Personalized skincare has so much appeal. The skincare industry is overcrowded and incredibly noisy in terms of constantly emerging trends, companies, products, and aggressive marketing. How can you navigate through the seemingly endless options available to pinpoint the products that are best suited for your skin?

As a dermatologist and media expert, I pour over science and studies behind new skincare innovations. I serve on advisory boards, attend the most cutting edge industry conferences, and personally test products. My patients ask me all the time to make specific, personalized skincare recommendations and I love to share that information because it makes a real difference when your products actually work to meet your needs.

I am always interested in learning about innovations in this area that can help people to better educate themselves as to which types of products will be most beneficial for their individual needs. That’s why I was so intrigued when I learned about HelloAva.

I met the company’s co-founder, Siqi Mou at a beauty event in NYC. Siqi – who happens to be strikingly beautiful, warm, and incredibly forward thinking – explained to me that the concept for this innovative company was born in her business school class at Stanford and it has gained momentum and grown exponentially in the past few years.

The concept is akin to a Stitch Fix for your face and uses the tagline, “the Brains Behind Your Beauty.” I was excited to learn more about this platform, which merges artificial intelligence with live skincare consultants, to personalize your skincare selections. Siqi and her team have gone to great lengths to make this process streamlined, accurate and productive and to set themselves apart from predecessor “online skincare consultant” brands that lacked “wow” factor. So, I asked Siqi to share her insight, journey as a young entrepreneur in such a competitive space, and more about HelloAva with you guys!

DWB: I remember you explaining to me that HelloAva was initially created as part of a business school project. Can you share more on how this project evolved from its initial stages to the incredible new company you now run?

SM: Yes, indeed. It started as a class project in this class called “Lean Launchpad” at Stanford graduate school of business, which taught you how to test out an idea lean before going in 100%. Originally we wanted to make customized skincare products but after interviewing over 300 women during this class, we realized the bigger pain point is “not being able to identify what works for me” and over 90% of the women we talked to expressed that they had to go through trials and errors to identify what works. We want to eliminate that process and help people get to their “perfect match” faster. So we decided to change the idea and instead build a platform to use big data to help people identify what works for what kind of people, and then lead customers to the right set of solutions more efficiently. 

DWB: I’ve heard you describe HelloAva as the “Stitch Fix” for your face. Can you share more on that analogy?

SM: Stitch fix matches you with a personal stylist and uses both AI and human expertise to personalize clothing choices for you. We are trying to do that for a different vertical. The challenge is that for beauty products, customers cannot just try them and return what they don’t like, so we show them what they are getting before we ship the products out. This way users can read more about the products and make more informed decisions before they receive the products. What’s very unique about our service is that we always highlight why certain product is good for the user based on personalized information, and everyone’s content is different and 100% customized. Say if someone has dryness and dullness as key concerns, we will highlight what ingredients in the matched products will solve for those needs. 

DWB: HelloAva is such an innovation because it merges human intelligence (read: real live skin care consultants) with data science to pinpoint the best products for your skin. How does this work?

SM: Yes, exactly. We realized the best user experience should neither be 100% robotic nor 100% human. The former makes it a very mechanic and sub-par experience, and the latter makes the process less efficient and objective. We want to blend the best of both worlds. So the machine does the initial selection based on our proprietary algorithm and data science. Then the human experts (all licensed estheticians) jump in to talk to our users a bit more to learn more about her/his lifestyle, preference and what she/he wants to optimize for, and can make modifications accordingly. This process is also a supervised learning system so that as human modifies product choices, the machine learns from expert input and gets smarter and smarter overtime. It also applies the same logic to similar users in the future. 

DWB: I know streamlining communication is very important to your brand. For example, simple, clear text messages are the key way that Ava communicates with your customers. Can you tell us more about this ease of communication that you’ve created?

