In any culture where image and beauty are of considerable importance, maybe nothing reveals so much about a person’s health, self-confidence and wellbeing as the condition of their skin. Nothing, not the type of car we drive, or the kind of clothes we wear, or the part of town we live in says as much about us as the appearance of the radiant and youthful glow of a healthy skin. A healthy skin that has never been defined before the same as it is today.
Skin care has been made into a trillion dollar fancy industry that’s been created by the enormous cosmetic giants through the sales of millions of expensive luxury products that are largely just superficial topical solutions giving temporary improvement, if even that, but in truth, they worsen the skin on the long run. In the vast majority of cases, these skin conditioners, and other treatments, no matter how expensive, have really offered inconsequential results.
But there is an alternative to the slogans and claims promoted by the cosmetic industry, a new and very real science that has been developed by world renowned Dr. Obagi, to offer solutions to those who suffer from wrinkled, sagging, discolored and otherwise unhealthy skin, but also to those who simply want to achieve and maintain a healthy and glowing appearance at ANY age! Dr. Zein Obagi of Beverly Hills, and doctor to many of our famous dignitaries and movie stars, is the creator of a new approach to not only treating the many unhealthy conditions that can affect skin, but also a visionary who has created never seen before brand new product lines, therapies, and a pioneering proven science and healthy skin concept thus mastering a way for the skin to be rejuvenated in every human being regardless of color and race. His concept is a revolutionary discovery that may change the textbooks of dermatology forever. What is healthy skin? Nobody has ever answered it before Dr. Obagi developed his now recognized and worldwide-adopted concept! Scientists and doctors had been too preoccupied with disease and never defined healthy skin before. Somehow we used to get it backwards, like with most everything: let’s treat or mask the symptoms, but not really look at the cause and dig deeper to look at the real culprit and stop focusing on the superficiality.
Dr. Obagi’s quest for healthy skin really began at the age of fifteen, when his 16-year old sister was badly burned with scalding water and suffered months of recovery in the hospital. â€œI noticed the doctors were not able to do very much for her. They were resigned to just letting the body heal itself, and then maybe they would be able to do some grafts,â€ says Dr. Obagi. â€œIt seemed like they really had nothing to use in helping her skin heal. That gave me a lot to think about.â€
As he completed his medical education, Dr. Obagi became a pathologist (studying the causes and treatment of disease) and then moved into the field of dermatology while he was serving in the U.S. Navy. At that point in his career, dermatology was solely devoted to the treatment of skin diseases and other conditions that have created unhealthy skin. â€œI had a way of thinking that was novel in the field,â€ he says. â€œI’ve never accepted conventional thinking, and I started to approach skin from the perspective of creating the healthy skin concept, when there is no disease present. This was unheard of at the time. There was simply no definition of what a healthy skin was. All textbooks were only talking about various diseases. Nobody cared about healthy skin. I felt it was odd. â€
There were certain accepted old-school paradigms back in those days that limited the approach to treating various skin types too, including the treatment of non-Caucasian skin. â€œ Back then the thinking was that you couldn’t safely correct certain diseases-affects skin, using peels or laser in black, or Asian skin; everything was oriented primarily to treating Caucasian skin. Nobody even knew what healthy skin was. â€œ
That changed when Dr. Obagi took on the famous case of a middle-age brunette in 1983, who had been given a chemical peel treatment that turned her face black. She had exhausted every resource and her story was picked up on TV, where Dr. Obagi’s daughter saw her and wished that she would come to see her father so that he can treat her. Within weeks her skin had been repaired, and Dr. Obagi suddenly became the one who was making TV news.
