There's a lot to like about Murad's Acne Spot Fast Fix, but the formula contains small amounts of several problematic ingredients that, on balance, make it a less compelling choice that lots of other topical disinfectants for acne-prone skin.
The formula is medicated with gold standard anti-acne ingredient benzoyl peroxide, and is formulated in a sheer gel base that contains some helpful ingredients to reduce inflammation and normalize skin, including niacinamide and repairing fatty acids. These are intermixed with some problematic ingredients, such as witch hazel extract, alcohol, and fragrance ingredients plus fragrant plant extracts.
All told, although this product has what it takes to kill acne-causing bacteria, it also has what it takes to potentially irritate skin, making breakouts take longer to heal (and that includes the red marks they leave behind). Because of this, it's a tough sell. See our list of Best Anti-Acne Products for smarter choices.
This acne-fighting formulation’s secret weapon is micronized benzoyl peroxide, which is delivered in a hydrophase gel to provide powerful yet non-irritating acne treatment deep down where it’s needed. Meanwhile, great burnet and allantoin soothe inflamed skin and niacinamide minimizes redness to help restore an even skintone.
Active Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide 3.5% Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Niacinamide, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Dimethyl Isosorbide, PEG-100 Stearate, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate, Steareth -2, Alcohol Denat., Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-75 Stearate, Ceteth-20, Steareth -20, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Allantoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Punica Granatum Extract, Betaine, Inositol, Taurine, Trehalose, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene.
Strengths: A few good cleansers; a selection of well-formulated AHA products centered on glycolic acid; most of Murad's top-rated products are fragrance-free; the sunscreens go beyond the basics and include several antioxidants for enhanced protection.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no other dermatologist-designed line has more problem products than Murad; irritating ingredients are peppered throughout the selection of products, keeping several of them from earning a recommendation; the skin-lighteners are not well-formulated.
Dr. Murad was one of the first doctors to appear on an infomercial selling his own line of skin-care products, and quite successfully so, at least the second time around. This was largely because the company paid for independent clinical studies to establish the efficacy of Dr. Murad's products. There's no question that AHA products, when well-formulated, can be a powerful ally to create healthier, radiant skin. But in terms of independent clinical studies, we're skeptical, given that there are countless labs that exist solely to perform such studies in strict accordance with how the company wants the results to turn out. Murad certainly wouldn't mention in an infomercial that the clinical studies for his AHA products weren't as impressive as, say, those for Neutrogena's AHA products, or any other line for that matter. And what about BHA products? Clinical studies and testimonials may have prompted consumers to order, but the results from Murad's AHA products are hardly unique to this line.
Although this is a skin-care line to consider for some good AHA options, the majority of the products are nothing more than a problem for skin. Murad may have been one of the first dermatologist-developed skin-care lines, but by today's standards his line is deplorable. This is largely due to a preponderance of irritating ingredients that show up in product after product. Any dermatologist selling products that include lavender, basil, and various citrus oils plus menthol and other irritants doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. The same goes for Murad's overuse of alcohol and his preference for treating acne with sulfur, both factors that keep some of his otherwise well-formulated, efficacious products from earning a recommendation.
Yet what is most objectionable is the endless parade of products claiming they can stop, get rid of, or reduce wrinkles and aging. Regardless of whether dermatologists know best about lotions and potions, no conscientious doctor would or should be selling products using the ludicrous claims Murad makes. Most of the anti-aging products have the same hype, the same unsubstantiated claims, and the same exaggeration about the beneficial effects of ingredients that are often present only in the tiniest amounts, without even a mention of the standard or potentially irritating ingredients that are also present. Dr. Murad’s skin-care philosophy, stated on his Web site, includes the following statement: "Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skin—including the right products, the proper nutrients (from both food and supplements) and positive lifestyle choices." That's an excellent piece of advice; the problem is that it is contradicted by Murad’s own products, most of which are far from the "right" options for all skin types.
For more information about Murad, now owned by Unilever, call (888) 996-8723 or visit www.murad.com.
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