This is a 4 part system that we discuss individually below. Overall, we gave it a “C” for a grade.
The Clarifying Cleanser is designed to treat the surface bacteria present within the skin. Murad claims that 99% of all surface bacteria is killed within 60 seconds, which is nice. Our concern however was how was it treating the acne causing bacteria under the skin, and would it be effective in cystic acne breakouts.
Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel is the main acne treating product in this system. It is designed to penetrate deep for the purpose of eliminating pore clogging impurities, while it gently exfoliates and controls breakouts without irritation. This will work on acne caused by impurities or dirty oily skin, but it is not going to even touch the acne causing bacteria present below the surface of your skin. The same bacteria responsible for your acne breakouts. In that regard, the effectiveness of this acne treatment seemed lacking to us.
Skin Perfecting Lotion is designed to restore balance and soothe irritation, presumably from the cleanser and acne treatment gel as well as the breakouts themselves. This is essentially a moisturizer that is suppose to return the moisture to the skin after it has been stripped away. Acne treatments that come with a moisturizer generally means that the acne treatment is a drying one. Drying acne treatments are just not advanced enough prevent from damaging the skin, and that is the case with this system.
Acne Spot Treatment and Clarifying Mask- The spot treatment and the clarifying mask are perhaps one of better parts of this system, as they work relatively well. The problem is that it is more of the same drying. Drying out the skin will only do so much, and while it will remove acne initially the results are not lasting as this system is not designed to treat acne under the surface of the skin.
To be honest we were expecting a bit more from the Murad name. Murad has been creating decent skin care products for years now, but this Acne Complex was an overall let down. This does focus on surface bacteria and does a decent job of repairing the drying damage that it causes, but it will not prevent acne in the long run. This acne treatment is a 30 dollar treatment. It does not produce the results of a higher quality formula and it will not reduce bacteria under the surface of the skin like an acne treatment with Resveratrol. Overall an average value (in terms of number of products), but in reality it is just another low priced acne treatment that does not deliver long term results.
The Murad post acne lightening gel is a hydroquinone based treatment designed to make the skin lose its pigmentation where applied. It is used for bleaching out moles, sun spots, birthmarks, etc.
It is a questionable ingredient as far as safety is concerned. Hydroquinone has been shown to cause leukemia in mice and other animals. Banned by the European Union in 2001, it is not available legally in any products there, but it is still sold in the United States as an over-the-counter drug. The percentage of 2% concentration is the maximum allowed still in the USA. While this may be OK to use in cosmetics in the USA, we sort of feel like the risks might outweigh the rewards in this case.
Our tester felt it was fine to try the product, so she went ahead and did so. The darkness around her acne scars did start to go away in about 2 weeks. There was no improvement, however, to the texture of her scars or the bumps/holes on her skin. On the other side of the coin, Murad makes no claims that the product will heal the scars themselves, so we were OK with that. However, as an “acne scars removal” product, we have to take into consideration the one-sidedness of the product.
The customer service and ordering process of Murad was fine. They answer the phone right away, and readily had order information and could answer questions and concerns very well. The reputation of Murad products is good , and as far as how they treat the customers, it is well deserved.
Overall, we can’t really complain about how the Murad post-acne lightening gel worked, since it did what it promised as far as bleaching the discoloration out. However, since we are looking for a complete acne scars removal treatment, we have to give it a lower rating. The real downside for us, is the use of Hydroquinone. We really don’t feel like using a product that is banned in some places, and has links to cancer is worth it. Although none of these claims are taken as 100% proven in the USA, the fact that the EU banned it is good enough for most of us to avoid using it. For these reasons we rated this product so low.