Murad’s Resurgence Age Diffusing Serum promises to firm your skin by 38% in the time it takes to watch an infomercial. It is part of the Murad Resurgence 3-part-as-seen-on-TV-system for only $39.95 – well, that would be $39.95 every month since when you order you’ll be signed up in a monthly reshipment program.  Now, what could be in it that can firm a face in 10 minutes?

Perhaps the sensation is due to losing the top layer of skin. Murad Resurgence serum is not a subtle product; the first two ingredients (after water) are glycolic acid, an exfoliant, and sodium hydroxide. The latter is not something I’d want to encounter in a high concentration. The Center For Disease Control The CDC says that “skin contact with sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns with deep ulcerations. Pain and irritation are evident within 3 minutes, but contact with dilute solutions may not cause symptoms for several hours”. Lovely.

It is a shame that Dr Murad can be so heavy handed because there are always good antiaging ingredients in his products too. In Resurgence, two peptides, Matrixyl and acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline), are joined by some interesting botanical extracts. With one of the them, wild yam, Murad is pitching Resurgence at menopausal skin. Wild yam contains a steroid saponin and research suggests that it can restore keratinocyte in hormone aging skin.

Resurgence serum also lists clover. Research from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) confirms that red clover extract contains four anti-tumor compounds. Red clover also contains the powerful antioxidant tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E. There are also shitake mushrooms (lentinus edodes), which are one of those frenemy ingredients. They are high in ergothioneine, an antioxidant amino acid, but they also cause dermatitis.

Iris Florentina Root Extract is less exotic than it first appears, especially known by the name of ottis and as a hair powder or ingredient in chewing gum. Although it is said to be a wrinkle eliminator, I haven’t yet found any research to back that up.

All in all, I don’t find Murad’s Resurgence very compelling. Under half the ingredients are genuine actives and amongst the rest are problematic things such as linalool, phenoxyethanol and parabens.

Ingredients in Resurgence Age Diffusing Serum

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sclerotium Gum, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Glycosaminoglycans, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Punica Granatum Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Allantoin, Lecithin, Oleyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Maleate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Carbomer, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Limonene, Linalool, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil, Barosma Betulina Leaf Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil.