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Review Narüko AM+PM Mandelic Acid Skin Renewal Brightening Mask

Para português, clique aqui.

I usually don’t make a review on my blog about sheet masks, because there’s not much I can talk about. When I want to review a sheet mask that I’ve used once or twice, I usually review it on my Instagram. If you remember, Rachel, from Narüko sent me some products to try, the Total Brightening Renewal Treatment Mandelic Acid 5%, that has been already reviewed by me and a pack containing 5 sheet masks from the same line.

I decided to write this review here because, well, using five sheet masks is enough to see what it can actually do to my face. But I won’t make this review too long.

Description

This mask was made to brighten, hydrate, lighten, soothe and repair the skin. It also can help to diminish fine lines and blemishes in general. Below there’s an informative image.

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Key ingredients are shown in the picture above.

Ingredient list

Purified Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Tranexamic Acid, Arginine, Mandelic Acid, Propanediol, Salix Alba Bark Extract, Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Sodium Hyaluronate, Essential Oils of Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus), Marjoram (Origanum Marjorana), Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis), Ho Wood (Cinnamomum Camphora), Bisabolol, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Alcohol Denat., Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit Extract.

Analysis of some ingredients

Glycerin: Also called glycerine or glycerol, glycerin is a skin-replenishing and restoring ingredient. It is naturally found in the skin. It’s one of the best humectants;

Butylene Glycol: Skin conditioning agent;

Tranexamic Acid: In recent times, tranexamic acid claimed to have whitening effects especially for ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation including melasma.

A study made with 50 Iranian patients was performed. They used two formulas on each side of the face. Formula A with 3% of tranexamic acid, and Formula B with 3% of hydroquinone + 0.01% dexamethasone. The patients used each solution twice a day on each side of the face for 12 weeks. The patients were advised to avoid excessive sun exposure, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher in the morning, and reapply the sunscreen every 2h (I advise you to do the same, whether you’re using tranexamic acid or not. UV rays are dangerous, people!).

After 12 weeks, the results were calculated. Only 39 people finished the study. The erythema, skin irritation, xerosis, and scaling were the side effects of tranexamic acid, which were reported by patients. No GI (nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain) and serious complaints were seen with tranexamic acid. In addition, patients reported erythema, skin irritation, dryness of the skin, scaling, hypertrichosis, and inflammation as the side effects of hydroquinone + dexamethasone. Significant side effects were noted for hydroquinone + dexamethasone compared with tranexamic acid (I expected that).

The aim of the study was to compare the safety and efficacy of topical solution of 3% tranexamic acid with a topical solution of 3% hydroquinone plus 0.01% dexamethasone in the treatment of melasma. In this study, it was shown that the tranexamic acid is as effective as the cumulative effect of hydroquinone and dexamethasone in the treatment of melasma while it is safer than the gold standard of melasma treatment, hydroquinone.

Source: Topical tranexamic acid as a promising treatment for melasma.

Another study made with 23 women with melasma was done. They were advised to use an emulsion containing 2% of tranexamic acid and a nonwoven fabric mask immersed in skin lotion containing also 2% of tranexamic acid. The emulsion was meant to be used twice a day to the whole face and the mask three times a week, for 12 weeks. Sunblock was uniformly provided and the use of commercial cosmetics was restricted.

Compared with baseline values, the degree of pigmentation and the extent of erythema both showed improvements in 22 of the 23 patients after 12 weeks of topical tranexamic acid application and there was a significant reduction in MASI (Melasma Area and Severity Index) from baseline to any follow-up point. The conclusion of this study supported by a grant from Shiseido is that topical tranexamic is effective as a treatment for melasma and the immunohistochemical study identified suppression of ET-1 as a possible mechanism underlying the action of tranexamic acid on melasma.

