I was at a conference in NYC meeting the newest innovators in the beauty product world when I came across a company called Olive + M. I met the company’s founder, Mariska. With a culinary background, Mariska explained to me that she dedicated four years to mixing and blending just the right ingredients to create her all natural, olive-oil based skincare products.

I tested several products to see how quickly they absorbed into my skin and whether there was an oily residue left behind. I was impressed. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants including Vitamin E and polyphenols, which help to fight free radicals to keep your skin looking healthy, smooth, and even dewy.  Olive oil could potentially even be beneficial in treating and preventing certain forms of skin cancer.  Studies also suggest olive oil can speed wound healing by accelerating collagen production.

I often hesitate to recommend coconut oil to my acne prone patients because many people break out when they use coconut oil on their face, chest and back. I have found that olive oil rarely presents the same issue when applied topically. In contrast, in my clinical practice, I have found that patients frequently share their positive experiences with intermittent olive oil use in their skincare regimens. If you have sensitive skin, atopic dermatitis, or are considering using olive oil on your baby’s skin, check out these relevant – though small – studies. Some are favorable (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18429773, while others warrant a more conservative approach in specific populations such as neonates or those prone to eczema https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26551528/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22995032.)  Particularly as the weather gets colder and drier, I love to have a facial oil on hand to help trap moisture in my healthy skin. Check out my post on how to use facial oils right here: (https://drwhitneybowe.com/whats-the-right-way-to-use-facial-oils/).

As I was testing the products and having a truly engaging conversation with Mariska and her team, I came across a product that spoke right to my heart and which I knew you guys would love too. I’m talking about a golden, shimmering, lightly scented body oil (think a gentle scent combining oil of sweet orange peel, vanilla, and deeper notes) that leaves your skin with a nourishing and hydrating glow. You shake the product well to ensure even distribution of the shimmer mica particles and then apply a small amount via a dropper.

 

I’ve been using this body oil on my chest and shoulders (when exposed) to keep that healthy summer glow even into the winter, but Mariska’s team was telling me that they even use a little drop on their hair for hydration and shine. When I think of a subtle, goddess-y glow for the holidays, this product is top of mind!

Olive + M describes this product as a “star in a bottle” and I’m here for it!

 

As I discuss in The Beauty of Dirty Skin, in order to have healthy, radiant skin, we have to keep our natural warrior bugs healthy. I’ve frequently discussed the concept of our healthy skin barrier and “microbiome” — which is the invisible rainforest of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, that are coating your skin right now. So, I know it won’t come as a surprise at this point when I tell you that the health and appearance of our skin is impacted by the health and diversity of our “good bugs.” The question now becomes, how to we keep our good bugs, a.k.a. our skin microbiome, healthy so that our skin is radiant?
I’ve often referred to the term “probiotic”, which refers to the live bugs, or live bacteria. Now, we are starting to focus on an important related term – “prebiotic” – which refers to the food the good bugs like to eat! I actually think the strongest skin-care products emerging on the market will likely be those made with prebiotics.

As I mention above, prebiotics are like the nourishing food that naturally allows healthy, good bacteria to thrive on your skin. Some prebiotics encourage specific healthy strains of bacteria to grow, and others increase the diversity of the bacteria on your skin, which is also very important. When you remove your skin’s healthy bacterial diversity – the rainforest of microorganisms that should be thriving on your skin — that’s when you see problems like rosacea, acne, fine lines, and discoloration. To put it simply, probiotics contain the good guys, and prebiotics contain what the good guys like to consume to ensure their own survival and proliferation.

