I was recently on vacation with my family in Anguilla and I was speaking to the other parents at the pool about sun protection (because, after all, I am a dermatologist). During these conversations, I was shocked at how many people had never heard of sun protective fabric – called Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF fabric!

I love spending time at the beach and the pool with my family. I want my daughter to enjoy the same sun-soaked endless summer days jumping waves that I did as a kid, but I can’t ignore my knowledge about the relationship between sunburn and skin cancer as a dermatologist.

Most people don’t realize that even one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can more than double your risk of developing melanoma later in life!  In fact, the number of skin cancers diagnosed in the last year is greater than if you add up all the cases of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer combined!

UPF fabric has, in every way, changed our relationship with the sun and given us so much more freedom to enjoy ourselves all summer long. Just like SPF is a measure of how effectively your sunscreen blocks certain UV rays from damaging your skin, UPF is a measure of how well your fabric blocks UV rays.

UPF fabric is designed to be lightweight, breathable and quick drying. I always recommend a UPF of 50+, which is the highest rating available. If you see that UPF 50+ on the label, it means the fabric has been tested in a lab setting, and has been shown to block up to 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Put simply: you don’t have to wear sunscreen anywhere your skin is covered with UPF 50+ fabric!

Since I take my sunscreen reapplication seriously, for both myself and my family – especially my 7 year old daughter, this cuts down so much on the amount of time we spend away from the outdoor activities we enjoy!

Can you imagine never having to apply or reapply sunscreen to your back or chest or to your child’s upper body? It is a game changer for everyone I know who has started to wear it during the summer and on vacation! And, in reality – I will be sharing videos and so much more on this subject – sunscreen is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage. How many times have you worn sunscreen at the beach only to come home and realize you are burned or got a lot more color than you anticipated. I promise to share so much more on this subject, but sunscreen alone is just not enough to protect your skin. It’s important, but it’s not enough standing alone.

I’m so passionate about proactive and safe sun protection. I want to yell about UPF fabric from the rooftops because it will make your life so much easier during the summer months and keep your skin protected from sun damage and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer! To help raise awareness about what I consider one of the most beneficial innovations in sun protection, I’ve decided to partner with one of my favorite brands, Cabana Life, to bring you guys a curated collection of sun protective swimwear and loungewear! It’s called the Summer Escape Collection and is a ten piece collection in clean, crisp turquoise and white – and I can’t wait to share it with you!!

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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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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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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

Chemical sunscreens- what you need to know! Check out this morning’s segment on @ABC! Link: https://t.co/nGBQzL97JPhttps://t.co/BEzOJe3oNO

@DrWhitneyBowe

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