Sometimes the top shelf of your local drugstore just ain’t enough and so we turn to the experts. Meet Whitney. Mother, a friend, my dermatologist, and the skin genius behind the trending #thatboweglow, answering all your skin stigmas.
stefagostino: What’s the best way to get rid of acne scarring? –
Dr. Bowe: The most effective way to get rid of TRUE acne scars is through a series of laser treatments (I like Fraxel), combined with some microneedling procedures (vampire facial). If you have deep, rolling scars, then you might even need a drop of filler to smooth everything out. When it comes to acne scarring, the catch is, you don’t want to start treatments if you are still actively breaking out!!! Treatments are expensive and can have downtime (redness, peeling), so be sure you are seeing a dermatologist who gets your acne totally under control before you start any scar-related treatments. If you do a bunch of treatments and then have a bad breakout, you now have a few new scars and have to go through the whole thing again!
A lot of patients come to me and point to acne “scars” but they aren’t true scars! They are red or dark marks called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels are amazing for these, and can even be combined with light based treatments (I like to use something called the Theraclear that pairs vacuum with broad light to calm inflammation and clean out the pores).
fannyelle: What kind of products and/or ingredients do you avoid or recommend avoiding?
Dr. Bowe: If you have sensitive skin, stay away from ingredients like alcohol or fragrances as they tend to be drying. Be careful of cleansers that contain detergents as they can irritate and strip the skin of its natural oils (translation: cleansers that foam too much are very drying!). Scented products tend to irritate sensitive skin as well, so look for the words “fragrance-free” if you have very sensitive skin. I also recommend avoiding parabens.
talesfromthethrift: Your skin looks so amaze!! Here’s a question–what do I do to get rid of a zit FAST?!?
Dr. Bowe: The quickest way to get rid of a pimple if you only have a few hours is to visit the dermatologist for a cortisone shot. If you can’t get to the derm, an OTC cortisone cream will reduce the inflammation and redness. Just be CAREFUL!!! Do NOT use the cortisone anywhere other than RIGHT over the zit, and only use it for one day at a time!! Too much cortisone on the skin can lead to a horrible condition called “steroid acne” where the skin gets ADDICTED to steroids!!! Applying a benzoyl peroxide treatment (which is the ingredient that most spot treatments contain) will also kill off the bacteria and dry the pimple out.
alwaysayesha: Beautiful! How do you get rid of dark circles ?
Dr. Bowe: First of all, all dark circles aren’t created equal! Some are from shadows (in which case you are lucky because your derm can FILL them with filler!), but others are from a pigment called melanin, and others are from a stain from iron in your blood, when the vessels under the eyes are leaky. Still others result from too much rubbing (e.g. if you have allergies or eczema). So you really want to get into a derm’s office for a customized approach. But, here are some general rules of thumb: In order to prevent under eye circles, it is important to start using an eye cream around the age of 30. The skin around the eyes is very thin and fragile, and so preventative care is key. Using a cream with peptides, HA or antioxidants is great for your 30’s, and I suggest adding a product with Retinol in your 40’s. Wear sunglass as often as you can to protect this fragile skin from UV rays (make the sure the glass part is UVA and UVB protective)=- squinting from the sun can create more wear and tear around the eyes, and UVA and UVB rays break down collagen in this area!
themoptop: Sooo perfect!! Natural ways to heal acne scars from acne?! Also are facial extractions worth it for acne?
Dr. Bowe: True acne scars (meaning there’s a depression in the skin, or it’s raised above the surface of the skin—the actual TEXTURE is different from the surrounding skin) are very challenging to treat. I find the most effective way to treat these is by combining skincare with in-office procedures like laser and microneedling. If you are looking for natural, I’d suggest the vampire facial.
