Why Dr. Obagi Ended His Relationship With Obagi Medical Products

dr obagi

The Beginning of Obagi Medical Products

Obagi Medical Products, Inc. was originally launched in 1988 by Dr. Obagi as WorldWide Products, Inc. It provided prescription-based skincare products for doctors to dispense to patients in their offices. He formulated and brought to market, prescription-strength products, like the original Obagi Nu-Derm® System and the Obagi Blue Peel® kit. Aggressive prescription-strength skincare products were and still are an important part of his philosophy, and Obagi wanted to provide these products to physicians. In addition, Dr. Obagi has always believed skin health restoration cannot be accomplished by products alone; the physician needs to know how to use them in the most effective way, through step-by-step treatment protocols.

In 1997, Dr. Obagi sold WorldWide Products, Inc., to which it was then renamed Obagi Medical Products by the new owners. However, despite becoming Medical Director, Dr. Obagi noticed that while his original products remained the economic foundation of the company, his own role began to diminish over time.

Why Dr. Obagi Finally Decided to Leave Obagi Medical Products, Inc.

Dr. Obagi says that the focus shifted to making shareholders happy. The company began creating products that were no longer based on his philosophy of skin health restoration.

“I became very uncomfortable with that because the products were a deviation from my philosophy. I was hoping to continue to evolve my products so they would be relevant to what we were learning about skin health, since skin health science is continuously evolving, and we owe it to our patients to improve our products based on what we are learning. I was committed to skin health, but once the company went public it became clear that my philosophy was not in line with OMP’s bottom line.”

Dr. Obagi assures that he has absolutely no connection to Obagi Medical Products, Inc. It became clear that OMP and he had different visions for the future of skincare products, so he decided to found a new company based on the newest skin health science: ZO Skin Health, Inc.

Replacing Moisturisers

replacing moisturisers

Moisturisers are composed of water, lipids and proteins mixed in varying proportions to create products that appeal to an array of consumers. The epidermis contains the same ingredients as moisturisers (water, lipids, proteins) made by the skin from elements delivered to skin from the body. For that reason, the external application of the same materials will shut down internal delivery, leading to eventual dependency on the external supply and truly drier, weaker
and more sensitive skin. Excessive moisturisation of the skin surface can lead to:

Excessive moisturisation of the skin surface can lead to:
• Damaged skin barrier function (intolerance)
• Increased transepidermal water loss (dryness)
• Skin textural irregularities due to suppression of natural skin moisturisation and exfoliation (roughness, dullness and accelerated ageing)

Replacing Moisturisers: Hydration and Calming

Replacing moisturisers with hydration and calming in both ZO Skin Health and ZO Medical skin health restoration is a new concept advocated by Dr. Obagi. The intention is to hydrate skin from within while suppressing inflammation, resulting in skin that is less irritable (the calming effect). Real and permanent skin hydration achieved by hydration and calming encourages patients to continue their treatment. On the other hand, the blind purchase of skin products without taking skin type and skin needs into account can aggravate existing medical conditions and lead to a delay in consulting with a physician for an effective treatment. Patients who have used inappropriate moisturisers and developed skin “sensitivity” as a result often become difficult patients who tolerate effective treatments poorly and have a high dropout rate.

How To Make Skin Healthier and Stronger


Ensuring Results are Consistent to Make Skin Healthier

Most traditional dermatologic treatments address the skin surface and symptoms without addressing cellular function or improving overall skin. This approach may improve the skin’s appearance but the improvement is usually limited and short-lived since the source of the problem is not addressed. At the end of a traditional treatment, the results always vary. Some patients improve more, others less and some not at all. The fault may lie with one or more of the following variables:

At the end of a traditional treatment, the results always vary. Some patients improve more, others less and some not at all. The fault may lie with one or more of the following variables:

  • The physician’s personal approach
  • Patience compliancy
  • Efficacy (penetration, amount of application) of the products
  • Patient skin type (thick, thin, oily, dry)
  • Development of resistance to certain products

In the ZO® approach, most (if not all) of these variables have been eliminated with a standard treatment approach to any skin problem. By using this method, the results of the programs are consistent, reproducible by any physician and achievable by any patient.

