Snake oil or miracle worker? Those who see smoother, bouncier skin after taking ingestible collagen swear it’s the latter.

Your skin on stress is not a pretty sight. Stress hormones such as cortisol can trigger breakouts, dull skin, accelerate aging and exasperate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

That’ s especially true when your internal pressure cooker stays at a constant boil — and who isn’t overly stressed these days?
“Consistently elevated cortisol levels have been shown to inhibit your skin’s production of collagen, hyaluronic acid and healthy lipids like cerimide,” said Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
“Collagen is like the scaffolding of the skin that prevents fine lines and wrinkles,” Bowe explained.

Call it a sign of the times: Microbiomes—the network of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms (or microbiota) that our bodies play host to—have been getting more attention of late. Though they’re known for aiding digestion, their role in healthy immune function may be what’s currently boosting their reputation. “With the emergence of Covid, we’re all becoming aware of just how important it [the microbiome] is,” says New York–based dermatologist Whitney Bowe. A recent study by the Chinese University in Hong Kong that compared data from 27 recovering Covid-19 patients to healthy samples found that microbiome imbalance was linked to the severity and length of Covid cases. (Those with Covid lacked certain types of good bacteria.) Researchers at the University of Connecticut are continuing to examine the link between the Covid vaccine and the microbiome.

Is it just us, or does it feel like everyone is talking about their skin barrier lately? Not a day goes by that one of our favorite skinfluencers isn’t posting about the importance of a healthy skin barrier on social media, resulting in what one can only describe as a new wave of stratum corneum (i.e. the technical term for your skin’s moisture barrier) superfans.

But if all of this talk about the all-mighty skin barrier has left you feeling more confused than you did over that whole TikTok-chlorophyll debate, just know that you’re not alone. To help, we tapped two of the industry’s leading board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Whitney Bowe and Dr. Shereene Idriss to help us break down everything you need to know about your skin barrier, from what it does to how to repair and protect it. In a world of polarizing TikTok beauty trends, rest assured, this is one we can all get behind.

Melanoma Monday is the first Monday of National Melanoma Awareness Month, and with it, comes a reminder to prioritize your skin health.

And doctors emphasize that even tele-dermatology appointments cannot replace an in-person visit with an experienced health care provider, who can check all of your skin for moles or spots that should be tested.

“I think that tele-dermatology, meaning remote dermatology, has become so much more common and accessible during the pandemic. But really, the one part of dermatology that you can’t do remotely is skin checks. You really need to do those in person,” said Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist.

“Some of this is due to perception, what I call ‘Zoom face,'” said Dr. Rajani Katta, author of “Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet.”
“Between the harsh lighting, the strange angles, and just staring at your face for hours on end, it can alter your perception of your own appearance,” Katta said.
Unfortunately, your skin may also be suffering from the effects of a year of pandemic stress, said Dr. Whitney Bowe, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Perioral dermatitis, a complex facial rash that is often mistaken for acne, is becoming more common, some experts say. Here’s how to spot, treat and prevent this irritating condition.

I feel like I’ve aged six years in six months. These days, it’s a statement often repeated among friends and heard by dermatologists. Can we chalk it up to quarantine exhaustion, or has lockdown actually done something to speed up the aging process on our skin? “I’m hearing more complaints about accelerated aging in my practice than ever before,” says Whitney Bowe, a New York City–based dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “It’s very similar to what I used to see when there was a death in the family or a divorce and patients would come in and say, ‘I feel like I aged five years overnight.’ Now we’re seeing that with Covid.”

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