Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol (A useful comparison guide)

Obagi and SkinMedica have both been in the market for over a decade.

They have both made their mark on the skincare industry by creating quality products that provide quality results.

Both of these products are used daily by thousands of people to remove their acne scars and improve their skin’s appearance.

Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol
Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol

This article will compare the Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol side by side to show how they differ and how to make the most of one product or the other.

My Skin’Story

If you have flaky skin like mine you know how hard it is to apply makeup on it.

After a few hours, my skin starts to look flaky and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to get it right.

It gets worse during the dry season but I try to remedy it by applying hyaluronic acid but it’s like my skin gets drier.

I try not to exfoliate my skin too much because it contributes to the flaking and layering my skin with serums, moisturizers, and sunscreen is becoming expensive.

The Obagi vs SkinMedica retinol comparison might have a solution to my problem.

Here is a table comparison between Obagi and SkinMedica Retinol

SkinMedica Retinol
Main ingredients
4% of hydroquinone is an active ingredient and a good bleaching agent.
Retinol in various concentrations helps boost collagen production.
Prescription product
Hydroquinone is a prescription drug.
Has no prescription ingredients.
Contains retinol
Tretinoin an active ingredient derived from vitamin A.
3 different concentrations of retinol, 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0.

Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol – How do they differ?

Main ingredients

Obagi skin care products contain 4% hydroquinone, a prescription drug as an active ingredient that is soluble in water and a very good bleaching agent.

These products are very effective in treating hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and aging signs.

Retinol is the main ingredient in SkinMedica Retinol but in different concentrations.

It helps to boost your skin’s collagen production which smoothens your skin’s texture, reduces wrinkles and lines, and reduces hyperpigmentation.

While still protecting your skin from free radicals and inflammation.

Prescription product

The amount of hydroquinone in Obagi skin care products makes them available only using a prescription from your skin care specialist or medical professional.

Retinol is used in high doses and can cause severe burning or stinging, severe swelling, blisters, and peeling or severe dryness.

However, if used in small doses the side effects will only be temporary.

SkinMedica Retinol products don’t require a prescription if you want to buy them.

Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol comparison reviews



Obagi is a unique skincare line whose products offer a wide range of health benefits like anti-aging and rejuvenation of your skin.

All of the products have advanced components that enhance skin elasticity, shrink pores, even skin tone, aid to decrease age spots, fade wrinkles, reduce oil production, and minimize hyperpigmentation.

They also help your skin to hold more moisture at the same time protecting it.

Hydroquinone is a prescription drug and an active ingredient in Obagi products which is a very effective lightening agent and in treating hyperpigmentation.

Tretinoin is also another active ingredient derived from vitamin A and is a prescription drug used in treating acne.

To protect you against the harmful sun’s UV rays, Obagi products contain zinc oxide, a mineral that has sun-deflecting abilities in their sunscreen.


  • Treat acne and dark spots.
  • Smoothen fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation.
  • Protect your skin from harmful external factors.
  • Moisturize your skin.


  • Prescription products.
  • Allergic reaction to tretinoin and hydroquinone.
  • Redness and itching.

SkinMedica Retinol


The SkinMedica Retinol Complex contains 3 different concentrations, 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 whose formulations are all identical.

They contain ingredients like squalene which gives your skin a smooth and soft feel and palmitoyl tripeptide-8 helps to soothe inflammation on sensitive skin and enhance collagen production.

They also contain alcohol which can cause you to suffer from dry skin, so it’s good to have some moisturizer.

The algae extract ensures your skin remains hydrated, soft, and protected from damage by free radicals.

The formulas contain soothing ingredients and antioxidants which reduce the irritation, redness and flaking caused by the formula.

Since retinol can cause skin irritation, SkinMedica recommends that you start with a lower concentration of retinol to allow your skin to adapt to it.

Retinol can significantly help in reducing hyperpigmentation and improving your fine lines and wrinkles within a few months.

Your skin becomes firmer and you can notice an improvement with your skin texture that has an even colour.


  • Bisabolol soothes irritation and inflammation.
  • Antioxidants protect your skin from free radical damage.
  • Improves your skin texture and tone.
  • Keeps your skin hydrated and softens


  • Excessive dry skin.
  • Irritation and redness.
  • Burning and peeling skin.

Which is the best between Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol

Obagi products have many health benefits for your skin from reducing hyperpigmentation to giving you a smooth and even skin tone.

While its products are very good for your skin, they’re quite expensive and some of them require a prescription to use.

As for SkinMedica Retinol, you can buy the different types of retinol concentrations from many retail stores and you don’t need to use so many products.

Although a tube of retinol is expensive it’s very effective in its work.

FAQs about Obagi vs SkinMedica Retinol

What does Obagi blender do?

Obagi Blender is one of the products in the Obagi skincare line.
It’s a cream applied on your face to even out your skin tone, help clear acne, lighten dark spots, and create a clear and even complexion.

How long do Obagi products last?

There is no expiry date printed on cosmetic products.
Depending on how the product is stored or whether it has been opened or used, a cosmetic product can last 12-36 months but once you open it replace it after 1 year.

When should you start using retinol?

There are varying answers when it comes to this question.
According to many beauty opinions, you can start using retinol as early as 20 years while others think you should wait till you’re in your mid 30’s.

How long does retinol take to work?

It will take you 12 weeks to 3 months to notice significant changes in your skin’s texture.
According to studies using a retinoid will rapidly reduce acne lesions in 12 weeks but if you’re using retinol to reduce wrinkles, it will take much longer.

Does SkinMedica Retinol expire?

You will not find any printed expiry date on SkinMedica Retinol.
The 3 different concentrations of retinol don’t have expiry dates.

Having been a victim of counterfeit products Marie Stevenson decided to comb various markets both online and physical to find the best original beauty products for women. The influx of counterfeits is palpitation inducing especially when you consider the aftermath. The consequences of using fake makeup or tanning lotions can be quite expensive and life-threatening and the reason why Marie decided to provide you with insightful information that will actually enhance your health. Apart from saving the world from the influx of fake beauty products Marie is a dedicated environmentalist, loves to travel and read. Her famous line is that if you believe it and have the passion to do something right then don’t let someone else discourage since they don’t understand where you are coming from.