Online | Dr. Whitney Bowe

Do you look older than the age on your driver’s license? The telltale signs may be written all over your face. “As we enter our 30s, we begin to see the cumulative impact of sun damage, including sun spots,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “Much of the damage that causes sun spots is UV-induced, but hormones can fuel spots and splotches too.” She advises addressing the dark spots with a serum containing botanical brighteners, like licorice, soy, arbutin, and niacinamide; or talk to your dermatologist about the prescription bleaching cream hydroquinone. Here are more weird ways the sun affects your body.

Skin aging is going to happen—but lifestyle and environmental factors can make you appear older than you are. For example, you know the sun can harm your skin, but this damage can actually age your skin’s appearance with unsightly brown patches. “As we enter our 30s, we begin to see the cumulative impact of sun damage, including sun spots,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “Much of the damage that causes sun spots is UV-induced, but hormones can fuel spots and splotches too.” She advises addressing the dark spots with a serum containing botanical brighteners, like licorice, soy, arbutin, and niacinamide; or talk to your dermatologist about the prescription bleaching cream hydroquinone. Here are more weird ways the sun affects your body.

When you’re a teen you worry about oily skin, but as your skin ages, you may encounter the opposite problem. “Gaps in the skin’s protective top layer can let out precious moisture molecules and allow in irritants,” Dr. Bowe says. The sun, smoking, and even stress can contribute to this breakdown, she says. “To keep your skin healthy and hydrated, look for moisturizing ingredients like omegas, coconut oil, ceramides, and dimethicone,” Dr. Bowe says. “A once-a-week mask—either a humectant-laden sheet or a rich overnight cream mask—can keep skin hydrated and sated, allowing anti-aging actives to perform better.” Check out more helpful tips to fight dry skin.

For years in the skin-care world, dirty skin equaled bad skin — even to the point of overcleansing. But recent science has turned the squeaky-clean axiom on its head as new research about the power of your skin’s microbiome makes a case for getting dirty. Dr. Whitney Bowe tells Allure that “a healthy microbiome can keep our skin healthy and glowing in a number of different ways.”

While we’ve been programmed to pre-cleanse, cleanse, and exfoliate, it turns out that the dirty secret to great skin is bacteria. That’s right, research shows clean skin still has trillions of microbes on it, and these bugs play a major role in our skin’s health. “Our skin is covered with trillions of microorganisms you can’t see, primarily bacteria, that are essential to healthy and beautiful skin,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “These microbial critters are part of your skin’s health and behavior, and many of them provide vital functions for your skin that the human body actually can’t perform on its own.”

Dr. Bowe explains that over-cleansing will not only strip away the skin’s natural oils, but it will also upset its sensitive microbial balance. “The bacteria on our skin exist in a very delicate equilibrium—a delicate balance or harmony even—that keeps our skin functioning at its optimal level,” she says. “When the bacterial balance is maintained, our skin is pumping out collagen, sealing in moisture with ceramides, and telling our immune systems to calm down. But when we upset that delicate balance by rubbing and scrubbing with loofahs, buff puffs, wash cloths, harsh soaps with a high pH, or antibacterial soaps with biome-sabotaging ingredients like triclosan, our skin begins to suffer.” This can lead to a number of skin issues, including eczema, acne, dry skin, and premature aging.

Healthy bacteria also acts as a protective shield. In fact, researchers recently found that Staphylococcus epidermidis produces a molecule called 6-N-hydroxyaminopurine (6-HAP) that may provide natural protection against skin cancer. “The presence of this strain may provide natural protection, or it might be used therapeutically to inhibit the growth of various forms of cancer,” Richard Gallo, a co-author of the study from the University of California, San Diego, writes in the journal Science Advances.

When the strain was introduced to mice with melanoma cells, the tumors were over 60 percent smaller than those that had not received the strain. “Not only did this substance appear to slow the growth of melanoma cells, but it also appeared to reduce the number of pre-cancers formed when mice were exposed to UV light,” says Dr. Bowe. “In my opinion, this science is truly groundbreaking, and represents a revolution in the field of skin care and dermatology. Scientists are turning towards probiotics to fight infections, fight chronic skin diseases such as acne and rosacea, and now even to fight cancer.”