â€œI saw then that most skin treatments addressed only the surface and the symptoms with limited benefits, â€ he says, â€œand I began studying and analyzing all types of human skin, from light to dark, thick and thin, oily and dry, strong or sensitive, and created a new standard of analysis through histology and pathology that defined the wide variety of skin types in humans, and more studies on what should be used, and the amount needed to achieve the best results for various skin types. The â€œhow much is enoughâ€ factor was unknown at the time.â€
That new standard of skin analysis became the beginning of a new science in the treatment and revitalization of skin based on a definition of what healthy skin should be, a comprehensive standard for skin classification and the consideration of color (melanin), thickness and sensitivity as part of its condition. Through his research, Dr. Obagi was able to determine that after just the age of 10, skin begins to weaken and change, as it is affected by the sun, diet, hormonal changes, stress and other environment issues. Hence the cells under the surface become lazy or dysfunctional. How do we regulate these cells below the surface?
Now that he had created a new standard that defined skin in its wide variety of conditions, Dr. Obagi determined that the first step in the restorative process involved removing surface damage and then stimulating the skin to renew its natural health. One of many of his first experiences was that he began treating his first patients for conditions that included excessive oil. In order to achieve a state that complies with his definition of healthy skin, which is based on measurements of smoothness, thickness or thinness, evenness of color (melanin), looseness or firmness, sensitivity or tolerance and freedom from discharge. â€œThe oil in skin is an irritant, something left over from the days when we had fur,â€ he says, â€œand when we regulate and normalize oil secretion, the skin becomes healthy again much faster, and can prevent acne at its early stage.â€
Through tireless research and experimentation, Dr. Obagi began to develop a group of products and series of treatments that would produce the condition of healthy skin in all of its natural beauty. â€œAfter we remove the damaged skin, we have to use a treatment that goes beneath the surface to stimulate the skin’s ability to reproduce itself at the cellular level. And that took some time, since the treatment had to be very very precise, depending on an individual’s skin thickness and other factors.â€
What Dr. Obagi has also found is that by the age of 25 the skin cells have a tendency to go to sleep and stop producing more collagen or elastin. â€œThe cosmetic industry thought the answer was to put trace amounts of certain skin products in a cream, but that has no effect because no cream that sells commercially can include enough active ingredients for fear of skin reaction, despite the fact that what we have to do is wake up the cells themselves so that they make more collagen and elastin naturally, which requires a certain amount of active ingredients and not just trace elementsâ€ Dr. Obagi says.
The discovery of an active ingredient that actually caused the skin to wake up and start rejuvenating itself came almost as a surprise. â€œWe discovered that when we used active Vitamin A a month or two before doing a laser or peel treatment to shed damaged skin the results were superior to treatments opposing to not using the right amount of active Vitamin A. And over time, with repeated experimentation, we found out that active Vitamin A is the very essence of life for human skin cells.â€
A veritable fountain of youth for your skin, this new process had irrefutable results, and became an essential part of a tailored treatment program that was now creating beautiful, healthy, youthful skin in Dr. Obagi’s many patients. He never uses a â€œone fits allâ€ approach like the cosmetic companies on the department stores’ expensive shelves. He sees every patient individually and prescribes a custom tailored skin regimen including the appropriate amount of solutions and for the appropriate length of time.
But even as he announced his results, this new paradigm for skin rejuvenation also caused a stir in the field of dermatology. â€œWhen I first started introducing the concept of healthy skin and the new therapies to the medical community, some resistance started to surface at early stages.â€
In 1992 Dr. Obagi’s presentation to the Academy of Dermatology was a historic moment in the practice of dermatology in the United States, with the field of doctors splitting off into two camps, one that refuted Dr. Obagi’s research, and the other group who saw great promise in it.
â€œThe doctors who were impressed with my results began to show up in numbers in my clinic for learning of training on the concept of skin health. As the results became more evident to everyone, the criticism began to quiet down. Eventually I was invited to speak in various national and international meetings.â€
Dr. Obagi’s new discoveries and techniques had now become a revolution, with 18 symposiums and thousands of dermatologists and plastic surgeons becoming educated in the technologies that Dr. Obagi had developed. â€œI wanted to show that everyone could get these results, and I created very specific parameters in the treatments that defined proper technique, especially in terms of the depth for safe peels. Everything had to be very precise.â€
As he developed a comprehensive line of treatments for availability throughout the industry, Dr. Obagi also wrote a book, which became a defining standard among dermatologist and plastic surgeons around the world, Obagi’s Skin Health, Restoration, Treatment and Rejuvenation. With his revolution in skin care now taking off, Dr. Obagi continued to lecture, published his ongoing research while also training the doctors who were to become the new vanguard in dermatology science.
