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SkinMedica vs Obagi 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

As we age, spend time in the sun, and go through hormonal changes, we're bound to experience skin concerns such as melasma, dark spots, rough texture, and wrinkles (the list also goes on and on, unfortunately).

If you are looking for the best solution to any of these concerns, you may find the best results with one of the two dermatologist-developed systems by SkinMedica and Obagi.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of them so that you can make the best choice for you and your skin!

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SkinMedica vs Obagi Systems

SkinMedica Award Winning System

SkinMedica was started in 1999, founded by a renowned dermatologist, Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick. Since then it has expanded to include an entire collection of medical-grade skincare products that target all of the most frustrating skin conditions, such as wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, and sagging.

The company has won awards for more than a few of its products, so they must be good, right? Let’s take a closer look!

The SkinMedica Award Winning System is a trio of luxurious skincare products that, when used together, are proven to improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, tone and texture, as well as address sagging skin. It is deeply hydrating and will improve the luminosity of your skin with continuous use. The price tag is really rather high, but if the claims are true, it is well worth the investment.

The following three products in the system are formulated for all skin types:

  • TNS Advanced+ Serum - The TNS Serum is formulated to rejuvenate your skin and enhance firmness. Works progressively over time, with results being visible in 2 weeks, and improving over a 24 week period. They say it can help your skin look up to 6 years younger in 12 weeks of use.
  • Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum - Formulated to target hyperpigmentation, it improves even the most stubborn skin discoloration. It uses a combination of powerful (and safe) acids and peptides to gently and effectively lighten dark spots. It also contains an algae extract, which helps restore your skin’s natural protective barrier to avoid future damage. The serum works progressively over a 12 week period, and in studies, was shown to improve dark spots in 95% of participants, and improve skin tone in 100% of participants.
  • HA⁵ Rejuvenating Hydrator - This intense moisturizer is formulated with deeply hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid. It contains the proprietary Vitiscence Technology, a blend of powerful antioxidants and algae extract to help support your skin’s natural moisture barrier. It is said to instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improve your skin’s texture.

A few of the more notable ingredients in the trio are:

  • Niacinamide - a form of vitamin B3 that is useful for reducing hyper-pigmentation and its anti-aging benefits.
  • Phenylethyl Resorcinol - an enzyme derived from pine trees that helps lighten and brighten your skin’s tone.
  • Plankton Extract - an extract derived from algae that has been shown to be beneficial for reducing wrinkles, and reversing the signs of aging by nourishing your skin with essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Alteromonas Ferment Extract - a deep-sea algae extract that helps hydrate and condition your skin.

The online reviews we found for the SkinMedica line were overwhelmingly positive. Customers noticed some results right away, with maximum results appearing after 12 weeks of use. They also love how hydrating the line is, which is something we didn’t notice as much in the reviews for the Obagi line. We found more than a few reviews that said SkinMedica is well worth the price.

Find the best SkinMedica prices on Amazon

Obagi Nu-Derm System

Obagi is a company that was founded by dermatologist Dr. Zein in 1988.

The Obagi Nu-Derm System is an advanced 7 step skincare system that is scientifically formulated to promote skin health. The system comes in two types: one for normal to oily, or one for oily to dry. Each system has very similar ingredients and helps with acne, wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and aging.

It costs a little less than the SkinMedica system yet comes with more products in the set (7 to be exact). It includes:

  • Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser - contains oat amino acids and aloe to gently cleanse impurities while preserving moisture.
  • Nu-Derm Toner - contains arbutin to help lighten dark spots by reducing melanin secretion in your skin.
  • Nu-Derm Clear Fx - uses phytic acid as a gentle chemical exfoliator, instantly revealing more radiant skin. It also contains Hydroquinone to lighten dark spots.
  • Nu-Derm Exfoderm - contains AHA’s to further exfoliate by removing the dead outer layer of skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion.
  • Nu-Derm Hydrate - contains antioxidants to protect your skin from the elements, while moisturizing with deeply nourishing ingredients.
  • Nu-Derm Blend Fx - specially formulated with arbutin, antioxidants, and an exfoliant to help clarify and brighten skin.
  • Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 - combines UVB and UVA protection in an elegant, matte finish that is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested.

Customers have seen results within a month, with dramatic improvements in texture, tone, and reduction of dark spots. Some customers found results with these products after having tried “everything else,” after years of experiencing melasma or spots from sun damage. Most happy customers said they did have to work through a few weeks of redness and peeling as their skin adjusted to the more powerful ingredients. Once they were past that point though, they started to notice dramatic improvements.

The one main downside we saw in the reviews is that the results didn’t last after they stopped using the system, and in some cases, the cost was just too high for them to continue long term. One other thing that customers didn’t like was that the 7 steps were tedious to use, and since the system is made to work all together, you can’t and shouldn't really skip steps.

Find the best Obagi prices on Amazon

Final Verdict

Although both of these systems use scientifically proven ingredients to produce results, The customer reviews and simpler routine make the SkinMedica Award Winning System a more alluring option in our opinion, despite the higher price tag.

This article was originally published on March 14th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 1st 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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