A few words that come to mind when I think of ingredients like royal jelly and propolis: hydrating, moisturizing, nourishing, gentle, natural, clean, and antibacterial!

Let’s get into more detail about royal jelly and propolis, two natural ingredients that come to us straight from the hive.

ROYAL JELLY:

What is it?

Royal jelly is a white-yellowish, milky substance that consists of water, proteins, carbs, lipids, mineral salts and vitamins (including vitamins A, E, C, and B). It’s made by worker bees and is used to nourish honeybee larvae. Royal jelly is also consumed by the Queen Bee for her entire life, which is approximately seven years, as compared to the worker bees’ life cycle of approximately seven weeks!! Royal jelly, at one time, was reserved only for royalty because it was considered incredibly precious. Now, it is more widely available and is a choice ingredient in many clean skincare lines.

How does it benefit our skin?

Royal jelly is believed to be a multi-tasking ingredient with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Its antioxidants help to soothe the skin and to fight free radical damage (which contributes to premature aging). I find that it can be very hydrating and healing when used topically. Of course, if you have an allergy to bees, honey, or pollen, speak to your doctor before incorporating any products including royal jelly into your skincare regimen.

PROPOLIS:

What is it?

I think propolis is a fascinating natural ingredient. Bees harvest sap and resin from trees and add their own enzymes and beeswax to produce this powerful resin-like substance.  Bees then paint the propolis inside their homes – filling in crevices in honeycombs – in order to serve as protection for the hive. It is known for its ability to fight against bacteria and is packed with antioxidants.

How does it benefit our skin?

Propolis has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, is moisturizing without being heavy, has soothing properties and, like royal jelly, fights free radical damage because it is packed with antioxidants. I find that this is a very gentle ingredient and is therefore a wonderful option for my patients with sensitive skin.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS IN THIS CATEGORY:

Farmacy Honey Savior Balm: This soothing balm is made with royal jelly and propolis. I find that it’s very soothing and hydrating without being greasy or heavy. I love to use it on my lips, cracked hands, cracked heels and I even apply a little bit on my daughter’s cheeks when her skin becomes red and irritated from snow or wind in winter. Recommending clean products is very important to me, so I love that this brand is certified clean at Sephora.

Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm: Another clean product, this cleansing balm is made with royal jelly peptides. The scent is heavenly, the texture is rich, and the best part – this product is specifically formulated with the health of our microbiome in mind. Many oil based cleansers offer a very deep clean, but can strip your skin of its moisture and leave your skin feeling dry and tight. This is the opposite of how your clean skin should feel. In contrast, this cleansing balm is made with hydrating Manuka honey, which has natural antibacterial properties. Therefore, it cleanses deeply, removing makeup, sunscreen and debris, but the added nourishing ingredients prevent it from stripping your skin of its healthy, natural moisture. I also love that this product is made with nourishing probiotics and prebiotics proven to protect and nurture your skin’s healthy, good bacteria.

Dr. Whitney

 

Winter is the perfect time to get cozy and make some easy, nourishing DIY skincare and fruit infused water recipes!

Here are some of my favorites:

Green Tea and Honey Power Mask

The green tea is soothing, removes impurities and reduces inflammation, while the honey is bacterial and soothing!

You need:

  • 2 bags of green tea
  • warm water
  • 3 tablespoons of Manuka honey

To make: Cut open 2 green tea bags and empty contents into mixing bowl. Add a few drops of water and mix with fork just to dampen. Then, mix in 3 tablespoons of honey (I use a fork to mix, which seems to work better than a spoon). Apply mask to face.

Triple Coconut Sugar Cookie Body Scrub

This triple coconut sugar cookie scrub is inspired by one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. It’s so easy to make and is absolutely delicious for your skin.

You need:

  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil

Mix these three ingredients and you have a nourishing exfoliating scrub for rough patches like your elbows or dry, cracked heels. The coconut oil is so hydrating and the sugar crystals are an excellent natural exfoliant for your body.

Guys, I do not use this on my face. Coconut oil can actually clog pores and aggravate acne, and sugar crystals are too abrasive for the delicate skin on your face. But, these ingredients work beautifully as a body scrub!

Happy holidays!!

