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Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Ingredients Explained

2.0   from 1 ratings
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Published on July 13, 2020

Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 21 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA and Vitamin C

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils or silicones

Fun facts

Murad is from United States. This product is used in 38 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

AHA (2)
BHA
Vitamin C

Benefits

Good For Oily Skin (2)
Redness Reducing (2)
Reduces Irritation
Skin Texture (3)
Reduces Large Pores (3)
Anti-Aging (3)
Dark Spots (4)
Scar Healing (4)
Acne Fighting
Brightening (4)

Concerns

Drying (3)
Acne Trigger
Irritating (3)
Rosacea (4)
Eczema (4)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Sulfate IconCan worsen Dry Skin Icon
3
Cleansing
May worsen Eczema Icon
4
Emollient, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
5
6
Emollient, Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
7
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
8
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
9
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Dark Spots Icon
10
Antioxidant
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
11
Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
12
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
13
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
14
15
Buffering
16
Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
17
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
18
19
Preservative
Preservative Icon
20
Preservative
0 / 0
Preservative IconParaben IconNon-Reef-Safe IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
21
Preservative
0 / 0
Preservative IconParaben IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconNon-Reef-Safe Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 21 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a foaming, cleansing, and emulsifying ingredient. It is created from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. SLES is not the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. It is much milder and less likely to irritate.

SLES helps create foam in personal products. It also prevents ingredients from separating, helping to elongate the shelf life.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a type of sulfate. It can be drying. We recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Laureth Sulfate
3
What it does: Cleansing
Community Rating: Disliked

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a fatty acid created by mixing similar compounds in coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. Dimethylaminopropylamine is a diamine, an amine with two amino groups.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a surfactant and cleanser. It helps gather the dirt, pollutants, and other impurities in your skin to be washed away. It also helps thicken a product and make the texture more creamy.

Being created from coconut oil means Cocamidopropyl Betaine is hydrating for the skin.

While Cocamidopropyl Betaine was believed to be an allergen, a study from 2012 disproved this. It found two compounds in unpure Cocamidopropyl Betaine to be the irritants: aminoamide and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. High-grade and pure Cocamidopropyl Betaine did not induce allergic reactions during this study.

Learn more about Cocamidopropyl Betaine
4
What it does: Emollient, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Community Rating: Disliked

Jojoba Esters is a wax created from Jojoba oil. It is an emollient and film-forming ingredient. In bead form, it is an exfoliator.

This ingredient has high oxidative stability, meaning it doesn't break down when exposed to oxygen.

Its similarity to our skin's natural oils makes it a great emollient. Emollients help soften and soothe our skin by creating a barrier on top. This barrier helps trap moisture in, keeping skin hydrated.

It is created using either the hydrogenation or transesterification processes on jojoba oil.

Learn more about Jojoba Esters
5
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Acrylates Copolymer is used as a film-forming agent and texture enhancer.

After applied, Acrylates Copolymer forms a thin film cover that helps skin feel more soft. It can help sunscreens become more water-resistant.

It is also used to make a product more thick.

Learn more about Acrylates Copolymer
6
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Disliked

Glycol Stearate comes from stearic acid and ethylene glycol.

It is a creamy wax used to stabilize ingredients as an emulsifier. Glycol stearate also contains emollient properties. Emollients sit on top of the skin to prevent moisture from escaping.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Glycol Stearate
7
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

8
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sodium PCA is the sodium salt of pyroglutamic acid and is naturally occurring on human skin.

The PCA stands for pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, a natural amino acid derivative.

Sodium PCA is a has conditioning, anti-inflammatory, and humectant properties. Humectants help hydrate your skin by drawing moisture from the air. This helps keep your skin moisturized.

Learn more about Sodium PCA
9
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate comes from licorice root.

Extracts of licorice have demonstrated to have antibacterial, anti‐inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant properties.

One component, glabridin, has extra potent antioxidant and soothing properties. It has also been found to block pigmentation from UVB rays in guinea pigs.

Licorice Root also contains a flavonoid. Flavonoids are a natural substance from in plants. Flavonoids also have antioxidant properties.

Another component, glycyrrhizin, has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. This may make licorice root extract effective at treating acne. However, more research is needed to support this.

Liquiritin is one of the flavone compounds found in licorice. It has been found to help lighten skin by preventing tyrosinase from reacting with tyrosine. When the two react, protein is converted to melanin. Melanin is the substance in your body that gives your features pigmentation.

Licorice root is native to Southern Europe and Asia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with respiratory issues.

Learn more about Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
10
What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a form of Vitamin C. It is the salt of ascorbic acid.

This ingredient is more gentle than ascorbic acid. It is also more stable when exposed to light and oxygen.

Vitamin C helps reduce redness, improve skin texture, reduce the effects of aging, reduce the visibility of dark spots, and brighten skin.

Your skin uses Vitamin C to produce collagen and collagen production plays a role in having a strong skin barrier and plump skin. As an antioxidant, this ingredient also helps reduce the signs of aging such as fine-lines and wrinkles.

VItamin C helps brighten skin by blocking the process of skin darkening.

In a 2011 study, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate was found to have antibacterial properties. This may help treat acne.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Learn more about Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
11
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Loved

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with research to back up its benefits. Its main role is to peel the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Glycolic Acid has shown to boost collage production, a protein that helps skin stay firm. Overall, Glycolic Acid helps with improving uneven tone, rough patches of skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. It also increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When applying Glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging. The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
12
What it does: Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose — a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
13
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
14
What it does:

We don't have a description for Polyquaternium-4.

15
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
16
What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

This ingredient has many purposes in skincare: thickener, emulsifier, and exfoliator.

You'll most likely find this ingredient in cleansers where it is used to create a gel-like texture. As an emulsifier, it also prevents ingredients from separating.

There is much debate on whether this ingredient is comedogenic. The short answer - comedogenic ratings don't tell the whole story. Learn more about comegodenic ratings here.

The concensus about this ingredient causing acne seems to be divided. Research is needed to understand if this ingredient does cause acne.

Scrubs may use salt as the primary exfoliating ingredient.

Learn more about Sodium Chloride
17
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
18
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
19
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

20
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Methylparaben is a preservative and is a paraben. It is used to prevent the growth of fungus, mold, and other harmful bacteria. Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in both cosmetics and food.

Methylparaben can be synthetically created. It can also be found naturally in some fruits, such as blueberries.

Oftentimes, Methylparaben is combined with other parabens to help increase the shelf life.

The safety of Methylparaben is currently being studied. While ongoing studies are looking into the safety of parabens, the results have been very mixed. Some studies have not found Methylparaben to be harmful.

Learn more about Methylparaben
21
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Propylparaben is a preservative and is a paraben with antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

This ingredient can be naturally found in plants and insects, but most of it is synthetically manufactured for human use. In cosmetics, it is usually created by reacting para-aminobenzoic acid and propanol (an alcohol).

You can usually find this ingredient in water-based products.

Parabens have come under controversy due to the claim they are hormone disruptors. Studies show conflicting results. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Propylparaben is commonly found in food, medicine, and cosmetics.

Learn more about Propylparaben
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 21 ingredients in this product ✨

33% are loved or liked
10% have mixed ratings
52% are disliked or very disliked
5% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ->
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