What can I do to address my Melasma? The first thing I tell my patients is that we cannot “cure” this condition. BUT, we can get it under control. You have to be like a tortoise—slow and steady wins the race! Here is a step by step guide that I would discuss with my patient if she presented with Melasma:

1. Sun Exposure

  1. I recommend that my patients wear a broad-rimmed hat when they are outside during the summer months without exception. If someone looking at you can see a criss-cross pattern of sun on your face, that’s not effective enough. Here’s an example of tightly woven hats with built in sun protection: wallaroohats.com, coolibar.com, sunhatsbyronigirl.com.
  2. Of course, it goes without question that you have to wear a topical sunscreen and you should be generous with your sunscreen and reapply frequently. Many of my patients swear by mineral/physical blockers, as they find that the chemical blockers (even though they test incredibly effectively), seem to aggravate their Melasma symptoms. Think Sport and Pacifica are two brands which I regularly have in our family’s rotation.
  3. Seeking shade is non-negotiable. No matter how powerful your sunscreen, or how wide your hat, you must seek shade between the hours of 12 and 2. And not just under an umbrella. Studies show most beach umbrellas do NOT provide sufficient protection from UVA and UVB rays. I tell my patients to seek shade under a wood canopy or go indoors. REAL shade.
  4. Light reflects off of the water, so when you are swimming, even if you are wearing a hat, the rays are bouncing off the water and hitting your face. I recommend that my Melasma patients try to swim in the morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t as strong – or opt to swim in the shady part of the pool.

Heat ExposureIf you feel heat on your face, that can make your Melasma worse. I have patients who are chefs, opening and closing the oven all day, and when they finally take a vacation from work their Melasma clears up simply because they aren’t getting that heat from the oven. Infrared heat can also make Melasma worse— that means infrared saunas and at home devices are NOT good for people prone to Melasma. Time to give up your hot yoga- most hot yoga classes are heated using IR devices. IR can also come from space heaters and certain hair dryers. Rule of thumb: if your face feels hot, chances are your Melasma is about to get worse.

Diet

  1. I recommend that my Melasma patients begin taking a Heliocare antioxidant supplement that works as a complement to your sunscreen to increase your protection from the inside out. This is not the type of “sunscreen pill” that the FDA warned about. See my post here about “sunscreen pills” (   https://drwhitneybowe.com/sunscreen-pills-are-they-putting-you-at-risk/).  Instead, Heliocare is a proven supplement, backed by science, which has shown to be highly effective.
  2. There are also some strains of probiotics that can boost the effect of your sunscreen and protect against UV rays from within. I include this information and examples in my book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin.

Thinking outside the boxUVA rays penetrate through window glass. You can get yours tinted with UV protective tints, or you can reapply your sunscreen every time you take a drive. Today, UV-screening residential and commercial film is available for home and office. UV absorbers are added to clear or tinted polyester or vinyl to create the film, which comes in varied tints, allowing 30-80 percent of visible light to get through. The installers apply it on the interior glass surface of the windows from flat sheets. Window film will help prevent sunburn and skin cancer, as well as the brief daily UV exposures that accelerate skin aging over time. To learn more, check out this link on skincancer.org.

What is nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is the creation of super-small particles through the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Translation: yes, it’s like science fiction.

Nanotechnology is now used to develop cosmetics and skin care products that contain super small particles designed to do a certain job in the skin. For example, sunscreens can contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide nanoparticles to block ultraviolet rays while minimizing the white coating on the skin. When you see the words “invisible” or “sheer” on sunscreen labels, it is likely based on nanotechnology.

The question I get all the time in my office is: Is nanotechnology safe? Check out this video to find out more!

xoxo,
Dr. Whitney

A few months ago, I posted about this innovative new technology which was on the horizon and now, it’s here!!

As I discussed on Good Morning America today, sunscreen brand La Roche-Posay has developed the “MY UV Patch” which you wear on your skin. The patch is like a little sticker and it’s about ½ the thickness of a human hair, but it’s a very smart sticker!  The sticker and its accompanying App monitor the amount of UV exposure you’re getting in real time.

In my practice, I see so many patients who have a tan or sun spots and swear “but I’m NEVER in the sun!” I think this patch will help educate people on how easy it is to accumulate UV exposure even on shady days. It will help you learn when you’re getting the most rays– on your way to work?  During your lunch break?  Sitting next to the office window at your desk?  I think you’ll be surprised!

It will also help you determine WHERE you are getting those rays. People wear products with sunscreen plus makeup on their faces, but often neglect their chests and the tops of their hands, which speeds up aging on those skin surfaces.

As I discussed on air, the patch is water resistant so you can shower and swim with it, exercise with it, and even apply sunscreen directly on it. One really cool aspect of the patch is that you can see how well your sunscreen or SPF makeup is performing at screening out UV rays by monitoring your patch. Burning through your sunscreen?  Test your sunscreen on top of the patch and see if it truly delivers. Your makeup says it has SPF 30 in it?  Apply it to your patch and see if your patch agrees! So, it will help you figure out which products actually live up to their claims.

Knowledge is power, and this is one more very innovative tool to raise awareness when it comes to sun exposure!

Are gel manicures bad for your health? Dr. Whitney Bowe, leading NYC dermatologist talks about gel manicure safety, starting with the LED manicure light trend and more.

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!

Are gel manicures safe when you cure them with LED and UV lamps?

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.

Gel Manicure Safety: Two Tips to Protect Yourself from Radiation

But don’t despair. There are some safety precautions that you can take before placing your hands under the lamps.

  1. Apply Sunscreen Before You Go to Your Manicurist

    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.

  2. Opt for a Natural Treatment that’s Similar to a Traditional Gel Manicure

    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!

@DrWhitneyBowe

We Tried It: Holiday Edition is all about a subtle, shimmery glow for the holidays. Our team of testers tried… https://t.co/5FajdyFo68

@DrWhitneyBowe

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