Why You Should Only Buy Obagi® Products from an Authorized Dealer

By: Dr. Krista Gordon


Over the last 20-30 years, the internet has vastly changed the way we live our lives. Skincare has been affected too, with the average person having access to online methods of self-diagnosing their skin conditions or skin types without the help of a skin care professional.

Think about all the “What’s My Skin Type” quizzes you’ve seen while browsing the web, or skin health apps that are now available on your smartphone. For better or for worse, the internet is here to stay, but proper advice when it comes to your skin care is best left to “old school” techniques - seeing a professional in person.

Why Self-Diagnosing Does More Harm Than Good

People can mis-diagnose themselves when it comes to skincare, subsequently resulting in purchasing the wrong types of skincare products. You can see how this can be frustrating as using the wrong products may actually end up compromising your skin's health including, but not limited to clogging pores, irritation, and dryness. Instead, when you receive advice from skin care professionals who can assess your skin in person, your prescribed skin regimen will better match what you need and may result in more favorable outcomes. Additionally, as your skin improves, follow-up visits with medical professionals will allow them to make adjustments as needed, something that you can’t do by purchasing your own products online or through unauthorized retailers.

Don’t Fall Prey To Online Sellers’ Tactics

When you buy skin care products online from un-authorized retailers, or from brands you don’t know, you run the risk of falling prey to unscrupulous marketing tactics. How many times have you purchased an item because the packaging looked “cute” or “pretty?” We’ve all done it, but when it comes to your skin care, you should be looking past the aesthetics and rather considering what you’re putting on your skin. Another common problem that results from buying skincare products online is falling victim to lower prices. While attractive at the time, this can result in many problems since the lower cost is often as a result of counterfeit or even expired products.

Let’s take a closer look at the potential problems that come from buying skincare products online.

4 Potential Problems with Buying Skincare Products Online

1. Counterfeit products with imitation ingredients 

Did you know that personal care products, including cosmetics, are among the top five type of products that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents seize each year? 1,2 This means that the products may possibly be used bottles refilled with imitation ingredients, or bottles with similar labels filled with the imitation ingredients.

2. Products that have expired 

When purchasing online from an untrusted source, the chances of buying expired products (sometimes by years) increases drastically since expired labels can be removed or tampered with before shipping. Cosmetic products without expiration dates listed can be old, but the consumer won’t know because expiration dates aren’t required to be printed on cosmetic products. A problem with purchasing expired skincare products is that often during the transportation and storage of these products, they’re exposed to the elements which can wreak havoc with the ingredients inside.

3. Toxic and illegal ingredients

 It’s not hard to imagine that those who sell counterfeit skincare products don’t have much of a moral compass and do not care about a consumer’s health. When skincare products are imported and sold illegally in the U.S., according to the FDA, they can contain toxins and preservatives not deemed safe in the U.S., such as mercury and formaldehyde.

4. Generic formulations 

It’s not uncommon for fake resellers to create generic formulations based on other skincare products and pass them off as the genuine product. Granted, the ingredients in the generic brand may well be the same as the original, however, it’s the proprietary recipe that is not being followed, which may result in a less than perfect version. Since the exact ingredient concentrations and steps of formulation aren’t being followed, this may affect your results.

How Can I Protect Myself When Buying Obagi Products? 

We strongly advise that you only buy Obagi products from trusted and authorized sellers. Beware of the unauthorized internet resellers that have been found to sell Obagi products - we firmly advise against purchasing from any of them. Rather, search our helpful authorized physician finder tool. If you’re interested in a specific Obagi product or system, you can select them in the Advanced Search feature to see which local provider carries these products.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.