SM: We’ve realized that skincare is an ongoing life-long journey and one’s skin changes over time, so she/he constantly needs help. If we can always be there for her/him to help find the right set of the products, adjust different routines based on seasons, and prepare her/him for different events and occasions, that personalized attention is what the user really needs. And what’s the easiest way to achieve that? Become her/his skincare best pal and communicate with them via text messages whenever she/he needs.

It’s so easy, smooth and stress-free.

DWB: I know we’ve also spoken about the fact that your platform works around the products that your customer already uses and loves. Can you explain how that works?

SM: Yes, if a customer tells us she/he loves certain products and wants to incorporate those into her/his new routine, we can do that and add that into her/his regimen. It’s a very simple process, we will just identify what’s the gap in her/his routine and complement it with new products to make it better. However, if a user is not so sure about her/his products and wants to try new things and revamp the routine completely, we can do that too. We are always customer centric so we do whatever the customer wants. 

DWB: What has this experience been like for you, co-founding this emerging company which has gotten so much media attention?

SM: You are too sweet. It’s just the beginning! We have big dreams to disrupt the beauty industry and bring in much more effective and efficient ways for customers to choose products and make this process personalized and easy. And the best way to do that is through technology! We live in a world with so much great technology but if you think about the way beauty e-commerce functions, the user experience is still pretty broken and antiquated. People are still complaining about all the trials and errors they had to go through in order to find out what works. Using technology to improve on this experience is not only desired but rather, demanded by the new generation. It will truly become a game changer in elevating the way people discover, experience and shop for beauty products.

DWB: What is one word of motivation/advice you would give to young entrepreneurs?

SM: We need to take a chance on ourselves. One of the best advice I got from business school was what my professor from a startup class old us “If not now, then when? If not us, then who?”  There’s NEVER going to be a perfect time if you keep dwelling on it. You just have to do it!

I am going to be completing my very own trial with HelloAva, so stay tuned on my personal experience and, to learn more about HelloAva, click here: https://helloava.co/

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).

“Stop picking your face” we say to ourselves, but as the day progresses, we find ourselves scratching, popping and aggravating pimples, bumps and anything that rises above the surface of the skin. Here, my patient and I share a real life journey of skin picking and solutions that have worked.

“I can go an entire weekend without touching my face, but as soon as I’m back at my computer trying to concentrate, I find my hands instinctively going to my face without even realizing it,” says Emily*, a patient who came to see me for her skin picking habit over a year ago.

Skin Picking at Desk

This is so much more common that people realize. I see many patients in my office who have strong urges to pick their skin, even though they know it creates scarring and infection. That’s why I’m sharing this blog with you. Here are some ways that I help patients in my office to combat this very real (and common) urge.

You Are NOT Alone: It’s Okay to Be Honest About Your Habit with Your Doctor

Fact: It’s estimated that 75 percent of people with a picking disorder are women.

When a patient comes into my office with this issue, she often doesn’t want to admit it initially. So, my goal is to make her feel comfortable and realize she’s not being judged. I’ll say something like, “It looks like you’ve been on the attack!” and then I’ll ask what’s been going on, and if there have been any recent stressors she wants to discuss.

The first objective is to let the patient know she’s part of a team and will have a partner to tackle the habit. It’s not about “curing” the patient or chastising her if she falls off the wagon and has a bad night.  It’s about coming up with a personalized strategy that helps that patient feel more in control.

“My skin has gone through ups and downs over the years,” Emily says. “My stress levels cause my picking to flare, but when I follow Dr. Bowe’s advice, my skin always improves.”

Retrain Your Brain to Be Mindful While Keeping Your Hands Busy

Often, this is an unconscious issue so we have to bring mindfulness to the behavior and help the patient realize when he or she is most likely to pick. Many of my patients pick most when they are sitting in front of a computer screen, trying to meet a deadline.  Others pick when they finally find time to unwind in the evening, relaxing in front of a TV screen.  I often suggest keeping a “Hands off!” sticky note on the computer screen or on the TV remote to call attention to the picking and remind the patient not to engage.