To keep your bugs in check, steer clear of harsh, anti-bacterial soaps or cleansers with a high a pH. Instead, Dr. Bowe says to look for words like gentle, pH balanced, and hydrating. She recommends La Roche Posay Toleriane Cleanser ($15;, which is formulated with prebiotic thermal spring water to help restore that healthy balance. Use only your fingertips when cleansing—no instruments or tools—and moisturize immediately after. “Moisture is critical to microbial growth on the skin, and moisturizers preserve the skin’s physical barrier and maintain the normal composition of the microbiome,” she explains. “If your skin feels tight or dry after you cleanse, you are not respecting your microbiome.”

For years, we’ve been advised to eat yogurt — teeming with “good bacteria” called probiotics — for maximum health. But now, dermatologists and skin-care companies say that in addition to eating gut-friendly foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and kombucha, we should also slather their beneficial microorganisms onto our skin.

“This is a very hot area in scientific research and product development today,” explains Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York City dermatologist and author of “The Beauty of Dirty Skin” (Little, Brown & Company, out next month). “Based on the information we have, skin issues stemming from chronic inflammation — like acne, eczema, rosacea and even premature aging — can be addressed by incorporating topical probiotics, which can destroy harmful viruses, fungi and bacteria before they stir up trouble.”

While it may sound counterintuitive to get germy for a clearer complexion, consider the relatively recent discovery that there’s a layer of helpful bacteria on top of your skin’s physical barrier called the microbiome. Scientists have found it promotes healthy cell function. And, according to Bowe, our microbiomes functioned just fine before toxins, sugar-laden diets, anti-bacterial soaps and our cultural obsession with squeaky cleanliness disrupted their balance.

Studies show that probiotics can also help strengthen our protective moisture barriers, boost hydration and possibly turn back the hands of time.

“Early evidence suggests that aging skin is associated with the colonization of unhealthy microorganisms on [the] skin,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology. “By helping to restore a healthy balance of bacteria, probiotic skin care may help support skin’s optimal functioning as it ages, which may translate into fewer lines and wrinkles.”

So, why not just smear on a little Chobani?

Doctors say probiotic treatments are pH-balanced and contain more moisturizing ingredients than your average jar of yogurt. For example, Dr. Brandt’s Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask is enriched with hydrating ceramides and fatty acids. “Products are engineered to deliver probiotics in the most efficient manner possible,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss. “Also, certain yogurts contain high concentrations of sugar, which may feed the ‘bad bacteria’ and work against the goal.”

What’s more, different types of yogurts contain various strains and concentrations of probiotics, so there’s no guarantee of effectiveness, notes New York gastroenterologist Dr. Roshini Raj. She’s co-creator of the probiotics-centric Tula skin-care line, which introduced Kefir Moisture Repair Pressed Serum last summer. It contains four strains of probiotics from the fermented milk drink.

Probiotic skin-care users should expect to see results in about six weeks. Still, Bowe cautions that a healthy microbiome and the clearer complexion it brings cannot thrive on creams alone.

“They’re only one aspect of the regimen,” she says. “It’s equally important to monitor diet and stress levels and to throw away your loofahs, washcloths and anything with the word ‘anti-bacterial’” so as not to sweep away all the good stuff.

Sure, you wash your face… most of the time. And yet somehow you’re battling adult acne, wrinkles, and other skin woes. Here’s why.

…”Artificial sweeteners are linked to acne, diabetes, and rosacea,” Dr. Bowe says. “High insulin levels are a primary cause of hormonal imbalances and skin disorders, especially acne. Since artificial sweeteners throw your blood sugar balance off, they too are capable of triggering skin issues.”

Fade spots and discoloration—the top skin doctors reveal new treatments and at-home remedies that work magic.

With all the different types of peels and lasers available, knowing the best way to treat your skin’s discoloration isn’t exactly straightforward. Before you invest in a pro treatment, you’ll want to key in on what condition you have and what options are available to you. Here, an explanation of three causes of discoloration and their treatment options, plus products you can use at home to maximize the results of an in-office session. (Related: The Best Beauty Treatments to Do On Your Lunch Break)

These can appear as isolated marks—one or two marring the cheeks, forearms, or backs of hands—or as more of a mob, a diffuse mottling all over the face, neck, or chest. They result from years of sun exposure “causing genetic changes in the DNA of pigment-producing cells, which lead to increased melanin production,” says Estee Williams, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. (And yes, UV rays can harm your skin when you’re indoors.) Turning up later in life than ordinary freckles, they tend to be darker and more irregular, with blurry edges. And unlike their cute counterparts, sunspots don’t fade at summer’s end. (Note that if a freckle is roughly the size of a penny or changing in any way, it should be examined by a derm, and possibly biopsied, to rule out skin cancer, Dr. Williams says.)

