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Murad Launches Serum to Tackle the Visible Results of Stress

Stress takes a toll on overall health, especially skin, according to Dr. Howard Murad. He's fighting the ravages of life's pressures with a new serum and yes, cannabis is involved.

Murad's Latest Launch Aims to Reduce
Revitalixir Recovery Serum.

Dr. Howard Murad coined the term Cultural Stress more than 15 years ago, and penned a book called “Conquering Cultural Stress” in 2015. Now he’s developed a product to help deal with skin issues caused by modern-day pressures.

Revitalixir Recovery Serum makes its debut Aug. 9 on the brand’s web site, followed by availability in Sephora, Ulta Beauty,, and Massage Envy. The launch coincides with its retail partners’ efforts to boost wellness-based skin-care ranges. Eventually, Revitalixir Recovery Serum, which retails for $89, will be in 2,300 doors and in 42 countries.

Industry sources estimate the new item can add at least $3 million in sales to the roughly $150 million the company produces per year. Murad would not comment on sales.

However, Dr. Murad believes stress relievers will become a crucial step in skin-care regimens — perhaps as commonplace as SPF — suggesting there are opportunities for incremental sales. “I think this is a disease that we have not pinpointed, but it is as critical to me as anything else because it affects the whole body,” Murad told WWD. “Modifying it is something we must do.”

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Murad noticed as early as 2003 that his patients were getting more agitated. “I thought it had something to do with me,” chuckled the famed dermatologist. “Patients said I was fine, but they were troubled because traffic was worse than ever or work was harder.” The anxiety levels further escalated 10 years ago with cell phones “attached to everyone’s hips,” he said.

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Stress is proven to cause breakouts, dry and dull skin as well as fine lines and wrinkles, according to Murad. “We can’t change or fix stress and it is only going to get worse,” he said. “When you are under stress, you are more likely to have breakouts and what I call polka-dot skin syndrome [spots where pimples were]. You are also not sleeping because you have more stress and your also get more fine lines and circles around your eyes.”

Although he can’t solve life’s burdens, Murad said he can protect skin from internal aggressors. Revitalixir Recovery Serum features a formula combining ingredients such as cannabis, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and Wild Indigo. The latter is rich in specific sugars that have been shown to have a positive effect on the negative, visible skin concerns induced by stress and cortisol. In fact, a Unilever (which acquired Murad in 2015) study found that higher cortisol levels have been linked to an increase in perceived age. Subjects with higher cortisol levels were perceived as up to three-and-a-half years older than their actual age. While there are many products for aging, Revitalixir’s formula contains ingredients designed to address the effects of chronic stress on skin.

Michelle Shigemasa, chief executive officer of Murad, acknowledged there will be a learning curve behind the new item. “We know there’s going to have to be a fair amount of education around this launch because people may not immediately understand what stress actually does to your skin. For example, I think people are very familiar with the harmful effects of the sun, so we really want to help streamline the message and explain that Revitalixir is like your ‘stress PF.’ Whereas SPF protects against effects of aging from the sun, Revitalixir — as your ‘stress PF’ — corrects effects of aging from stress, like dullness, dehydration, wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness.”

She added the company is developing content incorporating Dr. Murad’s research and insights from his book. “We’re also in the midst of working out partnerships with influencers who are authentic voices on Cultural Stress, not necessarily beauty influencers, to add a different perspective on stress to Dr. Murad’s science-based perspective,” she said. More stress reducing products are in the works. “We have a great product pipeline in place that’ll take us into 2019, which either addresses further subsets of stress or incorporates stress-relieving ingredients,” she said.