Dr. Whitney

 

I get so many questions about acne, and this is one of the most frequently asked questions! It’s so popular, it gets its own post.

First, I want to explain how exercise benefits your skin! When we exercise, we increase the blood flow to our skin, nourishing our skin with vital nutrients and oxygen.  Not only does exercise improve your skin’s metabolism, but it is also scientifically proven that you can even begin to reverse the signs of visible aging by working out! Based on recent evidence, not only do people who exercise feel younger, they look younger as well! Incredibly, this is true even if you don’t start working out until later in life.

Now, let’s dive into the relationship between exercise and your breakouts. Working out in makeup can certainly contribute to a breakout. While sweating during a workout boosts our circulation, which is beneficial for our skin’s health and glow, our sweat contains ammonia and urea — so if we leave sweat on our skin for too long, this can cause irritation and inflammation, which can trigger breakouts.

For this reason, I always try to work out in clean skin, rather than wearing makeup to workout, because my skin can be acne prone.

Breakouts caused by exercise generally result from the dirt, sweat, and makeup that we have on our skin while we work out. The type of exercise is less relevant than whether you break a sweat and whether you begin your exercise routine with a clean face and end by gently cleansing your face.

How should you take care of your skin when working out? As I explain in my book, Dirty Looks, gentle cleansing is so much more powerful and healthy for your skin than all of that scrubbing we tend to love! I recommend that my patients use a pH balanced, gentle cleanser and pat dry. Follow with your typical serum, moisturizer, and of course, sunscreen. Also, I recommend that my patients either work out with clean skin or with breathable, lightweight, and/or oil-free products to minimize post-workout breakouts.

Dr. Whitney

In my office, patients ask me about scalp and hair health all the time. People are often surprised to hear that the conversation surrounding clean, healthy hair is changing as the science evolves in this area. Most of the products we’ve been using set our hair up for a vicious cycle of damage and superficial solutions to mask that damage. I’m excited to share more information on what I believe is one of the groundbreaking solutions to the hair damage we have come to accept as normal.

People love a good lather, especially when it comes to their shampoo. The problem is, shampoo that creates a bubbly, rich lather actually contains harsh chemicals that damage your hair and make it very prone to something called hygral fatigue.

Hygral fatigue is a new, groundbreaking concept that has recently come to light. It means that water can actually damage hair. The longer your hair is wet, the more the hair actually swells and swollen, wet hair is especially prone to damage and breakage.  So most people shampoo, getting that rich lather, as soon as they get in the shower. Then, for as long as that shower takes, that vulnerable hair absorbs water, and absorbs more water, until it swells.  When you step out of the shower, you then towel dry your hair till it’s damp and then blow it dry while you style your hair. You notice week after week that your hair is getting frizzier, more damaged, and even more visibly dull.  So, you start using heavier products like conditioners and masks and leave on products that basically act like superficial band-aids.  They coat the hair with heavy products that give it a glossy shine, but the hair beneath isn’t healthy. It’s far from healthy, and that damage just gets worse year after year.

Based on the latest research, here’s the simplest way to get your hair back on track and restore damage that’s already been done — the concept is pretty simple:

Less water exposure + faster drying = healthy hair.

I’m going to walk you through the system that I use myself and recommend for my patients, which is called the AQUIS PRIME Hair Care System.  I was so impressed by the effect it had on my own hair that I partnered with the brand to help get the message out.  I’m going to walk through each step to explain exactly how I use each product.

Step 1: Before hopping in the shower, I spray my hair with the AQUIS Prime Water Defense PreWash Spray.  It actually protects hair from swelling and balances the natural pH of hair. So it’s literally protecting your hair from water damage during the entire shower.

Step 2: Before I get out of the shower, I massage in the AQUIS Prime Rebalancing Hair Wash.  No, it doesn’t create a bubbly lather, and that’s a GOOD sign.  It gently removes dirt, oil and other impurities without relying on those harsh chemicals that create bubbles and damage the cuticle.  Rinse out.

Step 3: I flip my head over and put on the AQUIS Rapid Dry Hair Turban. I used to be a Towel girl, but I have to admit I’ve recently switched to the turbans. At first I thought they’d be complicated to use, but they’re actually super easy.  You just put the part with button at the base of your skull, and then twist the turban, and then loop the loop around the button. Done.  So easy.  The towels and turbans are made with a special microfiber technology that wicks away wetness and cuts drying time in half.  So if you do end up using a blow dryer, you only have to use ½ the heat.

