What does a beauty brand do when it has a long-running, number-one selling skincare product on its hands? If you’re Murad Skincare, you scrap the formulation completely and go all-in on something totally new. Introducing Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum, a soon-to-launch treatment geared at busting up hyperpigmentation in the skin.
In September, the brand said “so-long” to its widely-loved Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum, which has reigned as the number one brightening specialist in the US for three years in a row, according to NPD Group. One of the main differences between the two: the new formulation ditches hydroquinone for a new, patented tech that also promises to address the overproduction of melanin.
The move is a bit of a gamble — after all, there’s a reason hydroquinone has been called the gold standard ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation in skin for half a century. The ingredient helps prevent the appearance of dark spots by thwarting the development of tyrosinase, an enzyme in our skin that contributes to melanin production. But it also has a reputation for lightening skin surrounding the dark spot, drying skin over time, and even introducing new pigment problems to the fold with uninterrupted, long-term use. In short, for a so-called gold standard, the treatment carries a lot of caveats.
That’s why Murad Skincare brand founder, Dr. Howard Murad, and his team product developers have looked to other possibilities to eradicate dark spots in complexions of all tones. Welcome to resorcinol. After five decades of clinical research and more than 1,000 in-vitro experiments, resorcinol compounds have proven a skin-safe option for reducing dark spots. The Murad team opted to patent 4-Ethyl resorcinol and create a totally new serum to harness its power.
The serum’s patented compound has “exhibited extraordinary potency as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Specifically, it is a more potent human tyrosinase inhibitor than hydroquinone and was found to deliver the best clinical efficacy of other resorcinols,” explains Kristen Robinson, Murad’s senior director of new product development.
Thanks to its ability to absorb into skin and travel to where melanin production occurs, 4-Ethyl resorcinol can disrupt overproduction of melanin which accumulates into dark spots of hyperpigmentation. It’s a sweet feature, for sure, but its power to address hyperpigmentation doesn’t stop there.
As S. Manjula Jegasothy M.D., a Miami-based dermatologist who specializes in treating darker skin tones and has no affiliation with Murad Skincare notes, “darker skin types tend to develop a greater amount of hyperpigmentation after any type of inflammation, which tends to persist longer than lighter skin types if untreated.” To this end, Robinson says 4-Ethyl resorcinol has shown in clinical tests to “control PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), a condition that is significantly more prominent in melanin-rich skin tones.”
The resulting Murad Rapid Spot Correcting Serum ($72), which launches Nov. 18 on Murad’s website before being rolled out in stores on November 29, marries this comprehensive melanin-regulating tech with tranexamic and glycolic acids. The formula has been shown to reduce the look of dark spots in 14 days time for 84 percent of testers in a recent trial.
For our part, we love that the clear gel isn’t overwhelmingly tacky, something that plagues many skin-brightening formulations. What’s more, it didn’t leave our skin red, irritated or feeling dry like a hydroquinone-fueled formula might (likely thanks to the inclusion of soothing ingredients).
Is this breakthrough tech enough to usurp hydroquinone’s long, pigment-busting reign? Dr. Murad says not so fast: “I do not think hydroquinone will be going away any time soon for prescription products,” he says. “But resorcinol technology provides an alternative for those who want to skip the derm appointment and begin treating their dark spots immediately.”
Skipping the headache of COVID-era doctor’s appointments and the skin irritation that can come with hydroquinone use? Brighter days may be ahead after all.