Keep your skin glowing and healthy, on and off the runway, with NY-based celeb Dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe.
This week, I will be speaking at New York Fashion Week to over fifty models about keeping their skin healthy and radiant, not only for today, but for years to come as well. I wanted to share some of this insight with you guys because even if you aren’t hitting the runway this week, these healthy skin pearls will help keep your skin looking its most beautiful.
THE SKIN CHALLENGES: don’t let these common pitfalls dull your healthy glow
- “Hydrating” with sugar and caffeine loaded drinks
- Inconsistent sleep or a poor sleep schedule
- the largely unrecognized urban skin saboteur: pollution
THE SKIN SOLUTIONS: Dr. Bowe’s empowering tools to put your healthiest face forward!
How You Hydrate Counts, Big-Time!
Do you rely on energy drinks and coffee to keep you going throughout your day, like many models do?
If you are an energy drink lover, listen up! Energy drinks oftentimes contain even more caffeine than coffee, other stimulants, and sugars. Sugar molecules link directly to your collagen fibers in a process called glycation, targeting them for destruction. When you break down collagen faster than you can replace it, you not only set yourself up for early signs of aging like fine lines and loss of firmness, but your pores will expand. Think of a pore like a basket made of collagen. If that weave loosens up, because you lose more collagen than your body can produce, the basket grows wider. We call this a “peau d’orange” appearance to the skin, because your skin looks like an orange peel.
More and more energy drink companies are reducing their sugar levels and artificial ingredients to make way for options like stevia and natural flavorings. That’s the healthy hydrating team you want to be on! One of my new favorites to hit the market is HALO SPORT.
If coffee is your go-to, aim for no more than 2 cups of caffeine per day, ideally taking your last sip before 2pm. In fact, drinking coffee within 6 hours of bedtime can impact the quality of your sleep. Caffeine can be fine in moderation, and has even been shown to protect against certain forms of skin cancer. Even though new science shows that coffee is not dehydrating, I still recommend alternating cups of Joe with a cup of water for truly radiant skin.
Equally important, watch what you put IN your coffee! Skim milk may seem like a good choice for models and people who are generally looking to cut calories, but studies show skim milk is most strongly linked with acne flares and inflammation in the skin! The milk proteins, including whey and casein, trigger an inflammatory cascade and increase blood levels of something called Insulin Like Growth Factor- 1 (IGF-1) which has been correlated with breakouts and unhealthy skin. Instead, add a splash of unsweetened almond or coconut milk to your morning Joe.
Beauty Sleep is a Real Thing!
Even experienced models who say that the shows don’t stress them out still suffer from irregular sleep schedules during fashion season. To be candid, Sunday night is never my most relaxing or restful (you too?)! Our sleep cycles are meant to be regular, and when that schedule is disrupted, it messes with our hormones. Our body functions on what’s called a circadian rhythm, which is like our own internal clock. Red-eyes and changing time zones that results from long-distance travel not only disrupt our melatonin release, but erratic sleep schedules can cause our baseline levels of cortisol to shoot up. Yup, our body perceives loss of sleep, or lack of quality sleep (yes, quality and quantity matter) as STRESS.
Even if your mind feels like it’s totally in control, your body AND your skin will be receiving stress signals. Those stress signals not only cause breakouts, but also make skin less capable of trapping moisture and it slows down skin cell turnover. Translation? Deep juicy pimple on your chin, dull skin, dry skin, and blotchy skin. What can you do? Carving out time for meditation or even just focusing on your breathing for 10 min every day can help keep those cortisol levels under control. Try to get outside in natural light every morning, and try to shut off artificial sources of light at night.
Many of my patients travel with copper infused eye shields like this one and even download white noise apps on their phones to block out the elevators or extra noises in a busy hotel. Some patients carry calming mushroom sachets to add to hot water before bed and others swear by melatonin gummies. While in general, melatonin gummies should not present health concerns if you are simply adjusting to a new time zone, I recommend that my patients make every effort not to rely on melatonin supplements for longer than needed for instances like this. Studies indicate that they’re safe in the short term, but it remains to be seen whether taking these supplements daily is safe in the long term.
City Living Can Impact Your Skin’s Health:
Fashion season involves hopping from city and city. What do those cities have in common? Pollution. We now know that pollution can take a major toll on the skin. When your skin is exposed to pollution, those tiny invisible particles can not only land on the skin but can even dive into your pores. When they interact with your skin, they release a flood of tiny missiles called free radicals and expose your skin cells to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress from pollution can not only cause inflammation in the skin, but has been linked to acne, aging, and even to brown spots on the skin. You can protect your skin from oxidative stress by applying an antioxidant serum directly to the skin twice a day and making sure you’re getting enough antioxidants in your diet. I also recommend that my patients take an antioxidant supplement like Heliocare every morning. You can also get antioxidants from deeply colored fruits and veggies (emphasis on the veggies to keep your daily sugar levels low), green tea and dark chocolate.
So, whether you’re walking the runway like the models I’m with here at NYFW or you’re walking the hallway back into your office after a summer vacation, take these tips to heart for your healthiest, gorgeous skin!