Pro Fix: With sunspots, excess pigment pools in the skin’s top layer, so it’s usually easy to remove with lasers. Q-switched lasers (such as the ruby for lighter skin or the Nd:YAG for deeper tones) can knock out solitary spots in one to three rounds ($300 to $450 for up to five spots). For widespread dappling, nonablative fractional lasers, like the FraxelDual ($1,500 per session), spare the skin’s surface while obliterating underlying pigment and can usually remove up to 90 percent of spots in one visit, Dr. Williams says. Expect about a week of ruddiness and peeling after the procedure. The Clear + Brilliant, a less intense fractional laser, leaves you pink for only a day but requires at least three sessions (price: about $500). (Read more about how laser treatments can benefit your skin.)

This appears as brown patches, often on the cheeks, forehead, or chin, or above the lip, and it can be deep-seated and relentless, making getting rid of it a challenge. Melasma often occurs during pregnancy or menopause or with the use of birth control pills. That’s because hormonal fluctuations ignite estrogen receptors on melanocytes, which are the skin’s pigment-making cells, Dr. Williams explains. The sun is another trigger, but UV rays aren’t solely to blame: Recent studies show that visible light (emitted by the sun, screens, and bulbs) and infrared rays, which register as heat (from the sun, as well as electric heaters and fire), can both fuel melasma. “Visible light is especially harmful, since it creates a delayed tanning effect that’s even more intense than UVA,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a derm in NYC. (That’s only one of the ways your phone could be ruining your skin.)

Pro Fix: Many derms start with mild chemical peels, which are safe for sensitive skin and effective: Dr. Williams finds that glycolic acid peels in increasing strengths every few weeks can achieve 50 to 100 percent improvement. For severe melasma, Dennis Gross, M.D., a derm in NYC, often turns to a stronger retinol peel, while Robert Anolik, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC, calls the Clear + Brilliant laser “the greatest treatment option I’ve seen to date”—but stresses that it should be used only by a cosmetic dermatologist who understands the nuances of the device and the condition.

Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Also called PIH, this refers to the marks that pimples—and bugbites and hot tool burns—often leave in their wake. “PIH is the most delicate of all discolorations, since
the slightest insult can draw pigment,” Dr. Gross says. It’s most prevalent in darker skin tones and can occur anywhere on the face or body, even under the eyes. “Any mechanical trauma can stir it up,” Dr. Williams says. This includes mindless eye rubbing from seasonal allergies.

Pro Fix: This pigment can settle in deep, making it hard to reach. “Avoid situations that cause it. Don’t pop pimples, and keep fresh wounds and burns moist with emollients,” Dr. Williams says. If the color is shallow or the trauma was recent, gentle fractional laser treatments can help diminish marks. Or try in-office peels, which are great if you have acne, since they unclog pores as well.

At-Home Spot Stoppers
Whichever pro treatment you choose, protect your investment—and prolong the results—with this brightening plan.

Sunscreen: Battling discoloration is pointless without daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen like Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 50. ($8;

Antioxidants: “Sunscreen alone isn’t enough for those sensitive to infrared heat, visible light, and pollution,” Dr. Bowe says. Neutralize them with antioxidants (try Bioeffect EGF+2A Daily Treatment. ($230;

Peel: Weekly exfoliation with a gentle peel speeds brightening. Try Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel. ($88 for 35 packs;

Acid: Tranexamic acid—an amino acid in SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum—can prevent UV, hormones, and trauma from kick-starting pigment cells. ($154;

Retinol: “Retinol breaks up dark spots and normalizes cell turnover, ensuring new, bright skin rises to the surface,” says Jennifer Linder, M.D., a dermatologist in Scottsdale, AZ. Try PCA Skin Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin. ($109;

This year’s Winter Olympics has been one of the coldest in recent memory, with wind chill temperatures in Pyeongchang, South Korea, regularly dipping below zero.

One surprising effect of the frigid conditions? Makeup has literally been freezing on people’s faces.

At least that’s according to a recent tweet from Amy Williams, a BBC Olympics commentator who said her colleagues have been dealing with frozen cosmetics while on the job, especially during the bitterly cold first week of the games.

Just before she headed to Pyeongchang earlier this week, Williams put out a call for recommendations on Twitter for makeup that can withstand extreme cold.

