Obagi Clinical Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum


Clinical Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 95.00
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Brand Overview

Obagi touts Clinical Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum as harnessing the power of “nature-identical synthesized plant growth factors” to minimize the signs of aging. While the formula has some merit, you’ll need to take the marketing claims with a grain of salt, because what a plant uses to grow isn’t directly applicable to human skin. We’ll explain…

Plant-derived growth factors are not the same thing as human epidermal growth factors… and that’s a good thing. Topical application of human growth factors could potentially lead to an overproduction of cells, laying the groundwork for health issues. The concern is how skin knows when it’s had too much of a good thing, resulting in issues due to an abundance of these growth factors that normally occur in a balanced, carefully orchestrated amount.


This serum’s marketing relies heavily on kinetin as the ingredient to save your skin. While kinetin (also known as N6-furfuryladenine) has some intriguing research behind it in terms of its ability to help slow down the aging process, better-designed studies are needed to confirm its age-defying abilities on skin. At the very least, it’s proven to be a good antioxidant.

Obagi also claims that this formula’s “rare” Swiss apple stem cells can help renew skin, but that’s exaggerated. Simply put, by the time the cells are processed and added to skin care products, they lose their ability to function as stem cells… and as mentioned above (but it’s worth repeating): plant stem cells do not directly mimic how human stem cells work. On the upside, just as for kinetin, apple stem cells have benefit as antioxidants, so it’s not a total waste.

Otherwise, the formula is front-loaded with standard thickening ingredients that make it hard to justify purchasing Clinical Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum over the other top-rated serums. Skin is treated to additional antioxidants and replenishing ingredients but not in a high enough concentration to brag about.

Aesthetically, this serum has a lightweight, silky feel, workable for any skin type. We applaud Obagi for the opaque, pump bottle packaging which helps keep the fragrance-free formula (particularly the antioxidants) stable.

All in all, Clinical Kinetin+ Rejuvenating Serum is a decent formula… but there are certainly more concentrated, research-proven serums out there.

  • Contains a mix of antioxidants and replenishing ingredients.
  • Fragrance-free formula is stably packaged.
  • Overexaggerated claims in terms of plant growth factors and plant stem cells.
  • The best of the ingredients are used in low concentrations.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Kinetin+ Complex, nature-identical synthesized plant growth factors, along with stem cells from the rare Swiss apple, have each been clinically shown to minimize signs of aging, to help refresh and renew skin’s youthful look.

Water, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, PEG-12, Glyceryl Dimyristate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sorbitan Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate, Kinetin, Zeatin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dilauryl Citrate, Baicalin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Ergothioneine, Tetrapeptide-26.

Obagi At-A-Glance

Strengths:Selection of good water-soluble cleansers; some effective skin-brightening and tretinoin products.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products available only via prescription, which can be inconvenient; disappointing anti-acne products; moisturizers should contain more state-of-the-art ingredients.

Obagi is a skincare line which got its start back in 1988, spearheaded by Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi, who has since left the brand. Choosing to focus on the skin issues that plague many aging adults (chiefly, skin discolorations from sun damage and other sources and wrinkles), Obagi offers a mixed bag of cosmetic and prescription products sold only through authorized physicians, plastic surgeons, and accredited medical spas. That exclusivity may increase this line's cache with consumers, but let me assure you that most of what's offered isn't all that exceptionaland what's available by prescription can be prescribed in other forms by any dermatologist, so you don't need to seek one that retails Obagi's products. The highlights of this line are actually the prescription products. Several options with 4% hydroquinone are available as well as two products with tretinoin. There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that 4% hydroquinone, especially when combined with tretinoin, has a high success rate for persons dealing with stubborn skin discolorations or the skin condition melasma (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 3639; Cutis, January 2005, pages 5762, and March 2006, pages 177184).

The skin-care products Obagi sells to support the prescription-only options are either standard or below-average formulas that are easily replaced by less expensive options from other lines. Beware: This is a line whose proponents are adamant about the products being used as a system, so expect pressure to purchase an entire routine rather than cherry-pick what you really need. Savvy shoppers will find some viable options from Obagi, including a very gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen for someone with sensitive skin.

For more information about Obagi, call (800) 636-7546 or visit www.obagi.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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