Step 4: Spray on the AQUIS PRIME Restorative Leave-In Conditioner.  I spray it onto damp hair, and then use a detangling comb to comb it through.  Most conditioners weigh down hair and trap even more water in the hair.  This one is lightweight but incredibly gentle and safe for hair.

Then I’ll either air dry or blow dry, but the time it takes to get it fully dry is cut in half.  The AQUIS Prime system actually gets to the root of the issue.  It’s not just damaging hair and then hiding that damage by camouflaging it with heavy chemicals that add a fake shine to hair and weigh it down.

I look forward to your questions! Please feel free to post below or on my social media channels!

*Sponsored.

Dr. Whitney

 

I’ve dedicated over a decade of my life to researching the connection between diet and the skin and I share so much of this work in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin. Nourishing and healing your skin from the inside out – through what you eat – is just as important as nourishing and healing your skin from the outside in through topical products and treatments! Your skin is a window into your overall health and one of the most accessible ways to take better care of your skin is through your diet.

Today, I’m going to share three of the ways that I incorporate collagen powder into my day to nourish my skin from the inside out and to help promote smooth, elastic, hydrated skin.  The brand of collagen powder I use at home and recommend to my patients is called Body Kitchen. I was so genuinely impressed with the quality and science behind the Body Kitchen products that I agreed to become their Physician Ambassador.

First, when I have my coffee, I add a scoop of the Youthful Beauty collagen powder right in and stir it up. It’s that simple. Now, I use almond milk in my coffee rather than skim milk because skim milk has been linked to acne. And, I don’t use artificial sweeteners, so if I want a hint of sweetness, I will add a bit of stevia and a pinch of cinnamon.

Second, if I’m making one of my favorite smoothies, I just add a scoop of collagen powder right into the smoothie. I call this one my dream smoothie because it’s so delicious and good for your skin.

Because I’m a blueberry fanatic and because they’re rich in antioxidants, I start with these. A handful of greens—baby spinach or baby arugula work here—adds a touch of collagen-friendly vitamin C while almond butter adds protein and skin friendly fats. I add frozen bananas for the thick and creamy texture they give. If your banana isn’t quite ripe, it’s a wonderful source of prebiotics, also known as the food for gut-friendly probiotics, however it won’t be as sweet. If you use an unripened banana and still crave a touch more sweetness, add a few dates, figs or even two stevia leaves from the garden! The plant is really easy to find at your local nursery and just as easy to grow.

Cacao, chocolate’s less processed cousin, is a treasure here. It’s derived from ground cacao nibs which are dried and fermented cacao beans. Sugar-free and loaded with special polyphenols that have been shown to reduce the signs of aging, cacao has a naturally bitter taste that is tempered by the smoothie’s other ingredients. It’s also been shown to put us in a better mood with its dopamine-releasing effects. I call that a win-win!

And – how simple is this? Just add one scoop of Body Kitchen collagen to optimize your body’s ability to help replenish the collagen your body needs to support your skin’s health.

Third, I love golden milk. If you haven’t tried it, you’re in for a treat! As I share in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, Golden Milk is packed with skin friendly goodness.

You want to combine all of the ingredients except cinnamon in a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Yes, you can heat up your collagen powder and it will still stay intact! Whisk until smooth. Then, bring your mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture into a mug and top with a pinch of cinnamon.

Golden Milk with collagen is delicious for your skin because it includes cinnamon, which has been shown to boost your body’s natural collagen production, it helps stabilize blood sugar because it increases your cells’ ability to use glucose by stimulating insulin receptors, and it lowers your cellular inflammation to help combat skin aging Also, turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient which helps to keep your skin soft and elastic while protecting it against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin aging. Top this off with your collagen powder and your skin will thank you!

I’d love to hear how you incorporate collagen supplements into your day! Drop a comment below and share your ideas!

Dr. Whitney

You guys asked so many great skincare and skin health questions on my social media channels, so I wanted to share some of my responses right here!

Q: I suffer from Melasma and wonder if you recommend any supplements in addition to taking the normal precautions for Melasma?