“So anyone know of good makeup that is oil-based??” she wrote on Twitter. “Our latest update from other presenters in Pyeongchang, Korea … is that water-based makeup literally is freezing on your face it’s that cold!!”

Her fans came through with plenty of possible solutions, suggesting different brands of oil- or powder-based primers and foundations.

After Williams arrived in Pyeongchang, temperatures actually warmed up a bit, so she hasn’t experienced her own makeup freezing. That said, it’s still pretty cold in South Korea, and Williams says she is taking every precaution to keep her skin safe.

“At night I’ve been using a face oil and a thick face cream to protect and repair the skin from the harsh weather during the day,” she told TODAY Style in an email.

But is it true that makeup can actually freeze while you’re wearing it?

If it’s cold enough, absolutely, says Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist and author of “The Beauty of Dirty Skin.”

“Many cosmetics are water-based, and water freezes at the freezing point,” she told TODAY Style in an email. “So anything that is water-based can freeze if the temperature drops below that point.”

Even oil-based cosmetics don’t necessarily solve the problem because they often contain some amount of water.

“Cosmetics are usually comprised of a blend of different ingredients, including water, oils and waxes,” she said. “These ingredients all freeze at different temperatures, but water expands as it freezes. As a result of the expansion of water upon freezing, it can make the skin feel very peculiar … Those ice crystals can feel as though your skin is ‘cracking.’”

To truly protect your skin from extreme cold, Bowe recommends using a balm like Vaseline or Aquaphor on your cheeks, which she says “will create a seal and prevent the cold air from damaging the skin.”

Your skin’s own oils can also provide some of the best defense against freezing air, Bowe said.

“Making sure your skin has oils on its surface is key to keeping skin healthy all winter long,” she said. “Don’t use harsh cleansers that strip skin of its own natural oils! If your skin feels squeaky clean after you cleanse, it likely means that cleanser has removed a lot of your skin’s own natural oils.”

She also recommends layering on serums that contain hyaluronic acid, a kind of super-hydrating compound. And, she suggests adding a few drops of oil to your regular face creams to lock in extra moisture.

Diet can also have a huge effect on skin, especially during the winter.

“Equally as important as treating the skin from the outside in is providing it with the right nutrients from the inside out,” Bowe said. “If you find yourself in a really cold, dry climate, be sure to load up on skin-healthy fats like avocados, chia seeds, salmon and nuts.”

Finally, she said — and isn’t this the solution to so many things? — “Drink plenty of water.”

There’s literally a shot that gives you dewier, glowier skin. The technique is called Skin Boosting, and the filler that’s used in it is called Volite, which is already available in Europe and is expected to get FDA approval here as early as this year.

It sounds…. what? Amazing? Crazy? Little from Column A, little from Column B? It’s a tough call. I mean, waking up all radiant and refreshed every single morning is super tempting — it’s probably what it feels like to wake up and then realize… you’re Beyoncé! But then again, you don’t just get one little shot and you’re permaradiant. It’s actually up to 50 shallow shots allover your face and then… you’re Hellraiser? Jkjkjkjkjk.

People are already getting it done in London and Paris and other parts of Europe. And the stuff that’s inside the needle is hyaluronic acid (the moisturizing, plumping ingredient in so many fillers and so, so many hydrating, smoothing serums and creams). And this injectable uses a super flexible version of hyaluronic acid, which means dermatologists can inject it shallowly so it spreads evenly across your skin.

After you get it done, “you look brighter and dewier for weeks,” says Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Los Angeles who’s familiar with the technique. It’s like you get a built-in highlighter that doesn’t wear off before dinner or look too sparkly in the sun or shed glitter onto all of your black shirts (that last one might be a me problem).
And if you get these injections done every few months, it could even “stimulate collagen to smooth fine lines and firm mild sagging,” says Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York City and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. (We don’t know how much it’ll cost in the U.S. exactly, but in London, the going rate is around £350, which is about $480.)
It’s the latest in the trend of Injections Lite: In January, we wrote about Baby Botox, a new trend in injectables that uses a lower volume of Botox than usual to soften lines ever so slightly.

With the new year often comes a desire to refocus on your wellbeing be it trying out a green beauty trend or rededicating to hot yoga. Resolutions that are seemingly healthy can be tricky for sensitized winter skin. Notes board-certified dermatologist and clinical attending at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital Dr. Melissa Levin:

“In the winter, the air humidity dips significantly, coupled with cold outside weather, hot showers, and heaters — all of which dries out the skin and further damages the skin barrier.”

