Murad vs Dermalogica 2023 (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

14 February 2023

No matter what stage of your life you’re in, breakouts can show up without warning. (And sometimes, they’re too stubborn to go back to the hell that they came from.) Rest assured, though, that there are plenty of products to diminish the appearance of pesky blemishes and even prevent new ones from forming.

What’s more is that some brands have even created their own acne-fighting lines to remedy your skin issues. For example, Murad has their Clarifying Cream Cleanser, Deep Relief Acne Treatment, and Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, while Dermalogica has a breakout clearing foam wash, age bright clearing serum, and breakout clearing booster.

So, if a spot treatment alone hasn’t been enough to do the job, these brands have entire trios to help you out.

Let’s break down each breakout-fighting throuple to see which comes out on top.

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Murad vs Dermalogica


Murad’s Clarifying Cream Cleanser is ideal for those with dry skin that’s prone to breakouts. Formulated with salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acids (BHA), it soothes as it gently exfoliates. Their Deep Relief Acne Treatment is created with a plant-derived phytosteroid, amino acid technology, and maximum strength 2% salicylic acid to treat deep, painful acne and prevent future blemishes. And should you need more backup, the Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment claims to reduce blemish size and redness after just four hours. It contains 2% salicylic acid to slough away dead skin while a pine and thyme-inspired complex and horse chestnut and oat formula maintain a healthy balance to reduce redness. The cleanser has only 45 reviews thus far, but a 4.8-star rating; the acne treatment has 89 reviews and a 4.8-star rating; and the spot treatment has 367 reviews and a 4.8-star rating.

Designed with .5% salicylic acid, lavender, orange peel extract, and tea tree, Dermalogica’s breakout clearing foaming wash clears away impurities without stripping the skin of moisture. For post-wash use, the age bright clearing serum boosts cell turnover for anti-aging benefits, as well as preventing future breakouts and hydrating the skin. Some of its superstar ingredients include salicylic acid, their AGE Bright Complex, phytoactives, niacinamide, and white shiitake mushroom. Their breakout clearing booster is also salicylic acid formulated—in addition to phytoplankton extract—which allows exfoliation without over-drying the dermis. Dermalogica’s foaming wash has 1,394 reviews and a 4.7-star rating; their serum has 1,304 reviews and a 4.5-star rating; and the breakout clearing booster has 1,128 reviews and a 4.4-star rating.

Pricewise, Murad’s cleanser is $39 for 6.75oz; the acne treatment is $45 for 1oz; and the spot treatment is $26 for .5oz. Dermalogica’s foaming wash is $19.50 for 6oz; the serum is $75 for 1oz; and the breakout clearing booster is $24.50 for 1oz.

Each triad sure has its pros and cons. The prices are a little bit all over the place, too, but Murad’s ratings are higher across the board. Although it appears Murad’s triad is your best choice, we want to take a deep dive into both brands’ ethical and environmentally progressive efforts.

Murad is PETA-approved as cruelty-free, but not all its products are vegan. As far as their commitment to sustainability, Ethical Elephant reported that a representative from Murad claims the company is “dedicated to ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients.” (Note: This statement comes after questions were raised around whether the company used child labor to source mica, a mineral that adds a shimmery effect to cosmetics. Murad did not directly address where or how they obtain their mica, nor did they specify how they audit or trace it.) Murad has also partnered with TerraCycle, which allows customers to ship back their empty bottles (free of charge) where they’ll then be made into flooring tiles, storage bins, outdoor furniture, and more. Further, their product cartons are made from FSC-certified material; they use vegetable-based ink for labels; and their shipping boxes are made from up to 100% recycled content and packed with 100% compostable peanuts.

According to Dermalogica’s site, they’re both cruelty-free and certified vegan (on all but two of their products—Sheer Tint SPF20 and MultiVitamin Power Serum), recognized by both PETA and Leaping Bunny. Their eco-friendly initiatives include all paper and cartons used for packaging to be FSC certified. By 2025, they also pledge that 90% of their ingredients will be sustainably sourced; 100% of their tubes, bottles, and boxes will be designed to be reused, recycled, and/or composted; most of the plastic in their packaging will be derived from recycled material or plant-based material; and they will partner with suppliers who monitor and manage their carbon footprint.

The tidbit about where Murad sources their mica is a bit sketchy, but they seem to be doing everything else right. That said, they also seem to be ahead of Dermalogica with regards for their sustainable efforts. So, given their ratings and ethical progress as a brand, we’re siding with Murad on this one.

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