BRAD Biophotonic Essential Elixir ACE + MSM 1.7 fl oz

Our Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Leslie on February 23, 2013


I must start out this review with a small caveat: I did not start using BRAD Biophotonic Essential Elixir ACE + MSM ($95) on a clean slate. Up until the beginning of this review process, I had been applying a glycolic-based antioxidant and exfoliating cream once a night before bedtime, with very satisfactory results. So when I say that after six weeks of using BRAD Elixir (once nightly) I did not see any noticeable difference in my skin, I’m not saying that it doesn’t work. But, rather, that it works as well as my other product did and does a very satisfactory job at maintaining my previous results.

I mention this for several reasons: one, I was unable to establish a marked difference in my skin after using it; and two, while they are not exactly the same products, they are comparable in their effects. BRAD Elixir, according to the brand description is a “potent formula infused with antioxidants to correct skin discoloration,” with vitamin C to brighten sun spots and protect against free-radical damage; hyaluronic acid for plump and supple skin; and vitamin A to reduce the appearance of fine lines and promote skin cell regeneration.

The cream that I had been using, Glycolix Elite Facial Cream, exfoliates with glycolic acid and “contains a rich blend of antioxidants including liposomal vitamins A, C, E, and green tea extract.” While both products essentially do the same thing by slightly different means, there is a large difference in price between the two: $95 for 1.7oz of BRAD and $31.26 for 1.6oz of Glycolix Facial Cream. It’s important to know that there are many ways to skin a cat as it were.

There is one noticeable difference between the two products in their dispensing systems. Creams in jars tend to get contaminated with the oils from your fingers and are exposed to light every time you open the jar, helping them to lose their potency over time. The BRAD serum comes in a sleek black glass bottle (more on this below), and dispenses the product with a dropper, which effectively eliminates contamination from your skin. However, you still have to open the bottle to take out the dropper, so there is some light exposure to the product each time you do this.

Marta explains the history of BRAD’s Biophotonics in detail in one of her BRAD reviews, but essentially they are based on the study of photons and how they interact with biological systems. The glass bottles essentially block all harmful light, which supposedly helps expand the life and increases the potency of the products they store. While the glass manufacturer, Miron, makes a compelling case for this, the scientific jury is evidently still out on it.

At any rate, using BRAD Elixir is very pleasant and easy. As a clear serum, it glides on smoothly and has no odor. Before applying BRAD, I swab my face with a non-alcoholic toner, which not only soothes and conditions my skin after washing, but helps deliver the BRAD serum more easily and evenly across my face and neck. BRAD’s only instructions are to apply after cleansing. This could be morning and night, though I used it only at night. My skin feels nourished and on very close inspection, has a slight overall peel to it, which means it is indeed exfoliating and regenerating new growth. I am enjoying using it.

Here are a few other ingredients that stood out to me:

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): a chemical found in plants, animals, and humans that is used as a medicine for everything from chronic pain to scar tissue, hair loss, wound healing, allergies, ulcers, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure. While there is insufficient evidence to support its use for these conditions, it supposedly works by supplying sulfur to make other chemicals in the body, which in turn can relieve the symptoms of those conditions.

(2s)-2-amino-5-guanidinophentanoic Acid: or L-Arginine is an amino acid, or a chemical building block found in red meat, poultry, fish and dairy. It’s used for heart and blood vessel conditions to help healing and recovery time.

Phenoxyethanol: an increasingly popular preservative used in cosmetics as an alternative to parabens. However, there is an FDA warning that it can cause the shutdown of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis: see Marta’s full explanation.

Overall, I give this BRAD product two thumbs up with a price caution!