Stress, the Silent Killer

Historically, mammals have used stress to get out of potentially dangerous situations. When you face off with a predator in the middle of the jungle, that fight or flight instinct characterized by blood rushing to your muscles, hyper-awareness and an extreme adrenaline rush, was a method of ensuring the safety of our ancestors, which many animals in the wild still use for survival today. In our modern-day concrete jungle, however, it is not as necessary to utilize these momentary survival techniques. How is it, then, that we are so stressed out on a daily basis? Most of our lives revolve around the constant bombardment of stressors. This encompasses many situations we may experience daily: the rush hour traffic after a long day, or the incessant beeping of your cellphone. To understand how we can manage stress better, let’s differentiate the different types of stress.

In his book, “Conquering Cultural Stress: The Ultimate Guide to Anti-Aging and Happiness” Dr. Murad breaks down stress into three categories: acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress.

Acute Stress:
This stress is the short-term, most common type of stress. It is experienced by most people several times a year. It can come from narrowly escaping a car crash, or preparing for an important interview. This stress is a direct link to the stress of survival we have faced as a species, which can help us survive today. However, when this stress is applied to our bodies on a regular basis, it can wear down our potential response to danger, rendering it ineffectual.

Episodic Acute Stress:
This stress happens to people who live in a chaotic environment. Have you ever had so much to do that you jump from task to task, but have nothing to show for it at the end of the day? This stress accompanies that type of lifestyle and is entirely self-afflicted, as we do not take enough time to focus on one thing at a time, leading to an extreme decrease in production.

Chronic Stress:
This stress is characterized by long-term problems, such as a dead-end job, a slowly sinking relationship or even our relationship with the scale! Sometimes we feel this stress keenly, but on other days it is at the back of our minds; still there, persisting on putting a damper on our happiest days, so that we cannot see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. People who suffer from this stress are almost always irritable, grumpy and generally have a very pessimistic outlook on life.

3 toddler-inspired techniques to combat stress:

  1. Breathe
  2. : All situations are temporary. Don’t over-stress yourself by worrying about the little things. Take the time you need to fix what you can, but then let go when it is out of your hands. Take deep breaths before you speak to avoid saying something you’ll regret!

  3. Eat:
  4. Enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals on a regular basis. Try new, delicious recipes with friends and family, and don’t forget to treat yourself with dessert! Eat 3-5 meals during the day to keep up your energy, and stay away from sodium-rich, empty snacks.

  5. Sleep:
  6. Turn off all electronics, block out any noise with earplugs, and truly relax. Your body needs the time during the night to restore its levels back to full capacity. Take at least 30 minutes before bedtime to unwind with a warm, scented bath or cuddle up with your cat for some therapeutic purring.

Doctor Murad

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.




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Easy to make Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

Soup is a great choice for the colder winter months of the year. It’s easy to prepare and can be a perfectly hearty and warming dish on a chilly day. We want to share this easy recipe by Kim Ruzycki from


This is a classic, cozy, plant-based soup made with warm, grounding ingredients. Soup is a food that is meant to be eaten slowly and savored. The white vegetables and spices contain cleansing antioxidants, and the butternut squash in this soup contains an abundance of vitamins A and C – amazing antioxidants for your skin and immune system. Enjoy!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, or ginger powder
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth (1 box container)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (garnish)
Fresh ground sea salt and pepper


  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium-low heat for five minutes.
  • Add garlic, ginger, spices, sea salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the squash and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the vegetable broth, bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.
  • Turn the heat off the soup and purée with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender you can let the soup cool a bit and blend it in small batches in a blender, then return it to the stove to heat.
  • Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds.

Recipe by Kim Ruzycki from
Kim Ruzycki is a Integrative Health Coach creating healthy, plant based recipes and sharing her knowledge in an effort to help people eat mindfully and live vibrantly.

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The Happiness Test

Which of the following would make you happier?

  • Making more Money
  • Finding a soulmate
  • Losing ten pounds
  • Moving into a new house
  • Success
  • Better genes

Hard to answer? New science proves that happiness is a process, not a goal. And it’s not necessarily about having “fun”, either. Happiness is about 50 percent genetic, 40 percent intentional and 10 percent circumstantial. That 40 percent category- the intentional one- is the most important.

Circumstances can change or you can become accustomed to them (a new car, a bigger house, or a promotion, for example) such that they no longer make you “happy”. On the other hand, when you are engaged in a life’s purpose that has meaning to you, which can be anything from rearing children to doctoring the elderly in undeserved areas, happiness finds you in the way you live and look at the world.

