Nourish Your Aging Skin With Water
Ah, to rid your face of its aging blemishes.

To cut or not to cut?

Plastic surgery? Botox? Or anti-aging cream?

Dr. Howard Murad, Los Angeles dermatologist and an associate professor at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, says whatever is done on the "top" will not solve the problem.

He opened his first medi-spa in 1988, began selling Murad skincare products in 1989, and is the author of several books on skincare.

"Beauty - and healthfulness - goes deeper than the skin," he says.

Q. You advocate a three-pronged approach to overall skin and health care?

A. I advocate an inclusive approach that is based on the water principle.

When we are born, we are 75 percent water and when we die we are zero percent water. In between, our cells hold less and less water. My approach encourages the cells to retain water.

First, use a product on the skin to attract water. In addition to a hydrator, as you age the skin needs to be free of antioxidants and anti-inflamatories to reduce signs of aging.

Second, eat properly and choose foods or supplements that help the cells retain water and stay hydrated.

Finally, improve your self-esteem; reduce stress; function at your highest level.

Q. Retaining water sounds like gaining weight.

A. You will weigh more if the water is in the wrong place – like puffy eyes or swollen ankles. Water in your cells allows you to function at a higher level and increases your basal metabolism rate.

Q. So drink more water?

A. Putting it in doesn't keep it in. Are you a tire with holes or a tire full of air? Only one type of tire gets you to where you want to go.

If you look better, you feel better and younger.

You sleep better and, as important, you have fewer wrinkles.

Q. You are a great supporter of med spas – anti-aging centers that do laser and Botox treatments, offer supplements and so on.

A. The Murad Inclusive Health Center and Spa in El Segundo, Calif., offers skin treatments, individualized cellular water diet and a program to help reduce stress. (See www.murad.com.)

Q. Don't customers need to see a doctor?

A. There is no need for a specialized doctor.

Q. You tell me the skin does more than cover my body.

A. It goes deeper. The skin is connected to your heart. Both heart and skin rely on blood veins.

Your whole body is connected.

We tend to think of the skin as a separate organ, not related to anything else.

But when you get angry, for example, your heart beats faster and that's not good for your blood supply. The damage shows on your skin and also makes you more prone to illness.

The idea that everything in the body is connected is an important concept.

Q. What happens if I just buy some anti-aging cream and don't worry about diet and stress?

A. You'll look prettier with most topical products. But remember, beauty is only skin deep.