I’m not a huge fan of facial extractions. I’ve seen them actually stretch out the pores or even lead to “ice pick scars” if done too aggressively!!! If you get them done, make sure it’s with a board-certified dermatologist who is super gentle and preps the skin first with products that will loosen the debris clogging the pore
wongton_mian: @thegreylayers 🏻 whats your favourite products for blemish free radiant skin?
Dr. Bowe: Products are constantly changing (and I’m ALWAYS testing them out.. my bathroom looks like a lab!), so I like to focus more on what ingredients to look for. If you are acne prone, I love incorporating a retinol, and either glycolic or salicylic acid, into the regimen. If you have dark spots, I love natural brighteners like vit C, kojic acid, licorice or soy. I’m also a huge fan of antioxidants! If you are still at a loss, I do make specific product suggestions on my Press page all the time, as I’m usually one of the first to test these products, and oftentimes help adivise companies when it comes to product development. So I’m always talking to beauty editors. My press page would have the most up-to-date info on specific products.
capucinecrmrs: I used to have your skin as a teen, I didn’t know what acne was irl until now that I’m 20, I feel so uncomfortable and because of my anxiety I keep picking my face which make it worse.. So if you have some solutions for a really sensitive skin which break out every week
Dr. Bowe: I talk about sensitive skin above, but I think so many 20-somethings don’t realize the impact DIET can have on their skin!!! Try to avoid ingesting milk-based products because the whey and high glycemic index can trigger a negative reaction causing inflammation in the skin! Instead of dairy milk, opt for almond milk. Instead of white bread, chips, or cold cereal, opt for healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, or multi-grain bread. Be extra careful to avoid sugary drinks like juices or sweetened coffee drinks from your fav coffee shop—those are often LOADED with sugar and can break you out.
xxpriscillaah: Also! How do you get rid of hyperpigmentation left behind from healing acne?
Dr. Bowe: I recommend a few things to help minimize hyperpigmentation – Every day, use a serum or lotion with one or more spot-fading ingredients like lineolic acid, kojic acid, licorice, or soy. Add a vitamin c serum, underneath your SPF, to your beauty routine to combat the pigment from dark spots and help prevent future ones from forming. A formula that contains retinol can also be very helpful in increasing cell turnover which, in turn will help even out skin tone and dissolve dark spots. However I recommend starting out slow i.e. 1-2x per week to ensure you skin can handle the potent ingredient.
emilywongg: What should you expect from your dermatologist appointments??
Dr. Bowe: At my practice, I want each of my patients to have a personalized experience. My patients come in with different skincare concerns — while some patients are seeking prescription medicine for help with acne, others are interested in anti-aging tools or want to enhance the overall quality of their skin (focus on tone, texture, pore size, etc). I always start with a consultation. I hand my patients a mirror and ask them to explain their skincare goals! So, when you arrive at your dermatologist’s office, be ready to discuss your top concerns. It also helps for you to bring a bag with the skincare products you are using! That way your dermatologist can tell you whether you need to swap any products or change the frequency of use. Most of my patients come to me for procedures, so if you are interested in having a certain procedure done the same day as your consultation, ask the office staff if there are any things you should start or stop doing in the weeks leading up for your appointment (eg stop using retin A, stop taking certain medications or supplements).
jennykhamsiri: What is the best affordable drugstore brand for any skincare products? Also best drugstore everyday cleanser that will even out your skin making it look healthy without drying it out?
Dr. Bowe: There are great drugstore options out there! I like Cetaphil (they have some of the most gentle cleansers out there), Olay Total Effects 7 Fragrance-free Moisturizer is filled with antioxidants, vitamins and humectants so it helps to keep skin moisturized and hydrated while offering several anti-aging benefits in one and Cerave PM is a calming moisturizer, loaded with ceramides to helps restore the skin barrier. Purpose, Cetaphil, Cerave, Olay, L’oreal, and Aveeno are all excellent brands that you can find in most pharmacies at affordable prices!
lindawinn: What do you think is the best holy grail hydrating moisturizer and eye cream in the market right now for winter?
