An Affordable Obagi Nu-Derm Alternative
My skin has never looked better than it did when I used Obagi Nu-Derm–a skin care system designed to treat and prevent signs of aging. You can buy most of the line without a prescription, but certain steps are available by prescription only.
I started using Nu-Derm when I was about fifteen years old, so anti-aging wasn’t yet a concern for me; my dermatologist prescribed it for acne. Because I was so young when I started using it, I can’t say whether Nu-Derm reversed any signs of aging (I had very few at the time, if any), but I do think it prevented early symptoms. After all, I did use highly concentrated tretinoin, which is clinically proven to treat and prevent photoaging.
Anti-aging is now extremely important to me, but as a fifteen year old, I was really only concerned with treating my acne. And this worked! I still got occasional hormonal zits, but generally my skin looked clear. I had very few blackheads and my skin tone looked even.
So if Nu-Derm worked so well for me, you’re probably wondering why I stopped using it! After five years of pretty good skin…I forgot how troublesome my skin had been in the past so I ditched the Nu-Derm and started following a really basic skin care regimen. It worked okay, but my skin tone slowly became very uneven and I found myself loading on the benzoyl peroxide to keep my acne at bay, which really dried my skin out. They weren’t noticeable from afar, but I developed tiny blackheads on my t-zone that drove me crazy.
A couple months ago, I decided enough was enough and created an affordable, Nu-Derm inspired routine. Here’s what I came up with:
The non-prescription products in the line are great, but they’re not anything special (see Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia review for more info). You can swap in more affordable products and get the same overall results:
- Obagi’s: Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser/Nu-Derm Foaming Gel ($41.00, 6.7 fl oz–$6.12/oz)
- Alternatives: Use something gentle and water-soluble that works well for your skin type. If your skin is normal or dry, try CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($11.99, 12 fl oz–$1.00/oz) or Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser ($18.00, 6.4 fl oz–$2.81/oz). I have combination/oily skin, so I use CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($11.49 for 12 fl oz–$0.96/oz) or Paula’s Choice Hydralight One Step Cleanser ($20.00, 16 fl oz–$1.25/oz).
- Savings: $34.57 (for 6.7 fl oz of CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser in place of 6.7 fl oz of either Obagi cleanser) .
- Obagi’s: Nu-Derm Toner ($41.00, 6.7 fl oz–$6.12/oz)
- Alternatives: If your skin is dry, you might like Paula’s Choice Resist Replenishing Toner. For oily skin, try Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Toner (both $23.00, 4 oz–$5.75/oz).
- Savings: $2.50 (for 6.7 fl oz of either Paula’s Choice toner instead of 6.7 fl oz of Obagi toner–not a huge difference, but I actually think the Paula’s Choice toners are better formulated than Obagi’s).
- Obagi’s: Nu-Derm Exfoderm/Nu-Derm Exfoderm Forte ($72.00, 2 oz–$36.00/oz)
- Alternatives: Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA ($30.00, 1.7 oz–$17.65/oz) for normal to and dry skin. My skin is oily and I use Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment With 2% BHA ($28.00, 3 oz–$9.33/oz).
- Savings: $53.34 (2 oz of Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment With 2% BHA rather than 2 oz of Nu-Derm Exfoderm)
- Obagi’s: Nu-Derm Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35/Nu-Derm Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($50.00, 3 fl oz–$16.67/oz)
- Alternatives: Paula’s Choice Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 25 for normal to dry skin; Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Fluid SPF 50 for combination and oily skin ($29.00, 2 oz–$14.50/oz for both products).
- Savings: $6.50 (for 3 fl oz of either Paula’s Choice sunscreen in place of 3 fl oz of either Obagi sunscreen)
The prescription products in the system are the important ones, but you don’t need to get Obagi’s. You can use generic prescriptions from any dermatologist. Here’s what you need:
- Hydoquinone is the active ingredient in Obagi Clear ($104.03, 2 oz) and Blender ($99.65, 2 oz). Get a prescription for 4% Hydroquinone from any dermatologist instead–you can use the same 4% hydroquinone prescription in place of both Clear and Blender.
- Total cost of Obagi Clear and Blender: $203.68 for 4 oz
- Cost of generic 4% Hydroqunione: $40.00 for 4 oz ($10.00/oz), your price will vary depending on your insurance.
- Total Savings: $163.68
- Obagi Tretinoin Cream ($72.00, 20 grams) can be swapped for a Tretinoin prescription from any dermatologist. I use a generic and pay $10.00 for 20 grams (your price will depend on your insurance).
- Savings: $62.00
I already owned a few of these products, but if I had purchased every last one of them, I would have saved $322.59 total! And most importantly, I’m really happy with the results! I’ve been using the products above exactly the same way I used Obagi Nu-Derm for about two months, and my skin looks so much better already.
Sorry for the long post! Hopefully some of you will find this post helpful…good luck with your skin!