Sometimes just redirecting the patient’s attention to another “neutral” activity can retrain the brain to do something other than pick.

fidget spinner skin picking

“What makes it difficult for me to stop picking is the fact that I do it without thinking about it,” Emily says. “Dr. Bowe suggested I keep my hands busy with a fidget toy when I’m concentrating.” That habit has been successful in keeping Emily from picking at her skin. Some pickers may use a stress ball or spinner to keep their hands busy.

Use Tried and True Approaches to Skin Care that Minimize Breakouts

 I take a “field” approach with my patients. Rather than treat specific spots and chase the breakouts, I focus on keeping the skin healthy and clear. I encourage superficial in-office peels and a topical retinol alternating with an antioxidant.

Spot treating can’t hurt, but it won’t prevent pimples because you treat one pimple in one place, and another erupts in a completely different spot the next day. I’m all about staying one step ahead so no one has to resist the temptation to squeeze!

“Dr. Bowe mentioned that the best way to stop picking is to not have anything to pick,” Emily says. “Now I get monthly peels and use a topical retinol which has helped treat the breakouts.”

Meditate + Upgrade Your Diet

 Figuring out what triggers and aggravates the behavior is crucial. Stress is almost always a factor, so I encourage my patients to take out time to engage in calming, tension-relieving activities. Blocking out time to practice yoga, take a spin class or just spending time outdoors and experiencing nature can be incredibly therapeutic during high-stress periods. Patients who pick tend to be very successful, and many are perfectionists.  They often feel guilty taking time for themselves, but that’s one of the most critical steps on the road to recovery!

Yoga and skin health

Simply focusing on breathing can also help. Studies show that deep breathing triggers a relaxation response that relieves emotional stress. Just taking a few minutes to take deep breaths can lower cortisol levels and reduce stress all day long. I recommend trying a meditation app like Breethe / or guided meditation on Insight Timer or even the Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge.

Ingesting certain plants called adaptogens can also help the body resist stress and lift energy levels. Many of my patients find that stimulants, like caffeine, can exacerbate their picking. I often recommend trying adaptogens like this one to support productivity and focus without relying on extra doses of caffeine (which lead to anxiety, which leads to picking).

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

When people are battling compulsive picking, getting medical help is essential. I advise my patients to schedule regular appointments for peels or in office light based treatments or to come in as soon as a cyst emerges for a cortisone injection. Often just knowing they’re coming in to see me makes a patient feel in control and accountable.

But there are some extreme instances when a mental health professional may be necessary. According to the International OCD Foundation, picking is a concern when it’s repeated, causes damage, interferes with daily activities and causes distress. In these instances, SSRI medications and cognitive behavioral therapy can work in tandem with a skin care regimen to reduce the urge to pick.

I’m honest with my patients and let them know it’s a journey, but one they will not have to endure alone.

“I’ve been seeing Dr. Bowe every three to four months for several years and my skin has dramatically improved,” Emily says. “My overall skin texture has improved and my acne is much less of a problem. But the biggest change is in my confidence level. I’m not distracted by my breakouts and I can talk to people without having anxiety about my skin.”

Dr. Whitney

*Name changed to protect patient’s privacy.

When I was at Yale as a pre-med student, my classes were demanding. I studied a lot, of course, but there were times when I just wanted to go out dancing with my friends. It was such an incredible way to de-stress, laugh, and just enjoy each other’s company. The songs that really define those nights out – are all by Salt-N-Pepa. When I hear Push It or Shoop, it really brings me back to that time in my life and to those years when I was just starting out on my path to becoming a doctor.

When I had the opportunity to meet Cheryl “Salt” James at my office, it was just all around wonderful. She’s as beautiful and gracious as she is talented! I also had to mention that my sister literally knows every word to every one of her songs and reminds me of this fact pretty regularly now. 😉 It’s been such an honor to be her doctor and to help care for her skin.

Cheryl tours a lot – and is now doing a residency in Las Vegas. I sat down with her to ask some questions about how she cares for her skin on tour and what she’s found most insightful and helpful from our appointments:

Q: What is your favorite thing about being on tour?