In other words, happiness is more a choice than an outcome or a destination.
It’s an action, not a result.

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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5 Acne-Fighting Tricks For The Best Skin Ever!

Cleanse with a Konjac sponge.

A Konjac sponge is made of a porous root vegetable and is more gentle than a scrub so you can use it daily to exfoliate and to remove makeup. Excellent for use on all skin types and gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. Free of preservatives, artificial fragrances and bio-degradable.

Try a Honey Facial

Raw honey was prized for its healing properties in ancient civilizations and Manuka honey has a considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial. Some strains of this New Zealand honey are particularly rich in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone. These antibacterial properties and antioxidants are incredible for your skin and a powerful skin treatment.

Apply a thin layer of raw honey to your skin using circular motion, leave for a couple of minutes and gently rinse off with warm water.

Calm Redness with Ice

Like any inflammation, a few minutes of ice can help reduce the swelling and shrink any acne spots that you may have.
Wrap ice cubes in a washcloth and apply to your face. This DIY facial will restrict bloodvessels and calm redness. Follow with an all-over acne treatment like the Acne Clearing Solution.

Prep your skin

Prep your skin with a mattifying moisturizer like the Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15. Pair your moisturizer with a BB cream with Tea tree oil or witch hazel to combat inflammation and provide coverage. Thanks to its astringent properties, witch hazel is a very effective natural acne treatment.

Clean you sponges.

Prevent future breakouts by cleaning makeup sponges after every use. Coming a tablespoon of mild shampoo with warm water, rinse the sponge or let them sit overnight.

Read more acne skincare tips:
Skin care tips for students
How to Create a matte makeup look that lasts
Acne Do’s and Dont’s
Time Release Acne Cleanser question.

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Healing power of cucumber

Studies indicate that cucumbers have numerous benefits internally, externally and even emotionally. Doctor Murad recently wrote a paper to share the findings on this incredible fruit (Cucumbers are not vegetables) and has given us a few takeaways for skin health and emotional care.

As a food, cucumbers offer superior hydration, as they are about 95% water. Cucumbers have long been associated with the spa world and topical skin treatments. When you think of cucumber slices placed gently over the eyes, they are doing far more than just having a cooling effect on the skin. Cucumber slices offer many benefits to both the eyes and surrounding tissues through their hydrating properties, which work to reduce dehydration by their high levels of vitamin K that help to reduce dark circles, and the lignans they contain reduce inflammation. Additionally, cucumbers have been uses to treat wrinkles, sunburns and have been used as a moisturizer and skin brightener. The benefits of cucumbers are not just relegated to topical treatment. In fact, abundant research has shown what can happen when the fruit is consumed.

Cucumbers are related to melons and are a relatively low-calorie food at just 15 calories per cup. They contain high levels of powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. With such a high level of water content and the added bonus of naturally occurring nutrients and trace minerals, cucumbers could be great supplements to drinking water or even serve as an alternative to consumer sports drinks. As I always say, the best way to replenish the body and quench thirst is to by consuming water through foods. Choosing foods with a high water content and offers the cells in our bodies, the much-needed hydration they require for basic everyday functioning as well as the vital nutrients to repair and strengthen the cell walls. Studies now suggest that cucumbers don’t solely hydrate, they provide added elements that your body needs to fortify and regenerate itself. Researchers also identified that cucumbers could act as free radical scavengers (which help against skin damage) and could also potentially act as a SPF (value of 0.2). Studies show that cucumber extract may decrease melanin and sebum, resulting in skin whitening and anti-acne effects. How exactly the cucumber does this, is not clearly understood, as yet but, the cucumber holds an exciting future in skincare.

Cucumbers also have benefits when it comes to emotional care. Stress is a threat that is commonly recognized to have devastating effects on our health and wellbeing. Chronic stress resulting from environmental sources or Cultural Stress (link to cultural stress articles) can lead to cell damage, one such example is inflammation. When you have damaged cells, you also have more dehydrated cells (which can result in significant aging and illness). Addressing water loss and inflammation with cucumber consumption could be an effective way to lower stress and fight against the aging process.

So next time you reach for that fridge snack or are writing your shopping list, make sure that cucumbers take top place.

