After empathizing with Stephanie’s skin troubles and reading about Elizabeth’s cool list of her favorite skincare products, I thought I’d share what’s making my skin clearer, better, and younger-looking.*

I’ve struggled with my skin since I was a teenager. I get large, thick, painful cysts that turn into massive zits. When I was 19 I started taking Accutane. It worked wonders for a few years. And then it didn’t. I took a second course sometime in my mid 20s until my blood tests showed it was unwise to continue with it because my lipid levels were through the roof. Oh, yeah. It’s not a harmless drug. Accutane can cause severe birth defects if you don’t use birth control while you’re on it. Accutane is  also associated with gastrointestinal problems in some users. Nice, considering that just a few years after taking it, I developed colon cancer at the age of just 26. But, back in my youth, the Accutane was the only thing that kept my skin clear, at least for a while.

As I got older, my skin didn’t improve much at all. The hormonal shifts during the first trimester of both of my pregnancies, as well as the first few months after giving birth, wreaked havoc on my skin too with enormous pimples. As I entered my late 30s my skin continued to break out and show signs of sun damage. I was getting depressed and yet all my dermatologist would tell me was to use sunscreen. She’s in her 50s and has naturally gorgeous skin but she’s not big on pushing products because they can get expensive and they don’t always work for everyone.

It wasn’t until this past January, when I turned 41, that a real solution came into my life. My wonderful and wildly generous best friend gave me a collection of Obagi Nu-derm products for my birthday. Turned out her dermatologist was totally into selling skincare products and this particular collection of products was working miracles for her skin. My best friend since Mrs. Greiss’ 10th grade honors English class, my BFF had seen me battle bad skin for more than half my life. She saved my skin!

I started my Obagi regimen in February. Within two months my skin showed vast improvements. My skin became softer and more supple. Blackheads began to disappear. Redness receded. Now, seven months later, my skin glows. OK. So I don’t look 25, but my skin glows more than it ever has before. People compliment me on it. I rarely have blackheads. My pores are much smaller. Fine lines seem less apparent. And, best of all? I am not breaking out. I love it!

The Obagi products I’m using aren’t cheap but I try to use very small amounts of each item to really stretch out my investment.


Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel

Obagi Nu-Derm Toner

Obagi Clenziderm M.D. Therapeutic Moisturizer (not part of the Nu-Derm line, my BFF’s dermatologist suggested this gentle moisturizer).

Obagi Nu-Derm Clear (#3)

Obagi Nu-Derm Exfoderm (#4)

Obagi Nu-Derm Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35


I use the same products as I do in the morning, except I occasionally apply a light film of .05% Retin A (available by prescription only) before the Obagi Nu-Derm Clear (#3) and I always swap out Obagi Nu-Derm Exfoderm (#4) for Obagi Nu-Derm Blender (#5). I also add Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Cream (also not part of the Nu-Derm line).

I buy all of these products from Amazon because they’re usually cheaper than purchasing them from a dermatologist. Lately, Amazon has not been offering Nu-Derm Clear or Nu-Derm Blender so I get those at my dermatologist’s office.

I realize the list above is laughably long. I had to refer to an instruction sheet my BFF typed up for me for weeks just to remember what product to use, when, and in which order. But this skincare system is working for my 40-something skin! If I skip more than just a few days of this regimen my skin starts breaking out again, so I stick to this lengthy routine. Now that I’m enjoying better skin I don’t want to ever go back to redness, lines, and acne.
What are your favorite 40-something (or 20-something, or 30-something, or 50-something…) skincare products?
* Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just love what the Obagi products have done for my skin. However, some of the links to the products listed above are Amazon affiliate links.