THE PRODUCT AND WHAT IT'S MARKETED FOR: The Murad Method is
a skin-cleansing system, which, like many, includes cleanser, toner and
moisturizer. But Dr. Howard Murad grew his line into a regimen of more than 60
products that includes supplements he says reduce lines and wrinkles and "lock
moisture into the skin from within" to help slow aging.
Murad is a board-certified dermatologist and pharmacist in Los Angeles. His
biography says he holds 14 patents, was one of the first dermatologists to
launch a skin care line and the first to use the antioxidant benefits of
pomegranate in such products.
Murad says treating more than 40,000 patients provided insight about what
people needed to care for their skin at home. That led to his "internal skin
The Youth Builder Collagen Supplement, said to reduce lines and wrinkles in
five weeks, was introduced in 1995. One bottle contains 120 earthy-smelling
tablets in 30 doses of four pills daily. At Sephora stores, it sells for $45.
The Wet Suit Cell Hydrating Supplement was introduced this year. According
to the label, it locks moisture into the skin from within. A bottle contains 30
two-pill doses. At www.skincentersalon.com, it sells for $35.
Murad recommends taking both supplements together. The products are sold in
The Four Seasons Hotel, Sephora stores nationwide, in some Nordstrom shops and
WHAT'S KNOWN: There are many theories about aging and many more aids
promising to prevent or slow the natural process. However, the Food and Drug
Administration does not test or regulate most of these over-the-counter
remedies, so there is no guarantee the supplements contain what's promised or
that they're manufactured in a clean facility.
The Youth Builder contains glucosamine, believed to play a role in collagen
formation and repair; amino acids; and vitamins A, B-3 B-6, C and E. The label
recommends pregnant or nursing women avoid the product, which also includes
grape seed extract, pharmaceutical glaze and talc.
Murad says independent tests prove his Youth Builder works, so "clinically
proven" is on the label. In the independent study, 65 women ages 39-56 took the
supplement or a placebo for five weeks. Their skin elasticity was measured via
computers at the end of one week.
During the test period, participants could wash with only soap and water
and could not use moisturizer or sunscreen. At the end of the study, the
women's faces were again measured and those taking the supplement showed a 34
percent reduction in lines and wrinkles and an 18 percent increase in
"This is a truly scientific study," Murad said.
Dr. Dean Kane, a plastic surgeon affiliated with Mercy Medical Center in
Baltimore, disagreed. He said there is no way to know if the results were
permanent and if the participants were, for example, sunburned or dehydrated
Because the Wet Suit is relatively new, no tests have been conducted. Murad
said a test is planned and results should be available in six months.
Murad said he developed this product after watching fruits wither without
water. If water could be injected into cells, his reasoning goes, they'll be
more resistant to inflammation - and age.
The resulting product smells like a blend of rubbing alcohol and moss. It
also contains vitamins C and E. Ingredients include zinc, present in all body
tissues; manganese, said to protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation
injury; copper, an antioxidant used in many anti-aging products; and selenium,
an antioxidant said to protect the immune system, according to Murad's company.
Trace ingredients include collagen, aloe vera concentrate, cellulose and talc.
Kane said he would not recommend either supplement.
OTHER OPTIONS: Murad said if someone doesn't want to buy his products, the
formulas are available. Each ingredient is easy to find, he added.
"Every one of them is available if you go to the general grocery store," he
said. "It's the mixture that makes the difference."
Instead of concocting mixtures, The American Academy of Dermatology
recommends sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, applying sunscreen to dry skin
at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapplying every two hours or
immediately after swimming.
Kane also advises eating balanced diets including cold-water fish for
omega-3 fatty acids, exercising and taking vitamin supplements.
More expensive options include Botox, chemical peels and face lifts. The
results are not always permanent, so repeat visits are necessary.
Of course, there's always the cheapest and easiest method of all - grow old
Dawn Wotapka is a freelance writer