It would also be impossible not to call out a few of Doctor Murad’s skincare products which contain cucumber:

Extracts were taken from “Evaluating the potential benefits of cucumbers for improved health and skin care” – H. Murad, M.A nyc

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Gratitude is an attitude. Gratitude is a choice.

The dictionary defines Thanksgiving as “the expression of gratitude.” Every year, millions of Canadian families come together for Thanksgiving to give thanks and to celebrate family, friends and connection. Most of us don’t need any encouragement to gather and celebrate, but here’s one more reason to honor the Thanksgiving tradition—being grateful is actually good for you.

Gratitude is an immensely powerful force that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health. It begins within the mind, but as it takes hold of our daily life, it will expand to fill each crevice of our soul, leaving us fuller and happier than before. As we know, a happy mind is key to a happy body. By counting our blessings, taking pleasure from the simpler things and acknowledging everything that we receive, we will be able to broaden our horizons to more positivity than before, a contributing factor in the pursuit of happiness.

“Happiness means finding beauty every day.” ~ Dr. Howard Murad

3 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude:

Gratitude Journal.
Before getting out of bed in the morning, be thankful for the comfort of your bed, the roof over your head, a good night’s sleep, and the day ahead of you. Another great way to practice gratitude is to keep a Gratitude Journal. Write about the people in your daily life or about a joyful experience. Write these down at around the same time every day so it becomes habit for you.
By practicing gratitude, you become more open to receive all the good that life has to offer. Abundance will flow into your life, presenting you with opportunities you had never even imagined.

Practice self-love:

We rarely give ourselves the credit we deserve. And, often we spend exponentially more time focused on helping or pleasing others, while ignoring our own needs. We practice self-love so we can push through our limiting beliefs and live a life that truly shines. Making yourself a priority is important – and many people find it challenging.

Say thank you often.

Whether it be the person who holds the door open for you, or even a driver that lets you merge ahead of them, thanking people is not only about making them feel good. By appreciating other people, you are truly appreciating the goodness in the world.

“Be thankful for what you have – you’ll be more open to receive all the good that life has to offer.” ~ Dr. Howard Murad

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Caffeine good or bad? #NationalCoffeeDay

Whether it’s a morning jolt of coffee or an afternoon tea, recent estimates suggest that over 80% of U.S. adults enjoy caffeinated beverages as part of their daily routine. In addition to providing a boost in wakefulness, coffee, tea, cola, chocolate and other naturally derived caffeinated beverages are frequently touted for their health benefits. For many people, these beverages are the single most important source of free-radical scavenging antioxidants in their diet. Studies also indicated that small amounts of caffeine may protect our cells from damage and make it less likely that certain kinds of skin and other types of cancers will develop.

While naturally caffeinated drinks, when consumed in large quantities or late in the day, can disrupt our sleep and make some of us feel anxious, one would need to consume massive quantities of these beverages in order to ingest a dangerous dose of caffeine. Unfortunately, when foods or beverages contain added caffeine or when people take supplemental caffeine, overdose is a real possibility. The FDA recently issued a safety alert regarding the use of powered caffeine, which has been linked to severely negative health outcomes-even death.

These developments call us to look not merely at what level of regulation is appropriate for supplemental caffeine, but what aspects of our modern lives have led us to become dependent on larger and more frequent doses of caffeine. I believe that the culprit is Cultural Stress® the stress of living a 24/7-connected, hyper-competitive life in which it seems that downtime is no longer an option. In a vicious cycle, caffeine has become the drug of choice that enables people to keep up with the relentless pace of living that could not be sustained without caffeine. All that caffeine means less sleep and more poor-quality ‘shallow’ sleep that doesn’t leave us rested and repaired-the twin goals of sleep. And it’s no surprise that our chronic sleep deprivation has us reaching for even more caffeine.

Since very few of us have the freedom to completely insulate ourselves entirely from the impacts of Cultural Stress and the fast pace of modern life, I’m not advocating that we make any truly radical changes in our daily routine. But I am advocating a fresh look at our relationship with caffeine. By tapering our use of caffeine down to a reasonable level and by looking to guidance from Inclusive Health® for ways to regain our energy by recharging our physical and emotional health, I believe that we can thrive in a modern world without allowing ourselves to be consumed by it.

Doctor Murad

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.




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Super-foods with Super-Benefits

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy Superfoods and Healthy Skinfood.”

(Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.)