From what the heck skin barrier function really is, to why Instagram could be wrecking your complexion, here we ask leading beauty experts to weigh in on two current beauty hot topics and how to navigate them so they aren’t doing more harm than good.

Chemical Peels and Lasers Compromise “Barrier Function”?

There’s been a movement in some wellness circles to eschew peels and lasers claiming they strip skin of its essential layers of fat, lipids and ceramides which comprises the skin barrier. In the wrong hands damage to the skin’s barrier function in the form of hyperpigmentation and scarring can occur so definitely go to a board-certified dermatologist or a trusted esthetician but omitting these treatments from our regime could be a mistake. Years of research have proven chemical peels are unparalleled for resurfacing and laser energy is amazing for collagen rebuilding. This time of year is great to try a more aggressive treatment since the sun’s rays aren’t at full strength.

If skin resurfacing and pigment issues like melasma are your top priority, a peel might be the way to go. Chemical peels have been reliable mainstays for well over a century but aren’t as goof-proof as lasers since they rely on the administrator to manage the process and see how your skin is reacting to the peel.

Chemical peels come in light and medium strengths employing acids like TCA, glycolic, salicylic and Jessner’s solution at different concentrations. Light peels contain (10-25%) while medium peels contain 35-70% acid. The higher the concentration the longer the downtime.

Peels work from the outside in and don’t provide the deep collagen rebuilding lasers do, but they’re great for hyperpigmentation issues and decongesting the skin which in turn allows your products to be more effective. They are also much less expensive than laser treatments. Dr. Imber of the tony Upper East Side Youth Corridor offers a glycolic acid treatment called the No Peel Peel while the Flatiron’s Erase Spa’s new Jet Peel uses a gentle stream of micro droplets to deliver nutrients deeply to the epidermis. Both procedures leave you lightly exfoliated and glowing with no downtime.

If collagen rebuilding as well as resurfacing is your priority, lasers may be the way to go. The non-ablative Fraxel is recommended for those under 50 and the downtime is just a few days rather than the more aggressive CO2 Fraxel which provides a more substantial treatment for deep wrinkles but does require a 2 week recovery period. There is also the entry-point laser Clear and Brilliant which many dermatologists recommend as an intro to lasers, in NYC many woman call it “the baby laser.” It’s an amazing preventative treatment for acne and particularly great for those in their late 20s and 30s.

If you’re not convinced peels or lasers are allies to your skin barrier and skin tightening is more of a concern than pigment issues, try radio frequency and ultrasound technology which bypasses skin’s surface and targets the underlying dermal layer. NYC Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, founder of PFRANKMD offers the Exilis Ultra to his eternally youthful clientele for this purpose. Says Dr. Frank,

“Monopolar radiofrequency energy and ultrasound, heats up the skin’s natural collagen building mechanisms to tighten skin and give a more youthful texture and appearance. The technology works to improve your skin’s collagen supply, permeating through to the deepest levels under the surface so as to treat your skin from the root. In the past, the two competing technologies in the skin tightening arena were radio-frequency and ultrasound. Ultrasound goes deeper for tissue remodeling and also enhances the effect of the radio-frequency synergistically. It is the only device that uses both forms of energy simultaneously.

Heated Debate

UV radiation has long been determined as the key contributor to photoaging but other culprits have recently emerged. The HEV (High Energy Visible) light also known as blue light from our various devices (tv, phones, tablets) may have a negative impact as could…your favorite self-care practice. Bikram yoga, dance cardio, infrared saunas, and spin classes could be damaging your skin. Temperatures can range from 105°F in a hot yoga class to 212°F in a sauna. Current research suggests that excessive internal heat triggers melanocytes-the pigment producing cells in our skin. One study from Seoul Korea suggests that heated activity three times for 30 minutes a week could even do damage. No one is suggesting that exercise is bad for skin—it manages cortisol levels and controls blood sugar—which are both positives, but for those with hyperpigmentation, rosacea, eczema or sensitive skin there are certain precautions that should be taken. We gathered some tactics and insights from the pros below.

