Dr. Howard Murad is a legendary dermatologist, the founder of the Murad skincare line, a pioneer in lifestyle research for beauty and wellness, an author and an artist. His Pore Extractor Pomegranate face mask and full line of Vitamin-C filled products are essentials for me.
I thought that was the magic of Murad all tolled – really well-created, high quality skin products. But, there is so much more to the Murad Connected Beauty philosophy that can change the way you look at beautifying, anti-aging and living well. Thanks to Dr. Murad, I’m now aware of incredibly powerful, scientifically-backed concepts that have changed my skin and my wellness routine.
A few of my biggest Connected Beauty tips to pass on from learning at Murad:
- Eat more water. Foods with high water content (fruit, fresh veggies, etc) will hydrate your cells more deeply.
- Avoid stress. It dehydrates cells and poisons the system.
- Make more art – and color outside the lines as you do!
- Journals are life-changing.
- And, always wear SPF!
To take this to a beauty-revolutionary level, I’m thrilled to share an eye-opening conversation with the Doctor himself, full of wisdom on falling in love with your life, being thrilled to be yourself and becoming a creative toddler again in order to thrive and glow!
Dr. Murad, I’m so honored to talk to you today! In addition to your amazing skincare line, your skincare philosophy of connected beauty and eliminating cultural stress has changed my life – and I’m sure there are millions of people who agree! Can you explain a bit about what prompted your incredible research on lifestyle and wellness?
Dr. Murad: I did research on genetics six years ago. It was very interesting and validated a lot of my understandings and theories about what’s going on in our life. It’s like everything else: you have to look at what’s modern. For example, if I were to tell you, you have to worry about “blue light” 15 years ago, you’d say, “What are you talking about?” But, now we know we have cell phones; the iPhone only came out 10 years ago.
So, over the last 10 years, life changed dramatically and it’s not just the iPhone, but everything along with it. Online shopping, the Amazons of the world, robots, artificial intelligence, telemedicine… all of these things have dramatically changed the last 10 years. When we look at wellness, wellness from 10 years ago isn’t the wellness for today. It’s not relevant.
That’s so powerful. Wellness of 10 years ago is not the wellness of today.
Dr. Murad: Innately we all want to be ourselves. If I have learned one thing it would be that the only one person that can tell you what to do, and really make it stick, is Y. O U. and nobody else. So, here’s the story of it: if I had one suggestion to anybody, it would be to understand that they actually have the power, truly have the power to make changes in their lives, if they would only accept it…if they only would realize it… and nobody else can do it for you. I like the idea of becoming yourself. Be thrilled for who you are.
What do you think when people are looking for skincare products and they say, “Oh this product is going to be a miracle for me!” ? The product changes your skin, but it’s also the product plus your choice to make changes in your lifestyle, right?
Dr. Murad: Ok, this is a picture of skin, if you put a product on it goes over here… generally this is 1/10th or less of the rest of you skin. (He showed me the thin top layer on the diagram.) This, beneath it, is collagen and elastin and a little bit of subdermal fat and then there is this facia… You are applying products to the top 1/10th of the skin. So, if you take a plant and decide you’ll only spray the leaves with water do nothing for the soil, well, what will happen?
Well chances are that after a while the plants will die because they will lose their nutrients and won’t get enough water?
Dr. Murad: Yes. And, you can’t possibly put all the B vitamins and trace minerals and all the nutrients that you need to eat on a cream to put on your face. Right? But, what you eat goes into our bloodstream and it feeds the cells. So we need to eat well. It’s not just what you eat, but also, what happens when you’re under stress. When you’re under stress you produce these agents that damage your cells. You know, stress could be as harmful as you know, taking poison or smoking too much. So there are all kinds of things we could talk about when changing your lifestyle.
Your philosophy of Connected Beauty is so accessible. There is a way for everyone to find their way into more of a stress free and creative lifestyle… whether it is through their journaling, eating more fruit and vegetables, making happy choices, making art, there’s some way that everyone can find a way in!
Can you talk about art? Art for you is a big part of wellness.
Dr. Murad: There are many doors. Many doors. And you know what? Any one of them is going to be a good place to start, because if you start putting on better skin products that are better for you, then maybe you will look at yourself in the mirror and feel better and you’ll eat better, exercise and you’ll have more strength. If you eat better you’ll have more energy more passion and it will show on your skin, right? If you eat well and exercise you’re going to have more muscle and more hydration. Anything we do makes a difference.
Can you talk about art? Art for you is a big part of wellness.
Dr. Murad: What does that look like?
To me it looks like a big leaf.
Dr. Murad: There is no right answer but… you focused on right here where something is drawn, and to me that is what you think your potential is. Your true potential is all the white space. Not just the leaf right here if it’s a leaf. I look at this with the idea that we think this is what our potential is.
