Exclusive! Life advice for your ‘skin heaven’ era

September 4, 2023

Murad’s founder, board-certified dermatologist and pharmacist Dr. Howard Murad, knows that skin health is directly linked to mind and body health. While topicals can help your skin look great, looking beyond skincare and into lifestyle upgrades like eating your water via whole foods, being kind to your mind through meditation and awakening your body with exercise are just as essential.

In her new book, Fulfilled: 52 Prescriptions for Healing, Health and Happiness, Dr. Bernadette Anderson, one of Dr. Murad’s mentees, shares exactly how (and why) our skin is so impacted by this mind/body connection and reveals all the ways you can achieve “skin heaven,” aka your best skin ever. Ready to love the skin you’re in? Read on…

The following is an excerpt from Fulfilled: 52 Prescriptions for Healing, Health and Happiness.


“Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness.” —Howard Murad, MD

Raise your glass to aging like a fine wine! Wouldn’t it be incredible to find the perfect anti-aging elixir? Take it from me, a doctor who has layered on product after product (I’m a bit of a skincare addict) in pursuit of the glow factor. Supple, youthful skin cannot be manufactured entirely from an arsenal of creams, lotions, and serums. The natural, healthy radiance you are trying to purchase starts with treating your skin to the lifestyle and care it deserves. Your skin is not simply a sheath to cover the body; it’s actually your largest organ—you need to treat it that way!

My mentor, Dr. Howard Murad (founder of Murad Skincare and Father of Modern Wellness), said it best, “You must think of skincare as healthcare. What damages your skin ultimately penetrates into the bloodstream and damages every organ in your body. By the same token, when any organ is damaged, it will show up on the skin.” Your skin is a tattletale—listen.

Seven steps to skin heaven

From the foods you eat, to keeping a lid on stress, to your daily skincare potions, you either reverse the signs of aging or speed them up. A dollop of healthy, harmonious living can bring out that rosy complexion you so admire. Between you and me, I have some health and wellness secrets that can erase years—everybody could use one or two magicked away—off your skin. And these tips come straight from the guru himself, Dr. Murad!

Here are the Seven Steps to Skin Heaven:

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The best water for your skin isn’t necessarily in a bottle or from the tap. According to Dr. Murad, you should both “drink and eat your water.

  • Did you know watermelon and cucumbers are 97 percent water and tomatoes and zucchini are 95 percent water? Water can be tasty!
  • Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of water that will replenish the cells and make their membranes stronger.

Keeping the body hydrated also prevents cells from deteriorating and producing wrinkles—need I say more!

2. Eat a diet tailored for healthy skin. Oranges, pomegranates, goji berries, and apricots are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants that defend against cell oxidation and sun damage. Since the body cannot produce antioxidants, it is important to eat them. With each mouthful, your skin will begin to look and feel younger!

3. Exercise for gorgeous skin. Exercise improves blood circulation, thereby increasing the delivery of nutrients to the skin and removing debris. Exercise is like oxygen for the skin. It allows the cells to release energy for a more luminous appearance.

4. Hibernate like a bear, nightly. Remember the “Sleep and Sex Only” chapter? Beauty sleep is a real thing. Seven to nine hours of sleep reverses free-radical damage, builds new cells, and repairs connective tissue.

5. De-stress your look. Dr. Murad coined the phrase “Cultural Stress” to define the constant and pervasive stress of being connected to obligations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Stress weakens the cells and makes it difficult for the body to repair and rejuvenate. Streamlining your schedule is a step in the direction of lustrous skin. Now would also be a good time to meditate.

6. Keep your skin under cover. Wear a sunblock. There are moisturizers and foundations that have them built in. While sunlight triggers the body’s production of vitamin D and elicits a lovely skin color, it also causes age spots, sagging, and skin cancer, which can be irreversible. Wear sun protection daily of at least 30 SPF, and reapply it after two hours. I skipped this step while in a Hawaii and got my first sunburn.

7. Take your skincare regimen personally. No one face cream fits all. Determine your skin type, and target your skin concerns. Further, your skincare routine should change with seasons, illness, and age. As life transitions, so should your skincare regimen.

Smoking and alcohol damage skin

It should go without saying (but I will say it anyway), smoking or excessive use of alcohol isn’t pretty. They ruin your looks by starving your skin of nutrients and oxygen. The next time you light up or toss a few back, remember: Not only is it unhealthy, it accelerates signs of aging.

The products you put on your skin are as important as how you care for your body. When skincare becomes synonymous with healthcare, clear and youthful skin is your reward!

Botox and fillers

“Aging is a fact of life. Looking your age is not.” —Howard Murad

I wasn’t going to mention Botox and fillers, but I know wrinkles and folds can send us over the edge. Everyone from the dentist to the hairstylist has an opinion about your beauty, but there are a few things you should know before imbibing from the fountain of Botox and dermal fillers.

In the name of transparency, I am not a regular, but I have used them. As a doctor, I know it’s important to choose a reputable person to apply such treatments; otherwise, things can go south quickly. Ask if the person is an official vendor.

You want to make sure you are getting the right product. To prevent bruising, know what medicine, food, and drinks to avoid prior to the procedure. Don’t overdo it. Used wisely, Botox and fillers can refresh your appearance. Think of them as tools to soften your look, not wands to reconstruct it.

PRESCRIPTION (For Loving the Skin You Live in)

The best combination to unlock beautiful skin is Dr. Murad’s 2-2-2-1-7 code: Cleanse twice daily, apply products to address your skin needs twice daily, use hydration/protection treatments twice daily, exfoliate once weekly, and every seven weeks pamper your skin with a professional facial.

When you take care of the skin you live in, you will not only look healthier but will also feel better. To put your best face forward, jot down this basic skincare plan in your journal:

1. Identify your skin type: normal, dry, oily, or combination. Talk with your dermatologist or aesthetician about the best treatment for your skin.

2. Take note of products, foods, or environmental exposures that offend your skin. Things that once were not damaging could become harmful.

3. Change your pillowcases weekly, pull your hair away from your face while sleeping, and avoid sleeping face-down (anything to stave off wrinkles).

4. Look at the whole picture when evaluating your skin—both the internal and external factors.

5. Discuss unfavorable changes with your physician and options to minimize or eliminate them.

6. In your 20s, give your skin plenty of UVA and UVB protection. In your 30s, add anti-aging products (vitamin C and green tea). In your 40s, go heavy on collagen-building ingredients (peptides and retinol). In your 50s, lather on the hydration (niacinamide and hyaluronic acid). When you’re 60+, continue to volumize and moisturize the face (retinoids and rose oil).

We must get older—although I’ve been holding at 30 for years—but we can do so gracefully! 

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be considered specific medical advice.  

About the Author

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With 20+ years in health and wellness, Dr. Bernadette is a respected authority and esteemed family physician. Her recently released book, "Fulfilled: 52 Prescriptions for Healing, Health, and Happiness," is the core of her influential "Fulfilled" wellness program, recognized by the Global Health and Pharma awards as the Most Innovative Mental Wellness Programming Provider, 2023. A GoodRx freelance writer, Dr. Bernadette pens thought-provoking articles and essays for prestigious publications, including Essence, USA Today, and The Grio.