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

 

 

It’s not a substitute for wearing sunscreen, but this tasty meal plan can help protect you against the sun from the inside out. Skip the bagels, toast, croissants, muffins, and other carb-loaded breakfast items. These foods are high on the glycemic index, which means they’re rapidly digested and turned into blood sugar, says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “High glycemic index foods are not skin-friendly,” she says. “They promote the release of an insulin-like hormone called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which works to reproduce and regenerate cells. But if you have too much of it, it can work against you by fueling the biological cascades that ramp up inflammation and lead to certain diseases, such as cancer, and skin disorders, such as acne.” Steel-cut oats can be a healthier breakfast choice, because it’s a low-GI food, she says. Other studies have also shown that whole grains such as oats are cancer-fighting. Here are more proven foods to help prevent cancer.

One of the most common questions I’m asked in my office, on social media, and by my friends and family is: which sunscreen do I recommend? There are so many options on the market it is information overload! How do you know what is safe? How do you know what is effective? Does price matter and how about SPF number?

Here’s some quick information at your fingertips to make this much clearer:

My Picks:

I always say, the best sunscreen is the one you will actually use!!!!  Here are some of my favorites:

Lotions: For years, I have used and recommended La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 because it is smooth, not greasy, and it just plain works. Other great options I have been using lately are Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50 and Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70. For my daughter, I usually opt for Coppertone WaterBabies Lotion SPF 50 or Pure Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion SPF 50.

Sprays: Some of my patients prefer a spray to a lotion because it’s so easy to apply. My favorites include Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50, Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+ and Equate (Walmart) Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30. Here’s an important safety tip when using spray- never spray directly into your face. It’s not a good idea to inhale spray sunscreens. Instead, spray it into your hands and then rub your hands over your face. Personally, I use spray on my body and opt for lotions or sticks for my face.

Sticks: Two of my top sunscreen sticks are Up & Up (Target) Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 55 and Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Stick SPF 50+. For my daughter, I often also opt for Coppertone’s Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 55. I usually use the stick to apply sunscreen to my face and to my daughter’s face. It’s just so easy not to irritate the eye area using a sunscreen stick. But, make sure to blend in the sunscreen because it’s equally easy not to cover your entire face properly using a stick.

How Can You Tell What to Buy:

When it comes to sunscreen, there are multiple factors which can make a product fail to protect your skin adequately:

  1. You may not be using enough. I always tell my patients you need a shot glass full of sunscreen to properly cover your face and exposed areas!
  2. You may not be applying it properly. If you go in the water, reapply. If you are out in the sun for two hours, reapply. If you are going outside, apply 15 minutes before you are in the sun.
  3. The packaging might not be entirely accurate. While the Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to test their products, the agency doesn’t do its own independent testing to verify claims. For this reason, I like to rely on studies done by Consumer Reports which are the result of lots of testing to actually verify that the product works as advertised. Some sunscreens which say right on the bottle they are SPF 50 can test as SPF 10
  4. It could be expired. Check the date on your sunscreen! Also, if you left your sunscreen in a hot car or on the hot beach last year, throw it out. It won’t work effectively any more. Invest in your skin and buy a new bottle. Many of the best rated options are very affordable!
  5. Most “Natural” options aren’t holding up to testing as well as their chemical counterparts. Natural or mineral sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, but don’t contain any chemicals, haven’t performed as well. Yes, you can burn through these, and so can your children! If you have very, very sensitive skin and only can tolerate all natural, my current pick is California Kids Supersensitive Lotion SPF 30+.

I will be sharing all kinds of information on this hot subject with you guys over the next few weeks. Check back in for updates! This is such a key subject matter and it shouldn’t be confusing or overwhelming. I am here to help keep you informed and covered so that you practice safe sun this summer!

Xoxo,

Dr. Whitney

The Facts:

MEN are about two times more likely than women to develop skin cancer.

WOMEN are more likely to check their own skin for potential irregularities and are more likely to visit their doctor for skin screens to detect skin cancer.

In my practice, I have repeatedly detected melanoma in male patients who have come to my office at the urging of their wives who spotted a suspicious mole!!

With Father’s Day fresh in our minds and hearts, I wanted to empower my ladies with the key tips I shared on GMA to keep the guy you love sun safe and healthy:

Video 1: Detecting the Warning Signs of Melanoma

Starting at 3:19, I review the “A, B, C, D, and Es” for EARLY DETECTION of melanoma. Early detection is critical for the best possible outcome.

Video 2: Understanding Sunscreen

Starting at 2:15, I discuss how to properly apply sunscreen and what SPF really stands for! What you see will definitely surprise you!

These tips will help guide you over the warm summer months!! Enjoy the beautiful weather and Happy Father’s Day!

xoxo,

Dr. Whitney

@DrWhitneyBowe

RT @DrWhitneyBowe: Brand new Picks Page post about a supplement that can help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. In view of the FD…

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