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In January, the Food and Drug Administration published a study revealing that certain chemical sunscreens can be absorbed through the skin and into our bloodstreams. While it corroborated a pilot study the FDA executed less than a year earlier, this new research showed that these sunscreens can be absorbed into the blood at levels that exceed the FDA threshold presumed to be safe. Both the agency and other experts have underscored that there is no current evidence that these ingredients actually do harm—but that didn’t stop the reincarnation of an old debate: Are our beauty products slowly killing us?

We drink kombucha and sleep in probiotic-infused face masks because it’s “healthy” for our gut and skin, but what does “good bacteria” really mean? We investigate.

The number of personalized skincare products and services—such as Neutrogena’s MaskiD, the SkinCeuticals D.O.S.E. system and tailored topical probiotics—continues to grow. The premise of these innovations is that, rather than buying a product and hoping it’s right for their skin, consumers can undergo a detailed skin analysis and receive custom-made formulations tailored to their unique needs. The questions for skincare professionals are, do these products offer benefi ts beyond consultation with a skincare professional, and how unique is each person’s skin? “The reason these products are making a splash is that consumers are realizing that our old classifications for skin—dry, oily or combination—are too broad and often fall short as a guide to product selection,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of Dirty Looks: The Secret To Beautiful Skin.“We—and they—are recognizing that each one of us has truly unique skin.”

City-friendly facial blocks make daily sunscreen use more palatable, but excuses still abound. Fiorella Valdesolo tried 50 goops to find the best.

UNPROTECTED SUN exposure is the number-one cause of two things most of us would rather avoid: skin cancer and premature aging. And yet, the people who neglect daily sunscreen are swift to offer up justifications, chief among them: “I just don’t like the way it feels.” Dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe in New York confirmed that the heavy, tacky sensation associated with sunscreen is what turns her patients off.

There are plenty of times you want to feel the burn (hello, squats), but on your skin, when you’re crushing an outdoor workout, is not one of them. The fact is, the more you sweat, the less UV exposure your skin can handle before it starts to get red. Our primer has your back (and shoulders, and nose, and ears).

The idea of bugs hanging out on your face is the stuff of nightmares. But that’s what’s happening, at least on a microscopic level – and it’s actually the dream scenario. “Just as cacti grow naturally in Arizona but not in the midwest, every bacteria has  an environment where it thrives,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., the author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. Your gut has its microbiome – the 100 or so trillion bacteria lining your GI tract that are involved in everything from brain function to your weight – and now researchers have found that skin houses its own special bacterial blend vital to its health.

@DrWhitneyBowe

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