Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 has been reformulated to include avobenzone for reliable UVA protection. Although that’s good news, the avobenzone and other synthetic sunscreen actives can be problematic when used near the eyes, which is exactly how this product is supposed to be applied. Of course, not everyone’s eye-area skin will react negatively to these sunscreen actives, but if you notice any stinging, burning, or redness discontinue use and consider a mineral-based moisturizer or concealer with sunscreen (it need not be labeled “eye cream”). If your eye-area skin can tolerate the sunscreens in this product, it’s a good, lightweight eye cream for slightly dry skin. Emollients are preset but take a backseat to water-binding agents. The formula includes several antioxidants, retinol, and some intriguing plant extracts, some of which have no known or proven benefit when applied topically. Still, if you’re going to splurge on a Murad product, this is one to consider. By the way, the “C” in “Essential-C” stands for vitamin C but this ingredient isn’t front-and-center here.
Note: This product was recently downgraded from three stars to two stars, which is considered average. The reason for the change is due to the prevailing recommendation that your daytime sun protection product be rated SPF 30 or greater. This revised recommendation is due to the fact that most people are not applying sunscreen liberally enough to earn the stated level of protection on the label; therefore, a higher SPF rating will be more advantageous. See the More Info section for additional details.
Sunscreen Downgraded Due to Low SPF (SPF 15-20): This product was recently downgraded from its previous rating to two stars, which is still considered average. The reason for the change is due to the prevailing recommendation that your daytime sun protection product be rated SPF 30 or greater, with SPF ratings between 25 and 30 falling into the acceptable range.
This revised recommendation is because most do not apply sunscreen liberally enough to earn the stated level of protection on the label; therefore, a higher SPF rating will be more advantageous.
While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, no sunscreen with an SPF lower than 20 will rate higher than two stars in Beautypedia. For more information on our criteria for rating sunscreens, please visit the Best Sunscreens or Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of the site.
Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. This layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you're not applying liberally.
Our patented Skin Repair System with Co-3 stimulates collagen synthesis. Caffeine and tiger's herb increase elasticity and firm the skin. Light diffusers soften the appearance of fine lines and dark circles for a luminous glow.
Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (4%), Octisalate (5%), Other: Water, Butylene Glycol, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Shorea Stenoptera Seed Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Silica, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Cetyl Phosphate, Rice Amino Acids, Zinc Aspartate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Propyl Gallate, Retinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cimicifuga Racemosa Root Extract, Caffeine, Siloxanetriol Alginate, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Proline, Sodium Lactate, Sorbitol, Polyester-8, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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