Today I’m proud to present my interview with one of the most in-demand dermatologists in the country, Dr. Whitney Bowe, M.D. As a top dermatologist, Dr. Bowe specializes in skin rejuvenation, laser dermatology, and the link between nutrition and skincare. Her work has earned the attention of top media outlets, netting her invitations to lend her expertise on programs like Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, and Dr. Oz, and publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ALLURE, and INSTYLE. Welcome, Dr. Bowe!
All summer long, we eat blueberries. We even go blueberry picking as one of our favorite family traditions! Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants which fight free radicals to help protect your skin from premature aging! Plus, I have a serious sweet tooth, so fresh blueberries and a dash of toasted coconut really satisfy my sweet tooth without spiking my blood sugar.
Oatmeal, almond milk and coconut milk are all low in glycemic index, so they won’t trigger inflammation in your skin. It’s easy to find a blend of almond and coconut milk, just make sure it’s unsweetened! Some of these brands pack in the sugar, so you have a mistaken belief that you are drinking something very healthy. Check your labels, guys.
Chia seeds are rich in skin-healthy omega-3’s,and fiber to keep you full. Although chia seeds have some protein, I like to add a scoop of plant-based protein powder to ensure my skin, hair and nails are getting the building blocks they need.
I make a big batch of these on Sunday night and portion them into jars. That way, my family has grab-and-go breakfasts for the week. My daughter and I can’t get enough of them and I hope you love them too!
Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons maple syrup
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup coconut milk (you can also use an almond/coconut milk blend instead of separating them)
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries, plus more for serving
1 scoop plant-based protein powder (vanilla or unflavored)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, toasted
Mix all ingredients – except toasted coconut – in a small bowl. Portion into smaller mason jars and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, stir everything together to make nice and creamy. Sprinkle each portion with toasted coconut, a pinch of cinnamon, and a handful of fresh blueberries.
There are so many popular myths about Melasma! I am here to help you get the FACTS you need to keep your Melasma under control.
FIRST, no lemon juice. If you google “home remedies for Melasma” you will find pages of home remedies listing lemon juice as one of the key ingredients. this is a MYTH!!! Do NOT use lemon juice on your Melasma! Citrus fruits can irritate the skin, which can make Melasma worse. AND lemons in particular actually make your skin much more vulnerable to the sun. I’ve seen these remedies make Melasma 10x worse in just 24 hours.
SECOND, no heat! Anything that causes too much heat or irritation in the skin can make Melasma worse! When it comes to Melasma, your doctor has to be gentle and you have to be patient. Trying to rush that process will only set you back. This means:
- NO Hot yoga
- NO saunas
- NO steam rooms
- NO sunbathing
- NO tanning salons
THIRD, what should you look for: look for serums, lotions and creams that contain Vitamin C, kojic acid, licorice, or soy. Those are brightening ingredients that have been shown to gently lighten Melasma patches over time.
FOURTH, sun protection!! This is critical to your Melasma treatment!
FIFTH: I wanted to share the regimen that I provided to Ginger to treat her Melasma for your ready reference:
- cleanse with a gentle cleanser (Purpose, Dove, Cetaphil all good) fingertips only
- pat dry using a clean towel
- put a few drops of SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic antioxidant serum into La Roche Posay sunscreen
- rub all over face and neck. CE ferulic has Vit C (skin brightener) AND acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that are thought to trigger Melasma.
HAT– wear a hat when outside!!! I’m serious
I mixed a Melasma Emulsion for Ginger. Less is more to start. I recommended that she use it every other night for the dark areas ONLY. Key ingredients here are Hydroquinone (which acts to block the enzyme that makes melanin and is the MOST powerful depigmenting topical ingredient for Melasma) and Tretinoin (prescription strength vit A) which increases skin cell turnover, bringing the stained cells to the surface where they ultimately slough off.
Alternate nights: dr. brandt DNA Night Cream (loaded with antioxidants) or a gentle moisturizer like Cetaphil or CeraVe.
