Blog posts, Educational posts

Dr. Murad: from the Vietnam war to skin care

دکتر هاوارد مورد از جنگ ویتنام تا اسکین کر


When Murad opened his dermatology practice in 1972, few doctors considered aesthetics an allied profession and most didn’t consider it a profession at all. But even as a young doctor, Murad saw things differently. And over the last three decades, that different view of aesthetics has helped him become one of the greatest champions of the aesthetics profession.

Becoming “Doctor” Murad

Like most pioneers, Murad’s path was in many ways unconventional. His story literally begins in the cradle of civilization. Born in Bagdad, Iraq, he was just seven years old when his family left the quiet of the ancient world for the modern madness of New York. The Murad family struggled to make a start in America. The first home for their multi- generational family of eight was a 600 square foot apartment. As a child Murad took odd jobs to contribute to the family’s survival and despite hardships and serious obligations, he remained a dedicated student. When the time came, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Henry, and put himself through college, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy in 1962. Eager for even more knowledge, he went to medical school and worked full-time as a pharmacist to pay his way. The extraordinary effort paid off and he earned a medical degree from The University of California in 1966.

Answering a call to serve in Vietnam, Murad earned a Bronze Star and began to develop his philosophy of patient care and a real appreciation for team-work and multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving. Finding the perfect place to apply his education and his military experience, he returned home to complete his residency at the UCLA Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Westwood. In recognition of his mastery of his specialty, Murad received certification from the American Board of Dermatologists in 1973. He has received numerous, significant awards during the course of his storied career including being named one of America’s best dermatologists by Vogue magazine, a Visionary by ISPA, a Beauty Genius by Elle magazine and most recently, being inducted into Aesthetic International Association’s Academy of Legends.

Advanced Products for Aestheticians

During his early years in private practice, Murad was struck by the number of patients who were not getting the help they needed from established treatment protocols. He looked for innovative ways to help his patients and took advantage of his background as a pharmacist to create his first acne and anti-aging formulas. Eager to expand his ability to help people have healthier skin, he began to make his professional products available to other doctors’ offices and salons – and provided educational support to ensure that they could be used safely and to maximum effect.

The success of his plan to expand the treatment arsenal of the aesthetician was by no means certain. When he first began speaking with aestheticians at trade shows – there was considerable resistance to the idea that an “acid” could be part of a skin health and beauty regimen.

Continuing his mission of helping people understand the importance of professional care and professional grade products to skin health, Murad introduced a new level of performance to professional and home skin care products with a “recipe” that combined antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators. Not one to make a half-hearted attempt at anything, Murad was completely committed to his vision. He poured the bulk of his personal financial resources and 110 percent of his time and energy into creating a company offering an entirely new approach to care for people with problem skin – Murad Skincare.

Advancing Education for Aestheticians and the Public

Moved by the thirst for real education, he developed a new scientific based curriculum to provide aestheticians with the knowledge base they needed to improve skin’s health and appearance.

In order to ensure a common understanding between aestheticians and doctors, he envisioned programs focused on familiarizing aestheticians with the vocabulary of dermatology, the anatomy and biology of the skin, and the symptoms, causes and treatments of common skin disorders. Making his vision a reality, he organized formal educational programs, personally trained educators and developed an Educational Resources Manual which he has recently reinterpreted.

Advancing Opportunities for Skin Care Professionals

Looking for new ways to bring the benefits of integrated collaborative care to his patients, Murad began to explore options for bringing aesthetic professionals into his practice. Seeing how much his patients had to gain from this kind of partnership, he opened his first in-office medical spa in 1985 and worked with a dedicated team of aestheticians to help develop the first truly therapeutic facials.

In 1987 he expanded on his pioneering of the medical spa concept by opening a Sense of Self, his first stand-alone medical day spa. He launched what he called his “skin care revolution” at a speaking engagement at Esthetics’ West Expo in May of 1990. His manifesto was simple “skin care is health care.” His vision was to bring skin care professionals of all stripes together to work as a team, using scientifically proven formulas and technologies, to help people achieve the healthiest, most beautiful, skin possible. To better serve the public and the clientele of his spa, he began to package treatment products for home use, and in 1989 he founded the first modern doctor skin care brand – Murad Skincare.

Drawing on his decades of providing collaborative, integrated care, Murad opened his Inclusive Health Center in 2006 to draw together an elite team of health and aesthetics professionals to create individually tailored programs designed to reduce the rate of cellular aging.

Theoretical Advances

Searching for new and better ways to help people reach their skin health goals, in 1995 he began to encourage the world to stop neglecting the 80 percent of skin that topical products can’t reach and developed a revolutionary “inside out” approach to skin care that uses dietary supplements to improve the health and appearance of skin by improving the strength of each cell in the body.