Dr. Bowe: This is such an important topic and I’m so glad you asked. I have a series of three posts all about Melasma, my in-office strategies, and the products I typically recommend to my patients right on my website! Here are links that I think you will find helpful (my answer to your question is in Melasma 102)!! https://drwhitneybowe.com/melasma-101-understanding-this-condition/, https://drwhitneybowe.com/melasma-102-game-plan/, https://drwhitneybowe.com/melasma-103-q-a-with-dr-whitney-bowe/.

Q: Do you recommend Botox?

Dr. Bowe: Hi! I just did an interview all about Botox with my good friend, Julia Dfazic of Lemon Stripes! Here is a link: https://lemonstripes.com/lifestyle/botox/

Q: What skincare products to use to minimize acne scars from cystic acne?

Dr. Bowe: Excellent question – I have a post on my website all about cystic acne! Here is a link I think you will find helpful: https://drwhitneybowe.com/acne-q-a-focus-on-cystic-acne/.

Q: I love the dewy fresh glow for spring. How can I do that?

Dr. Bowe: ANSWER: I love it too! I was recently on Good Morning America demonstrating the HydraFacial, which I have found is really effective in achieving a healthy, radiant glow. Here are a few links on that: https://drwhitneybowe.com/dr-bowes-guide-to-the-facial-thats-been-making-a-splash-for-healthy-beautiful-skin-the-hydrafacial/ and https://drwhitneybowe.com/the-hydrafacial-a-healthy-beautiful-glow-this-spring/. Also, for a more comprehensive approach to your skin’s health, check out this post: https://drwhitneybowe.com/forget-8-glasses-of-water-a-day-why-drinking-even-a-bathtub-full-of-water-wont-give-you-the-dewy-healthy-skin-you-want/. I share a lot of information about nourishing your skin from the inside out on my website, my social media, and in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin. For a lasting healthy glow, I believe what you put into your body is just as important as the topical products you use on your skin!!

Q: What do you recommend for men’s razor bumps and rash?

Dr. Bowe: I recommend that my patients shave at the end of their shower or after getting out of the shower so that your skin has a chance to warm up. I also recommend using a very gentle exfoliant before shaving. You don’t want to aggravate and irritate your skin and hair follicles, but a gentle exfoliant can be very helpful, pre-shave. After you shave, I recommend a moisturizing lotion with antibacterial ingredients. If my patients have very sensitive skin, I often suggest staying away from heavily scented products, as they can be very irritating. I also always keep a fresh aloe plant in my house for all types of skin irritation. Smoothing fresh aloe over angry skin is my go-to at home remedy.

Q: Are there any over the counter facial exfoliating products gentle enough for Melasma?

Dr. Bowe: One option to consider is my Oatmeal Coconut-Oil Power Mask/scrub for sensitive skin. I include this recipe in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin. The oatmeal gently removes the dead cells on the surface to reveal your glowing skin underneath. You will need 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melt it down first), 3 tablespoons rolled oats and warm water. I typically advise my patients to leave it on for 15 minutes (and to gently exfoliate by rubbing in the mask in circular motions during application) and then rinse with cool water and pat dry. Or, you can simply use a baby washcloth for a gentle, mechanical exfoliation. In terms of an OTC option, I like this product by La Roche-Posay: https://www.dermstore.com/product_UltraFine+Scrub_27304.htm

Q: We are always told to reapply sunscreen after 2 hours. Does that mean 2 hours after application or 2 hours after sun exposure? I often put on sunscreen inside before I put on my bathing suit, but don’t immediately go outside. Same thing with my facial sunscreen.

Dr. Bowe: I look at the studies and the science before giving my recommendations. The standard rule of thumb at this time is to apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outside and reapplying every 2 hours (more frequently if you have just gone swimming or if you are sweating excessively from exercise). Here is a study which is on point: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11712033. With the FDA’s new proposed regulations and discussion of sunscreen safety (I will be sharing a lot more on this on my website), I often opt for UPF swimsuits, rashguards, and clothing for myself and for my daughter. We find they are a game changer in terms of enjoying our time at the beach or pool and minimizing the surface area we have to continuously cover with sunscreen!

Q: Is there a more cost effective alternate to CE Ferulic?