Two thousand years later, modern medicine changes the perspective to “a pill for every ill”. Where’s food in this equation? Nutritionists try to bring it back as the fundamental of health and insist that most of our health problems can be prevented and why not, alleviated or cured with proper nutrition. This doesn’t equal a load of vitamins in a colorful jar, as nutrients are not only vitamins and minerals, but also include the antioxidants, dietary fiber and enzymes from raw food, which are crucial to the well-being of our body. Nutritionists advise: a 51% raw daily diet would be most appropriate for our bodies.

As far as beauty is concerned, an inclusive approach to skincare teaches us that good health is also reflected on the outside: “looking” healthy is a kind of beauty that no skincare or makeup product can replicate. But in today’s world where stressors and processed foods threaten our health and produce more damage than our body can take, this inclusive approach to skincare seems to be a difficult task.

Super-foods to the rescue! A minimum daily intake can provide our body with a significant amount of necessary nutrients that would make up for the chronic lack from other sources. The “super-food” term has become quite popular in the past few years and has made a huge impact on the diet considerations. Defined as “foods with high phytonutrient content that may confer health benefits”, super-foods are a daily must-have in your meals. We could very well add “beauty benefits” to the health ones.

Which are the best super-foods?

Berries – most of these berries pack more antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber than any other fruit: goji berries, blueberries, raspberries.

Broccoli – always available and one of the best everyday choices. High in vitamin A, C, calcium and fiber. It is of great help in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Garlic – known to fight cholesterol, it is also our immune-system’s ally because of its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Egyptians trusted garlic to give them strength and heal a lot of ailments.

Nuts – nuts and seeds make an excellent source of protein, heart-healthy vitamins and fats. Have a handful with your meals every day: almonds, peanuts, flax seed or pumpkin seed are popular choices.

Spice – cinnamon & turmeric stand out on the spice shelf nowadays and have been proven to help with diverse ailments ever since the ancient times.

Oats – always great for your body because of their high fiber and protein content.

Salmon – rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, this fish leads the battle against heart disease and guarantees our body -and our skin’s!- well-being. Rainbow trout is a great (and tasty) alternative.

Spinach – praised for its high contents of vitamin C. calcium and Iron, spinach is essential for a healthy body.

Mushrooms – often omitted in favor of vegetables and fruit, but they should definitely make the super-food list. The common button mushrooms and any other edible types are great immunity boosters and fight cancer. A significant source of selenium, B-vitamins, magnesium and potassium.

Tomatoes – they are high in lycopene (the bright red pigment called carotene) and are known to fight cancer.

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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5 Skin care tips for students

Everyone knows that when you’re at school, rushing from one end of the building to the other with only 5 minutes to spare, your skin’s health is often the last thing on your mind. However, the weeks and years of abuse can take its toll on you: acne breakouts can, and do, happen to us all! The worst thing you can do is stress out even more about the downward spiral that may be happening to your face, so here are a 5 easy tips on how to manage your skin’s effectiveness as the first barrier against stress!


Everyone knows that eight glasses of water – while still a way of putting water into your body – also means eight trips to the bathroom.  When we eat more water-rich foods, we absorb water more slowly because it is trapped in the structure of these foods. That slow absorption means that water in food stays in our bodies longer, with a multitude of additional benefits. Having water-rich cells not only means you look better, but your body functions better as a result. That exam you’ve been cramming for every day this week? Eat leafy greens such as kale and spinach during that week, both of which have proven benefits to your memory retention, and you’ll be out of there in no time! By choosing foods such as fruits and vegetables, you’re not only hydrating and feeding your body, you’re also curbing the cravings for salty, fatty foods that absorb all the water your body is reserving for your cells and muscles, and make you feel bloated.

Takeaway: By eating several servings of raw fruits or vegetables each day, you will be able to stay hydrated significantly longer and your brain will thank you.



A hard thing to do while in class, is keeping your face clean from all the debris floating around. From old, musty textbooks, to the desk you’ve been “resting” your head on, every surface contains millions of bacteria life forms. The best way to protect your skin from potential outside invasion is to cleanse daily! The Murad Clarifying Cleanser kills any bacteria by using 1.5% salicylic acid, which helps clear out your pores, pushing off dead skin cells and regenerating new, healthy cells. If you have skin that tends to get oily as the day goes by, don’t forget to exfoliate three times a week. Use the Skin Smoothing Polish, as the fine micro-polishing beads deeply penetrate pores to remove impurities from the surface of your skin. The most important thing to remember is to cleanse twice a day! Your skin will thank you after a long day being exposed to the elements.

