Exfoderm® vs. Exfoderm® Forte: What's the difference?

Hannah Wilson

Don’t know your Exfoderm® from your Exfoderm® Forte?? We’re here to clear up the mystery! The Obagi Medical range has lots of standout products that we like to shine a spotlight on, and two of the most popular in the range are Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® and Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte - but what’s the difference between these two very similarly named products?

From ingredients and skin results to product cost and customer reviews, we’re breaking it all down in this article. Here’s your side-by-side guide to Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte.

Want to speak to a professional about these two products? As authorised Obagi Medical stockists, our Face Dr Skin Experts are available to help. Book a free video consultation:

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • What is the Obagi range?
  • What is Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm®?
  • What is Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte?
  • How are they different?
  • Do I need a prescription to buy Exfoderm® or Exfoderm® Forte?
  • What ingredients feature in Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte?
  • Who would benefit from choosing Exfoderm®?
  • Who would benefit from choosing Exfoderm® Forte?
  • What do the reviews say?
  • How much does Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte cost?
  • Summary: Should I try Exfoderm® or Exfoderm® Forte?


What is the Obagi range?




Obagi is one of our bestselling ranges at Face Dr. This skincare brand offers both prescriptive (the Obagi Medical range) and non-prescriptive (the Obagi Clinical range) products to help tackle many different skin issues. These include hyperpigmentation and dark spots, signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles, and troublesome acne.

Their products are formulated with the intention of proactively creating healthy, resilient skin instead of just tackling the obvious issues. You can read more about Obagi products in our article, Obagi skincare; Everything you need to know.


What is Obagi Exfoderm®?




Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® is a lightweight lotion that exfoliates and removes old, dull skin while revealing new skin for a brighter, more radiant complexion. It works to build a more even skin texture and tone, and is most suitable for dry and sensitive skin types.


What is Obagi Exfoderm® Forte?



Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte (a tongue-twister indeed!) is also a lightweight lotion, but this one contains slightly different ingredients. This product is still designed to exfoliate and remove dead, dull skin while promoting natural skin cell turnover, but it’s most suitable for normal to oily skin types. The result will be a noticeably smoother, brighter complexion and even skin tone.


How are they different?

You guessed it - it depends on what skin type you have; sensitive, dry skin, or normal to oily skin. The formulations for these two products offer different ingredients to make them suitable for two different types of skin:

  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® is designed for dry skin, or sensitive skin
  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte is designed for normal to oily skin

You will likely know which side of the spectrum your skin tends to fall on. As a general rule, if it looks and feels oily or you suffer from acne, you probably have normal to oily skin, whereas if your skin looks or feels dry or is sometimes flaky, you probably have dry skin. It’s not always easy to know this, so if you’re not sure what your skin type is, you can speak to your Skin Expert to find out.


Do I need a prescription to buy Exfoderm® or Exfoderm® Forte?


No. However, as both of these products are part of the Obagi Medical range, it might be worth checking they're suitable for your skin by chatting with one of our Skin Experts (or another authorised stockist)before purchasing. To get a prescription, we offer free video consultations where you can discuss your skin issues and goals, and purchase relevant products if you choose to buy through Face Dr.

The reason many of the Obagi Medical products require a prescription is because some of the ingredients used are strong and potentially irritating to skin. By consulting with a professional, you ensure you are getting the very best products and ingredient strength for your specific skin concern, and avoid buying a product that won’t work for you and will eventually go to waste.


What ingredients feature in Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte?


The ingredients are what make these two products different, and effective for multiple skin types.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm®

Exfoderm® features a number of ingredients to make its formulation so effective, but the key ingredient is phytic acid. This is a hydroxy acid that exfoliates skin while also providing antioxidant benefits, offering both smoothing and brightening results.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte

Exfoderm® Forte provides similar results, but the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) included in this formulation are glycolic and lactic acid. These nature-identical acids work to exfoliate skin and can bind water, making it a more effective formulation for those with oilier skin.


Who would benefit from choosing Exfoderm®?



As you have probably already guessed, Exfoderm® is ideally suited to those with either dry skin or particularly sensitive skin, but the results will be most beneficial if your skin is looking and feeling dull, rough or uneven to the touch, and in need of a radiance boost! Speak to your Face Dr Skin Expert on a free video consultation and they will advise whether this product could work for your skin goals.


Who would benefit from choosing Exfoderm® Forte?



Exfoderm® Forte is going to be best for those with normal to oily skin, and again if you have rough or uneven skin, or it’s looking dull and lacklustre, you may find this product is a game-changer. It’s always best to discuss your needs with your Face Dr Skin Expert on a free video consultation so they can share the best options for your specific skin concerns.


What do the reviews say?


Looking at client and customer reviews can be a great insight into whether or not a product is likely to work for you, which is why we like to mention some in all of our articles and give you a completely unbiased understanding of each product’s pros and cons.

On the official Obagi website, both Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte have 4.7 stars out of 5, and both have many great reviews. Here are a few:

“Great brand with quick effective results. My skin looks smoother, brighter, and youthful in only two weeks of use. I began using Obagi to address hyperpigmentation. I didn’t expect dramatic results…”
René, Obagi customer using Nu-Derm® Exfoderm®

“This product is amazing. I have tried other types of similar products but this is by far the most effective one ever. My co-workers noticed a difference in the texture of my skin and they did not know that I was using Obagi. I highly recommend this product.”
Linda N., Obagi customer using Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte

In the interest of offering a balanced view of all reviews, do keep in mind if you are considering Exfoderm® Forte that some of the negative reviews mention it being drying on skin. As this product is designed for oily skin, it may feel more drying so it’s always best to speak to a Skin Expert first to determine what skin type you have - it may not be what you think!

Also, our Skin Experts will only ever recommend products they genuinely believe will help you and work for your skin type, so bear in mind your Skin Expert may recommend an alternative product if you have a skin type that doesn’t quite work for either of these products.


How much does Exfoderm® and Exfoderm® Forte cost?


Both Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® and Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte are sold at RRP, and cost £92 if purchased through Face Dr. It is also available as part of the Obagi Nu-Derm® system, which you can read more about here:

What is the Obagi Nu-Derm® system and how does it work?


Summary: Should I try Exfoderm® or Exfoderm® Forte?


Exfoderm vs exfoderm forte


If your skin is feeling rough and uneven, or dull and lacklustre, this could be the one for you. As an overall skin brightener, few products offer the dramatic, positive results that Exfoderm® products do, so they are certainly worth a try if you want refreshed, revitalised, radiant skin.

The first step is always to speak to a professional to find out which one - Exfoderm® or Exfoderm® Forte - is best for your skin type. If you choose to book a free video consultation with one of our Skin Experts, you can discuss in detail your skin issues and the available ranges. If you then choose to make a purchase based on our recommendations, we’ll unlock the relevant prescription-only products and have them posted to you next working day, anywhere in the UK.

Ready to try one of these skin-brightening favourites?

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