Comprehensive Guide to the Obagi Nu Derm System

Treat Skin Ageing, Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

Exposure to the sun can expedite skin aging. This causes premature aging. The after-effects of sun damage often present as a dull complexion, characterized by the buildup of older, damaged cells as skin cell turnover dwindles. This is where the Obagi medical Nu Derm system steps in. This is as a leading solution for skin ageing that helps rectify and enhancing sun-damaged skin. The skin transformation system works by reducing dark spots and resurfacing the skin. When combined with a retinoid, it can give younger and more vibrant looking skin.

The Obagi Nu Derm System is a complete skincare regime consisting of seven distinct products. That being said, it is strongly advised to incorporate Retinol or Tretinoin to enhance and maintain the results. This regimen, when adhered to diligently during the morning and night for a span of 18-24 weeks, has the power to transform your skin’s texture and quality. The system caters to both normal/dry and normal/oily skin and helps combat visible signs of aging in all skin tones.

What Does The Nu Derm System Treat?

The Obagi medical Nu Derm system was specifically formulated to treat the following signs of sun-damage related ageing:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Coarse skin texture
  • Redness
  • Sallowness (yellowish skin tone)

What Does the Obagi Nu Derm System Contain?

The Obagi Nu Derm System is a holistic skincare regimen containing seven products. The kit contains:

Each of these components plays a crucial role in the transformation process. The cleanser and toner help prep your skin, Clear suppresses melanin over production, Exfoderm increases skin cell turnover and Blender enhances the effectiveness of Clear and any additional Retinol/Retinoid you are using. The hydrating lotion provides essential moisture and helps protect your skin barrier. The sunscreen protects your new skin from harmful UV rays, an integral step in preventing further sun-damage and maintaining the results of your skincare regime.

What’s the Difference Between Nu Derm Fx vs Nu Derm Rx?

The primary distinction between the Obagi Nu Derm Fx and Rx systems lies in one key ingredient; Hydroquinone. The Rx system includes this prescription only skin-lightening compound which is renowned for its efficacy in treating hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone works by decreasing the production and increasing the breakdown of excess melanin in the skin. When used correctly, this helps lighten dark spots without bleaching your skin. On the other hand, the Fx system employs a natural and gentler skin-brightening agent called Arbutin instead of Hydroquinone.

Choosing between the Fx and Rx systems hinges on the your skin type and colour, sensitivity and extent of the hyperpigmentation needs. The Nu Derm Rx system, may provide more pronounced results for those with severe hyperpigmentation or melasma. Hence, it works better than Arbutin for people with medium to deep skin tones. However, it might not be suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or who prefer to avoid Hydroquinone. The Fx system is an excellent alternative in these instances. Your doctor who will be able to advise you on best choice for your skin type, concerns and goals.

How to Use the Obagi Nu Derm System

Incorporating the Obagi Nu Derm System into your skincare regimen requires commitment, but the numbered products makes it easy to follow. Your treating doctor or medical provider will design a personalised skincare routine to help you get the most out of the treatment whilst avoiding irritation and side-effects. This will include the amount and frequency to use the Clear, Blender and Exfoderm. Just to illustrate, here is what a typical routine might look something like without customisation:

Morning Routine

  • Step 1: Begin with the Gentle Cleanser (for dry skin) or Foaming Gel (for oily skin). Apply it to your skin, rinse it off, and gently pat your skin dry.
  • Step 2: Use the Toner next. Dampen a cotton ball with the toner and gently apply it all over your face, taking care to avoid the eye area.
  • Step 3: Once your skin has dried, apply a layer of the Clear Rx or Clear Fx to your entire face and (avoid the eyes).
  • Step 4: Follow this with the Exfoderm or Exfoderm Forte (for oily skin).
  • Step 5: Apply the Hydrate moisturiser in a thin layer.
  • Step 6: Finish your morning routine by applying the Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Evening Routine

  • Step 1: Start with the same cleanser and toning process as in the morning routine.
  • Step 2: Apply the Clear or Clear Fx product again, as you did in the morning.
  • Step 3: In this step, mix Blender or Blender Fx with your Retinoid. After that, apply the mixture evenly over your face and neck taking care to avoid the eyes.
  • Step 4: Finish your evening routine by using Hydrate.