Eliminating Variables to Make Skin Healthier

Several steps are necessary for identifying and isolating factors responsible for treatment variables using the ZO® Skin Health Restoration Approach. These are the necessary steps:

  • Establishing a Definition of Skin Health

According to ZO® Skin Health Restoration Attributes, “healthy” skin is smooth, firm and tight, even in colour, hydrated, tolerant and free of clinically apparent disease.

  • Introducing an Essential and Practical Skin Classification

To aid in clinical treatment and selection of the proper procedure and depth, skin is classified by thickness, colour, oiliness, laxity and fragility.

  • Introducing and Expanding the Principles of Skin Health Restoration

The ZO® Skin Health restoration program begun from an expansion of Dr. Obagi’s original principles. “Hydration and Calming” replaced “Moisturisation.” The expansion also includes the addition of “GSR™ Getting Skin Ready” and “Stabilisation,” two new and important principles.

Both ZO® Skin Health and ZO® Medical products follow similar principles and steps that make it easy to transition patients from a medical program to a maintenance program, or from basic skincare and prevention to a medical program. However, ZO® Medical utilises specific principles and steps not shared by ZO® Skin Health, as certain topical agents are reserved mainly for the medical line.

The Nontraditional Skin Health Restoration For All Skin Types

skin health restorationTraditional dermatologic treatments typically address the skin surface and symptoms without improving cellular function or overall skin condition. While this may enhance the skin’s appearance, results vary widely and are usually short-lived since the source of the problem is never addressed. Reasons for this may include the physician’s personal approach, patient noncompliance, product efficacy (penetration, amount of application), patient skin type (thick, thin, oily, dry) or development of resistance to certain products. Dr. Obagi’s new skin health restoration program eliminates most – if not all – of these variables with a standard treatment approach to any skin problem. By taking this approach, program results are consistent, reproducible by any physician and achievable by any patient.

Skin Health Restoration Overview

  • Overcome skin resistance to medical topical agents by limiting their use since skin can acquire tolerance and resistance to many topical agents, leading to  treatment failure and complications.
  • Incorporate non-medical products into the maintenance phase that can be used indefinitely.
  • Adopt an early, effective, daily and preventative program using non-medical products that work to keep skin looking and acting healthy.
  • Normalize barrier function, as compromised barrier function is the most common cause of persistent sensitivity, chronic dryness and susceptibility to inflammation and treatment intolerance.
  • Protect and repair DNA since damaged DNA is responsible for cellular dysfunction, inadequate renewal, mutation and skin cancer.
  • Eliminate chronic skin inflammation, which is a common cause of treatment intolerance, failure and sensitivity.
  • Stabilise the skin by increasing its tolerance and resistance to damaging factors.

shutterstock_114536890skin health restoration solutions

Skin Health Restoration Solutions

ZO® products and programs offer comprehensive and continuous skin health solutions for every skin type, gender, age and skin condition.

ZO® Medical Therapeutic Solutions

Treatment programs for medical skin problems with a time-restricted treatment phase to prevent resistance and reduce complications.

ZO® Skin Health Daily and Preventative Skincare Solutions

Maintenance programs with non-medical products that patients can use indefinitely after the treatment phase; also daily and preventative programs for patients who do not have medical skin problems but need to keep their skin healthy, prevent premature aging and avoid future skin damage.

ZO® Product Properties

ZO® products contain innovative ingredients that provide specific beneficial properties not found in many other skincare products on the market. These added properties are based on Dr. Obagi’s years of clinical observation and research, and support his new objectives in skin health science.

  • Anti-irritant benefits
  • DNA protection and repairing agents
  • Skin barrier function, strengthening and repair
  • Cellular activation and stabilization
  • Unique ability to hydrate and calm without the damage caused by regular moisturizers
  • Multiple antioxidants used in combination for best effect