theory, offer absolutely optimal absorption.
Unfortunately, some users report an off-putting smell from Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum because of the ferulic acid. Obagi Professional-C Serums have a rather pleasant smell due to the added fragrance, however, as stated before, this isn't always necessarily a plus.
The textures between the two serums are also slightly different. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum is more watery making it fast absorbing but also more prone to leaving behind a small amount of residue after application. Obagi Professional-C Serum also has a thin texture, but slightly less watery - it feels lightweight and leaves behind little-to-no residue.
This is a close call since both Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum and Obagi Professional-C Serum are such well-formulated, effective products. If your skin can tolerate higher doses of vitamin C, I recommend Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum. It really did live up to the hype and provided noticeable healing, brightening and texture improvements for my skin.
However, if you’ve never used a vitamin C before, it would be smart to start with a bottle of Obagi Professional-C 10% Serum. The lower level of l-ascorbic acid can help train your skin to tolerate a higher dosage. Many people experience an adjustment period of 8-12 weeks where they experience tingling, dry or itchy skin. To avoid this, start with the lower dosage every other day and slowly work increase frequency and concentration over time!
CE Ferulic Serum by SkinCeuticals
Our rating: ★★★★★
High potency triple antioxidant treatment.
What makes it special? This patented serum is clinically proven to reduce the damage of environmental free radicals by nearly 50%! With 15% L-ascorbic acid, 1% vitamin E and .5% ferulic acid, this serum reverses signs of aging, firms skin and brightens your complexion.
Which skin types? For all skin types.
Professional-C Serum by Obagi
Our rating: ★★★★★
Concentrated Vitamin C antioxidant serum recommended for dry or sensitive skin.
What makes it special? Obagi offers three different dosages of effective vitamin C serums, 10%, 15%, and 20%. All three of their products are formulated to deeply penetrate your skin and quickly deliver antioxidants and protection to your skin, leaving your skin brighter, plumper, and dewier.
Which skin types? For dry, normal (or sensitive) skin.