As a forward-thinking, cutting-edge dermatologist who is widely acknowledged as on the of the world’s foremost authorities on skin health, Dr. Howard Murad (founder of Murad skin care) has raised the bar in his business.
Drawing upon over three decades of research, he runs a bustling health center and spa (and has seen over 50,000 patients over the course of his career), developed a powerful product line with a cult following, penned successful books (including The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger) and so much more. When I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Murad, I jumped at the chance to learn more from this skin care genius.
JustLuxe: You have so much to be proud of. How did you get to where you are today?
Howard Murad: It’s been a real journey. I started out as a pharmacist and during my time in school, I felt I needed to be a physician. I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps, who was a pharmacist, so I figured I would just stop there. I ended up going to medical school after pharmacy. I thought I wanted to be a surgeon because it was more exciting, but after serving in Vietnam, I was suddenly interested in dermatology. Patients came to me for various issues and one thing led to another and I began to understand that the whole body is connected. That’s the core of my true feeling. So many people come to us with skin concerns, but really, there’s more to it than that.
JL: What is your philosophy about overall health relating to how our skin looks?
HM: As we get older we have less energy, passion. We’re stressed individuals who multi-task. The idea of looking at a patient as a whole person is what I call inclusive health. If I see a patient with a breakout, I spend time with you. I look at your issues, your stress levels, etc. Acne comes from hormonal issues, stress, lifestyle, various issues. We spend time really understanding you as a person. There are so many new treatments for various diseases, yet we have more and more diabetes, hypertension, obesity, chronic diseases. A lot of people spot treat, but I really go deeper, and treat you as a whole person.
JL: What is a typical visit like for one your patients?
HM: I measure a lot of aspects that have probably never been measured. The only thing that happens with aging is water loss. The skin becomes drier, and every cell in the body becomes drier. I’ve measured thousands of people so I can tell you where you are in the spectrum of people for your age. We look at every cell in your body and we have an idea of how healthy you are in total. It’s a more comprehensive fashion. My book, The Water Secret, talks a lot about that. Patients who go on my program have a brand new body after 10 weeks. Your liver turns over every six weeks. We modify your stress level, we have you eat a little better. You end up losing a little because you’re giving more energy and you’re more likely to do things. Most people have amazing results. They are sleeping better; they have more passion and energy. Diseases respond better to drugs.
JL: Give us a sneak peek of what we would learn from The Water Secret.
HM: Your whole body is connected. You need to look at every cell in your body. It’s what you eat! Nutrition is a big, big part of the whole picture. Drinking water doesn’t do it. Eating foods that are water-rich are very healthy for you. Fruits and vegetables, predominantly water-based ones will change your life. Eat food packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and roughage so it minimizes body fat. They are alkaline-forming which helps in resisting cancer. It’s structured water that’s released more gradually. It will penetrate cells instead of going straight into the toilet. Intracellular water is the biggest thing. You become healthier. We need to encourage people to truly hydrate their skin. Moisturizing creams are okay, they work, but they are temporary. The epidermis is about 20 percent of your skin - what you eat is 80 percent. When your cells become damaged, the skin becomes thinner and thinner and more porous so water leaks out. We want to fill in the holes.
JL: Tell us your best beauty tip.
HM: The number one skin care tip is to smile! If you don’t smile, you don’t look very good! No matter how beautiful you are, your features won’t look that great if you aren’t smiling. The Hybrid collection addresses a lot of concerns and gives you the cosmetic look you’re after. It minimizes pores, it firms the skins, reduces pigmentation. You can put makeup on top of it, or not, but you need a nice palette before you put makeup on. Even if you put a primer on rough texture, it shows even more. We try to minimize that.
JL: What are three products you recommend?
HM: Complete Reform really is an amazing product. You can put it on twice a day and you’ll see an amazing difference overall. The Hybrid collection and the Youth Builder supplement. We’ve found a 34 percent reduction in lines and wrinkles in five weeks; 18 percent increase in elasticity. It just works.
JL: Okay, I have to ask. Sun Protection - what’s the rule?
HM: The problem with SPF is that number is just a number. You have to reapply frequently to really protect yourself. You want to make sure it has UVA and UVB. We have SPF that’s mostly UVB with PA protection A+ or A++. When you’re in the sun, its not just sun its pollution. You need a moisturizer and anti-oxidants. Our products are at the forefront, there aren’t that many that have anti-oxidants. We’ve had it for twenty years.
JL: What are you most proud of?
HM: Believe it or not, my son. If I had to pick one thing that would be it! But truly, I’m proud to say that I’ve been at the forefront of healthcare. I like to think of it as healthcare because I believe that inclusive health is a new way of looking at your overall health. It’s important to look at you as a whole person. I’m giving patients the best environment to take care of their bodies. When patients leave after spending some time with me and get the results from their doctors, they improve their general health - from stress levels, sleeping habits, and more.
JL: With all that you’ve achieved, what is your greatest luxury?
HM: It’s a personal thing actually - spending time with my grandchildren.