2013 Most Valuable Motivator: Dermatologist Howard Murad

Beauty/Skincare, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on July 30, 2013
An interview with dermatologist, Howard Murad.

Claim to fame: Dr. Howard Murad began his career as a pharmacist, before becoming a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In 1989, Dr. Murad launched the Murad Inc. line of clinical skincare. In 1998, he was granted his first of 18 patents in skincare science and development. He is known as the “Father of Internal Skincare.” He continues to treat patients at his Los Angeles-based Inclusive Health Center, which now has branches around the globe. Dr. Murad is the author of five books: Creating a Healthy Life: The Art and Wisdom of Howard Murad, M.D. (2013); The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger (2010); The Cellulite Solution (2005); Wrinkle-Free Forever: The 5-Minute 5-Week Dermatologist’s Program (2004); and The Murad Method (2003).

Health philosophy: “Be comfortable with who you are and feel good about what you do: That’s the key allowing you to function at your optimal health. You don’t always have to be perfect—it’s OK to make a mistake every once and a while. We all do, so don’t be so hard on yourself.”

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Vitamins/supplements: Murad takes a comprehensive daily supplement that includes “good omegas, good amino acids and glucosamine.”

Favorite workout: Murad works out with a trainer 2-3 times a week, doing strength training, water workouts and other fitness activities. He also likes to do 8-10 mile hikes on the weekend with friends, and go dancing with his wife. “It’s all stuff I enjoy doing—even the exercises with my trainer. It’s fun, and every day it’s different.”

Favorite healthy dish: Spinach, broccoli and other veggies sautéed in grapeseed oil, topped with an egg and lentils.

Secret weapon for beautiful skin: “Make your heart happy, so your skin will glow and you’ll smile and you look more beautiful.”

Spry: Your philosophy of being comfortable with who you are is such a good one. Did it take you a long time to arrive at that kind of peace?
Howard Murad: I think I’ve always been there, but it took me a couple decades to truly recognize it. As a matter of fact, my whole philosophy for my patients is based on what I call inclusive health, which is a combination of looking, living and feeling better. Look better obviously by putting on sunscreen and moisturizers to take care of your skin. Live better by eating healthy. Feel better by managing stress.

Spry: What’s your general approach to a healthy diet?
HM: I have what I call the 80/20 rule: I want you eat well 80 percent of the time but I want you to give yourself permission to have comfort food. This is a more humane way of putting people on a diet—I call it the “un-diet” plan. But my patients lose weight when they need to based on this plan. Because 80 percent of the time they are going to eat healthy and you know allowing them to splurge once and a while gives them permission to be happy and happiness is important.

Spry: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in your career?
HM: Well, ultimately it’s this whole philosophy of inclusive health, truly understanding a way that we can make anybody healthier than they are. I don’t encourage you to be somebody else. I tell my patients you’re never going to run a two-minute mile. But it’s OK if you’re the kind of person who can do a 10-minute mile. So try to do the best 10-minute mile that you can do. Maybe change it a little bit, and maybe make it a little more difficult every once and a while. But be happy that you’re a 10-minute miler.

Spry: Do you think attitudes on aging have changed?
HM: Well, you know, frankly I don’t think the attitude toward aging in this country has changed. I think we tend to look for people who are little younger—we think that they are better, and maybe they are. But making you—no matter what your age is—a younger you is important to me. So functioning at the level you would’ve been when you were younger in the physical, mental and emotional attributes. No matter how old you are, you can become very successful.

Spry: That’s absolutely our philosophy—that no matter how old you are, you can be better and healthier that you were when you were younger.
HM: I tell people, “I want you to return to the toddler in you.” So what were you when you were two? You were very creative. You just made your own life and learned from yourself a little bit. You didn’t have to be perfect; if you got mud on your clothes it was OK. If you wanted to dance and you didn’t know the steps, you tried anyway. You weren’t afraid to fail. You didn’t limit yourself and you didn’t judge yourself. You thought you were worthy. So those attributes are the things I encourage my patients to have.

Spry: Do you encourage your patients to have a bucket list?
HM: I do. I tell them to strive for some things that are maybe impossible at this moment. For example, let’s say you are somebody who’s moderately comfortable financially but maybe can’t take a month off and go travel to Europe. So doing something that simulates that. Maybe take a class at night on travel or read some books or join groups that plan travel. So you’re constantly working on that bucket list.

Spry: What’s on your bucket list?
HM: I just did one! I did a public broadcasting special, A Younger You, which is about inclusive health. It aired from May through June. I had done short segments on public broadcasting before, but this was an hour and a half special. So that was something that was on my bucket list.

Spry: What’s your next project?
HM: We’re doing an Inclusive Health Retreat weekend in Palm Springs in September. So we’ll have cooking class, art class, yoga, and we’ll talk about inclusive health.

Spry: How did you become interested in this subject?
HM: You know, I think I’ve always been somewhat interested in overall health. I was a pharmacist before I went to medical school, and then went into dermatology. Back then, I called my philosophy “the sense of self,” but it was the same as inclusive health. And it’s grown. If you’re doing something that you really love, the work never ends because there is always more to learn.