One of my favorite products in this space is Aleavia’s Restore Soothing Mist. Made with organic coconut oil, Acadian sea kelp – included in this formulation for its prebiotic properties — citric acid and aloe vera, this mist soothes and hydrates your skin with prebiotics that help to bring your skin’s natural barrier into balance. I apply it to the dry or inflamed areas on my skin following my shower. If my skin is extra dry or inflamed, I’ll then use a moisturizer on top for an added layer of hydration. If I’m heading to the beach, I give it a few minutes to absorb and then I apply sunscreen on top. It’s very light and refreshing, feels very soothing and Aleavia has done quite a bit of testing of this product to ensure its efficacy, which is very important to me in making a recommendation to you.

Ideal for the following skin conditions: dry, itchy, irritated skin.

Made with: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Acadian Sea Kelp, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Aloe Vera; Certified Organic, 100 percent pure plant-based ingredients; Vegan.

Made without: Free of synthetic fragrance and dyes, chemical and paraben free. I do not find that this product has a scent.

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In spring, I recommend that my patients refresh and restore their skin’s healthy glow by adding an antioxidant serum containing Vitamin C to their skincare routine.

One of my new favorites is No7’s Early Defence Glow Activating Serum. It contains salicylic acid to unclog your pores and to reveal healthier, glowing skin. I typically advise my patients to use exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid only twice per week, but this particular product is very gentle and is formulated in such a way that most people will be able to use it daily without causing irritation on the skin.

Moreover, this serum contains Vitamin C and Ginseng – powerful antioxidants that restore radiance by protecting your skin from the harmful free radicals which can zap away your glow. Its rice peptides support your skin’s natural defenses by calming reactivity so that your skin appears more even and radiant. As I tell my patients, you can layer your serum under your sunscreen in the morning or under night cream at night.

I love to recommend this brand because No7’s products are highly effective and reasonably priced. Serums can be so incredibly expensive because they are often one of the most potent, powerful products you will use on your skin. No7’s products are powerful and deliver results at a very affordable price point. For example, this Glow Activating Serum is just under $25 and is available at Target, Walgreens, and Ulta.

As spring and summer approach, I like to wear very minimal makeup and allow my skin to naturally glow. I enjoy using this particular product in the warmer weather because it leaves my skin looking really refreshed and healthy. It’s very lightweight and non-greasy.

Note: This product is hypoallergenic, phthalate-free, dye-free, and aluminum-free. It does have a light scent.
Ideal for the following skin concerns: dullness/uneven tone, fine lines, skin tone improvement, firming.

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This is one of my favorite topics because it is transforming medicine today! In my video, America is Redefining Clean, I explained that you will be seeing more and more skincare products on the market that protect your skin’s healthy barrier and microbiome. What does this mean? Your skin’s “microbiome” is a beautiful rainforest of diverse organisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses) which live in and on your skin’s various layers, from the deep-down fat cushion all the way up to your epidermal cells on high. Did you know that there are more than one trillion bacteria in the skin, originating from approximately one thousand different species!

Our antiseptic cleansing styles and obsession with antibacterial soaps and cleansers has stripped our skin of its healthy bacteria. These products are b-b-bad to our b-b-biome. If your skin’s healthy microbiome is disrupted by harsh cleansers and other abrasive skincare products, this discontent results in breakouts, rosacea flares, psoriasis, eczema, and even sensitive skin. When your good bugs are healthy, your skin is, in turn, healthy and radiant. That’s because these essential bugs fight infections, combat against environmental damage, boost our immune system, and keep our skin hydrated and dewy!

Enter, Mother Dirt AO+ Mist for Face and Body. This product is one of the few examples of a true probiotic skin-care product available today, meaning that the bacteria in the mist are actually living microorganisms. Thus, this mist is formulated with a patented, live “peacekeeper” strain of bacteria to restore essential good bugs that have been removed by modern hygiene and lifestyles. Over time, we’ve scrubbed away the healthy diversity that should be part of our microbiome. Mother Dirt is working to reintroduce our skin to the Nitrosomonas eutropha strain and bring back its unique skin benefits.