4 nights before each PEEL: STOP the Melasma emulsion.
Check out the segment right here:
Share your thoughts and questions about Melasma with me on social media! My handle is @drwhitneybowe on FB, TW, and IG!
When you hear the word needle, you might think pain. But, don’t fear, this procedure is not painful and not scary. It also delivers refreshed, smooth, youthful skin. Don’t panic and read on to learn about this hot trend in skincare!
What is Microneedling?
Microneedling (also called “collagen induction therapy”) is a procedure based on the use of tiny needles which create tiny, controlled wounds to the skin. Your body reacts by naturally healing your skin and, in the process, building new collagen and elastin in the dermis. More collagen = younger, firmer skin. It is ideal for tightening and lifting the skin and also, for minimizing acne scars, smoothing out pores, photo-aging, dull skin, poor texture, stretch marks and body scars. It can help with fine lines and wrinkles; in fact, a recent study showed that medical Microneedling can increase epidermal thickness by 140%, while increasing and thickening collagen bundles in the dermis.
Microneedling also allows for serums, topical gels, and creams to penetrate or infuse more deeply into your skin, allowing the products to be more effective. The needle punctures create micro-channels, allowing enhanced penetration of topical products. Serums, for example, are packed with powerful ingredients to benefit your skin. This procedure allows the viscous serums to be absorbed more effectively into your skin, thereby allowing them to achieve accelerated results. Up to 80% of a product can penetrate skin after Microneedling, compared to a mere 7% with normal application on intact skin! Translation: even more beautiful, glowing, and youthful skin. Microneedling also does not involve heat, so you will not have post inflammation pigmentation, which can result from certain laser treatments.
Your Virtual Microneedling Appointment:
In my office, I use what is called a “Percutaneous Induction Therapeutic Microneedling Device” called “Collagen P.I.N.” This innovative device scientifically delivers impeccable results which were previously only attainable through laser treatments or surgery. It is safe for all skin types and skin colors and can be used on the face, neck, décolleté, arms, legs, abdomen, hands, and back.
About thirty minutes before your procedure, I will apply a topical numbing agent to the area we plan to treat. By the time we begin, you will feel practically nothing and absolutely will feel no pain.
I will then remove the topical numbing agent and apply a topical serum to your clean skin. I often use a hyaluronic acid or a vitamin C serum so that your skin will be able to soak up all of the benefits of the serum through the procedure. I use very pure ingredients that are specifically designed to be “needled” or infused into the skin without creating allergies or irritation. The procedure itself takes approximately 20-30 minutes, as most of my patients get multiple areas treated at the same appointment. I tailor the depth of the needle as well as the spacing between the punctures based on each patient’s goals.
Once we are done, your skin will look pinkish to moderately red (like a sunburn), which will diminish within 1-2 hours. You also might experience some tightness or mild sensitivity in the treated area which can last for several hours. Some patients experience subtle flaking of the skin several days after the treatment, but no discomfort. All of my patients return to their usual activities the following day, including work, and you can wear mineral makeup as early as one day after the treatment.
You will see results as soon as 1-2 weeks after the first treatment. I typically recommend between 3 and 6 treatments, depending upon the area we are treating and the type of concern we are addressing. We usually space out these treatments by at least one month intervals at the beginning, and then continue treatments every 3 months as maintenance.
But can’t I use an at home, inexpensive dermal roller instead?
At this time, I don’t recommend dermal rollers or home devices, as they are much less precise than the device I use in the office and can even create tears in the skin. Additionally, dermal rolling can be very abrasive to your skin and can spread bacteria leading to very serious skin conditions. My advice is: proceed with caution. At-home dermal rolling is not interchangeable with the sophisticated equipment, impeccable results, and high safety standards of the procedure in your dermatologist’s office.
I love attending and presenting at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Beauty Breakthroughs Events in NYC because it is like a think tank for cutting edge information in my field. One of the hot topics presented at this year’s event by my esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Chris Adigun, was the safety of gel manicures, especially in view of the LED and UV lamps used to cure gel polish.