Dr. Bowe: I love Dr. Brandt Do Not Age Triple Peptide Eye Cream! Apply the cream under the eye area at night to trap moisture which will hydrate and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Estee Lauder, La Mer and Chanel all make amazing products as well. Coconut oil is also great for trapping moisture on a budget!
mskgwld: I’d also would love to know which drugstore products would be great for clearing my skin! . My skin isn’t a problem compared to those who have a lot of acne but when I do break out it’s a huge under the skin pimple. 🙁
Dr. Bowe: Even if you don’t get consistent breakouts, it is important to have a consistent skincare routine. A great product you can purchase from the drugstore is Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. By cleansing your face every day, you will ensure that you are removing all of the dirt and oil that builds up on your skin over the courses of the day, which will help avoid a major breakout. I’m also obsessed with GlamGlow masks! I think they are so much fun to use, and keep the skin healthy and clear.
ericjess: What’s a favorite for toner?
Dr. Bowe: Toners can be helpful for people with acne prone skin looking to remove excess oil. After cleansing, saturate a cotton pad with the toner of your choice and gently pat your face and neck. You can do this morning and night – just be sure the toner is alcohol free! I don’t have a favorite… I’m always trying new ones.
stephieblaire: I have pimples that appear in the same areas all the time, even after a facial extraction. It’s the space between my eyebrows and above my left eyebrow. Help! Pimple cream doesn’t help.
Dr. Bowe: Sometimes my patients get pimples in the EXACT same spot time after time. It could be that there’s actually a cyst under the skin, and it swells and then collapses, but never fully goes away. Seeing your dermatologist can help because they can sometimes inject with cortisone and help it to go away for good. Waxing can also be a culprit, because waxing can lead to ingrown hairs and pimples between the eyebrow area. Make sure you are using a cleanser and an exfoliator to help with possible ingrown hairs. If that doesn’t help, try holding off on the waxing until you see an improvement.
ivorytea: Are facials actually worth it/healthy for your skin?
Dr. Bowe: Facials are a great way to pamper yourself and help reduce stress levels, but their effects aren’t very long-lasting. If you are really battling skincare concerns it would be in your best interest to visit a dermatologist to see if chemical peels, lasers or medications might be able to help. Those can provide much longer lasting effects.
gabrielleblanche: How do you deal with blackheads?
Dr. Bowe: Choose a cleanser that contains salicylic acid and exfoliate 2 TO 3 times a week. I like dr. brandt’s pores no more poredermabrasion because it acts as a cleanser and exfoliator simultaneously to deep-clean the skin, improve texture and tone. You can also steam your face and use a retinoid product, which contains vitamin A, a great solution for clearing clogged pores.
wwwendyk: Thoughts on the PDM and dermaroller for deep scaring?
Dr. Bowe: Derma rollers are much less precise than the microneedling devices I use in my office and can actually even create tiny tears in the skin that can spread bacteria, leading to very serious skin conditions. Since manual needle rollers lack precision, it can lead to inconsistent results. I recommend proceeding with caution. At-home dermal rolling is not interchangeable with the equipment, results, and safety standards of the procedure in your dermatologist’s office.
beenakaris: What treatment works best for scars & big pores.. chemical peel, laser….??
Dr. Bowe: Microneedling can help with enlarged pores. It is a procedure that uses tiny needles that 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. Although it is ideal for tightening and lifting the skin, it also smooths out pores by shrinking the “basket weave” that makes up the pores (by promoting collagen growth) and allowing serums, topical gels, and creams to penetrate more deeply into your skin, allowing the products to be more effective. Peels and certain lasers, like resurfacing lasers, can also work wonders for pores. I always customize my approach to each patient and their budget. Peels can be a fraction the cost of a microneedling or laser procedure, but they can have much less downtime. I’m always weighing cost, downtime, and efficacy with my patients and we are making decisions that work best for their lifestyle!