You will likely need to use the kit for 18-24 weeks to witness significant improvements. Your routine will typically be adjusted several times as you progress your treatment based on how your skin responds. Remember, experiencing mild itching, redness, or dryness in the initial phases of treatment can be common. If these conditions persist or worsen, consult with your doctor.

Journey to Transformation: How Long Does It Take To See Results From Obagi Nu Derm System?

The outcome of the Obagi Nu Derm System will differ from one individual to another. Typically, users can expect to start to see improvements within the first 4-6 weeks. Generally, the system works by accelerating cell turnover and sloughing off lifeless and dull skin. The process unfolds in four stages, with each stage lasting a few to several weeks, based on your skin.

Phase 1: Purging the Old (Week 1-6)

The products kickstart the process by increasing skin cell turnover. The exfoliation of the skin’s top layer paves the way for new skin cells to be revealed by getting rid of the old ones. Additionally, it also starts to reduce excess melanin production which is the cause of hyperpigmentation and melasma. Consequently, during this initial stage, some people might experience side effects such as itching, redness, and dryness.

Phase 2: Welcoming the New (Weeks 7-12)

This stage heralds the arrival of new skin cells. With the Nu Derm system continuing its work, your skin begins to look brighter and achieve an even tone as the pigment cells deposit melanin evenly in the newly formed skin layer.

Phase 3: The Dawn of a Healthy Glow (Weeks 13-18)

Now your cells are turning over more. At this point, your skin will begin its journey towards becoming clearer, firmer, and better hydrated.

Phase 4: The Reveal of the New You (Continuing Results with Proper Maintenance)

From the eighteenth week onwards, your skin will have largely improved. Accordingly, it will now look smoother, more even-toned, plumper and brighter. Having reached your skin objectives, the focus now shifts to preserving these results. This is best done by continuing to use a retinoid like Tretinoin.

Remember, the journey to skin transformation is a progressive one that needs patience and persistence. Fortunately, the Obagi Nu Derm system offers a comprehensive solution to tackle the signs of aging. Hence, with some effort, you’ll be paving the way for healthier, younger-looking skin. The key to a successful transformation lies in consistency and a dedication to maintenance.

How We Can Help You 

At City Skin Clinic we have had great success with Nu Derm as a treatment but ultimately found off-the-shelf skincare too limiting for the diverse skin concerns we see. That’s why we developed our own personalised skincare treatments containing the best prescription strength ingredients for your specific concern. We offer virtual consultations with aesthetic doctors through our online prescription skincare clinic. Your doctor will design a personalised treatment based on your skin concerns and goals. Afterwards, the products are then delivered to your home so you can get started straight away! Following that, your doctor will provide ongoing support and monitoring throughout your treatment journey. Book your consultation online today.  

Frequently asked questions

The Obagi Nu Derm System is a comprehensive skincare regime designed to correct and improve the visible signs of aging. The system includes seven products that work synergistically to enhance skin health and appearance.

The Obagi Nu Derm System is ideal for individuals dealing with skin issues like hyperpigmentation, melasma, fine lines & wrinkles, rough skin, redness, and sallowness.

The primary difference between the two systems is the presence of Hydroquinone. The Rx system contains this powerful skin-lightening agent, while the Fx system does not, instead using a natural skin-lightening compound known as Arbutin.

For optimal results, the Obagi Nu Derm System should be used consistently morning and night for a period of 18-24 weeks.

Although individual results will vary, most users will begin to see improvements within 4-6 weeks of consistent use.

Some users may experience redness, dryness, or itching, especially during the initial phase of treatment as the skin adjusts to the new products. If these symptoms persist, discontinue use and consult with a doctor.

The duration of results can vary, but with a proper skincare regimen, including using a high-SPF sunscreen and occasionally using the Obagi Nu Derm system for maintenance, results can last indefinitely.

If you have sensitive skin, you should consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional before starting the Obagi Nu Derm System. They can guide you on how to use the system safely and effectively.

If you stop using the system, you may notice a decline in the improvements you have seen. The skin may gradually return to its pre-treatment state over time. Therefore, a maintenance regimen is often recommended to keep the skin healthy and radiant.


Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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