By “Howard”, I’m of course referring to Dr. Howard Murad, the dermatologist who started his own line of skin care.
A lot of people don’t know this, but Murad was the first line of skin care to have been started by an M.D. This guy pretty much set the trend for what was to follow with a whole host of dermatologists stepping into the retail industry like Dr. Brandt and DDF Skincare.
If you ask me, I wouldn’t believe them just because they’re doctors.
The reason why I’ve gotcha here is to go over Howard’s line of acne treatment and more specifically the Murad Acne Complex Introductory Kit.
What Is It?
To get people in the door, Howard decided to release a special Introductory Kit for $29.95 instead of the regular $88. (that’s a one month supply by-the-way) The kit is comprised of 5 separate products:
- Clarifying cleanser
- Exfoliating acne treatment gel
- Skin perfecting lotion
- Clarifying mask (meant to be a “bonus”, but…cumman we ain’t stupid!)
- Acne spot treatment (same as above)
1. Clarifying Cleanser
If you use Benzoyl Peroxide at the right level of concentration for your skin, then it can offer some serious results. Most people run into difficulties when they use it at more than 5% concentration.
Exposed Acne Treatment are one of the only companies to use it at 3.5% in combination with salicylic acid and glycolic acid. So if you are worried about BP causing irritation, I suggest checking out one of their kits instead.
Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser uses salicylic acid at 1.5% concentration, which in my opinion may only offer minimal results.
Did you know?
Salicylic acid can be found naturally in strawberries. Check out this homemade acne cleanser that uses strawberries and is so frickn’ simple to make!
2. Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel
Step 2 is to apply the Murad Acne Gel. I’m big on exfoliating gels as they’re able to penetrate more deeply into the pores, removing dead skin cells that would otherwise stay put and eventually lead to blockages.
The two major ingredients used here are salicylic acid (1%) and glycolic acid.
Both work to break down and remove dead skin cells helping to clear clogged pores. I’m a big fan of glycolic acid. Study after study has proven it to be extremely effective at penetrating deep into pores, removing dead cells right from within the dermis, or the lower layer of skin where sebum oil is produced.
3. Skin Perfecting Lotion
There’s not a lot to talk about with this lotion, other than it shouldn’t react poorly with your skin. The ingredients are nice and light and well balanced, using retinol as the primary ingredient to help replenish new cells.
They do claim that “Queen of Meadow and Algae Extract penetrate to clear pores and balance oil production.”, but I wouldn’t read too much into that.
As far as clearing pores goes, the job should have already been done in the previous two steps and the purpose of a moisturizer is to restore cells lost or harmed during the cleansing and exfoliating process.
4. Clarifying Mask
The acne ingredient in the Murad Clarifying Mask is of course sulfur at 4% concentration. Sulfur has an uncanny ability to draw out toxins that would normally lead to a lot of different skin ailments including acne.
That’s also the reason why honey face masks are so popular because honey contain a lot of Methionine which is apart of the group of sulfur amino acids.
One of my favorite acne face masks which I recommend to everyone is one that uses honey and oatmeal. The honey draws out impurities while the oatmeal acts as a natural exfoliant.
5. Acne Spot Treatment
Like most spot treatments, this one contains a combination of ingredients that help draw out toxins (sulfur 3%) and rapidly clear pores. (salicylic acid and glycolic acid) I’m a big believer in spot treatment because it’s such a great form of prevention.
If you can feel a break out developing, apply any spot treatment and you’ll improve your chances of decreasing the severity of the outbreak by up to 90%.
If you’re more so into the DIY, then I published a homemade acne spot treatment recipe that’s well worth checking out – in fact there’s two recipes so feel free to take your pick.
What I Loathed
Okay so I can understand why they didn’t decide to use benzoyl peroxide in their formulas as far as a brand perspective goes (ie. they didn’t want the “Benzoyl Peroxide-scared” customers to avoid the Murad Acne Complex).
But sometimes I wish companies would grow some b***s and develop their products based on what we need and not what we’re afraid of using.
Their formula although as unlikely it is to cause irritation or other side effects, lacks the power necessary to treat those with severe forms of acne. Salicylic acid at 1.5% may also not be the right amount.
I would have preferred to see the cleanser contain 2% SA, which has been proven to be more effective in the past.
What I Loved
Although Murad’s Acne Complex is supposed to be a 3 step system, with the addition of the clarifying mask and spot treatment it is really a 5 step process.
The spot treatment in particular is fantastic. It offers just the right amount of treatment during the early stages of a break out, using salicylic acid and glycolic to enter into your pores and clear them without causing unwanted damage to your skin.
I also liked the oil free moisturizer. Most kits come with poorly made moisturizers, but with Murad’s experience in most areas of skin care, they have managed to develop an acne lotion that effectively helps to renew damage and replace cells where necessary.
Who Is This For?
If you often suffer from more milder forms of acne, then Murad Acne Complex is perfect for you. There’s a reason why it’s rated as our second favorite acne kit – it works wonders for those with mild acne.
As far as quality ingredients goes, Dr. Howard definitely didn’t go down the cheap route. All 5 products are high-quality and won’t cause unwanted irritation, unlike say a Proactiv or Clear Skin Max.
Still, it couldn’t take the cake because it just isn’t as effective on more severe forms of acne. If you fit this category, I’m always going to recommend one of the kits from Zenmed as their formula is much more potent in nature and will surely provide you with better results.
Best Price: $29.95
Others gave this 4 out of 5 stars
Coupon Code: PERCENT10 (10%)