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MAD Spot On- reviewed and recommended

Our Rating: 5 stars


Botanicals and stable vitamin C to lighten spots and freckles


The usual offender: phenoxyethanol
August 1, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 3 Comments
Use to target discolorations for an even skin tone

I like the idea of a beauty brand that goes out on a limb and calls itself MAD. Although there is nothing crazy about its approach to anti-aging skincare and, anyway, it is an acronym for the more pedestrian Maximum Active Dermaceuticals. I have been trying out MAD’s Spot On Targeting Skin Brightening Serum ($38/0.50 oz in the TIA shop) and am impressed by the quality of ingredients and performance for the price.

MAD Spot On is perfect for targeting stubborn freckles and areas of uneven skin tone. I wouldn’t expect as much from it as I would E’shee’s Intensive Brightening Serum, but with realistic expectations it earns its place amongst effective skin brighteners.

Although nianciamide (from the vitamin B family) features strongly, it is the vitamin Cs in this formula that merit a call out. Stay C-50 is sodium ascorbyl phosphate and, along with MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate), it is recognized as a stable form of vitamin C.  A skin brightener, as well as antioxidant and UV protector, vitamin C is also here as a strong component of phyllanthus emblica.

These Cs are given are given ample backup by two very interesting actives in the whitening department. B-White is a combination of amino acids derived from a growth factor (TGF-b). The result is a peptide called oligopeptide-68. The peptide binds to the TGF-b receptor in skin cells to inhibit the enzymes involved in skin pigmentation.

There is also Lumiskin, also known as diacetyl boldine. Extracted from the bark of the Chilean Boldo tree, this is another skin lightening agent. It works in a weird way. Its molecular structure resembles that of stress receptors, which leads many to believe that it has the ability to simultaneously block stress receptors and inhibit the body's melanin production (skin pigmentation).

There is a good slew of botanicals extracts that are also known for their skin lightening powers, including bearberry, licorice root and mulberry.  All of which ensure that this little bottle of MAD Spot On punches above its weight. The only thing not to like is the preservative phenoxyethanol, near the end of the ingredient list.

Ingredient: Water, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Niacinamide, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Tetra-hexyldecyl Ascorbate, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Phyllanthus emblica Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Diacetyl Boldine, Oligopeptide-68, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Uva ursi (Bearberry) Fruit Extract, Morus nigra (Mulberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium angustifolium (Blueberry) Extract, Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil , Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Titanium Dioxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mica, Silica, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C0-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Oleate, Lecithin, Sorbitol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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  • June 27, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Susan, it sounds as if you are trying to use this all over the face as a replacement for a serum. The key is that the name of the product includes the word "Targeting" and as I mentioned in my review it is designed for and best at targeting specific freckles or dark spots. On small areas, it could be used more frequently than once a week if your skin will tolerate it, but it isn't a daily serum for the whole face that would be a replacement for your Skinceuticals.

  • June 27, 2013

    by susan

    Several days after using this my skin had a reaction. It felt like the beginnings of hives. I really want to like the product so I stopped for a while and now use it once a week. It still makes my skin feel rough. I had been using Skin Ceuticals C&F everyday but wanted to try something new. Any suggestions? Am I getting any benefit using it so sporadically?

  • August 11, 2012

    by helen t

    hi can this be used to lighten dark circles around the eyes thanks

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