Why is the Obagi system not working for me yet?

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When you start a new skin regime, especially one like Obagi that has had masses of positive reactions, and it doesn’t seem to be working – you may well feel really disappointed.

You may even think your skin is looking worse than ever which could leave you feeling angry or miserable.

At this stage, you will probably start thinking ‘maybe this isn’t for me’, or ‘why have I spent all this money on these products?’ or even ‘what’s the point of continuing with this system?’

These are understandable responses! But wait! Before you throw the products out, think about the way the system actually works.

When you start with Obagi Nu-Derm you might be expecting miracles – but in fact it can take 18 weeks for the end results to be seen.

It’s really important to understand that it will take time for any positive changes, and yes, sometimes your skin will look worse before it gets better. That’s because the old, dead skin cells are being replaced and your skin is likely to look dry, red and you may even have some patches where your skin peels.

Additionally, remember that no one person’s skin is exactly the same as another’s. We all have unique skin with unique properties. So while one person may see results quickly, for another it may take a little longer.

The key is to be patient.

You should have the support of an experienced clinician to guide you through the correct use of your Obagi system. They can advise you on supplementary products like hydration systems or how you might adjust your treatment protocol to reduce these side effects. They will also advise you if you feel you haven’t seen any progress.

So how long does it take?

This is the most usual Obagi Nu-Derm timescale:

Restart: weeks 1 to 6

  • Products penetrate the skin to correct signs of skin ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation including melasma, age spots or solar lentigines, and freckles
  • Products begin working to help promote skin cell turnover
  • Old, dead skin cells are replaced with fresh skin cells

You may experience some itching, dryness and redness. If you have pigmentation, the skin cells start to become regulated and your skin will start to have a more even tone

Renew: weeks 7 to 12

  • Your skin will be adjusting to the system
  • It will produce new skin cells while pigment cells will distribute melanin more evenly

Keratinisation normalises and you should have smoother, softer, clearer skin.

Regenerate: weeks 12 to 17

  • Your skins cells will be in the full process of transformation

Your skin will be clearer, have a more even, firmer tone and feel hydrated. 

Restore and Retain: weeks 18+

  • Skin looks transformed and its healthy-look is restored
  • Continue to use the system daily in the morning and evening to maintain your results long-term, under the guidance of your skincare professional


Your skin should look radiant, even-toned and supple. By continuing with Obagi (at this point you are likely to change to non-prescription products) the benefits of the system should remain and your skin won’t regress to its condition prior to treatment.   

What if I really see no difference after 12 weeks?

Firstly you must be 100% sure that you have been following the system as you have been asked to.

Then, if for some reason the Obagi Nu-Derm system really isn’t working for your skin, then clearly it is not the right product for you.

This is why it is essential to choose a clinic that offers a Results Guarantee alongside ongoing support and complimentary reviews. You should also choose a clinic that has experienced, trained clinicians and provides a free consultation before you sign up for treatment. Check reviews for the treatment you are interested in.

As experienced Obagi specialists, Brigstock Skin & Laser provides a Results Guarantee which we are happy to discuss with you. You are welcome to take a look at our own reviews from Obagi clients by clicking here.

If you would like to find out more book your free consultation online now by clicking here or call us on 020 868 36730.

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