Eventually Dr. Obagi’s also started an even more revolutionary newer product line what will be the next generation in skin care products, a line of therapies that he calls ZO Skin Health.
ZO Skin Health (the name comes from his initials,) is the future of skin care products, a complete resource for the therapeutic and aesthetic treatment of skin. â€œWe have a comprehensive program, based on a new generation of products that is the result of our constant research and progressive thinking about how to create healthy skin. We use these products in a very thorough 5-part process: cleanse, activate, stimulate, calm, nourish, and protect. There are a variety of products that raise the bar for skin therapy, including many that offer the prescriptive use of active Vitamin A. The old school, as represented by the cosmetic industry, bases its therapy on one single premise: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. But when you add these treatments topically, the skin cells that naturally hydrate stop working completely. They sense the addition of the product, and stop creating it naturally. My process is much more thorough, much more therapeutic and designed to stimulate the natural creation of new skin cells.â€
With his recently introduced new product line and his now universal acceptance as a true visionary in the field of skin care, Dr. Obagi continues to make major strides in making the world a more beautiful place to live in by creating radiant, healthy skin. As an alternative to the multi-billion dollar industry that promises so much and yet does so little, Dr. Obagi and his very own ZO Skin Health products are offering real science, real therapy and real hope.
In addition to his triumphs in the field of skin care, and due to his revolutionary discoveries, Dr. Obagi will be recognized in the Fall of this year as the result of his humanitarian and scientific contribution to the World with the greatest honor obtainable: a passage into the Knighthood of the oldest Imperial, Charitable and Chivalric Order that goes back all the way to 312 AD and involves European Royalty, Dignitaries and Nobility. He will be known to the World as Sir Dr. Zein Obagi after the Investiture when his supportive, beautiful wife, and right hand in his practice, will also be bestowed the title Lady Samar Obagi. Interviewing Dr. Obagi does not leave a hint of doubt in my mind as the Public Officer of the Order that there is nobody more deserving of this highest of honors and lifetime achievement recognition than him.
The Order is a direct descendant of the Byzantine Knights who were appointed by their leaders in recognition of their valiant deeds in battles, protecting their emperor or other high-ranking nobleman and were appointed to help the less fortunate. This chivalric title requires the highest of ethical and moral conduct and stays with the person till the rest of their lives. The earliest of knights were proclaimed the defenders of the empire well before the crusades from 312 AD after the battle of the Melvin Bridge. The Order is set to visit the Melvin Bridge next year along with a visit in the Vatican on the 1700 th anniversary of this most Regal and Supreme Order.
Modern Knights and Ladies are not going into the battlefields anymore in the literal sense, but are selected from all professions in recognition of their unique contribution to the betterment of mankind. The Order has evolved into groups around Europe and due to its exquisite existence, there only 72 knights in the entire United States who are dedicated to a return to the chivalric values of old traditions carrying history into the new millennium. Charity, education, scientific discoveries, military and navy service (a young Dr. Obagi served in the US Navy as well,) and even the arts are part of the Order’s mission, maintaining these great traditional noble values that are needed today perhaps more than ever in the history of mankind.
Dr. Obagi has dedicated his life to making others happy, changing their destiny by helping them regaining confidence and self-esteem; he has been helping those from around the World with birth defects or other hopeless skin diseases, in certain cases even if they could not afford it! His humanitarian contribution is not only exemplary, but also forward-looking, and is the expression of a noble man who is rare to find, but who has the ability and willingness to change the world for those who ask him! Dr. Obagi’s heroic pledge is to be followed by those who share in his passion. He is a decisive leader, a visionary and a fighter for the truth, a better and healthier world! He will go down in history as a Knight of the modern crusader of chivalry for his fellow men while remaining a humble advocate for the most needed change in our lives!