Wow…our potential is in all the white space on the page!
Dr. Murad: Yes. When did you have your greatest potential when you were absolutely not afraid to fail? Where you were very creative and you couldn’t care less what was happening?
When I was a little kid.
Dr. Murad: I tell people to become a toddler. So you were a toddler one time. You may not remember exactly but let’s say you were a toddler and right outside the door, chances are you didn’t walk that well. You might have tripped a few times. Were you worried or concerned? You just got up and kept walking, right? If you fail 4 or 5 times in your business you’re probably going to quit. Not you personally, but people are afraid to fail, and they do not take risks.
When you looked at yourself did you care how tall or short you were? Did you care about other people? So you probably didn’t judge yourself or others. And you were probably more gregarious, you were probably laughing, giggling on the way here. Before that you were outside playing in the mud, what happened then, you got mud on you clothes. Did you care? So those attributes we lost over time and those attributes can help us.
We have to learn from our toddler. Because if you begin to feel less perfect and be willing to take risks and be more outgoing and more everything else it would make a big difference.
How can we play much more?
Dr. Murad: What we do is we just make art and throw the paint wherever it goes… like you would when you were a toddler.
Where do you personally find your inspiration?
Dr. Murad: That’s a good question, I wish I could tell you exactly where. I don’t think it’s any one place. I’m inspired by everyone around me, I’m inspired by my patients, my environment, my family all of those. The real inspirations come from within and again it relates to my philosophy is that you are an individual, you are the only one who knows what you can do… and give yourself permission to do that. You take bits and pieces of the world around you and you assimilate those and something beautiful comes out.
What’s always in your refrigerator?
Dr. Murad: Only one thing? There are several things. Usually pomegranates. Keifer. And then there’s a bunch of apples and pears and grapes and things like that. There are dates there are cut up, vegetables like carrots, snap peas, red cabbage.
A rainbow!!! I know you have found that eating water-filled foods is the greatest way to hydrate our cells. Is there a water-filled recipe that you can share?
Dr. Murad: There are lots in my book Conquering Cultural Stress. I love the White Bean Cherry Tomato Salad.
White Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad from Dr. Murad’s book, Conquering Cultural Stress.
- 1 15-oz can of cannellini beans rinsed
- 2.5 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- .67 cups diced red onion
- .25 cups fresh dill
- .25 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- pepper to taste
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Marinate at room temperature one hour.
Dr. Murad: But here’s the thing with that… I tell you: do not follow my recipe. People say, “Why are you giving me a book with a recipe that you are telling me to not use?!” I say, “Because I want it to be your own.”
So, look at the ingredients, take out what you don’t like.
Do you have any apps or gadgets that you find to be something everyone should try?
Dr. Murad: I have my own app, Dr. Murad Inspirations and people can look at that and get a different inspiration every day, and a different piece of art. There’s a new one every day.
Do you think people’s personal judgment of their own beauty affect their skin health?
Dr. Murad: Yes, I do. Because when you are really unhappy with yourself, you are very critical, probably not sleeping as well, under a lot of stress.
I was shown a clinical study that you did here at Murad where people were given journal prompts on cards and asked to journal every single day for the duration of the study using these cards to start their journaling every day. Journaling really did have a profound affect, surprisingly, on how awake and happy people looked!
Dr. Murad: We measured their cellular hydration, we measured their blood pressure and we did psychological tests that we do, we took pictures… we didn’t tell them what to put on their face, what to eat, we didn’t tell them to do exercise…. we didn’t tell them anything. We gave them a little explanation of what cultural stress is and we wrote it down. And that was it, nothing else.
The difference in the appearance of these women was dramatic. The ones who went through the program, some of them looked like they had fillers, botox or something. They may have put on creams, they may have taken better care of themselves, they may have reduced their stress, I don’t know, but the only direction we gave them was to look at these 11 cards of journal prompts twice a day, look at the Murad app once a day. And, keep a journal.
Journaling can be anything you want. If you don’t want to journal today, write in your journal “I don’t feel like journaling today.”
If there was one game-changer moment in your career, what do you think it was?
Dr. Murad: All my research has been involved in all different kind of wellness, so I could answer it in different ways… one way is this. I read a book called Passages… so for me, 50 was a passage, because at 50 I started my company Murad. I was becoming more myself. Up until then I was kind of very shy; I’m innately shy. In college and in medical school I used to sit in the back of the room whenever I could so no one would even know I was around and I never answered a question unless I had to be called on so I was almost invisible, though obviously I was there. A lot of things came about at 50: my painting, my inspirational sayings, all of that began to happen so, if there was a time it was turning 50.
Thank you so much Dr. Murad, you are life-changing!