Obagi Nu-Derm vs. Obagi CLENZIderm; what’s the difference?

Hannah Wilson

Which is better for you… Obagi Nu-Derm® or Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.®? The answer could depend on lots of things; your skin type, current skin concerns, age, and many other factors. So we’re pitting these two skincare systems against each other to see which is more effective, which to choose for particular skincare issues, and which stands out in the customer reviews.

We know choosing a new skincare routine can be a lot, so we’re covering all things Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.®, Obagi Nu-Derm®, Obagi Medical, key ingredients like salicylic acid and hydroquinone, and how to buy these bestselling systems in the UK. Here’s our no-nonsense guide to Nu-Derm® and CLENZIderm…

Want to skip straight to speaking with a Skin Expert about these two systems? We are an authorised stockist of Obagi Medical and can point you in the right direction:

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
  • What is the Obagi range and why does Face Dr recommend it?
  • What is Obagi Nu-Derm®?
  • Who is the Nu-Derm® range best for?
  • What is Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.®?
  • Who is the CLENZIderm M.D.® range best for?
  • What is salicylic acid?
  • What is hydroquinone?
  • What do the reviews say?
  • How do I buy these ranges in the UK?
  • How much are both ranges?
  • How do prescriptions work?
  • Summary: Which range should I try?


What is the Obagi range and why does Face Dr recommend it?


 Obagi Medical


When you book a free video consultation with a Face Dr Skin Expert, they will discuss your skincare concerns and goals with you, and recommend a combination of products that is most likely to work for your skin type.

We have a number of trusted brands we recommend for their efficacy, but Obagi Medical is a real favourite. This skincare brand offers award-winning products with science-backed formulations designed for many skin types and concerns, particularly ageing skin, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne-prone skin.


What is Obagi Nu-Derm®?


 Obagi Nu-Derm range


Obagi Nu-Derm® is a specific range under the Obagi umbrella, formulated as a correction system for ageing skin and those with photodamage. Think age spots or discolouration. Certain products within the range contain 4% hydroquinone to correct any hyperpigmentation and melasma, and this ingredient makes the product prescription-only (more on this later!).

Key features of the range:

  • Reduces dark spots, fades hyperpigmentation, corrects photodamage
  • Available in normal-to-dry or normal-to-oily, with two different cleanser options
  • 7-piece Nu-Derm® RX Skin Transformation System provides the strongest results

Product list:

  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Gentle Cleanser - A mild facial cleanser for normal to dry skin or sensitive skin, which gently removes makeup, impurities, and oil without drying skin.
  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Toner - An alcohol-free toner that helps maintain the skin's natural pH balance while removing dead skin cells.
  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Clear RX - A dark spot lightener and corrector containing 4% prescription hydroquinone to correct hyperpigmentation and other discolouration.
  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® - A lightweight lotion to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells while promoting sell turnover, for smoother, brighter, more even skin. This product is suitable for dry, sensitive skin types.
  • Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte - A lightweight lotion to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells while promoting cell turnover, for smoother, brighter, more even skin. This product is suitable for normal to oily skin types.

 At Face Dr we stock the individual Obagi Nu-Derm® products that you can purchase after a free consultation with your Skin Expert, but we also stock the Obagi Nu-Derm® RX Skin Transformation System which contains 7 products from the Nu-Derm® range that all work together to create the optimum results for your skin. From the above products, one of two cleansers will be chosen for you depending on whether your skin is Normal to Dry or Normal to Oily.


Who is the Nu-Derm® range best for?



Woman touching face


If age-defying skincare is your thing, this could be a great option for you, even if you simply want to start early in future-proofing your skin. Similarly, if you notice a lot of signs of photodamage such as hyperpigmentation, dark spots and melasma, the Nu-Derm® range is designed as a correction system for this very issue, so it could be the ideal range for you.

Those with very sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis should be wary of this range as it could exacerbate symptoms and cause a reaction. The prescription-only ingredients in this range mean you will need to speak to a Skin Expert or qualified person before using it, so they can advise on this.


What is Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.®?


 Obagi Medical CLENZI-Derm


The Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.® range has been formulated to reach deep into pores and tackle bacteria that causes acne. It has been proven very effective, and contains 2% salicylic acid and 5% benzoyl peroxide to target any troublesome acne that’s present, and prevent future acne forming.

Key features of the range:

  • Treats mild to moderate acne, reduces scarring, and prevents future acne
  • Formulated to target P. acnes, the bacteria deep in the pores that causes acne
  • 3-piece CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System provides the strongest results

Product list:

  • Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.® Pore Therapy - A pore-refining toner formulated with 2% salicylic acid to help rid pores of dead skin and bacteria, and camomile to soothe irritated skin.

When it comes to acne, those who come to our Skin Experts are often looking for a truly transformative solution that will give them back their confidence, and Obagi's CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System is one we highly recommend.