Dr. Bowe: CE Ferulic is one of my all-time favorite serums. While it is at a higher price point, it is just one of those products that I feel is worth the investment because it is effective and delivers results (admittedly, the scent is not my favorite aspect of the serum). For more cost effective options, my patients often love the No 7 serums. I share a lot of information about them on my Dr. Whitney’s Picks page: https://drwhitneybowe.com/dr-whitneys-picks/.

Q: Do you recommend a series of chemical peels or microneedling?

Dr. Bowe: My patients love in-office chemical peels. For dull, dry skin, I opt for a glycolic acid peel. For oily/acne prone skin, I focus on a salicylic acid peel. Both options will help boost your healthy glow (and if you are planning to wear makeup for an event, your makeup applicationwill be so much more smooth and beautiful). For an at home option, check out this “babyfacial” from Drunk Elephant. And, here is my post all about microneedling, which my patients love and we have wonderful results: https://drwhitneybowe.com/microneedling/. In terms of which one would best suit your needs? It will depend on your personal skincare goals and budget! I love both options!

There are a few questions I haven’t hit upon yet, so I will circle back to those very soon!

Dr. Whitney

This morning on Good Morning America, I showed how one of the hottest new facials – the HydraFacial – works. One reason this treatment is so incredibly popular is because, unlike many types of facials, it is so gentle. I have been getting a lot of questions on this treatment, so I wanted to answer some of them here for you!

Is it safe for all skin types?

This is a very gentle, non-irritating treatment and I am comfortable recommending it to my patients with sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, and even melasma.

How does the HydraFacial compare to other facials?

This treatment infuses your skin with hydrating serums while a gentle vacuum simultaneously pulls out the debris clogging your pores. Although you are getting a very deep clean, the process is more forgiving than most manual extractions and many forms of microdermabrasion, especially for people with very sensitive skin.  When it comes to aggressive manual extraction techniques used during certain types of facials or deep cleaning procedures, I have seen patients come in with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and red, blotchy skin afterwards. This is just not the case with the HydraFacial.

How long does it take and is there downtime afterwards?

This treatment takes about thirty minutes and no, there is virtually no downtime afterwards. Actually, you will see and feel an immediate improvement in your skin’s appearance.  My most sensitive patients might experience a bit of redness that lasts about 20 minutes after the procedure, mostly because it’s stimulating blood flow. That diffuse redness and plumped up appearance to the skin is very different from the blotchy, bloody irritation you can get with some types of aggressive facials.  My patients all go back to work or back to their lives immediately after the treatment.

Can I get Botox on the same day as a HydraFacial?

In my office, I recommend waiting at least 20 minutes after a HydraFacial before you receive any Botox injections. As I mention above, your skin can have a slight flush after the HydraFacial and I like to be sure it is completely resolved prior to administering any injections. If you get fillers or Botox injections immediately after a HydraFacial, I believe it can increase your risk of bruising. Your blood vessels are dilated from the procedure, and that’s what gives you that blush and the plump, healthy appearance to the skin. But dilated blood vessels are a recipe for bruising if you try to inject before they’ve had a chance to constrict back to normal.  So, in my opinion, I would either schedule your injections for a different day, or wait about 20 minutes between your HydraFacial and your injections.  Again, this is my personal experience, so of course I recommend consulting with your doctor regarding your own needs.

How often do you recommend getting a HydraFacial?

I recommend this treatment about once per month because it’s such an effective tool from a preventative and maintenance perspective. It is highly complementary to other procedures that I offer in my office, which is also very beneficial when patients would like to come in for multiple procedures which work synergistically. For example, some lasers and even microneedling can have a drying effect on the skin while the skin heals.  Coming in a week or two after those treatments for a HydraFacial is a recipe for success if time and budget allow!

I look forward to sharing more innovations in skin health and skin care with you guys very soon!

Dr. Whitney

Using our own blood to heal our bodies is not only a hot trend, but it actually is something I use in my office in many different ways (and have for years). The key here is – of course, a seasoned practitioner to ensure safety — but also, to be sure that the “blood” you are using has a chance of working and actually being effective.

We are not talking about taking your blood and applying it directly onto your face or putting it directly into a cream. Instead, as I explained this morning on Good Morning America, I work with “Platelet Rich Plasma therapy or “PRP.”

