Murad vs Zenmed – Review by FELICIA ROBERGE, Texas



Have you ever suffered from acne so severe that you hated getting out of home?

I have. And I was all of 15 when the nightmare unfurled.

Pepperoni face, the moon, pudding, pizza face, crater face, I had nicknames galore.

And I had learnt (or forced myself) to take them with a pinch of salt.

But somewhere down the line, I slipped into a mental state that was so severely devastating, that all I did the entire day was lie in bed and cry. It was a perpetual cloud of grey all around me.

I quit swimming because the pustules were all over my back.

I tried to grow my hair long enough to cover it, but it wasn’t the best of ideas either.

On days when I gathered enough courage to step out of home, I’d be greeted like this.

‘Hey honey, how’s the herpes on your face’?

My folks formed a strong support circle around me and took me to a dermatologist who put me on some antibiotics acne treatment. A week later, I was unable to eat or even drink water because my tongue was swollen like a whale and there were painful white patches inside the mouth.

The doc switched to a new antibiotic. Now, I was throwing up everything. Not to mention the never ending diarrhoea.

Amidst this, there were innumerable counselling sessions, group therapies and a few antidepressants (don’t recall the names).

Thankfully, the antidepressants helped improve the mood slightly, and I decided to get into self-help mode.

I must have spent at least 3 months reading customer reviews and talking to people on Facebook groups about their experiences with various acne treatments. I am so glad that I did.

The internet is filled with lies, deceit and fake endorsements, especially for acne skin care products.

I discovered that the hard way after using one of the most hyped products in recent times, Murad.

It was after this bitter experience, that a Facebook support group directed me to Zenmed.



The Murad skincare range has been around forever. I guess it was founded in 1989 by Dr. Howard Murad. A brand that has been around for that long automatically generates a lot of public goodwill.

That’s what contributes to the hype I guess. And to top it off, they have gazillion products to choose from.

That’s one of the USPs of the brand.

Unlike others who focus on just a few products, Murad kind of overwhelms you with a bundle of products.

But a lot of them overlap in their supposed use.

For example, their acne treatment products are as follows:

• Time Release Acne Cleanser
• Two 30-day packs for advanced acne (which one do you choose?)
• Advanced Acne And Wrinkle Reducer
• Acne Body Wash
• Anti-Aging Acne Regimen
• Acne Clearing Solution
• Post-Acne Marks Kit
• Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment


After speaking to their customer support team, who tried their best to hard sell their 90-Day Advanced Acne Pack and their Acne Body Wash, I finally bought their Advanced Breakout Control Regimen 30-Day Kit which cost $29.95.

The kit contains 5 products.

• Acne Clearing Solution
• Skin Perfecting Lotion
• Clarifying Cleanser
• Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment
• Clarifying Mask

The products are to be used twice a day starting with the Clarifying Cleanser on the face and neck. I used it on the back as well.

After the cleanser, you apply the Acne Clearing Solution followed by the Skin Perfecting Lotion. Then, the Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment can be applied only on the affected areas. Lastly, you can use the Clarifying Mask twice a week.

The Clarifying Cleanser is 1.5% salicylic acid.

The Acne Clearing Solution is 0.5% salicylic acid again.

The Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment is 2% salicylic acid.

That’s 3 products with salicylic acid to be used twice every day. As expected, my skin became dry, painful and started to peel.

It was horrible. And people actually fall for this. That’s a sham folks! You can buy one product containing salicylic and it would work just as good.

I completed the 30-day program hoping that the purging phase would soon pass, but to no avail.



Zenmed has just 4 packages/programs for acne sufferers.

There’s the:

Zenmed Derma Cleanse System
• Acne Therapy for Oily Skin
• Acne Therapy for Combination Skin
• Complete Acne Kit

I was recommended the Acne Therapy for Oily Skin that contains

• Zenmed Oil-free Daily Lotion (aloe vera juice, vitamin E and propylene glycol)
• Facial Cleansing Gel (mostly herbal solution)
• Derma Cleanse Acne Gel (salicylic acid 2%)
• Derma Cleanse Acne Mask & Spot Treatment (vitamins, witch hazel, chamomile, sage and salicylic acid)

I started off by using the Facial Cleansing Gel twice a day as recommended. Unlike Murad’s Cleansing Solution which would instantly dry my face, the Zenmed Cleansing Gel made it soft and supple. I attribute it to the herbal ingredients which are gentler on sensitive skin.

I followed this up with the Derma Cleanse Acne Mask (twice a week only). I initially applied a lot of this which caused some redness and itching. But it subsided once I reduced the dosage. I also noticed that the Spot Treatment helps reduce the visibility of acne pores and scars. Don’t expect it to magically disappear. But it definitely becomes less visible.

The Derma Cleanse Acne Gel which is salicylic acid 2% is where the magic happens. I know that a lot of you guys are raising eyebrows at this statement. Wasn’t salicylic acid the main ingredient in Murad’s skin care products as well? Yes. But it is not merely about the salicylic acid, which is a proven ingredient for treating acne. It is about the supporting herbal ingredients in Zenmed which negates the side effects of salicylic acid and keeps the acne in check.

This is the 48th day of treatment and I couldn’t be more satisfied. In fact, the psychiatrist is slowly weaning off my anti-depressant dosage. My acne has reduced by almost 30%. That’s not a huge difference. But hey, it’s working for me!


FELICIA R. ROBERGE, 20, Austin, Texas