In company studies, subjects who used the AO+ Mist (along with the brand’s cleanser) for four weeks saw a 35 percent improvement in skin clarity, and a 22 percent improvement in oily skin. In my opinion, this is one of the most promising aspects of probiotic therapy — to support our skin’s natural defense mechanisms to stave off imbalance that can create problematic skin issues in the future. Learning to support our skin’s health through nourishing products that bolster and diversify our healthy barrier and restore our good bugs is the future of skincare, in my opinion, and this is a great starting point.

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Your skincare routine and product choices all contribute to whether your skin is irritated, inflamed, or prematurely aging on the one hand or glowing, healthy, smooth, and hydrated on the other. At the heart of The Beauty of Dirty Skin is the science that healing and nourishing our skin’s “microbiome” is critical to sustain healthy, glowing skin. There are more than one trillion bacteria in the skin, originating from approximately one thousand different species. Our antiseptic cleansing styles and obsession with antibacterial soaps and cleansers have stripped our skin of its healthy bacteria. If your skin’s healthy microbiome is disrupted by harsh cleansers and other abrasive skincare products, this discontent results in breakouts, rosacea flares, psoriasis, eczema, and even sensitive skin. In sharp contrast, when your good bugs are healthy, your skin is, in turn, healthy and radiant. That’s because these essential bugs fight infections, combat against environmental damage, boost our immune system, and keep our skin hydrated and radiant. Even better, the results are lasting. When your skin flora is restored, its health is sustainable.

LaFlore’s Probiotic Serum Concentrate impressively incorporates sources of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to penetrate your skin at the cellular level in order to help strengthen skin’s immune system and restore its healthy balance. Natural oils in the serum serve as the “prebiotics” – which serve as the fertilizer or food to allow your skin’s healthy bugs/bacteria to flourish. LaFlore also incorporates a variety of live strains of bacteria through an encapsulation process which preserves the integrity of the probiotics. They stay in a dormant, “cryo-like” state until they come into contact with the skin. Variety here is key – a diverse microbiome is a healthy microbiome.

Moreover, this serum incorporates “postbiotics” which are metabolic by-products of the natural bacteria function. These postbiotics (enzymes, organic acids, Polysaccharides, peptides) are powerful molecules that further reinforce the skin’s healthy barrier. One of the postbiotics in this product is among the top ingredients on the label, which lets me know that it’s included in a generous and effective concentration. This product would therefore likely benefit anyone suffering from an impaired skin barrier. Signs of an impaired skin barrier could be dry skin, sensitive skin (stinging/burning), or rosacea. This serum is also beneficial for people using retinoids or other anti-aging ingredients that exfoliate the skin (for example, AHAs, BHAs). It is great for POST exfoliation or post retinoid use.

LaFlore also uses aloe rather than water as the main ingredient. Aloe has been clinically studied for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. At night, when my skin is ready to regenerate and replenish itself, I wash my face and then apply this serum. I often follow it with a hydrating moisturizer.

Many people ask about the price point of serums. This serum is at a higher price point compared to some of the products I have recommended. As I have explained, however, serums are the work horses of your skincare routine and they contain the most potent ingredients in highly concentrated form. For that reason, I often explain to my patients that of all of your skincare products, serums are the ones you should consider splurging on!

FREE OF: Soy, Gluten, Parabens, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol/Butylene, Glycol, Mineral Oil, Formaldehyde, Phthalate, Irritants, Bleach, Fragrance, Silicones,

MADE WITH: Live Probiotics, Aloe, Hemp seed oil, Sea Buckthorn fruit oil, St. John’s oil, Avocado, Jojoba and Squalane, the oils that contain healthy ratio of Omega 3/6 and Beta Carotene, which gives the product it’s distinctive color.

BEST FOR: Skin with a compromised barrier, dry skin, eczema, rosacea, irritated skin, premature aging, uneven skin tone and can be used as a spot treatment for blemishes.

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It’s no secret that I’m all about healthy, glowing skin and my signature “Bowe Glow.” I love to recommend products that not only leave your skin looking dewy and radiant, but are also working “behind the scenes” to maintain your skin’s health.