How this works:

I take a small sample of your own blood from your arm and then I place the blood sample in a special tube that has a plug, then pop that tube in my centrifuge. The centrifuge spins down the blood, separating it into the PRP on one side of the plug, and the white and red blood cells on the other.  I use a patented system called Selphyl to completely separate the platelet rich plasma or “PRP” from the remaining blood, so I know the PRP I’m using is pure.  I then stabilize the growth factors in the PRP using calcium chloride, so the PRP I use during my in office procedures contain growth factors that will continue to work on the skin and the hair follicles for 7 days even after the procedure.  That pure, stable PRP is then used in a number of different procedures, which I will explain in more detail below.

But first, color counts when it comes to plasma. Your plasma should be yellow or straw colored. That means it is not contaminated with your red or white blood cells. If it is yellow, you can use it. If it is red or pink, you should not allow anyone to use it for a procedure.  If even a drop of red blood cells make their way into your PRP, it could stain your skin! And white blood cells contaminated your PRP can CAUSE inflammation and negate all the benefits of the growth factors!

Products and Procedures using your plasma:

(1) Blood Creams: I cover this topic right here: link to segment

(2) Vampire Facials: I cover this subject in this morning’s Good Morning America FB Live and also in this in-office FB live.

(3) PRP for hair growth: Many of my patients are experiencing hair loss and thinning. This treatment works equally effectively for men and women and for all ethnicities. If you are sensitive to pain, we often use a form of laughing gas in my office during the injections to help ease the pain and anxiety.  Read more about this procedure right here.

Key Questions you Should Ask your Dermatologist:

If you are planning to get one of these PRP procedures involving your blood, you want to ask the following questions:

  1. What system do you use to purify my plasma?
  2. Can I see my plasma before we use it? (Check for color!)
  3. Ask who will be performing your procedure and their level of experience (We are talking about blood, here, and safety is always critical).

I can’t wait to share more information with you on achieving your healthiest, most radiant skin. More to come!

Dr. Whitney

What started out as a buzz in beauty and wellness circles has become an all-out craze over Cannabis. Why is CBD so hot right now? What does it do? Does it get you high? Is it legal and of course, is it safe? I’ve been testing some really good products in this space lately and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’m learning about it with you.

The Skinny on CBD

To start, there are 80 different compounds that have been extracted from the Cannabis plant. These compounds are called cannabinoids. Interestingly, our bodies have an endocannabinoid system and we even make our own cannabis-type chemical called anandamide!

Two of the most well known cannabinoids are THC, which can get you high, and CBD (which is short for cannabidiol), which does not. In other words, CBD doesn’t lead to feelings of euphoria. Some people say that CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, but I beg to differ.  Psychoactive drugs, by definition, can alter your mood.  When I’ve ingested CBD, I definitely notice a change in my mood. I feel more relaxed and at ease.  My patients who struggle with anxiety feel less anxious and more calm.  So, while I don’t think CBD can get you high, I do think it is technically a psychoactive compound.  Caffeine is considered to be psychoactive, so don’t let that term scare you!

When you ingest or absorb CBD, it naturally elevates your own internal cannabinoids/anandamide. And CBD and anandamide receptors are found in numerous parts of our bodies. CBD has gotten a ton of attention lately based on some recent studies are showing that it might have health benefits.

In terms of legality, CBD comes from the cannabis sativa plant. If the plant has less than 0.3% THC content, it’s considered hemp. If it’s got more THC, it’s considered cannabis, not hemp. This makes a difference in terms of whether its legal and in which state.

CBD and Your Skin

If you ingest CBD in a supplement or under your tongue, it enters the bloodstream and can interact with receptors throughout the body.  But if you rub it on the skin, it acts more locally and is less likely to have systemic effects

In particular, CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, and many skin conditions are linked to inflammation, so it’s not a surprise this ingredient is popping up in tinctures, oils and serums. As we know from The Beauty of Dirty Skin, inflammation is the common thread that underlies seemingly unrelated skin issues including acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and even premature aging.

The other potential upside of topical CBD is its potential to act as an analgesic to reduce pain in the skin.  Preliminary studies also suggest cannabis might help with itchy skin, wound healing and even skin cancer.