Takeaway: Wash your face at least twice a day and don’t go to bed without removing your makeup

Protect your skin and wear sunscreen everyday—even if you’re oily


As the year rolls back into school mode, we tend to see the cloudy weather as a sign to stop using sunscreen. By not protecting your face from harmful UVA/UVB rays, we are potentially putting ourselves at risk for serious skin diseases and premature ageing. UVA rays are characterized as the sun’s rays that penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin, causing damage on a cellular level, the primary cause of skin cancers. UVA rays are also used in tanning booths, so while that tan may make you look fabulous for a month or two, your skin could be very damaged underneath. Avoid these places at all costs! UVB rays are mostly responsible for the sun burn you get in the summer months. These rays are shorter, and do not penetrate very deep. However, they are the leading factor in photoageing, which is when the outside layer of your skin has been so burnt over time, that it wrinkles prematurely.


Finding a sunscreen that protects against both of these is very important, especially on your long bus ride to school every day and back. Try a moisturizer with broad spectrum, which means it protects from both types of rays, of SPF 30 or higher, such as the Age-Balancing Moisturizer. This not only helps protect from the sun’s harmful rays, it deeply hydrates your skin so it is perfect for the in-between months when the weather is cold, but the sun is still out to play. It also has anti-aging benefits, to help combat any photoageing that may have resulted from previous years of tanning sessions.

Takeaway: Use a moisturizer with sun protection every day

This has been told to us since pre-kindergarten: keep your hands off of your face. Why is this so important? You may think that your hands look perfectly clean, or maybe you touch your face unconsciously, but the truth is, our hands touch everything and gets dirty! Cleaning your hands frequently helps reduce this. The temptation gets even stronger when there is a very stubborn, painful pimple sitting smack-dab on the tip of your nose. Picking or popping this zit is not an option! By breaking open the pore, you are exposing the pimple to outside bacteria, which will make sure it never goes away, or worse, the bacteria that was trapped inside before is now free to roam the surrounding area of your nose, cheeks and face, resulting in a tribe of pimples!

The best way to get rid of a pimple is to apply a topical spot cream, like the Acne Spot Treatment. You can use this as many times a day as you like, as it will dry out the pimple, using sulfur to bring the head to the surface. Then, when you get home, exfoliate your skin just before using a cleanser, like the Time Release Acne Cleanser. The exfoliation will remove the head of the pimple in a safe, non-obtrusive way, and the salicylic acid in the cleanser will go in and finish off that pesky acne-causing bacteria. This also prevents the potential for scarring, which happens when you wound your skin while popping or picking at pimples.

Tip: Clean your phone screen regularly with an anti-bacterial wipe and change your pillow cases at least once a week.

Be prepared – Pack a spot treatment

Being on the go all the time limits how much time you can spend rejuvenating your skin. Even if you cleanse every day and night, sometimes it’s just not enough. Take five minutes out during your bathroom break to re-vamp your skin. By using the extremely handy Clarifying Wipes, you can reduce your chances of having clogged pores in just minutes. Use this at least once a day, especially after you’ve done any type of physical activity. Also, a leading cause of acne breakouts is oily skin. If you’re noticing that around lunch time every day, your skin is looking shinier and feels oilier, don’t just wipe the oil off. Use the Clarifying Wipes to soak up the excess oils followed by the Oil-Control Mattifier to prevent more oil production.


School stress fluctuates up and down throughout the year, but if you follow a set routine, your skin doesn’t have to suffer too! Remember to take time out whenever you can to just relax, either with an at-home spa day to pamper yourself or an evening watching Netflix with your family and friends! Your skin’s health is connected to your mental health, and if your mind is happy, your skin won’t have any reason to complain. Remember you are beautiful.

Blog post by Murad Beauty Advisor – Dania

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Improve your skin with a home facial

A skin-improving facial doesn’t always mean a trip to the spa. Murad face masks and home facials provide an intensive treatment boost for any skin type or skin concern, delivering powerful treatment ingredients while also providing relaxation and stress relief. Whether you’re using a mask as part of an acne treatment program or for general skin care concerns, Murad masks improve skin’s appearance and overall health. As part of the second step of the Murad three-step skin care regimen, Step Two: Treat | Repair, Murad face masks and home facials provide intensive skin care treatments as a complement to a daily skin care regimen.
Read more about masks:
How to Master the Art of Multimasking
3 Masks Every Woman should use

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