Source: Efficacy and possible mechanisms of topical tranexamic acid in melasma;

Arginine: A semi-essential amino acid that is produced naturally by the body. It mainly functions as an antioxidant that helps build collagen production, when applied topically. Orally, it can speed up wound healing;

Mandelic Acid: An AHA made from the extract of bitter almonds, also known as amygdalic acid, shown to be an effective alternative to other AHAs. Unlike glycolic acid, mandelic acid is light-sensitive and must be packaged in an opaque container to remain effective. Mandelic acid has larger molecules than most of the AHA but it is less irritating to the skin and can still deliver the same anti-aging, accelerated cellular turnover rate, increase the collagen production and get rid of dead skin cells that AHAs traditionally provide;

Propanediol: It can enhance the absorption of ingredients. It can be derived naturally from corn or also synthetically. It has hydrating properties. It is well-tolerated and not likely to cause sensitivity;

Salix alba (Willow) Bark Extract: It has astringent, anti-inflammatory, soothing and conditioning properties. Willow bark extract contains salicylic acid, a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that is a natural exfoliant very used against acne. It helps clear pores, dead skin and can also stimulate new cell formation;

Betaine: It is an amino acid and primarily functions as a humectant and anti-irritant. It can also temporarily decrease deep wrinkles, making the face smoother. It’s capable of giving superior hydration to the skin, without leaving residue like glycerin based products;

Propylene Glycol: Like other glycols and glycerols, it has hydrating and ingredient delivery properties;

Chlorphenesin: Preservative;

Allantoin: It has skin soothing, healing and keratolytic (ability to remove excess of skin) properties. It enables the skin to absorb more moisture;

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate: The salt from licorice plant. It’s an ingredient that works to improve the appearance of damaged and dry skin. It also functions as an anti-irritant with anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties. It’s said that it may inhibit tyrosinase activity, making it a potential lightening/brightening ingredient.

Aloe barbadensis Leaf Extract: Aloe vera is a traditional medicinal plant whose gel has been widely used in skin care because it soothes sunburn, hydrates the skin, reduces the appearance of puffiness, protects the skin and so on.

This study reported the protective effects of aloe sterols (one of its active) against UVB-induced photoaging in hairless mice. It resulted in a significant improvement of UVB-induced skin dryness, epidermal thickness, and wrinkle formation.

Cutaneous wound healing is a complex process involving various regulatory factors at the molecular level. Aloe vera is widely used for cell rejuvenation, wound healing, and skin moisturizing. This study reported that Aloesin (from Aloe vera) accelerates skin wound healing;

Aureobasidium pullulans Ferment: A study showed that exopolymers from Aureobasidium pullulans have adequate antioxidant, antiwrinkle, whitening, and skin moisturizing effects. These effects involve reducing hyaluronidase, elastase, collagenase, and MMP-1 activities, as well as inhibition of melanin production and tyrosinase activities.

Anti-skin-aging benefits of exopolymers from Aureobasidium pullulans;

Sodium Hyaluronate: The salt form of hyaluronic acid, a water-binding ingredient that has the ability to fill the spaces between collagen and elastin. Sodium hyaluronate has been used for moisturization and wound healing since its discovery, it can hold up to 1000 its own weight in water;

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil:  Lavender essential oil is used in a wide range of both cosmetic and therapeutic settings, and oils from a variety of lavender species have been demonstrated to have a range of biological activities. Lavender oil (primarily L. angustifolia) has been found to be active against many species of bacteria and fungi (LisBalchin et al., 1998; Hammer et al., 1999). It has also been suggested that essential oils, including lavender, may be useful in treating bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. For example, L. angustifolia oil was demonstrated to have in-vitro activity against both MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis) at a concentration of less than 1% (Nelson, 1997a).

Source: Biological Activities of Lavender Essential Oil;

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) Essential Oil: Possibly antimicrobial and antiseptic properties;

Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) Essential Oil: Possibly anti-inflammatory;

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Essential Oil: Possibly antimicrobial;

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) Essential Oil: Possibly antifungal;

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Essential Oil: Possibly antioxidant, astringent;

Hoo Wood (Cinnamomum camphora) Essential Oil: Fungistatic;

Bisabolol: It works as a skin conditioning agent. It’s highly concentrated in panthenol. It improves the appearance of dehydrated and/or damaged skin, restoring suppleness to the skin;

Calendula officinalis Extract: Rich in triterpenoid esters (anti-inflammatory), antioxidants, and carotenoids. This plant is used as bactericide, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and also to help with wound healing;

Tasmannia lanceolata Fruit Extract: It helps strengthen skin’s defense while reducing skin irritation and discomfort.