There are no large clinical trials in humans showing that these compounds are either safe or effective in humans. But, there are a few promising animal and laboratory studies that show potential for topical use that might benefit certain skin conditions.

There are some studies suggesting that topical cannabinoids might help dial down inflammation seen in eczema, skin allergies and psoriasis. Topical application to the skin of mice demonstrated that these molecules were able to not only calm inflammation, but also slow down production of molecules that we know make the skin feel itchy, like histamine. Some studies also show that they can help repair the skin barrier, helping the skin trap moisture while keeping foreign or harmful substances from penetrating into the skin.

Looking Forward:

I believe CBD holds promise for:

  • Acne: studies show that it can dial down redness, inflammation AND helps with sebum production/oil control
  • Itchy and inflamed skin: studies show that it can help to prevent the release of molecules linked with itch (like histamine), could be useful for eczema, bug bites or wounds starting to heal which often itch.
  • Skin cancer: studies show might be able to slow that rapid, uncontrolled, dysregulated cellular division that leads to skin tumors and skin cancers
  • Painful skin (shingles or a sunburn): preliminary studies suggest might even dial down the sensation of pain in the skin.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is such a skin health saboteur (https://drwhitneybowe.com/stressing-24-7-is-b-b-bad-to-the-biome/) so I have my eye on the available information on CBD and stress!

My Current Thoughts:

For now, here are some of the recommendations I feel comfortable making to my patients. I would feel comfortable using CBD oil as a massage oil on INTACT, HEALTHY skin. I would totally rub it onto your soles before a night in heels! However, I am NOT ready to rub this onto skin that is inflamed. Even though it holds promise for conditions like eczema, rosacea, sunburns and wound healing, we know that ingredients are much more likely to penetrate into inflamed skin. These conditions are all characterized by inflamed skin, and an unhealthy barrier. I like to call this “leaky skin” and leaky skin is vulnerable skin. So, until I see some compelling clinical trials, I would NOT rub it on anything but healthy skin (for example, if your skin is red, itching, burning, stinging or painful- hold off for now).

Brands I am Loving:

Lord Jones 

Plant Juice Oils (founders are personal friends of mine!)

Dr. Whitney

 

 

Many of my patients find facial oils confusing. Are they a replacement for day cream, night cream, serum? Should you apply them before your face cream or after? I’m here to answer all of these questions, and more.

How Do Facial Oils Hydrate Your Skin?

Oils are emollients, so they do not hydrate your skin’s deeper layers. Rather, they stay closer to the top layer of your skin and hydrate the surface of your skin while providing protection for your skin’s barrier. They act as a sealant which locks moisture in the skin and that can be very beneficial for your skin’s overall health, provided that the oils are not too heavy. So, I do not recommend swapping out your hydrating moisturizer for a face oil altogether, but they can be very effective if used several times per week at night to seal in your skin’s moisture after cleansing. Many of my patients swear by facial oils, so I think the key is trying different brands and different amounts to find the formula and quantity that works best with your skin.

How the Microbiome and Facial Oils Work Together

We are also learning so much right now about the skin microbiome – the millions of invisible bacteria that live on the surface of the skin and help the skin to function. Just like we have bacteria in our gut, we are covered with bacteria on our skin! And we need those bacteria to maintain the health of our skin. Some of those healthy bacterial strains feed off of our skin’s natural oils, called sebum. This can be a good thing—in the case of promoting the growth of bacterial strains that boost our natural collagen or ceramide production! But this can be a bad thing if we are feeding bacteria that cause breakouts. We are just learning about this area right now, but it’s possible that certain oils you might be adding to your skincare regimen might also act as food for the healthy strains of bacteria, a “prebiotic” if you will. I cover the microbiome and how it affects our skin in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin.

How to Use Facial Oils On Your Skin

I recommend mixing a few drops of oils with your regular moisturizer. If you apply oils first, then you will block the anti-aging ingredients in your moisturizer from penetrating into the skin.

How to Use Facial Oils If You Have Acne-Prone Skin

Take it slow and use only 1-2 drops of oil mixed into your moisturizer at first. If you notice that you break out more when you use the oil, then save the oil only for days when your skin feels tight or dry, or the weather is harsh and cold (like whipping winds).

@DrWhitneyBowe

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