CJ: My favorite thing about being on tour is performing. I love meeting Salt n Pepa’s fan/friends. When we’re at meet-and-greets, we get to hear all the amazing stories from our fans about their experiences with our music and how much we inspired them. But there’s nothing like being on stage. There is an exchange of love, respect and appreciation that happens while performing that reminds me of blessed I am to be able to do what I love. We call it the Salt-N-Pepa experience.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about being on tour?

CJ: My least favorite thing about being on tour is the actual traveling itself, the hours we spend on airplanes and in cars. I equally dislike packing and unpacking — living out of a suitcase is a constant challenge for a woman. It’s difficult to be disciplined when it comes to eating right and exercising, because of our crazy schedule.

Q: What is your nightly skincare routine while on the road?

CJ: When I get back to my room after a long day of press, rehearsals, and performing, I’m so tired. Most nights, all I want to do is sleep. The one thing I always make sure of is to take my make-up off and go to bed with clean skin and apply a light moisturizer or some raw organic coconut oil.

Q: What is your daily skincare routine while you are on the road?

CJ: When I wake up, I wash my face with a natural soap, and apply a moisturizer with sunscreen in order to avoid sun spots.

Q: How would you describe your skin while on tour? Do you notice anything different about the condition of your skin when you’re on the road?

CJ: On tour, my skin tends to become more dry from the traveling. I try to drink as much water as I can so my skin can remain hydrated.

Q: What is your one must-have skincare product?

CJ: Recently, I discovered Aleavia Restore Soothing Mist, recommended by you, of course. I’ve always believed in the restorative powers of coconut oils. Celebrities are always in the hair and make-up chair and it can take a toll on the skin. Before make-up is applied, I like to use the mist to protect my skin.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned about taking care of your skin from Dr. Bowe?

CJ: I’ve learned about The Beauty of Dirty Skin, and the benefits of probiotics, and the importance of rest, diet, and exercise and how it all plays a part in keeping your skin healthy and glowing.

Check out Cheryl’s most recent posts here: https://www.instagram.com/daonlysalt/

 

Dr. Whitney

Love hot yoga and love healthy skin? Keep reading!

Hot yoga  — so many people love it and don’t want to live without it! Did you know that hot yoga has been on the scene since the early 70s, but has been evolving on the regular? Over the years, heated studios have experimented with everything from room temperature (which ranges from around 90 to 108 or even higher) and appropriate poses to sweat-friendly gear and, most recently, their heat sources.

This latest hot yoga trend has some studios swapping out conventional forced-air systems for infrared (IR) heating ones. You’ll hear claims of all sorts of health benefits including increased metabolism and weight loss, improved flexibility, greater detoxification, and even reduced fine lines and wrinkles. People taking these hot yoga classes seem to love IR heat because it feels less heavy and oppressive than conventional heating methods and more like baking in the sun on a warm (okay, really warm) day.

This sun-like warmth makes perfect sense when you consider what infrared light is. It’s actually invisible, but IR light is felt as heat and is able to penetrate skin and heat even the deepest layers. In fact, about half of the sun’s energy is in the form of infrared. Which begs the question: Are we sure all this internal skin “baking” is safe/healthy?

“It really comes down to how controlled the ‘dose’ of IR energy is,” says Dr. Whitney Bowe, dermatologist and author of the new book The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “IR light-based therapies have been used clinically to promote wound healing, protect muscles from stress, and reduce inflammation. In fact, I use some IR devices in my office and recommend some at-home devices to my patients that are based on IR energy. But many people don’t realize that prolonged infrared exposure has detrimental effects on the skin.”

For starters, uncontrolled doses of infrared rays have been shown to damage skin by creating oxidative stress and free radicals, according to a research review in the journal Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that can damage cell membranes, DNA, and structural proteins like collagen and lead to premature aging, chronic skin conditions like acne, and even skin cancer.