If you’ve seen my Microbiome 1 video, you know that the new approach to skincare, which is a key focus of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, is to protect your skin’s healthy rainforest of bugs- with upwards of one million of these bugs occupying a single square centimeter.

The reality is that our skin is covered with trillions of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, that are essential to healthy 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! Now here’s the most important part: if your skin’s microbiome is off balance, you will experience any number of skin issues including eczema, acne, dry skin, dull skin, and premature aging. On the other hand, if you nourish and strengthen your body’s good bugs and keep them healthy and happy, they will keep your skin healthy in return.

Probiotics, or healthy bacteria act as a protective shield with calming effects, provide ammunition against bad bacteria, and boost your skin’s innate functionality. These effects ultimately help reduce inflammation, which in turn helps limit flare-ups in skin and prevent premature aging.

So, of course, I love to recommend products which protect your skin’s healthy bugs AND are backed by science. The topical probiotic technology used in GLOWBIOTICS’ Probiotic HydraGlow Cream Oil is a fermented extract. This particular extract has been shown to stimulate epidermal growth, meaning it helps stimulate skin renewal. Our skin cell turnover slows as we mature, and that can result in dull skin. By accelerating the growth of new skin cells from below, this product brings fresh, healthy cells to the surface, and that is key to maintaining a youthful glow and radiance.

The other thing I really like about this HydraGlow Cream Oil is that it demonstrates one of the most promising aspects of probiotic therapy: it boosts the skin’s innate immune function. In other words, this product supports your skin’s natural defense mechanisms and shields our skin from invaders while calming unnecessary inflammation.

Another aspect of this product which I love is that it’s made without phthalates, parabens, Sulfates, or FD&C dyes.

I often wear this cream oil without any other makeup because it has a natural shimmery tint which leaves a soft glow on my skin. It’s perfect for mornings when I’m running to the gym and want to look radiant and fresh-faced! As summer gets closer, I know I’m going to be using this product all the time because it’s so quick, easy, and glowy (my favorite)!

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Rosy cheeks, chapped lips, hands which burn from the cold . . . sound familiar? Winter is the time when playing outside often makes our skin honestly hurt and crack from the cold, dry air. This is only compounded by the warm, dry heated air indoors. We take hot showers to warm up and this only further exacerbates all of this dryness!

What should you use to heal and protect your skin’s barrier and what is safe to use on your children that won’t burn when applied? I have been borderline obsessed with Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm, developed by my friend, Seattle dermatologist Heather Rogers. It is made with 100 percent plant based ingredients and is made without lanolin, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance and common allergens.

The key ingredients are glycerin, which promotes healing, restores your skin’s healthy barrier function, and reduces irritation, and castor seed oil, which is hydrating and has been proven to reduce skin inflammation.

I have been using the Healing Balm all winter on my cheeks, lips and hands, and also on my daughter’s lips and cheeks, which get very chapped when she is playing outside in the snow or ice skating. My sister and her kids now use it all the time, too, and swear by it. The $30 price tag is completely justified by how well this product works.

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Do I really need to use a serum? I am asked this question all the time. As a dermatologist, let me just answer this right here, right now. Yes – yes, you do. Allow me to elaborate.

Serums are different from your typical face creams because they contain a high concentration of active ingredients and are lightweight, so they penetrate deeper into your skin to provide maximum benefits.

You want to look for the following ingredients in your serums:

  • Hydrators: Ceramides and amino acids help to bolster your skin’s natural barrier and keep your skin hydrated and smooth.
  • Antioxidants: As I shared in my blog posts, Antioxidants 101 and 102, antioxidants are a powerful ingredient which help to protect your skin from sun damage and from the negative impact of free radicals. In addition to eating fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants, I recommend using topical products which incorporate this key ingredient.