Marisa Vara Arredondo, Founder of Phace Bioactive Skincare

“If you must do long heated workouts, I suggest starting makeup-free and cleansing with a pH balanced cleanser and then following your workout with a cold shower or cold compress on your face after, to cool the skin as quickly as possible. Ingredients that block infrared heat are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide (often found in foundations)…so I recommend applying moisturizers/foundations with these ingredients. Apply pH optimized products – to ensure that healthy bacteria can thrive on your skin (ie your pH balance is mildly acidic) and you maintain a healthy skin barrier (which seals the moisture in and keeps your skin firm and elastic)…and drink lots of lemon water (which is alkaline and good for your pH balance inside).”

Dr. Melissa Levin, NYC Dermatologist and Clinical Attending at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital

“Try to keep the skin cool throughout the activity so the skin does not overheat. I recommend keeping a cold clean towel that you can apply to the face every 15 mins which you can re-wet with cold water from your temperature controlled water canister. Post-workout, I recommend a short regimen of cooling the skin for 5-10 minutes followed by a gentle cleanse. Then add moisture with a cooling product that has hyaluronic acid and ceramides. A great one is the Dermalogica Calm Water Gel. Avoid applying any occlusive moisturizers like petroleum or oils like coconut or olive oil that will trap the heat inside your skin. Follow by powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and E to counteract the free radical formation which can occur with heat and then of course a zinc-based sunscreen.”

Dr. Whitney Bowe, NYC Dermatologist and Medical Director of Integrative Dermatology, Advanced Dermatology, P.C.

“Anything that revs up your metabolism also increases oxidative stress and free radicals, so I recommend replenishing your antioxidants around the time you hit the gym! You can accomplish this through dietary supplementation and by topical application. In terms of dietary supplementation, I often recommend Heliocare to my patients because it is an antioxidant-rich dietary supplement made from a powerful, natural fern extract which helps to protect your skin from the inside out. If you just take one Heliocare supplement 30 mins before you go outdoors (in addition to your sunscreen, of course!) or before you hit the gym, it actually helps to protect your skin from free radical damage! In terms of topical products, you can incorporate an antioxidant serum into your post-workout skincare regimen. Don’t neglect your body. I have been using MetaDerm skincare products and recommend them to my patients with sensitive skin, eczema or psoriasis, because they contain an antioxidant rich blend of 25 therapeutic botanicals and have incredible science behind them! So after I do a strenuous workout, I take a shower and then rub the Metaderm eczema or psoriasis cream all over my arms, legs and chest.”

See below for the latest and greatest in antioxidant serums, hyaluronic acids and sunscreens on the market. For the winter months particularly don’t skip the hyaluronic serum to give skin an extra does of much needed moisture.

It’s a typical Tuesday morning, and you’re stumbling into the bathroom to start your morning skin-care routine when you suddenly see it—a small, white bump near your eyelid. What the heck? These bumps, called milia, are surprisingly common and can fortunately be treated with OTC products. Here, celebrity NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe gives us the scoop on what they are and how to get rid of them for good.

So, what causes these white bumps? “Milia are small cysts filled with keratin and form as a result of the skin’s localized inability to exfoliate naturally. They’ve been linked to prolonged sun exposure and sun damage, and can also form when your pores become clogged from buildup of makeup or skin-care products,” Dr. Bowe explains. Anyone can get them, regardless of skin type or age (they’re actually super common in babies), and although they’re most often found on the face (especially around the nose and eyes), they can also form on your arms or hands.

How do I get rid of them? Whatever you do, don’t pick or poke them. Instead, look for products that promote gentle exfoliation and cell turnover—skip harsh scrubs that are more likely to irritate and inflame the skin than gently resolve the cysts. “Other excellent ingredients to address milia are glycolic acid and retinol, both of which promote cell turnover,” says Dr. Bowe. (Those with sensitive skin should test products first, however, as these ingredients can be aggravating.) Another top tip? Use sunscreen, since milia are linked to sun damage. Dr. Bowe loves La Roche Posay Double Repair Moisturizer with SPF 30 protection.

Any products to avoid? “Very heavy, comedogenic products can contribute to milia, so I always tell my patients to look for the words “non-comedogenic” on their skin-care products as these are non-clogging. I would also recommend avoiding ingredients such as petroleum if you are concerned about milia formation,” advises Dr. Bowe.

How long will it take for my milia to disappear? These pesky bumps can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months to go away. Other factors, like skin trauma or heavy product use, can play a role in how long it will take, but if you’ve tried all the above tips and nothing’s happening, make sure to see a dermatologist who can bring out the big guns.


RT @DrOz: Do you shower like everyone else? Today, @DrWhitneyBowe and @rhenotha are here to break down the nitty gritty on how to clean you…



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