Obagi Nu Derm for Melasma - It's Working! Vancouver, BC

I am 40 years old now, and, unfortunately, spent...

I am 40 years old now, and, unfortunately, spent many of my teenage years and my early twenties as a sun worshiper. That, along with a few Caribbean vacations in the past few years, has left me with several distinct brown spots on the left side of my face, and one fairly sizeable mark on my right cheek. I've never been pregnant, but did take birth control pills on and off for 20 years, so the hormones may have helped the brown spots along.

I've used many drugstore brand and department store brand "brightening" products, including La Mer products, none of which had any noticeable results. So, I decided to stop wasting money on those and try Obagi. I am not seeing a dermatologist and purchased the products from a reputable Canadian-based skin care website.

I did not purchase the entire kit, and specifically, I did not purchase Step 1 (Cleanser) or Step 2 (Toner) of the Nu Derm line - instead, I used CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for Step 1, and a Vichy toner (no alcohol or astringents) as my Step 2, as I just couldn't justify spending $50 each on a bottle of cleanser.

I purchased Step 3 "Clear", Step 4 "Exfoderm" and Step 5 "Blender" at the outset. I also recently purchased a bottle of Step 4 "Exfoderm Forte". I purchased Retin-A Cream in 0.025% and 0.05% strengths. I am using La Roche-Posay sunscreen (chemical), rather than the Obagi sunscreen.

I began treatment on January 21st, 2015, using the morning regime with Exforderm, and then the evening regime with Retin-A Cream 0.025%. I'd read that you need to start on Retin-A slowly, and boy was that ever true! Even with the lowest Retin-A strength 0.025%, it took about three days, but I had the "uglies" - red, peeling, dry skin.

I was quite red, and peeling for about the first week and a half - to the point where there was no point trying to wear makeup or cover it up - makeup just flaked off along with my skin, and highlighted the peeling.

But, after about a week and a half, the redness began to subside, and the peeling backed off a bit. After two weeks, when my skin had calmed down a bit, I switched from Retin-A 0.025% to 0.05%. The peeling a redness came back a bit with this increase in dosage but it was manageable.

So, it's been one month now, and I've again switched up in strength from the regular "Exfoderm" to the "Exfoderm Forte". Again, I noticed a bit of increased redness and a bit more flaking when I switched, but that's calming down again too.

In terms of results, I'm very happy that I stuck it out through those first two unpleasant weeks. It's been only one month, and these products have easily taken 5 years off my skin. The brown spots are now barely visible. My skin texture has visibly improved, my pore size is improving, and I have a nice glow to my skin that I haven't seen in years. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next month or two has in store. Right now, after one month, when I wake up in the morning, I still have flaking in areas (especially around my mouth and lower face). This comes off when the skin is dampened in the morning shower. The odd flake or two will show up during the day, so I just check myself and gently pull off anything that appears. The redness has almost entirely subsided, but I am still a bit more red than usual. I will say that there were a few days right at the start where I would back off for a day, if the flaking and redness was becoming unmanageable, and this seemed to do the trick. Also, I read a lot out there that you must purchase the full kit - I suspected that this was sly marketing rather than truth, and decided to buy my own Cleanser, Toner and Sunscreen...And I was correct - I am seeing incredible results using only Steps 3, 4 and 5 of the system.

I'll keep up the program and post again at the two month mark.

Obagi Nu Derm+ Tretinoin: Two Month Update

So it's been just over two months since I began the Obagi Nu Derm regimen. I am not using the full regimen - I'm only using Clear, Exfoderm Forte, and Blender + Tretinoin. I am seeing excellent results, even not using the Cleanser and Toner.

After two months of use, I am continuing to see improvements in the texture and tone of my skin - decreasing pore size, and more even tone and colouring.

My dark spots are now barely noticable, but the rate at which they have been fading has decreased. It's as though, for the dark spots, the biggest bang for the buck was in the first four weeks. After that, I continued to see improvements, but the improvement is slowing down.

I find that I have increased peeling about one day a week or so, but it is very manageable now. For the first time about a week ago, I experience actual PEELING. Before, I was flaking. Then suddenly, I went through a process where very very thin layers of skin started to come up, and they would actually peel away in large section. It wasn't painful, and the skin underneath was nice, fresh pink skin. This happened over almost my entire face, except my forehead. Strangely, I've had absolutely no peeling, flaking or redness at all on my forehead.

Overall, I am very happy that I tried this out. You are supposed to use the regimen for 18 weeks. For me, that would mean a start date of January 21 and an end date of the last week of May. However, I am taking a sun holiday at the end of April, and I understand it is generally recommended to stop tretinoin about two weeks prior to sun exposure. So I'll stop the regimen mid April, and take it up again when I return from holiday at the start of May. I'll be careful about sunscreen application and sun protective clothing, of course.
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