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

Hannah Wilson

If you’re considering trying the Obagi Nu-Derm® system to improve your skin, you’re in the right place! At Face Dr, our Skin Experts prescribe only the most effective, high quality products, and Obagi Medical is one of our most recommended brands. Whether you’re interested in purchasing an individual Nu-Derm® product or the full 7-piece collection, investing in a new product understandably comes with a lot of questions, and we’re always here to provide transparent advice to help you answer them.

Let’s dive into the Obagi Nu-Derm® system, the Obagi Medical range, all things hydroquinone, how to get a prescription, and how to buy the products in the UK. We’ll even take a look at some honest Obagi Nu-Derm® reviews, because we like to keep things unbiased around here!

Already got your heart set on the Obagi Nu-Derm® system for your skin? Skip straight to booking your free consultation with your very own Face Dr Skin Expert:

Already used Obagi Medical before? Complete the simple Obagi Medical reorder form by tapping the button below.

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

  • What are Nu-Derm® products?
  • There are so many options… which do I choose?!
  • What products are in the Nu-Derm® range?
  • What is the Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System?
  • What order do I use the products in?
  • What is hydroquinone and why is it in the Nu-Derm® range?
  • Who would benefit most from Nu-Derm®?
  • How effective is the system likely to be for me?
  • Can my Skin Expert prescribe Nu-Derm®?
  • How do I buy Nu-Derm® in the UK?
  • How much does Obagi Nu-Derm® cost?
  • Summary: Should I try Nu-Derm®?


What are Obagi Medical Nu-Derm® products?


Obagi medical Nu Derm System RX

If you’ve already browsed the Obagi Medical range, you may have noticed the name ‘Nu-Derm®’ floating around. Obagi Nu-Derm® is a correction system for ageing and photodamaged skin, including age spots, a dull complexion, or discolouration. It corrects hyperpigmentation and melasma with 4% hydroquinone (a prescription ingredient), and is available for normal-to-dry or normal-to-oily skin types.


There are so many options… which do I choose?!

With the choice between Obagi Clinical and Obagi Medical, RX and FX, ‘Normal to Dry’ and ‘Normal to Oily’, it can be a little overwhelming deciding which Obagi products are best for you. Here’s a simple breakdown of each option:

Obagi Medical vs Clinical



Both ranges offer products formulated to reduce dark spots, fade hyperpigmentation, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and protect and enhance the texture and tone of skin, but certain Obagi Medical products are only available through authorised stockists, and require a consultation and prescription from a professional. Learn more in our article: Obagi skincare; Everything you need to know.

FX vs RX

Confused by all the letters? Don’t worry, we have an article that explains the difference in detail (FX & RX Demystified), or if you want the quick version, remember FX represents the Obagi Clinical range, and RX represents the Obagi Medical range (the one you need a prescription for).

‘Normal to Oily’ vs ‘Normal to Dry’

Obagi offers two versions of its Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System, and we stock both at Face Dr. As you have probably guessed, the Normal to Oily range is suitable for oilier skin types, and the Normal to Dry is suitable for those with dry skin.


What products are in the Nu-Derm® range?

We stock a range of individual Obagi Nu-Derm® products, as well as the Nu-Derm® RX Skin Transformation System which contains the full collection. Take a look at the products below:


Obagi Nu-Derm® Foaming Gel


Obagi Medical Nu Derm Foaming Gel Cleanser

This gel-based cleanser is best for normal to oily skin, and is a great daily product to remove makeup, everyday impurities, excess oil, and dirt from pores.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Gentle Cleanser


Obagi Medical NuDerm Gentle Cleanser

This mild facial cleanser is suitable for normal to dry skin, and those with very sensitive skin. It gently removes impurities, oil and makeup from skin without drying it out.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Toner


Obagi Medical RX Nu Derm Toner

This alcohol-free toner contains soothing witch hazel and antioxidant-rich aloe, and helps to maintain the skin's natural pH balance while removing dead skin cells. This step preps skin for other products that brighten, smooth and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Clear RX


Obagi Medical Nu Derm Clear RX

This product is a dark spot lightener and corrector containing 4% prescription hydroquinone to help correct hyperpigmentation and other types of discolouration, promoting an even skin tone.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte


Obagi Medical Nu Derm Exfoderm Forte RX

This lightweight lotion features glycolic and lactic acid to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells while promoting natural cell turnover, for smoother and brighter skin with an even texture and tone.

Obagi Nu-Derm® Blender RX


Obagi Medical Nu Derm Blender RX

This product also contains 4% prescription hydroquinone to correct hyperpigmentation, and while it sounds similar to Nu-Derm® Clear, Nu-Derm® Blender must be used alongside as each product has specific ingredients and different pH levels that work together to deliver the best possible results. Your Skin Expert will most likely suggest using Clear in the AM and PM, and Blender only in the evening.

Obagi Hydrate® Facial Moisturizer


Obagi Medical Hydrate Facial Moisturizer Nu Derm RX

This is a non-comedogenic facial moisturiser, meaning it won’t block pores. It provides instant, long-lasting hydration for up to 8 hours, prevents fine lines, combats signs of ageing, and enhances the smoothness of dry or flaking skin.

Obagi Sun Shield® Matte Broad Spectrum


Obagi Medical SunShield SPF 50

This SPF 50 matte sunscreen combines UVB/UVA protection and offers a non-comedogenic finish. Containing physical and chemical ingredients, it provides daily protection while future-proofing against signs of ageing.


