City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer
We'll say it up front: City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer cannot detoxify skin. As we explain in the More Info section below, skin isn't harboring toxins that topical products can somehow neutralize or remove. Still, there's a lot to like about this moisturizer, particularly for those with normal to dry skin.
Housed in an airless jar container to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients (we wish more brands who rely on jar packaging for their moisturizers would switch to airless to keep their formulas stable), City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer has a rich, highly moisturizing texture that makes skin feel protected and supple.
Antioxidants and a robust mix of water-binding agents are on hand, as well as a couple of skin-repairing ingredients. Skin-restoring ingredients like retinol and peptides are missing in action, and that plus the fragrance ingredients in this moisturizer kept it from earning our top rating.
What about the "Marrubium Plant Stem Cells" mentioned in the claims? Listed by it Latin name of Marrubium vulgare extract, there's no research showing this extract or its stem cells have any benefit when applied to skin.
As for the stem cell part of the claim, in order for stem cells to affect other cells, they need to be alive; however, in a cosmetic product like this, these ingredients are long dead. Even if they were alive, plant stem cells can't interact with human cells in the same manner human stem cells can. Plant stem cells would generate more plant cells, not human cells. At best, such ingredients function as antioxidants.
Although this moisturizer is worth considering if you have normal to dry skin that's not prone to breakouts, it doesn't quite reach the summit when it comes to today's best anti-aging moisturizers (none of which can detoxify skin).
- Rich moisturizing texture ideal for dry skin.
- Airless jar packaging helps keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
- Contains fragrance ingredients that can pose a risk of irritation (although this has a very subtle scent).
- Cannot detoxify skin.
- Plant stem cells don't work in skincare products.
Why Beauty Products Cannot Detoxify Your Skin: Despite the claims of many cosmetics companies, you cannot "detox" your skin. Brands that make this claim never really specify exactly what substances or toxins their products are supposed to eliminate, which makes sense, because your skin does not store toxins.
Toxins are classified according to whether they are produced by the body or are introduced into the body, usually through eating or inhaling. Toxins are produced by plants, animals, insects, reptiles (think snake venom and bee stings), and so on. Toxins also can be inorganic, such as heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others.
When it comes to your skin, toxins cannot leave your body through your skin or sebaceous (oil) glands—it's physiologically impossible. Other parts of your body, mainly your kidneys and liver, handle the process of "detoxifying" just fine, as long as you have a healthy diet.
There are a handful of studies indicating that sweat acts as a carrier in "detoxifying" by removing trace heavy metals from the body; however, the methodology of those studies is considered questionable when reviewed by third-party experts.
Nonetheless, if you choose to sauna, steam, or exercise to increase sweating, that's a lifestyle option to discuss with your physician, but it does absolutely nothing as a purifying skincare activity.
Skincare products are not going to "detox" your body or skin. As we always say: Stick to what the research says really works, and ignore the fantasy claims because they aren't going to help your skin or your budget!
References for this information:
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, December 2015, pages 675–686
Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, pages 1–10
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-brighteners 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.