The Spa Spy blog

Treatment review: Murad AHA Rapid Exfoliator Anti-Ageing Facial

Firstly, my confession. I’m at a point in my life where my skin is driving me slightly mad. When I was a teenager I had pretty good skin, but karma seems to have visited me now that I’m in my early 30s. My skin is a mix of break-out prone and oily with patches of dry skin. To keep my skin as in check as possible I’ve been using a salicylic acid cleanser and oil free moisturiser, but it worries me that the routine will not help the fight against fine lines and wrinkles. And it’s even harder to then throw using a SPF into the equation. Dry skin or clear skin – how do you choose?

Well, apparently you don’t! I was invited to try a Murad facial at its treatment room in the House of Fraser on Oxford Street, and I jumped at the chance to find out about the middle ground.

Murad is an American skincare brand that was founded in 1989 by dermatologist Dr Howard Murad. The products are all based on using the best of science to get measurable results and there are prescriptive ranges designed for anti-ageing, blemish control, environmental protection, deeper wrinkles, discolouration and dark spots and a range specifically for men. I was particularly excited by the anti-aging blemish control range.

I arrived at the Murad counter and my therapist, Natasha, took me to the remarkably quiet treatment room at the back of the store. We discussed my skin concerns and then Natasha stepped out of the room while I de-robed and slid down the straps of my bra and settled onto the treatment bed.

After looking at my skin Natasha decided that the AHA Rapid Exfoliator Anti-Ageing Facial was the right option for me. She put a steam machine next to my skin and cleansed twice while the steam opened my pores.

Natasha prepped my skin with salicylic acid and then applied a glycolic peel. She warned me that it may sting and checked to make sure my skin felt ok while the active ingredients started work. Different people’s skin reacts in different ways; on a scale of 1 to 10 from normal to painful I was at about a four. Natasha then removed the peel and began work on the extractions.

We don’t often encounter facials which include manual extractions in the UK; you’re more likely to find it in American style facials. Literally squeezing out any impurities in the skin, it can be a bit uncomfortable, but not intolerably so. To balance the discomfort next came a facial massage with a serum which really boosts moisture levels and put me back into a nice state of relaxation.

Next up was the clarifying mask. Again, very cool and calming, Natasha applied the mask to my face and massaged my arms while the mask teased out the impurities. She removed the mask and applied a top layer of cream and lip balm. Natasha said the facial was finished, handed me a glass of water and said she would wait outside while I organised myself.

Once I’d managed to convince myself it was time to wake up and head back outside, I checked my skin out in the mirror; my face was a lot calmer and less red. The anger had been taken out of any blemishes and my scaring reduced. My skin felt beautifully balanced; not overloaded with products as can happen during a facial. (I often actually end up leaving the spa with worse skin than when I entered!)

The Murad AHA Rapid Exfoliator Anti-Ageing Facial worked really well for my skin, it made a visible and immediate difference and I felt like I was in expert hands. It wasn’t a drift away into bliss facial but I would rate it any day.