Hormonal Aging

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Dr. Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD

Beauty / / July 22, 2014

To layer onto the natural/intrinsic factors and controllable/environmental factors, the skin also ages as hormones fluctuate. The most notorious of all hormones, is estrogen. As women age, estrogen levels decline, and other hormones such as androgen, can become more dominant, showing a direct result on the skin. In addition to the factors above, hormonal aging signs include:

  • Even more thinning of the skin as collagen and elastin fibers become weaker and shrink.
  • Increased facial hair and acne breakouts as estrogen levels decline and androgen hormones increase.
  • Extreme water loss in the cells and tissue.

The NEW Anti-Ager

No matter what the cause of aging, the depletion of water in the cells and in the tissue is the common denominator. This leads to my discovery that water is the anti-aging ingredient of the 21st century! But, it’s not the water you drink; it’s the water you keep – this is what I call The Cellular Water Principle.

If you are like most people, you mistakenly believe that drinking eight, ten, or even twelve glasses of water a day is the best way to hydrate your body and keep your skin healthy. Unfortunately, the main result of that fluid intake is frequent trips to the bathroom.

When it comes to reaping the healthful benefits of water, it’s not the quantity we consume but the quality of our cell’s ability to utilize this essential component that counts. Without an adequate water supply, the skin cells disintegrate, structures that support the skin become stiff and lose flexibility, and skin layers become thin and flat. The result? Visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines.

The Cellular Water Principle is not about drinking water; it is about getting water into the cells and keeping it there so that every cell can function at full capacity.

Next to oxygen, water is the most important substance you need, and almost everything we know about aging tells us that the decline in function over the years is a direct result of water loss. To give you a visual, think of an infant. At birth, a baby’s body weight is about 75 percent water; it’s plump, smooth and resilient. As age takes it toll, we lose the ability to hold on to that water. Our skin becomes thin, dry and rough as the water content drops to an average of about 50 percent for adult females, 60 percent for males. Holding onto the water is the secret to keeping cells youthful.

The Missing Link

Inflammation and free radical damage have maintained their status in the headlines as the main causes of aging. Some of the worlds leading scientists have been unraveling the mystery of how these forces cause your body – and your skin – to destruct. Not only are inflammation and free radicals inextricable linked to wrinkles and the aging process in general, they are important players in chronic diseases from diabetes to arthritis to cancer. But as important as these factors are, they still have the same net effect; destruction of the cells or tissue causing water loss.

Quick Fix

During my over thirty years of practice I have seen over 50,000 patients. Many of them come to me as the signs of aging set in. Their mission – to stop the results of aging skin with an injection or a facelift. While I believe that surgical procedures can provide wonderful results, I always educate my patients on the fact that these procedures do not improve the quality of the skin. The skin can be lifted and pulled back, yet you still have the same skin. You can freeze the muscle or plump up a wrinkle with fillers, but you have not made the skin healthier. My answer is to put the water back into the tissue with using a method that combines both topical and internal factors.

The Cellular Water Principle – Topically

You can increase the water content in your skin by using treatments that contain these ingredients:

  • Exfoliators such as enzymes, AHA’s, BHA’s, to remove non-functioning skin cells
  • Natural Moisture Factors such as Sodium PCA and Hyaluronic Acid that absorb water 
  • Ceramides and Essential Fatty Acids, such as Evening Primrose Oil, Avocado Oil, Linoleic Acid protect the skin’s barrier function and help prevent water loss
  • Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Pomegranate Extract, Grape Seed Extract, and Green Tea, to protect from damaging free radicals
  • Anti-inflammatory agents such as Licorice Extract, Zinc, Cucumber, and other botanicals to reduce inflammation

The Cellular Water Principle – Internally

I have always believed in the importance of supplements and their role in skin health. As the first to pioneer the use of Internal Skincare® back in 1995, I have scientific proof, through independent studies that you can reduce wrinkles, increase elasticity, clear acne, increase sun protection and reduce cellulite with specific supplement formulas. 

To optimize the water content in the cells internally, recommend daily intake of these key nutrients:

  • Glucosamine increases connective tissue so it can absorb more water
  • Phosphatidylcholine to maintain cell walls
  • Lecithin to build cell membranes
  • Antioxidants including Vitamins C & E, Grape Seed Extract, & Coenzyme Q10 to fight free radicals
  • Anti-inflammatory agents such as Zinc and Licorice Extract, and soothing botanicals to reduce inflammation
  • Essential Fatty Acids lock in moisture in the cells
  • Amino Acids which are the building blocks for collagen and elastin

When taken in the right combination, you can increase the water content of your cells and reduce wrinkles by 34 percent, increase elasticity by 18 percent, in just five weeks.


Incorporating The Cellular Water Principle may be summarized in two ways: 

  1. Put it on – Keep it in: On the outside you need to trap the water into your skin. This starts with cleansing. Leave the surface of the skin slightly damp, and then apply moisturizer that contains ingredients that attract water such as Hyaluronic Acid or Sodium PCA, and ingredient that lock in water, such as Ceramides. 
  2. Drink it – Keep it: On the inside, drink water and hold it in by taking Glucosamine. (Glucosamine produces Hyaluronic Acid, which attracts up to 1,000 times its weight in water). Then you maintain the water you drink by taking Essential Fatty Acids, such as Flaxseed, Olive Oil and Fish Oils. 

As the famous Nobel prize winner, Albert Szent-Gyorgi von Nagyrapolt wrote:
“Discovery is seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.”
Water. It’s the Anti-Ager of the 21st Century. 

Inclusive Health™
Dr. Murad’s 3-Pillar Approach to Whole Body Happiness

The very nature of Cultural Stress is that it attacks us from a variety of different vantage points—and affects our lives in a variety of ways. With this in mind, Dr. Murad recommends a holistic approach to achieve and maintain optimum health, both inside and out. 

  1. Topical Skincare: As the largest organ of the body, the skin is extremely responsive to topically applied products. For maximum skin health, Dr. Murad recommends a three-step topical skincare approach that includes cleansing/toning, treatment, and hydration/protection. In addition, each Murad product contains our exclusive recipe of essential ingredients for healthy skin: hydrators to allow better water absorption, antioxidants to neutralize free radicals, and anti-inflammatories to calm irritated skin. 
  2. Internal Skincare: Beautiful skin on the outside begins with hydrated cells and connective tissue on the inside. Dr. Murad recommends that you "eat your water" by ingesting raw fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with nutrients and structured water—the kind that nourishes and hydrates your cells. Dr. Murad also suggests taking dietary supplements to help optimize your cellular water content.
  3. Emotional Selfcare: The final key to improved health and appearance is a balanced life involving body, mind and spirit. Scientific studies have proven very strong correlations between mental health, happiness and physical health. So be sure to eat a balanced diet, surround yourself with people you care about, and set aside some time every day to do the little things that make you happy. Your body (and your skin) will thank you. 
Categories: Skin Care
About The Author
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Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Click here for more articles by Dr. Murad.

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