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Skin Care Philosophy With Zein Obagi

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Zein Obagi, M.D.

Editor's Note: This is the second article in a two-part series. Read more on Obagi's scientific approach to skin health in Part I.

Zein Obagi, M.D., has been leading innovations toward medically-guided skin care from his Beverly Hills, California-based practice as a leader in medical esthetics. 

In part two of an exclusive interview with Skin Inc., Obagi spoke on his work as an educator in medical esthetics and his philosophy regarding effective skin care products, including those from his own line, ZO Skin Health.

“We don’t make people look perfect, but we restore the natural balance.”

Part of Obagi’s efforts as an educator is focused on making sure that patients are equipped with enough knowledge to have agency in the dermatologist’s office, along the vocabulary and context to ask for attainable results.

“Many patients think that we have miracles or a magical formula that can transform them overnight to look their best—there is no such thing. Every problem will require certain time and a certain approach to treating. Beauty is over all things: Personality, skin, appearance and how you really take care of your skin. … Patients demand a lot, and doctors are now overdoing things [such as Botox],” said Obagi.

"Educated patients have more realistic expectations and will have the ability to follow the treatment protocol." —Zein Obagi, M.D.

“Education should play a big role for both physicians and patients who do their homework and see what a procedure will do. There is a wealth of information available in the media about everything. … Educated patients are those with better compliance and understand what needs to be done and have more realistic expectations and will have the ability to follow the treatment protocol. … In my office, I educate my patients—I deliver the most effective treatment plan and I time it. … If you have a chronic problem, we can control it and give the patient more freedom to enjoy life,” added Obagi.

“Education and the right products and skin care protocol is the way to go.”

Obagi created ZO Skin Health, a line of medically-formulated skin care products designed to treat skin at a deeper level than those found online or in department stores, and only provided by physicians that have been trained in Obagi’s skin health philosophy. Noting that a majority of women purchase products based on marketing, Obagi believes that using skin care products blindly can lead to further skin issues down the road.

“You need to stimulate [and renew] your skin, rather than just overloading it with product that may weaken the skin. My products are designed to provide daily care and prevention, and are medical products that can treat a variety of medical conditions at the same time,” said Obagi.

"You need to stimulate [and renew] your skin, rather than just overloading it with product that may weaken the skin." —Zein Obagi, M.D.

According to Obagi, products that work at a cellular level are the future of skin care, comparing poorly-tended skin to a wall that is crumbling and cannot be fixed with a coat of paint—the foundation of the wall needs to be repaired for lasting results.

“My products incorporate all of the agents necessary to allow skin to be better, and that only happens if you work at a cellular level. You need penetration, you need to use the right concentration and to apply the methodology—by doing that, taking care of skin and treating skin become an art,” said Obagi.

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