Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask
It would be great if all it took to extract gunk from your pores was a clay-based mask like this but the reality is that products like Murad's Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask do a mediocre job at best. More importantly, this mask for oily skin contains abrasive scrub particles that can damage skin in use, actually make clogged pores worse, and its strong fragrance is another source of irritation.
A lesser problem, but still worth mentioning, is that this mask is packaged in a jar. This type of packaging steadily renders antioxidants—like the pomegranate in this mask's name—unstable with each use. All of the other plant extracts this formula contains will suffer the same fate, for reasons we explain in the More Info section.
Aside from the abundance of problematic ingredients, what this mask can do is what most clay-based masks do well: absorb excess oil. However, no ingredient in this mask can reach deeper into the pore lining to address clogs where they begin. You wouldn't want the clay to absorb in as it would get stuck and not easily come out—talk about a clogged pore! You'll see smoother, matte skin upon rinsing—and this does rinse easily—but the volcanic clay this contains doesn't exert its "magnet" action to the point where clogged pores are no longer a concern, and the matter of irritation shouldn't be ignored.
What does work to unclog pores? A far more gentle clay mask but only when used in conjunction with daily use of a leave-on exfoliant that contains salicylic acid (BHA) formulated within the correct pH range for this superstar ingredient to exfoliate. Salicylic acid can cut through the oil in the pore lining, reaching the "root" of the clog and truly helping to make it a thing of the past. You'll find out top recommendations on our list of Best Face Masks and Best BHA Exfoliants
- Absorbs excess oil.
- Rinses cleanly.
- Doesn't work well to improve clogged pores (clay masks in general have limitations).
- The scrub particles can feel too abrasive, potentially damaging skin in use.
- Jar packaging won't keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable once opened.
All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight can also be problematic for maintaining ingredient stability.
Jars are also unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
When shopping for an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging. Switching to this type of packaging means you'll be buying products that stand the best chance of working!
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97-106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252-259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640-660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4,676-4,683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82-88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1-10
This intensive mask is formulated with lactic acid polishing beads that lift and exfoliate dead skin cells; volcanic clay, which acts as a magnet to help extract impurities from deep within pores; and pomegranate extract to promote glowing skin for visibly refined pores and cleaner, smoother 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-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.