“Extended exposure to IR energy has also been shown to alter the function of skin’s mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, and stimulate the activity of enzymes called MMPs that degrade collagen,” says Dr. Bowe. “And high levels of IR heat can theoretically challenge the skin of anyone with a chronic condition that’s characterized by pigmentation, such as melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”

At this point you’re probably thinking it’s time to turn in your IR hot yoga towel, but Dr. Bowe says it’s not necessary to give it up altogether unless you suffer from melasma. “I urge my patients to pause their passion for hot yoga. I’ve seen one hot yoga class take us back 6 chemical peels and 4 months of potent prescription peels,” says Dr. Bowe. Her advice: if you are going to keep up with a hot yoga routine, prioritize protecting your skin before you head in to the studio. And in fact, you should take precautions anyway: you’re getting hit with IR every day from other sources as well, namely the sun – and traditional sunscreens don’t protect against IR rays.

“I’m a firm believer in protecting the skin from uncontrolled IR rays using an outside-in and inside-out approach,” Dr. Bowe says. Here are the six smart skin strategies she recommends employing every day, even when you’re not rolling out your mat.

Apply a topical vitamin C serum.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and combats free radical damage from IR rays and – get this – exercise. “Your body produces free radicals through normal metabolic processes like respiration, so when you work out, you produce more free radicals,” says Dr. Bowe. Choose a lightweight serum that doesn’t clog your pores, and be sure to cover your face, neck, chest, tops of your hands, and any other regularly exposed skin.

Supplement with Heliocare.

This natural supplement contains a patented specialized extract of Polypodium leucotomos (PLE), a tropical fern native to Central and South America that’s been used for centuries as a remedy for various skin conditions. PLE’s powerful antioxidant properties help protect your skin from the inside out from free radicals. Dr. Bowe recommends taking one pill every morning; two if you’re heading out in the sun (but it’s not a substitute for sunscreen).

Sip a collagen smoothie.

Supplementing with collagen can help combat the wrinkling caused by IR heat exposure, says Dr. Bowe. It’s the main structural protein in skin, and its two main amino acids – proline and glycine – are essential for the formation and repair of healthy skin. “I like collagen powders from marine sources,” she says. “Marine collagen is smaller in molecular size than collagen derived from cows or pigs, so it’s more bioavailable and thus more likely to get into your bloodstream and reach the places where it’s meant to work its wonders.”

One of Dr. Bowe’s favorite smoothie recipes: Blend together 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk; 1 tablespoon each of collagen powder, cacao powder, and almond butter; 1 small banana, frozen in chunks; ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries; 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach; and 2 ice cubes (if using fresh blueberries).

Eat foods rich in vitamins A and C.

Both nutrients play a key role in boosting your body’s collagen. “Vitamin A helps restore and regenerate damaged collagen, and your body can’t even make collagen without vitamin C,” says Dr. Bowe. Dark leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, and chard) are high in both A and C. Top sources of C include oranges, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, grapefruit, and guava. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, squash, mango, and watermelon.

Get extra C.

Vitamin C is easily lost in urine, says Dr. Bowe, so in addition to eating C-rich foods throughout the day, she recommends supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of C daily.

Supplement with vitamin E, too.

Another powerful antioxidant, vitamin E stops the production of free radicals, and researchers are looking at E as a possible preventive measure for skin disorders associated with free radicals. It’s tough to get enough E in your diet – sunflower seeds and some nuts contain small amounts – and UV damage depletes our levels, says Dr. Bowe, so she recommends taking 400 IU a day.

Ultimately, whether you decide to stick with IR yoga or not, we all know we need to keep up our mind-body practices and our skin care regime. It’s a fact that doing yoga offers its own benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and greater numbers of healthy mitochondria – all of which are associated with healthier, younger looking skin.  But when we are truly happy and find time for self-care you sport the Instagram-worthy natural glow. In sum: keep oming and keep glowing.

 

Dr. Whitney

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!