Who is the CLENZIderm M.D.® range best for?


skincare consultations

Anyone with mild to moderate acne could benefit from this system or even some of the individual products in the range. Whether it’s whiteheads, blackheads, cystic acne or root issues like large pores or very oily skin, your Skin Expert may recommend this range. Again, if you have very sensitive skin or a skin condition like eczema or dermatitis, speak to your Skin Expert to make sure they are recommending the best product for your needs.


What is salicylic acid?

You will find 2% salicylic acid as the active ingredient in both the CLENZIderm M.D.® Foaming Cleanser and CLENZIderm M.D.® Pore Therapy. This beta hydroxy acid is great for exfoliating skin, reducing sebum levels on the skin’s surface, and dissolving dirt inside clogged pores, making it the perfect ingredient for acne products. Salicylic acid does have some side effects such as tingling, stinging, itching or peeling skin, so if you experience any of these symptoms speak to your Skin Expert so they can adjust your routine.

What is hydroquinone?

The Obagi Nu-Derm® RX Transformation System contains 4% hydroquinone which helps to even out hyperpigmentation and fade dark spots. It’s often included in skincare products that offer a more intense formulation for those who require a stronger ingredient to lighten skin. Hydroquinone works by inhibiting melanin production to fade any uneven skin tone by actively destroying cells that produce pigment. Sounds intense? Don’t worry, your Skin Expert will ensure your skin can handle it before prescribing this treatment.


What do the reviews say?



Close up of skin


Both ranges are well-reviewed on the Obagi website, and we receive excellent feedback from our clients too, but since both the Nu-Derm® system and the CLENZIderm system are recommended for two entirely different reasons, your choice probably depends more on what your main skin issue happens to be.

Q. Do you suffer from acne?
A. The Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System is the one you want.

“The best acne treatment. Clears breakouts quickly without making them worse! Even great for just someone who needs spot treating.”
Lauren M, Obagi customer using the CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System

Q. Do you have hyperpigmentation?
A. The Obagi Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System is for you.

“Just 3 weeks of using the Obagi system and already my skin tone has improved significantly.”
- Helen W, Face Dr customer using the Obagi Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System

Q. Are you concerned about ageing skin?
A. The Obagi Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System can also work for you.

“Really helps my skin, I can see a real improvement”
Baby M, Face Dr customer using the Obagi Nu-Derm® Clear RX


How do I buy these Obagi Medical kits in the UK?


Both these Obagi ranges are available on a prescription-only basis, meaning you need to speak to one of our Skin Experts if shopping through Face Dr. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do this. Our Skin Experts are available for a free video consultation to find out more about your skin, any issues you have been experiencing, and what kind of products you are interested in. If they believe a certain product is right for you, they will prescribe it and talk you through how to use it for optimum results.


Keep in mind the most effective range is the RX range, or Obagi Medical. If it’s the Obagi Clinical range, this may not be quite as effective. Or if you have found Obagi Medical products being sold online without a prescription requirement or a need to talk to a professional first, these will be counterfeit or out-of-date products, and could be missing the effective ingredients that create Obagi’s great results.


How much are the Obagi Medical skincare kit ranges?


Obagi products can be purchased from a number of authorised stockists so the prices do vary, but at Face Dr our Obagi products are always the RRP and range from around £23 to £159.

The Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System costs £146. If you are worried about investing a lot into a new routine straight away, ask your Skin Expert if they can recommend individual products from the range. For more information on the cost of treating acne, you can learn more in this article; How much does it cost to treat acne properly?

The Obagi Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System price is £455 for the complete full size kit. Learn about the cost of treating hyperpigmentation here; How much does it cost to treat hyperpigmentation properly?


How do prescriptions work?


Obagi Medical products


Authorised Obagi stockists can be doctors, specialist skincare clinics and other approved skincare businesses. Here at Face Dr, we are a Doctor-led Skincare Specialist Clinic. Authorised stockists can prescribe certain skincare products that use stronger ingredients, giving patients better results. These products often require some monitoring to make sure there are no side effects, and to adjust the dosage as your skin progresses.

If you receive a prescription or recommendation from one of our Skin Experts, it is still entirely your choice to purchase so don’t worry about any pressure to buy. We would always rather you were 100% happy with your new skincare routine than recommend you products that a) aren’t right for you, or b) you may not stick to using long-term. We will discuss your skin issues and goals openly and honestly before giving you a prescription of Obagi Medical products or whatever we believe is best for you.


Summary: Which range should I try?


Put simply, if you have acne, acne scarring or large pores, speak to our Skin Experts about a prescription of the Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.® Acne Therapeutic System. If you have hyperpigmentation, dark spots or ageing skin, speak to our Skin Experts about a prescription for the Obagi Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System.

There are many other products within the Obagi Medical range and others that we regularly recommend to our clients, so feel free to book your free video consultation (done through a secure video link) to discuss the options available to you. Once you have a recommendation for the best products for your skin, your Skin Expert will unlock any prescription-only products for purchase, and we’ll get them posted out to you next working day, anywhere in the UK.

Time to speak to a Skin Expert?

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