A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Murad spent years on his own quest to find ways to keep himself hydrated when hiking without being burdened by the weight of water bottles. He began to research ways in which the body could be encouraged to hold water in a healthy fashion. He discovered that the key was holding water within cells where it does the most good. His research led him to his discovery of The Cellular Water Principle® – a comprehensive theory of aging and health that looks to inter-cellular water as the key to youthful health and vitality. Testing and validating his theory with an enormous pool of patients in scientifically controlled research studies, Murad established that most common dermatological and health problems relate to cellular hydration at their most fundamental level.

In 2003 he published his first book, The Murad Method, to share with the world his revolutionary theories about cellular water, wrinkle reduction, and optimizing health. He also identified the unrelenting day-to-day stress of modern living – “Cultural Stress®” – as a major factor contributing to the chronic exhaustion and declining health of people of all ages. Wrinkle Free Forever, his second book, rolled out to critical acclaim in 2004 and in 2005 he published his third book, The Cellulite Solution. Murad offers readers an entirely new way of thinking about and treating cellulite as a health problem, not a fat problem. In 1997 he identified “Environmental Aging” as a type of aging caused by sun, pollution, and other external aggressors.

Distilling his observations from thousands of patients, Murad realized that changes in women’s hormone profiles trigger an accelerated aging of the skin, which he calls Hormonal Aging.

Looking for a new conceptual framework to help deal with fundamental aging, in 2006 Murad classified the visible markers for age related changes in appearance – the basic manifestations of each person’s genetic code – as Genetic Aging. Diligently pursuing every promising avenue of anti-aging care, his research revealed ways in which skin’s natural immune system can be enlisted to fight the signs of aging. In 2007 his research led him to a revolutionary peptide sequence that taps into the anti-aging potential of the skin’s immune response.

A Passion for Family – a Passion for Life

From his earliest days in the U.S., as a child working to help his struggling immigrant family to make ends meet, Murad has kept the needs of his family at the forefront of his mind and heart. Today, he is proud to have his family helping him in return. His son, Jeff Murad is Vice President of Product Development for Murad Skincare, his nephew Richard fills the roles of Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, his daughter Hilarie supervises Murad’s operations in the United Kingdom, and his daughter Liz is part of Murad’s marketing team.

Although his medical practice, research projects, corporate leadership duties and demanding schedule of speaking engagements keep him on the go, he still finds time to enjoy travelling with his lovely wife Loralee, and always finds time to babysit his grandchildren. He also remains a devoted brother to his siblings and takes special care of his older brother Shlomo, who was afflicted by polio and requires assistance. Murad makes sure to provide whatever it takes to ensure that Shlomo’s challenges are never an impediment to including him as a full participant in family vacations and special occasions. Beyond his immediate family, Murad has truly created the bonds of family with the more than 350 employees of the Murad corporate family. Unlike some companies in which the term “family” has lost meaning at Murad, the sense of family is real and like a devoted parent, Murad personally calls or e-mails everyone in the company to remember their birthday, and is sure to offer congratulations on the happy occasions and kind words on the sad.

His concern for all is real and his ability to motivate is remarkable. Murad isn't being rhetorical when he asks, “Why have a bad day when you can have a good day?” He wants everyone in his world to take care of themselves physically and emotionally and to constantly reflect on how to make good into better.

As living example of the health that comes from that philosophy, he enjoys long and strenuous hikes and frequently takes a group of employees along to introduce them to the joy of being in nature and the benefits of exercise. With his boundless creativity always looking for another outlet, he has recently been exploring his talents in the visual arts. His expressive abstract pastels have been well received and many now grace the halls of Murad’s Medical Group and its headquarters.

Donating Time and Treasure

In addition to seeing patients in his practice, Murad is a regular volunteer both at the UCLA Veteran’s Hospital and at the Vista del Mar Children’s hospital where he has been helping troubled children with their dermatological issues since 1973. To encourage employees to follow his lead, he gives everyone on staff the option of taking off one day a month – with pay – to devote to volunteer service. Murad and Murad Skincare support a wide range of local, national, and international charities – with a special focus on organizations that provide for the needs of women and children.

Looking to the Future

After two decades of leading the revolution that has transformed the skin care industry, Murad is still excited about the opportunities for inspiration, innovation, and caring for others that every tomorrow promises. Murad said “Every day I get e-mails and notes from people who have experienced life changing results after using Murad products. Knowing that we’ve been able to help is more than rewarding – it’s motivating – and I am more motivated than ever to push the envelope of care and find new ways to help people have the healthy, beautiful skin they deserve.” His optimism for the future of the industry is truly infectious and as his patients, colleagues, family members, and friends will attest, when you have pleasure of sharing time with him, having a bad day isn’t an option.