I wanted to share some of the latest information available on this topic because it is something so many of us do without giving it a second thought!
We know why we all love gel polish. It lasts up to three weeks without a single chip and is more glossy and shiny than any other type of polish I’ve seen. But, there is always the question of safety when you place your hands under the lamp to cure the polish. Your salon either uses a UV lamp (if you wait for two minutes for the polish to cure, this is a UV lamp) or an LED lamp (if you wait for between 5 and 45 seconds for your polish to cure, this is an LED lamp) as a necessary step in curing gel polish. BOTH UV and LED lamps emit UV radiation. Many people think the LED lamp is safer, but in reality, it is just a shorter, intense periods of exposure to UVA rays, which are linked to skin aging and skin cancer.
But don’t despair. There are some safety precautions that you can take before placing your hands under the lamps. Either apply UVA/UVB sunscreen to your hands 20 minutes prior to placing them under the lamps or use anti-UV gloves, which are available online or possibly at your salon.
Another option which doesn’t require a UV or LED Lamp is Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, which is a part lacquer and part gel polish. The Color Coat and Top Coat formulas both contain an oligomer (a molecule), and the Top Coat also contains a photoinitiator (a chemical compound). The photoinitiator activates a bond between the Color and Top Coat, thus curing the formula in natural light without the need of an LED/UV lamp. I’ve tried it and it looks like a gel manicure from the salon and lasted about the same amount of time. Always good to have options!
Enjoy your beautiful manicures and, most importantly, your healthy skin!
I am eating a piece of rich dark chocolate even as I type! Why, you ask? Not because it is decadent, of course. I am eating this dark chocolate because scientific studies prove that dark chocolate (which is high in antioxidant flavonoids) can significantly protect your skin from UV damage and wrinkles!
The key is that not all chocolates are created equal. Cocoa beans fresh from the tree are very rich in flavanoids. Flavonoids are plant-derived antioxidants that are the main reason why beautifully colored flower petals can bake for hours in the blazing sun without drying out or being damaged by harmful UV rays. The process used to make conventional chocolate strips the chocolate of these potent antioxidants. Thus, white chocolate and milk chocolate hardly contain any flavanoids at all! The highest flavonoid content is in the darkest of chocolate containing at least 70 percent cacao (cocoa) or in cocoa powder. This type of chocolate is high quality and even tastes a bit bitter (but still delicious).
The Yummy Facts:
A London study compared a group of subjects who ate flavanol-rich dark chocolate with a group of subjects who ate standard milk chocolate for a three month period. Over the 12 week period, the milk chocolate group was no more or less protected from UV radiation. However, the high flavanol chocolate group DOUBLED their protection from UV radiation as compared to the baseline. In other words, they could spend TWICE as much time in the sun before they started to see a burn! The study found that eating this type of dark chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light and sunburn!
Another study in Korean women ages 43-86 showed that eating high-flavanol cocoa for 24 weeks had positive effects on facial wrinkles, skin roughness, hydration AND skin elasticity.
And yet a third study proved that cocoa pod extract has a high potential as a cosmetic ingredient because it has anti-wrinkle, skin brightening and sunscreen effects (specifically, as a UVB sunscreen).
Now, even though these findings are so exciting given my love for chocolate, we can’t go overboard. Chocolate is high in sugar and eating processed sugar leads to inflammation and the risk of increasing the potential for acne and other inflammatory conditions like heart disease or diabetes. I eat a square or two per night after dinner and really try to savor them!
That said, I love solid scientific studies that encourage me to eat chocolate. So, this Valentine’s Day, eat that piece of rich dark chocolate and smile because this dermatologist told you that it is good for your skin!
See below for some of my favorite sources of delectable and healthy dark chocolate: (Health tip: If your chocolate says “processed with alkali“ on the nutrition information label, then it’s going to contain substantially less flavanols. Processing with alkali is called “dutching” and this is something you want to avoid.)