Aug 25, 2012

Obagi update including before and after photo's

I decided to give the Obagi Nu-Derm system a try due to the wonderful reviews on Makeupalley along with so many raving about it on the web but due to the overall cost of the system I have done some research and with the advice and guidance of a wonderful MUAer have found a way to get the same results at a much lower cost. (please email me if you wish to purchase the Obagi Nu-Derm products)
Before I go into the details of the products along with a step by step guide as to how to apply, I want to emphasize that after only 4 weeks of doing the system the results so far are absolutely amazing and I am excited to see what my skin will look like after the full 18 weeks.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will be placing regular updates as to how my skin is reacting along with the improvement and reduction in hyper-pigmentation, texture, color etc.
Below is what the system consists of when purchasing the Obagi Nu-Derm products:
Obagi NuDerm Foam Cleanser
Product Description:
A gel-based cleanser that removes impurities, oil, and makeup to leave even the oiliest skin clean and fresh.
Obagi NuDerm Toner
Product Description:
A toner that adjusts the pH of the skin for increased penetration of the system ingredients.  
Obagi NuDerm Clear
Product Description:
A topical prescription treatment that includes 4% hydroquinone to correct hyper-pigmentation (discoloration) and improve and even skin tone
Obagi NuDerm Exfoderm Forte
Product Description:
An alpha-hydroxy acid (6% glycolic acid, 4% lactic acid) that removes old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter, firmer complexion for skin that needs deeper exfoliation.
Obagi NuDerm Blender
Product Description:
A topical prescription treatment that contains 4% hydroquinone to target hyperpigmented (discolored) areas of the skin and increase the penetration of the active ingredients of the system
Obagi NuDerm Retin A
Product Description:
Tretinoin Cream USP 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%
A topical prescription treatment for acne.
Obagi Professional C Serum 5,10,15 or 20%

Obagi NuDerm Sunscreen
Product Description:
A sunscreen with 18.5% zinc oxide that helps to protect the newer, healthier skin created by skin transformation. 2.0 oz (57 g)
The Obagi Nu-Derm system cost upward of $350.00-$500.00 and this is not inclusive of the Blue Peel they advice you to have once completing the 18 weeks.
Below is the Obagi Nu-Derm item I purchased along with products I substituted:
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender. This was the only product that appears to be a necessity in the whole system.
I substituted the following:
Obagi NuDerm Foam Cleanser: 
Substitute: Reviva Labs Glycolic Facial Cleanser (LINK) in the AM and Cetaphil Cleanser in the PM
Obagi NuDerm Toner:
Substitute: DIY Niacinamide Toner Link
Obagi NuDerm Clear:
The above has the nearly identical formula as the Blender so I use the Blender when this is required
Obagi NuDerm Exfoderm Forte:
Substitute: Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle Link
Obagi NuDerm Retin A:
Substitute: ADC Retin A 0.05% Link
Obagi Professional C Serum
Substitute: Vit C Serum LINK
Obagi NuDerm Sunscreen:
Substitute: Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen (review coming soon)
I also add a DIY Vit C Serum to the list (LINK)
Application directions:
Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid Facial Cleanser
DIY Niacinamide Toner
Wait 10-20 minutes 
DIY Vit C Serum Link
Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender
Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen
Cetaphil Cleanser (I wish to emphasize that if you choose to use a Zinc based SS during the day it will be necessary to remove this with an oil based cleanser before proceeding)
DIY Niacinamide Toner
Wait 10-20 minutes
DIY Vit C Serum
Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender
ADC Retin A 0.05%
What To Expect Whilst Using The Products:
Redness: Skin will be 'tomato' red for the first two weeks
Itchiness: The intense need to scratch lasted for a total of 8 days
Flaking Skin: I looked pitiful for the first two weeks so much so that complete strangers were giving me sympathetic 'Oh I feel so sorry for her' stares
Day One:
I set everything up ready to use and applied everything from the above AM list. CAUTION I had been warned by a MUAer that the DIY Niacinamide Toner really does sting when applying it to the skin especially in the first week of use....of course I took this warning with a very large pinch of salt but boy oh boy was she right! After jumping around a little and trying desperately to hold back on all the bad words that were going through my head I waited the suggested 20 minutes before applying the DIY Vit C Serum followed by everything else on the list and got on with my day.
Followed the instructions for the PM application adding the Retin A to the Blender product.
Day Two:
Today my face and neck were 'tomato' red! I had been warned that this is par for the course but I must say I was quite shocked as to how 'red' I actually was and when I applied the DIY Niacinamide Toner I nearly jumped through the roof with the stinging but just kept repeating to myself that the final results would be worth it!
Day Three:

