Spring cleaning your skin with Dr. Whitney Bowe

Written by Whitney Bowe, MD

As the weather gets warmer, you’ll want to switch up your skincare products, trading richer moisturizers for lighter, more breathable formulas. But if you’d like to surpass good to get great skin, it’s smart to go the extra mile — and what better time than spring to turn over a new leaf? These latest brightening and smoothing techniques make it easier to brave bikini season, top to toe.

For a clear, glowing complexion, I recommend kicking off your skin’s spring cleaning by cleansing your pores. A light, in-office chemical peel to deep-clean pores and dissolve dead, dull cells on the skin’s surface can jumpstart your new regimen with zero downtime. If you have signs of sun damage, I recommend Fraxel laser treatments to erase dark spots and to even out skin tone and texture. Microneedling is the hottest new trend when it comes to triggering new collagen to tighten pores and firm up the skin. For an added bonus, I can now microneedle your own platelet rich plasma into your skin.  Full of growth factors, it stimulates repair and rejuvenation at all levels of the skin for a healthy, radiant glow.

What not to do: Don’t use loofahs. They’re too abrasive and so porous that dead skin cells lodge in their nooks and crannies. Add the warm, moist environment of a bathroom, and a loofah becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, use a sugar-based scrub once or twice a week to exfoliate. Also, avoid overuse of antibacterial soaps and washcloths. You don’t want to wash away the friendly bacteria that live on healthy skin. These friendly bacteria help protect your skin from irritants and allergens and even regulate its pH and moisture levels.

If you’re prone to breakouts, I recommend working a topical antioxidant into your regimen. Inflamed, acne-prone skin has fewer antioxidants and is less able to neutralize free radicals. In fact, studies show that people with acne actually have lower levels of antioxidant enzymes and higher levels of inflammatory markers. So opt for a vitamin C serum. Just avoid vitamin E. It can clog pores.

For smoother legs: You know the old wives’ tale that says shaving makes your hair grow back thicker? It’s a myth. If you shave against the grain (up the leg), your hair might feel coarse and thick when it grows back. A better approach: Near the end of your shower, while your skin is soft, first shave with the grain and then shave against it (as a second pass for a close shave). That way, the hairs will grow in with tapered ends that feel thinner. As soon as you dry off, rub a light oil (like Bio-Oil Multiuse Skin Oil or sunflower oil) on your legs to trap moisture and prevent razor burn. Little-known fact: Our lower legs become dry and ashy naturally, because we don’t have many oil glands there. After just one application of the oil, your skin will look firmer and dewier.

For a bikini-ready body, a lot of my patients are coming in for CoolSculpting, a noninvasive procedure that destroys fat cells by chilling them. It’s great for permanently getting rid of love handles, belly fat and back fat. The new CoolMini is made to target smaller areas, like a double chin or the little pockets of fat that makes the inner thighs rub together. We usually get optimum results in one or two treatments.

For a refreshed, well-rested look, I find that injectables can work wonders. A touch of filler under the eyes, for instance, can ease dark circles and minimize puffiness. Some well-placed Botox or Dysport can create a mini brow lift, giving you more elegant arches and making your eyes look bigger and refreshed. I also use injectable fillers to restore volume and youthful contours to the face. But for my patients who want an alternative to injections — and want to achieve real results at home — I love to recommend Dr. Brandt’s Needles No More 3-D Filler Mask. It contains hyaluronic acid, regenerative peptides and an encapsulated amino acid that work together to plump the skin substantially and smooth wrinkles. At least temporarily, it can really turn back the clock.

For more, visit drwhitneybowe.com.

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