Is ‘cultural stress’ damaging your skin?

Dr Howard Murad

In the lead-up to the Australian launch of Murad’s Technoceuticals range, company founder Dr Howard Murad discusses the impact modern life and ‘cultural stress’ is having on our skin and health and wellbeing – and the ways to minimise it.

What do you think are the biggest concerns in skincare/appearance today?

One of the major problems that I see in life right now – and it’s probably a ‘silent killer’ – is what I call ‘cultural stress’. The stress of modern living; it’s constant, pervasive, it’s increasing and it’s not going away. We all know we spend more time on our cellphones so we have something called blue light that’s damaging our skin.

We’re also under a lot more stress because so much more is expected of us. We’re trying to be more perfect and it’s impossible. What’s maybe becoming an addition to that is the sharing economy – we’ve lost our identity, we’re more sedentary, we are angrier, more upset, under constant stress, and there’s more pollution and smog in the air.

At this point, our skin is drier than it would ordinarily be if we weren’t under so much stress. So in order for us to make moisturisers, they have to be super moisturisers. We have created one here at Murad where one application can last five days. We’ve also created sunscreens that contain agents that protect against blue lights along with regular SPF and antioxidants that specifically target pollution.

Do you think beauty therapists can help their clients combat ‘cultural stress’?

Absolutely. And they are more likely to help than anybody else. One of the really devastating effects of cultural stress is social isolation and loneliness. More and more people don’t leave their home because they get everything delivered from Amazon, they don’t want to go to the movies because they have Netflix, they’re sitting around and they’re lonely. In the past, families got together more frequently, people had more friends.

I remember one of the first things I wanted to do when I turned 16 was to get my driver’s license so I could drive and meet my friends. Now 16 year olds don’t want to because they can just text their friends and most of their friends are Facebook friends.

Another one of the big changes is there’s now less physical contact between people. So when you go to see the aesthetician, you’re getting so many powerful influences. Number one is the healing power of touch. The aesthetician communicates with you. They remember your name and they listen to you – you tell them things you wouldn’t tell your best friend sometimes.

Some aestheticians tell me ‘you know, my clients think I’m their best friend because they don’t have anyone else to talk to or communicate with’. There are so many things that are subliminal in a way, but it’s actually the best thing someone could do for themselves is to go get a facial every week because you have someone who will listen to you. We have pictures of patients who, without necessarily any Botox or laser or anything else, just go to the aestheticians and get a treatment and we can see dramatic changes ‒ and part of it is really is just the reduction in their stress levels.

Is it possible to slow down or prevent physical ageing?

We can’t control the ageing process… We don’t know how to make people live to 200 years old but we know that:

  1. Proper skincare is important – moisturiser and sunscreen.
  2. ‘Eat your water’. People are drinking water but they have to go to the bathroom eight times a day. But when you eat raw fruits and vegetables you’re getting water too – the average fruit or vegetable is at least 80 per cent water, so you’re getting structure so the water is gradually released, and you’re getting all sorts of phytonutrients that make your body resistant to disease. The more you eat your water, the healthier you are. It’s all about water in the end, and what everyone tells you to do – exercise, eat healthy, drink more water; really what it’s doing is increasing your cellular hydration.

Do you have a favourite Murad product?

You know, when people ask me what the best thing I’ve done is, I can often think of a lot of different things. But I think I look at the future a lot more than the past… The best is yet to come; we just have to let it happen. I think there’s a lot more to come and I could share what I like right now, but I say that’s not going to be the best product because I’m going to make something better.

For more information visit Murad’s stand at from March 24-25

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