Days 4-8:
The intensity of the itching sensation drove me crazy at times to the point that I had to apply neosporin to my neck so as to calm it down. The 'tomato' red appearance continued and concerned my husband so much that he asked me if I just might be 'over doing' this skincare 'thing' I have going on (husbands just don't get it do they girls)! But with one glare from me he decided to back off!
The peeling has been intense. Flakes fall off whilst I am talking which is not a pretty site for those within eye contact.
Days 9-14:
Finally, the intense itching subsided and I now only had to contend with the 'red, flaky' skin. Every alternate day I used a warm damp wash clothe to gently remove some of the dead skin and this was so soothing.
Day Fifteen:
Today I saw light at the end of the tunnel...the intense redness had subsided leaving me with a warm glow rather than a burnt look. Today was a good day as two of the very dark sunspots I have on my left upper cheek have faded by at least 50%.
Days 16-21:
My skin has calmed down completely. The redness that was so intense has completely gone and the flaking skin is now only noticeable to me.
Days 22-24:
I noticed on day 22 that my overall skin was much lighter, so much so that I appeared 'ashen'. This bothered me as although I want to have a clear even skin tone and complexion I do not want to have a 'unhealthy' appearance:( However this only lasted a couple of days as on day 24 my skin peeled in sheets and underneath was a healthy glowing complexion:)
Days 25-28:
The dark sunspots on my left upper cheek are now 75% lighter and I am amazed as to how this system works so fast and can hardly wait to see my skin when I have completed the full 18 weeks. 
Days 29-35:
Over the past seven days my skin started to flake a little heavier than it had last week and the majority of this was around my mouth and chin, on the corners of my eyes. My neck also became very dry and flaky but I resisted applying any moisturizer as I do not want to interfere with the Obagi Nu-Derm system doing its job.
Again this week sunspots on my left upper cheek have faded even more and I am so excited about this!
Weeks 6-8: 
My skin has settled down completely and the Obagi Nu-Derm system seems to be doing its job minus any irritation or peeling.
Weeks 8-10:
Throughout this past couple of weeks, especially around week 9, my face started to peel just a little. However I no longer have any redness and my sunspots continue to fade.....I love this stuff!!
Week 11:
The clarity of my skin is amazing especially on my cheeks, forehead and neck. It is so smooth with even skin-tone and for some reason (which I think is due to the Niacinamide toner) my cheeks appear more 'plump'.
Week 12-14:
My skin continues to improve, especially with the fading of sunspots and overall skin-tone. Skin has completely adapted to the Obagi Nu-Derm system and I no longer have any irritation in regards to the products which is making it so much easier to use. However I am finding the twice per day intense regiment of this system quite demanding in regards to the commitment it takes BUT I am determined to see this through due to the wonderful results I have so far had.
Week 15:
During this week I experienced some 'itching' which reminded me of week 'one'. I started to wonder if my skin was about to go through the cycle of intense irritation, redness and flaking that I had experienced in the beginning of the Obagi Nu-Derm system but thankfully this was not the case:)
Week 16:
Skin clarity is very good. Makeup application is smooth and flawless....can this really be my skin I ask myself! I find myself looking in the mirror far too often and this is due to having to reiterate to myself that the skin I see in the mirror is really mine....clear, plump, even skin-tone. Dare I say 'flawless', not quite but pretty darn close!

Below are photograph's of my skin before and after without makeup (how brave am I). The little boy in the picture is Colton one of my six grandchildren.