APR 2014

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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60 APRIL 2014 | Med Esthetics "[In dermatology] we were disease-oriented, not health-oriented," he says. Skin health restoration, as Dr. Obagi defi ned it, meant returning skin to a natural, healthy state, where it is "smooth and tight with collagen and elastin; even in color, when all the cells are working properly; hydrated, natural and strong," Dr Obagi ex- plains. Armed with his newly coined term, he set about creating a more comprehensive analysis of his patients' skin. "So that when I treat you—let's say, the patient has acne, skin is sensitive, or oily, pores are large—I don't focus only on treating the acne, I want to correct all the other elements at the same time. And that's how I make your skin healthy." T e Circle of Care He next entered the arena of the TCA peel, which was in its infancy at the time and "had no systemic absorption," he says. "A doctor would take the acid, paint it on and say in his heart, 'I hope she will be alright.'" Dr. Obagi began to experiment with the concentration and formulation of TCA peels. He developed the TCA-based Blue Peel and was one of the fi rst dermatologists to attempt peeling dark skin types—something that was unheard of at the time—with successful results. By the late 1980s, the Nu-Derm System and Blue Peels were growing in reputation. "Everybody thought it was magic," he recalls. "So when doctors saw my results, they fl ocked in to try to learn." He formed a small company to distribute the product. Ten years later, a bigger company bought Nu-Derm and went public, at which point Dr. Obagi and the company decided to part ways. "By 1987-89, when my name was all over the country, all over the world, at that time I entered through a war," he recalls. "The war was that I'm changing the concept of dermatology practice, and there are people who have narrow vision and big egos—'who is he to change this, we don't want to believe him.' They ganged up on me." But he stuck to his vision and within six years, the industry came around. "It's like when Galileo tried to tell people the earth is round, and everyone thought it was fl at," he says. In 2007, he introduced ZO Skin Health—a non-medical line for daily skin care. The line's key differentiating point has been that it offers a higher concen- tration of retinol than what is commonly found in over-the-counter department store lines. "That represents the circle of skincare," he says. "Everybody—from childhood to the day we die—we have to be in that circle, taking care of our skin, as we eat, as we breathe, as we do everything to look our best." A Family Legacy Dr. Obagi's success has inspired his children as well. Suzan Obagi, MD, is a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. Daughter Sandra is a licensed esthetician, and Dr. Obagi has a son who is currently studying pre-med in Boston and a 21-year-old daughter who is eying a future in medicine. But his biggest champion has been his wife, Samar, who for 20 years has been handling the business side of the Obagi Skin Health Centers, including practice management, travel and employee training. "She takes the whole headache off my back," says Dr. Obagi. "I only do what I do: I do my research, I do my work, I do my formulation, I see my patients, I train doctors." He points out that it's not often that a husband and wife can work together successfully, but in their case, it was the opposite. "Luckily, I have the most BEYOND THE SURFACE "A doctor would take the acid, paint it on and say in his heart, 'I hope she will be alright.'" Before After Dr. Obagi's successful treatment of this patient, who suffered severe PIH following a chemical peel, gained him a global reputation for the treatment of pigmentation concerns. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZEIN OBAGI, MD B e y o n d t h e S u r f a c e M E D 4 1 4 . i n d d 6 0 Beyond the Surface MED414.indd 60 3 / 1 3 / 1 4 9 : 2 4 A M 3/13/14 9:24 AM

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