Dr. Whitney

When I was a little kid, my hair was a very white-blonde color. My mom loved to squeeze lemon juice into my hair to lighten it even more when we were at the beach. Little did she know that she was exposing her skin to a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which can result in severe chemical burns on your skin. All you need is the juice of a lemon or a lime, a bergamot orange – all seemingly innocuous citrus fruits – and sunlight. The juice reacts with sunlight and can seriously burn your skin, ranging from redness and blisters all the way to second degree burns. Even if your skin does not burn, you may wind up with substantial, lasting, skin discoloration which presents as darkened patches on the skin.

4 Ingredients that Can Cause Severe Sun Damage

So, if you use a hair lightener at the beach – like Sun In or  Sun Bum Hair Lightener, these typically include lemon juice or extract. Be careful not to leave any of this spray on your skin if you are using it on your hair.

If your child has a lemonade stand, be mindful of whether she is squeezing lemons and then exposing her skin to the sun. This is something very few parents think about, but the rashes and burns which can result are actually very real.

Other products which cause photosensitivity which can result in irritation, redness, dark spots, burns, and sun damage include:

These Essential Oils are Photosensitive

 

Certain Essential Oils: So many of my patients swear by their essential oils. They can be energizing, relaxing, and everything in between. But, if you’re going to spend the day in the sun, don’t expose your skin to: bergamot, bitter orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, verbena, and several others. Be sure to check the information which accompanies your essential oils, as many are labeled photosensitive!

Reminder: Why Retinol Invites Burning

Retinol: I always recommend that my patients use their skin renewing retinol products at night. If you use retinol in the morning and head out into the bright sunshine, you will not have happy, healthy skin. This is a nighttime product because it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Have you Heard of Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone: This skin brightening ingredient — which helps limit the skin from producing an excess amount of melanin (which is what gives our skin its pigment and, in cases of excess production, causes brown patches and hyperpigmentation) — is also a common culprit in terms of photosensitivity. Check your labels before you use your skin cream and head out to the beach or pool!

Have a wonderful time in the sun, wear your sunscreen, and watch out for those sneaky citrus fruits!

Dr. Whitney

 

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!

I am so excited to share this brand new page with you guys!

Part of my job as a dermatologist and media expert is to know which of the trending products really work and deliver the results they promise! As a research scientist, I look at the science and the studies behind product claims. I want to see proof that the products that I am recommending do what they say they will do for your skin! I want to see proof that the product is safe. I am all for trying a new trend or an exotic ingredient, but only if I am confident it will not harm my skin’s barrier and my overall health.

I am asked for my product recommendations all the time – so here they are! I will update my top picks on a monthly basis so you always have the opportunity to learn about something new and exciting! I will share recommendations for women, men, and children – something for everyone. I look forward to sharing my favorite products and brands with you to help you achieve your skin goals and stay sun safe and radiant!

Visit Dr. Whitney’s Picks

QUESTION 1: What helps with acne scarring?
ANSWER: When it comes to acne scarring, there are many options that can smooth out those scars, but they usually work best when used as part of a personalized treatment plan. Topical retinoids are key to use at home, as they help to rebuild the collagen especially in atrophic scars (ones that appear depressed or have a shadow). If scars are raised (so called hypertrophic scars), then cortisone shots can make a huge difference. For ice pick scars, and many types of rolling scars, I usually combine lasers with microneedling and fillers. I use lasers like the Fraxel laser to resurface the skin. Microneedling is amazing for acne scars as well. I can combine microneedling with your own plasma (the so-called Vampire Facial), or I can combine microneedling with radiofrequency energy (the Endymed Intensif). Last, chemical peels can also help to slowly even out the tone and textural changes associated with acne sequelae. (more…)

@DrWhitneyBowe

RT @DrOz: Could you be buying fake beauty products online and not know it? @DrWhitneyBowe reveals what could be in these counterfeit items.…

@DrWhitneyBowe

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This site offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information for educational purposes only. The information on this website is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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