Acne and wrinkles are no fun separately, but are completely exasperating when you're struggling with both at the same time. You can't help feeling you were supposed to stop breaking out once wrinkles started showing up. The myth about acne being all about the teen years just won't die. Nonetheless, you can treat both acne and wrinkles at the same time, but not with this product.
Murad’s attempt to combine salicylic acid (BHA) with other ingredients typically included in antiwrinkle moisturizers is interesting, but not well executed in this product. First, the amount of salicylic acid is too low for it to have much benefit and the formula's pH is too high for this exfoliant to work as it should if your goal is less acne and a smoother skin texture. A film-forming agent is a major ingredient in this product, and it can provide a smoothing and temporary tightening (not lifting) effect on skin, but that cosmetic effect is not unique and such an ingredient shouldn’t be in an anti-acne product.
Beyond the initial disappointment over the salicylic acid, the upside is that Acne & Wrinkle Reducer contains a good mix of skin-identical ingredients along with antioxidants and the antiwrinkle superstar retinol. Unfortunately, there are as many bad ingredients as good ones in this formula. The offending ingredients include sulfur, silver citrate, and several fragrance chemicals known to cause irritation. Although sulfur is a potent disinfectant that can help ease acne, it is also exceptionally drying and irritating and definitely a problem for fighting wrinkles. The silver citrate, like all forms of silver, can cause a bluish discoloration of the skin, especially in a product meant for daily application, and there is no research showing it has benefit for wrinkles or acne (Sources: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_165.pdf; and www.naturaldatabase.com). Although the amount of silver citrate in Murad's product is probably too low for it to have any effect on skin, it isn't worth the risk given that there are brilliant anti-acne and antiwrinkle products available that don’t have any potentially problematic ingredients.
Clinically proven dual-function formula reduces acne while minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Kombucha Collagen Defense stimulates collagen production while significantly diminishing its breakdown. With optimal collagen levels restored, skin regains a healthy resilience, fullness and improved barrier function strength.
Active: Salicylic Acid (0.5%), Other: Water, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sulfur, Retinyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Silver Citrate, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract, Caffeine, Coenzyme A, PEG-8, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Zinc Gluconate , Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Hydrolyzed Ceratonia Siliqua Seed Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Cimicifuga Racemosa Root Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch Octenylsuccinate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Propyl Gallate, Polysorbate 80, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!