This gel moisturizer is supposed to reduce redness from acne, sunburn, or just from having sensitive, reactive skin. Unfortunately, the formula contains a frustrating mix of soothing and irritating ingredients, so this is not the calming, soothing solution those with redness or sensitive skin need to see lasting improvement.
The amount of witch hazel extract (which is an astringent and an irritant) is cause for concern, and this contains various forms of menthol along with mint oils, including peppermint, all known to be irritating (really, this is a bit shocking). The tingle you'll feel when you apply this isn't a sign this product is helping soothe skin; rather, it's a sign your skin is being irritated, which is never the goal. Without the problematic ingredients, this would've been an intriguing, lightweight option for those with sensitive, reddened skin. As is, it's absolutely not recommended. See More Info to learn how irritation hurts all skin types.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Reducing the appearance of redness caused by acne, sunburn or skin sensitivity.
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Pullulan, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Polyethylene, Polyurethane -34, Niacinamide, Dimethicone/Divinyldimethicone/Silesquioxane Crosspolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenyl Triacetate Naringenin, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Physalis Angulata Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Menthyl Ethylamido Oxalate, Disodium EDTA, Benzoic Acid, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Dehydroacetic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Tocopherol, Betaine, Inositol, Taurine, Trehalose, Yeast Amino Acids, Urea, Limonene, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Red 40 (CI 16035), Ext. Violet 2 (CI 60730), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)
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.
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