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Interview with One of Pittsburgh’s Finest Dermatologists, Dr. Suzan Obagi, M.D.

Posted Mar 15 2009 3:05pm


Suzan Obagi

Recently, I was honored with the opportunity of being able to interview one of Pittsburgh’s finest dermatologists, Dr. Suzan Obagi, M.D.  Dr. Obagi holds undergraduate degrees from the University of California, San Diego in biology and psychology, and I am pleased to say that she received her medical school degree from my medical school, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Her one-year internal medicine internship at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, and she returned to UPMC for her dermatology residency and a fellowship in Cosmetic Surgery.  Dr. Obagi specializes in skin health restoration and cosmetic dermatologic surgery, and she has written numerous articles and book chapters on skin health restoration, chemical peeling, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Thank you, Dr. Obagi, for giving this interview!  :-)

1.  What is your favorite part of being a dermatologist?

Being able to educate my patients about their skin problems; being able to resolve patient skin problems, allowing them to enjoy their life without being self-conscious about their skin; teaching patients how to stay looking their best indefinitely.   I like to perform procedures in an artistic way to achieve the best outcome and keep the patient looking natural.

2.  What is the Obagi product of which you are most proud?

I am proud of the science of healthy skin that I created in 1982, and that the medical products I formulated have become the gold standard of dermatologists and plastic surgeons around the world.  I am most proud of the introduction of my new line – ZO Skin Health by Zein Obagi.  Now the circle of healthy skin is complete. 

3.  What has been the greatest difficulty you have encountered in starting and maintaining your own successful dermatology practice?  In the skin care business?

The greatest difficulty was convincing dermatologists and plastic surgeons of the importance of going to the cellular level in skin treatment.  As a physician, we were taught to treat only the surface of the skin and because of that our results were limited.  Introducing skin health science altered all of that and created the concept of skin conditioning (preparing the skin).  I also encountered a lot of resistance from physicians who didn’t want to treat different skin types and ethnicities.  Sometimes it’s difficult to change old attitudes and opinions.

4.  What do you feel is the key to your success?

My passion, understanding and appreciation for skin – and for skin health.

5.  Who are your role models?

 My mother. She taught me the importance of never giving up and of working and studying hard. 

  6.  What skin care products do you feel that all patients should be using?

  1. Effective cleansers based upon skin type: oily, dry etc.

2. Daily use of antioxidants that are effective and stable. 

3. Sun protection (like ZO Skin Health Oclipse SPF 30  ($45.00, ) –it seems to be everyone’s favorite).

7.  What are your greatest beauty secrets?

 Eat a well balanced, low fat diet; ingest lots of protein and antioxidants; and limit your sugar intake.  Drink plenty of water!

 Sleep 7-8 hours a night.

 Keep skin clean and protected.


For even more information on Dr. Obagi and her fantastic line of products, please visit  I especially love the Oraser Anti-Aging Hand Care Program ($50.00, ), with retinol (to increase cell turnover and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles), vitamin C (for antioxidant protection, increased skin brightness, and increased collagen production), sugar crystals (to exfoliate the skin, hence increasing cell turnover), a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 20 (to protect the skin from subsequent damage), and shea butter (for hydration).   



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