Acne triggers according to Cosdna

Butylene Glycol is the only one. It strikes 1 out of 5.

Irritants according to Cosdna

Carbomer strikes 1 out of 5 and Alcohol Denat. strikes 5 out of 5.

This type of alcohol can be very irritating at high concentrations. In this formula, the concentration is very minimal, less concentrated than preservatives and essential oils. Also, this sheet mask doesn’t smell like alcohol at all.

Safety according to Cosdna

Most of them are green flagged (strike 1 or 2 out of 9) except Propylene Glycol and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, which strike 3 out of 9. Phenoxyethanol and Alcohol Denat. strike 4 out of 9.

Material

The material is thin and also comes with an additional plastic sheet to easily unfold.

IMG_20170709_115435793

The additional sheet is very useful. I always struggle to unfold thin sheet masks. Who doesn’t?

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That’s the additional sheet.

The fit

The fit is very good. But if you find it small, you can cut it.

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Sometimes I cut the mask in two pieces to make it cover a larger area of my forehead.

Texture and scent

It’s very watery. Definitely, it’s one of the most watery essences I’ve ever used. But it’s slightly thicker than water.

IMG_20170709_133551773.jpg

This mask has no perfume. Its scent is very weak. It reminds me a little bit of acid. It’s super light, almost undetectable and does not bother me. I thought it would smell like the Mandelic Acid 5% (something like rosemary) but it doesn’t.

How to use

Below there’s a picture explaining how to use it.

ampm Mandelic Acid renewal brightening mask_e04

You just have to open the package, remove the sheet mask, unfold it, put on your face and remove the additional plastic sheet and leave it until it’s dry.

Performance

I’ve used this mask once a week during five weeks along with Mandelic Acid 5% and I felt that this mask does a good job when we’re talking about smoothness. I always use the sheet mask when I’m watching a movie. I do my pre-routine (with liquid products such as toners, essences, serums…), I wear the sheet mask and I also wear the Daiso Silicone Mask over it to hold it on my face. I leave the sheet mask according to the length of the movie which is usually between 1 and 2 hours. The liquid doesn’t evaporate thanks to the silicone mask.

After using the mask I feel like my face is much smoother and with a better texture. I can’t talk about the whitening effects because you can’t expect it to lighten a dark spot that instantly. But when it comes to brightening, it is real. I can feel my face brighter and it seems to last throughout the next day.

It also makes my skin very hydrated to the point that I can skip emulsion. Usually, I apply a face cream to seal the hydration and that’s it.

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed using these sheet masks. They’re very watery, deeply absorbed, very hydrating and give brightening effects.

It does have some essential oils and maybe that’s why I thought it’d smell something different than what it actually smells like (maybe like the Mandelic Acid 5% as I’ve previously said). I like it especially because it combines exfoliating acids with moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera, betaine, and arginine, and also anti-inflammatory and whitening agents. This product is a special step if you have/want a routine that targets to lighten dark spots and/or get a smoother complexion. Tranexamic acid is a very good whitening agent.

This is not a miracle sheet mask and I’m sorry to tell you but there isn’t any! I don’t think that this product alone used once a week can drastically lighten dark spots. But I can tell you from my experience that the combination of this sheet mask with others melanin inhibitors can provide visible whitening results.

Overall, I liked this mask pretty much and I would purchase it when on sale.

Rate: 4.3/5

P.S.: This product has a pH between 4.6 and 5.

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This product was sent by Narüko Boutique for review purposes. ALL the opinions are of my own and the review is 100% honest, like all of my other reviews I’ve written here and on Instagram.

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