Sleep Reform Serum (Discontinued)
1 fl. oz. for $97
Category:Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:01.21.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

Because skin cannot tell what time it is and because its daily repair needs and function are occurring all the time, how is this product supposed to enhance skin’s sleep cycle? Is it going to send a signal to cell receptors that the person is asleep now, so let’s put the little skin-saving elves to work before the alarm clock buzzes? No, that’s not going to happen. In fact, about the only things that will occur from using this serum is that your skin will feel smoother and perhaps a bit tighter (due to the amount of film-forming agent—similar to putting hairspray on the skin). But for long term benefit of your skin the downside is the potential for irritation because this serum contains lavender oil, which can cause skin-cell death and serves as a pro-oxidant (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150; and Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229) along with other irritating fragrant ingredients. It also contains synthetic coloring agents which is sad to see in a product supposedly from a dermatologist.

Sleep Reform Serum also contains the hormone ingredient melatonin, but the only research pertaining to its effect on skin (as opposed to oral consumption) demonstrates it has a protective effect when skin is exposed to sunlight (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Given that this product is meant for nighttime use, including melatonin seems to be a marketing maneuver, not a skin-care essential.

Another ingredient worth explaining is human oligopeptide-1. This is a type of epidermal growth factor whose benefits, if any, and the risk of long-term use on healthy, intact skin are unknown. We do know that such growth factors play a role in wound healing and reducing inflammation, but wrinkles are not wounds and there are many anti-inflammatory ingredients that have stronger safety profiles than epidermal growth factors. One potential negative of topical application of growth factors is the potential to cause cells to overproliferate. That’s not what aging skin needs, and the possible side effects include cellular changes that could prove unhealthy or cosmetically undesirable (e.g., psoriasis is a skin disorder that involves overproliferation of skin cells). In short, topical application of growth factors isn’t worth the potential risks to your skin, especially given that growth factors do not have any firmly established benefit as an anti-aging wonder.


This innovative approach to anti-aging unlocks skin’s potential to repair and renew itself by enhancing its sleep cycle. Empower skin to effectively fight the signs of aging and awaken to a rested, more youthful appearance.


Water, Glycereth-7, Xylitylglucoside, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Schizophyllan, Melatonin, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Hydrolyzed Myrtuscommunis Leaf Extract, Aminobutyric Acid, Zinc Gluconate, Calcium PCA, Algae Extract, Human Oligopeptide-1, Sodium PCA, Dimethyl Sulfone, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Tephrosia Purpurea Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethylsilylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chitosan Ascorbate, Corn Starch Modified, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 20, Linalool, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Yellow 5, Red 40

Brand Overview

Murad At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers; a selection of well-formulated AHA products centered on glycolic acid; most of Murad's top-rated products are fragrance-free; the sunscreens go beyond the basics and include several antioxidants for enhanced protection.

Weaknesses: Expensive; no other dermatologist-designed line has more problem products than Murad; irritating ingredients are peppered throughout the selection of products, keeping several of them from earning a recommendation; the skin-lighteners are not well-formulated.

Dr. Murad was one of the first doctors to appear on an infomercial selling his own line of skin-care products, and quite successfully so, at least the second time around. This was largely because the company paid for independent clinical studies to establish the efficacy of Dr. Murad's products. There's no question that AHA products, when well-formulated, can be a powerful ally to create healthier, radiant skin. But in terms of independent clinical studies, we're skeptical, given that there are countless labs that exist solely to perform such studies in strict accordance with how the company wants the results to turn out. Murad certainly wouldn't mention in an infomercial that the clinical studies for his AHA products weren't as impressive as, say, those for Neutrogena's AHA products, or any other line for that matter. And what about BHA products? Clinical studies and testimonials may have prompted consumers to order, but the results from Murad's AHA products are hardly unique to this line.

Although this is a skin-care line to consider for some good AHA options, the majority of the products are nothing more than a problem for skin. Murad may have been one of the first dermatologist-developed skin-care lines, but by today's standards his line is deplorable. This is largely due to a preponderance of irritating ingredients that show up in product after product. Any dermatologist selling products that include lavender, basil, and various citrus oils plus menthol and other irritants doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. The same goes for Murad's overuse of alcohol and his preference for treating acne with sulfur, both factors that keep some of his otherwise well-formulated, efficacious products from earning a recommendation.

Yet what is most objectionable is the endless parade of products claiming they can stop, get rid of, or reduce wrinkles and aging. Regardless of whether dermatologists know best about lotions and potions, no conscientious doctor would or should be selling products using the ludicrous claims Murad makes. Most of the anti-aging products have the same hype, the same unsubstantiated claims, and the same exaggeration about the beneficial effects of ingredients that are often present only in the tiniest amounts, without even a mention of the standard or potentially irritating ingredients that are also present. Dr. Murad’s skin-care philosophy, stated on his Web site, includes the following statement: "Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skin—including the right products, the proper nutrients (from both food and supplements) and positive lifestyle choices." That's an excellent piece of advice; the problem is that it is contradicted by Murad’s own products, most of which are far from the "right" options for all skin types.

For more information about Murad, call (888) 996-8723 or visit www.murad.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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