 What is the Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System?

If you’re ready for a complete skin overhaul, speak to your Skin Expert about using the full collection of Nu-Derm® products together. The Obagi Nu-Derm® RX Skin Transformation System contains seven of the above products to create the best skin routine for you. One of two cleansers will be offered to you depending on whether you need the Normal to Dry or Normal to Oily system, and all products have been formulated to work together to provide optimum results.

What order do I use the products in?

If you are using the Nu-Derm® Skin Transformation System, it’s best to follow these steps:

Morning Routine:

Step 1. Obagi Nu-Derm® Foaming Gel (for normal to oily) or Obagi Nu-Derm® Gentle Cleanser (for normal to dry)
Step 2. Obagi Nu-Derm® Toner
Step 3. Obagi Nu-Derm® Exfoderm® Forte
Step 4. Sun Shield® Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Evening Routine:

Step 1. Obagi Nu-Derm® Foaming Gel (for normal to oily) or Obagi Nu-Derm® Gentle Cleanser (for normal to dry)
Step 2. Obagi Nu-Derm® Toner
Step 3. Obagi Nu-Derm® Clear
Step 4. Obagi Nu-Derm® Blender
Step 5. Obagi Hydrate® Facial Moisturizer

This order of products is designed to offer the best results, but your Skin Expert may customise your routine to suit your specific concerns.


What is hydroquinone and why is it in the Nu-Derm® range?



For stubborn hyperpigmentation and dark spots that need a stronger ingredient than what’s available on high street shelves, Obagi Medical has products that contain an effective skin-lightening ingredient called hydroquinone. The Nu-Derm® RX Transformation System contains 4% hydroquinone, which is a strong inhibitor of melanin production that fades hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone by actively destroying cells that produce pigment.

Who would benefit most from Nu-Derm®?

The Nu-Derm® range is a correction system for skin that’s showing signs of ageing and photodamage, and will be most beneficial for those with hyperpigmentation - you’ll find more info in our article ‘How to treat hyperpigmentation with your skincare routine’. Those with skin ageing concerns for the future may also find it beneficial as a preventative measure.

As the system contains strong ingredients that must be prescribed by a qualified practitioner, it may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin or conditions like dermatitis or eczema.

How effective is the system likely to be for me?


skincare consultations

‘Integrity, Safety and Efficacy’ are the 3 pillars of Obagi’s development process so they uphold very high product testing standards. For this reason, you can be assured of the very highest quality with Obagi, however you can see photo examples (here) on the Obagi website of subjects who used their products and saw results after several weeks.

On the Obagi website you can also see the Transformation System is reviewed as 4.4* out of 5, based on 34 reviews. Any 1, 2 and 3* reviews mention issues with the price and the number of steps involved every day, so do keep both these points in mind when deciding if the system is right for you. With such an investment, it is important to commit to using all products in the correct order each day to see the best results.

This YouTube video shows a step-by-step guide to applying your Obagi Nu-Derm® Transformation System (please note products available via the clinic in this video are FX, not RX, meaning they are the non-prescription version and therefore may not offer the same results as the RX products Face Dr can provide.)

We also have some glowing reviews on our own website that may help put your mind at ease when purchasing:

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

... It has lifted all my dark spots and discolouration on my face. My face looks lighter and brighter, I also use the blender mixed with the clear in the evening. Total transformation on my skin.
- Keay W, Face Dr customer using the Obagi Nu-Derm® Clear RX

I use this at night and it’s great. My skin is slightly red and peeling but this is normal with this product. It absorbs quickly and sinks into the skin. I use this with tretinoin every night. I have already noticed my pigmentation fading.
Riya P, Face Dr customer using the Obagi Nu-Derm® Blender RX


Can my Skin Expert prescribe Nu-Derm®?

Yes. At Face Dr we offer Obagi Medical products that are prescription-only due to the inclusion of ingredients like tretinoin and hydroquinone. If you want a thorough and extensive chat with a Skin Expert who can draw from their years of experience and knowledge of the industry, book a free video consultation and discuss your skin concerns with us.

    How do I buy Nu-Derm® in the UK?

    There are several authorised stockists of the Obagi Nu-Derm® Transformation System in the UK, both in-person and online, so you are free to shop around for the best place for you. Keep in mind that the RX range will not be available to purchase without a prescription from a certified practitioner, so if you are looking for easy access to a Skin Expert with the ability to prescribe you these products via video call, the team at Face Dr can help. We are committed to giving unbiased skincare advice for each individual client’s needs, and will never pressure you to buy anything we have recommended.

    How much does Obagi Nu-Derm® cost?

    The Obagi Nu-Derm® products start from £46, and are available to purchase after you have had a video consultation with one of our Skin Experts or completed our simple Obagi Medical order form.

    If you are concerned about investing in a whole skincare range straight away, you can always discuss this with your Skin Expert so they can find an alternative product or routine that will work for you.

    Summary: Should I try Nu-Derm®?


    Obagi Nu Derm Medical RX products

    If the above products or the full Transformation System appeals to you and your skin needs, our suggestion would be to book a video consultation with one of our Skin Experts (it’s free, so there is nothing to lose!) and chat with a member of our friendly team about what your skincare goals are. If hyperpigmentation, dark spots, age spots or sun damage is your main concern, the Obagi Nu-Derm® range may be a match made in hydroquinone-heaven!

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