With the Sex and the City reboot currently in production in New York City, I can't help but picture Samantha's tomato red post-chemical peel face from the original series whenever I see or hear the word "peel."
But in all fairness, the reality is that not every in-office or at-home peel will leave skin irritated and blotchy. And products like Murad's latest launch, the Daily Clarifying Peel help to demystify this longstanding skincare myth.
This daily treatment contains a blend of retinoid, AHA acid (glycolic), and BHA acid (salicylic) — three active ingredients that don't always jive together, despite the fact that all three promote cell turnover for smoother, clearer skin.
"Exfoliants work great together, but their different compositions don't always mix, Dr. Howard Murad exclusively tells InStyle. "We formulated a bi-phase peel that, when shaken, blends a resurfacing retinoid and AHA (glycolic acid) with BHA (salicylic acid) to gently yet effectively help clarify pores and improve surface cell turnover for smoother skin."
While this treatment can help those with oily and acne-prone skin declog pores to prevent oil buildup, and thus, breakouts, Dr. Murad stresses that these skin types need hydration, too. That's why the Daily Clarifying Peel also contains soothing, moisturizing glycerin and plant extracts (which give the liquid its blue tint) in addition to the exfoliants and retinoid.
To shop: $39; murad.com
"Rather than playing mixologist or layering, which could lead to irritation, [Murad's chemists and formulators] did the work by combining efficacious levels of salicylic acid and a gentle retinoid into a high-performance solution in order to maintain the health and integrity of the skin," adds Kristin Robinson, Murad's senior director of new product development.
To use, simply shake the bottle, add a few drops to a cotton pad, and sweep over the face. And while the brand has created this peel to be gentle, yet effective enough for daily use (and put the formula through rigorous testing so it lives up to its claims), Dr. Murad points out that there is potential to experience some purging for five to 10 days when first used.
"When you start treating congested skin, the congestion doesn't melt away or disappear. Rather, it needs to transition out of your skin and has only one way to go: up toward the surface where it can be cleansed and exfoliated away," Dr. Murad explains. "Once this purge passes, you've truly begun the treatment phase of keeping your skin clear, smooth, and refined. Remember: More is not always better, as over-treating can lead to a compromised skin barrier that could exacerbate skin issues, including breakouts."
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With that in mind, Robinson reiterates Dr. Murad's point that it's best to be conservative when trying new treatments. And for those concerned about sensitivity, she recommends doing a patch test first or consulting with a board-certified dermatologist.
Oh, and one more thing: since Daily Clarifying Peel is recommended for nighttime use, don't forget to apply an SPF in the morning. Exfoliants and retinoids can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. And none of us want to end up like Samantha Jones.
Murad's Daily Clarifying Peel is available now for $39 at murad.com, and will launch at online and in-store Sephora and Ulta on Aug. 9.
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