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Dr Vicky Dondos Discusses the Obagi Nuderm System

September 2016

Are you a fan of the Obagi Nuderm System?

“Yes, a huge fan! We have been using the system for 10 years now at Medicetics, with great results. At this time of year, it flies off the shelf. However good your intentions, there are very few of us who have not suffered some sort of sun damage over the last few months. This is a prescription-strength method to improve pigmentation, fine lines, dull, sallow skin. It’s a 12-week overhaul, it will ‘reset’ your skin. Autumn is the perfect time, post-beach, pre-ski… for the lucky ones amongst us anyway!”

But you haven’t always been a fan?

“That’s right, I’m a convert. The system can be transformational or a very expensive disaster if not used correctly. You don’t have to search hard to find reports all over the web of problems whilst using the system: extreme dryness, redness, irritated and sore skin, even cracking. But it is really not necessary to go through this. These are strong products, it will take your skin time to tolerate them completely – some tightness and sensitivity have to be expected over the initial 3 weeks. But it is possible to create a personalised protocol, depending on how fast you want to go/ how much your lifestyle will allow for this ‘downtime’. You need to gently coax your skin into tolerating the products – and it is our job to advise and handhold you through these initial few weeks to make sure that you don’t suffer! All of our patients have unlimited access to our advice and support during this time if needed. Getting it right at the start is so incredibly important.”

Which are the troublesome products?

“All de-pigmenting systems have 3 basic components: 1) sunscreen, 2) an exfoliant and 3) an ingredient that blocks the production of new pigment. The exfoliant will speed up the removal of melanin/pigment that has already been produced – the brown spots which you can see. But unless you combine this exfoliant with an ingredient that blocks new pigment production the results will only be short lasting. The Obagi Nu-Derm system uses Hydroquinone 4% for this (a powerful enzyme blocker, only available on prescription). Combining Hydroquinone with an exfoliant “ Exfoderm” and a prescription strength retinoid, tretionin/ ‘Retin-A is key to the success of the system. But ‘Exfoderm’ and ‘tretinoin’ can cause some irritation when you first start using them. Something that we can help to moderate and reduce.”

How long do you need to use the products for?

“Most patients will see an improvement after 3 weeks, pigmentation should start to fade at 5-6 weeks, but we strongly encourage you to complete the 12 weeks system. The kit provides everything you need to use, including a cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen for the full 12 week period.

I am not an advocate of continual usage, ad infinitum – the industry is split here. We book our patients in for a consultation towards the end of the 12 week period and work together to build a bespoke skincare regime to support and sustain the results that have been achieved. Sometimes this will include Obagi products, sometimes we will recommend treatments such as IPL or a HydraFacial. Usually, we move into a ‘support and nourish’ phase – really allowing you to fully enjoy skin that is not just looking better but also functioning better – stronger and doing its job, without the need for an expansive and expensive entourage of products on your bathroom shelf!”

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