Serums can be very expensive (as I bet you’ve noticed while shopping!), so I really enjoy sharing info on a highly effective serum which is also incredibly budget-friendly (under $35).

No7’s Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum is one of my favorites. This multi-tasking serum is made with a skin strengthening complex of calcium amino acids and ceramides, all of which work to firm your skin. It also contains Hibiscus seed extract, which is rich in amino acids and helps to support collagen production alongside Vitamin C and other potent antioxidants like Indian gooseberry. I find that this serum is lightweight, non-irritating, and highly effective in improving skin tone, smoothing lines, while tightening skin on the face and neck. This product is ideal for skin which is beginning to lose its elasticity and firmness, which many of my patients notice occurs on both their face and neck.

It’s key to remember that serums are highly concentrated with potent ingredients. Therefore, a little bit of product goes a long way. A dime sized amount is the right amount to use for the face, but use another dime for your neck. Last, especially if you have dry skin, don’t forget to layer your serum underneath your moisturizing sunscreen in the morning, and underneath your night cream before bed.

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Great for: Addressing signs of aging, softening fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin texture

The market is so over-saturated with skincare and beauty products. Which ones deliver on their claims and which products are just clever gimmicks, or fleeting trends? This is where I step in! I will help to guide you based on the products I use, love, and recommend to my patients.

Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin. I often recommend introducing retinol slowly into your skincare regimen (not every single night) and starting off with a low percentage. Overuse can cause flaking, redness, and burning, not to mention retinoid dermatitis, which manifests as red scaly patches which sting and burn. Sound familiar? Balance is critical when using a retinoid, as is finding the right product.

This particular retinol, by dermalogica, is a great starting point for people with sensitive skin, or people who are just starting to introduce a retinoid into their skincare regimen. I have extremely sensitive skin, and this one did not irritate my skin. It left my skin’s surface visibly renewed even after the first use. I like that it includes Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which helps with overall skin tone.

I use this product only at night and initially I mixed it with the buffer cream which is included in the package, which essentially “dilutes” the strength to help your skin adjust when you first start to use a retinoid. On the day before you exfoliate (I recommend exfoliating two to three times per week), you want to skip your retinol product. Why? Because exfoliating is abrasive and irritating and you want not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity.

I am impressed by the results I see from using this product, and I think you will be, too! Check out my blog post on Healthier Skin in Every Decade for more about when to add retinol products into your routine!

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Great for: All skin types and especially sensitive or dry, irritated skin

Are you obsessed with a squeaky clean feeling after cleansing your skin? Do you scrub and exfoliate your skin regularly, thinking this is going to reveal your healthiest skin? Does your skin feel tight after cleansing?

As a dermatologist, my patients and friends love the squeaky clean feeling. They love exfoliating – even daily. But, their skin is telling a different story. Here’s why: the products that you are using to achieve the squeaky clean feeling often disrupt and destroy the health of your skin barrier. Over-scrubbing and over-cleansing destroys the balance of healthy microorganisms which comprise your human microbiome.

When your body’s microbiome is out of balance, this imbalance impacts your skin’s health and opens the door to inflammatory skin disorders including psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

As a dermatologist, I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain the health of your skin’s barrier by using gentle, pH balanced products. Your skin should feel hydrated, smooth and nourished after cleansing – not tight, dry and squeaky clean! That is not a sign of skin health!

One of my favorites is La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser which is a soothing creamy cleanser made with La Roche-Posay’s Prebiotic Thermal Water. It’s soap free, sulfate free, oil free, fragrance free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and paraben free. It leaves my skin feeling gently cleansed while keeping my skin’s natural invisible barrier healthy. It also contains glycerin, which keeps my skin hydrated. I also love that this product is so affordable and accessible. You can buy it right at CVS for under $15.

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@DrWhitneyBowe

We Tried It: Holiday Edition is all about a subtle, shimmery glow for the holidays. Our team of testers tried… https://t.co/5FajdyFo68

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