Acne Clearing Solution
Acne Clearing Solution isn't the solution it's made out to be, though it does contain some ingredients that can be helpful for breakout-prone skin and clogged pores. The active ingredient is anti-acne superstar salicylic acid, also known as beta hydroxy acid (BHA). The problem is that the formula's pH of 4.1 is borderline for allowing the salicylic acid to function most effectively as an exfoliant. At nearly $40 for a small amount of product that's not a lot of bang for your buck!
The good-for-skin ingredients that can also help with acne include retinol, phospholipids, and a good mix of soothing plant extracts that can reduce the inflammation and redness that often accompanies acne. It would be much better, though, if Murad had left out the fragrance ingredient farnesol and lavender oil, as both pose a risk of irritation for all skin types (see More Info for details on lavender oil). On balance you're getting more beneficial than problematic ingredients, but why add problematic ingredients to the mix at all?
Last, despite tea tree oil's potential effectiveness as an antibacterial ingredient, it's the last ingredient listed for Acne Clearing Solution. That means it's antibacterial action will be slight, if it even has a impact at all. Unlike lavender oil where only a tiny amount is needed to stir up trouble, tea tree oil needs to be present in a fairly high concentration to kill acne-causing bacteria, but that's not what you're getting here.
- The pH of the formula is low enough to get some efficacy from the salicylic acid.
- Contains a good mix of helpful ingredients for breakouts, including retinol and soothing plants.
- Contains the fragrance ingredient farnesol, which poses a slight risk of irritation.
- Lavender oil is a potent skin irritant, even in small amounts.
- The amount of tea tree oil is too low to function as a disinfectant (so it likely has no impact on acne-causing bacteria).
More Info:Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
This powerful formula treats breakouts, blemishes, and redness while restoring skin clarity and treating the underlying causes of acne to prevent future breakouts. It works gently or minimize dryness, redness, and peeling for healthy, blemish-free skin.
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. Murads skin-care philosophy, stated on his Web site, includes the following statement: "Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skinincluding 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 Murads 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.
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.