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!
1. Let’s talk about your book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin. That must be so exciting for you!
DR. BOWE: Yes, so exciting! This book is the culmination of over a decade of my life’s work and I am so excited to finally be able to share all of this information! In The Beauty of Dirty Skin, I share proven methods to achieve healthy skin on any budget. My 3-week plan is accessible, attainable, and very realistic for today’s multi-tasking super woman.
My ultimate goal is to empower people through education, information, and the most effective tools available, to face the world—quite literally—feeling their absolute best and ready to take on new challenges. I live by the plan I share in my book and it has changed my life in every possible way. When I saw the incredible transformations in my patients as well, I wanted to reach as many people as possible with this book. You will not only have radiant skin, but the “side effects” of my plan include increased energy, increased focus, lowered stress levels, and even weight loss! It’s a guide to overall wellness that is easy to follow and to understand. Making these changes had such a profound impact on my life, I just couldn’t wait to help others feel the same way.
2. You always look so polished! What are some of the beauty products (skin care, hair care, makeup) you can’t live without?
DR. BOWE: 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 I share them on my Dr. Whitney’s Picks page! I share recommendations for women, men, and children – something for everyone. My page includes my favorite makeup, hair care products, skincare products, and self care, pampering items as well.
3. What made you go into dermatology?
DR. BOWE: My inspiration stems from my dad, Dr. Frank Bowe. He became completely deaf when he was three years old, as a result of a childhood illness. He was able to speak, but he sounded “deaf” and “different” in the sense that his voice lacked the typical inflections that hearing people use when speaking. His peers – and adults – assumed he lacked intelligence or was just not capable because he was deaf. He was often isolated and played alone. Thankfully, one teacher believed in him. She had his IQ tested and it turned out to be incredibly high. She empowered him to believe in himself and what he was capable of achieving. Once he started down this path, he graduated from college, pursued his PhD at NYU, met my mother, who was studying sign language, fell in love, and started a family.
My mom became a sign language interpreter and therapist for special needs children while my dad pursued his goal of changing the world for people with disabilities. He led a nationwide protest which ultimately led to the Americans with Disabilities Act. He inspired so many people as an activist and leader. His students at Hofstra University often referred to him as a “rock star” professor. As a couple, my mom and dad shared a dream to help the world to see the value of the person behind a disability. Growing up in that open-minded environment, it was easy for me to look past a disability or condition to the person inside. It did, however, weigh on me when I saw the pain in someone’s face when others were less accepting of a condition or disability.
While I was in medical school, I felt drawn to a specialized dermatology clinic called “the acne clinic”. At the clinic, I met patients with severe acne and scarring. Even as their physical scars were helped through treatment, the emotional scars from dealing with and living with this condition often persisted. But slowly, and with some encouragement, as the treatments truly started to work, I watched a transformation as their personalities began to shine through.
I loved to be a part of that transformation. I wanted to pursue this field that could change lives in such a tangible and meaningful way. And that’s how I started down the path to become a dermatologist. This is still the most incredible part of my job. I love watching the transformation in my patients every single day – healthy skin is so much more than skin deep and it is just wonderful to be a meaningful part of that process.
4. You seem like a very positive person. You talk about meditation, yoga, and more in The Beauty of Dirty Skin. How do you fit these into your busy schedule? What is a typical day like?
DR. BOWE: Thank you! I naturally wake up with a fire in my soul and an excitement to face my day. I wake up, set my goals, and then I set out to crush them. It’s my nature! On any given day, you’ll find me working on a whole bunch of professional projects, seeing patients, gearing up for a tv appearance, taking my daughter to dance class, and working on home projects with my husband. My sister lovingly calls me an octopus because she thinks I have eight hands doing things all at once. I am just not great at taking down time. But, because of what I’ve learned through my work, my goals have shifted. I know that I need to carve out time to exercise. When I work out, I perform better in every area of my life. And working out now includes mindfulness, yoga, and meditation – not just the intense cardio I was previously hooked on for years. I learned to meditate. I use a meditation app a lot of the time when I’m traveling or when my schedule gets crazy. I use Headspace or Breethe – I love both. I sometimes can’t believe that I actually sat down long enough to learn to meditate because I hate sitting still, but I did it and it makes a huge difference for me.
And, of course, as a mom, my biggest pride and joy is my 6 year old daughter, Maclane (we call her Mac). Even if I’m working late, Mac and I always have our reading time and our snuggling time- it doesn’t matter how many deadlines I’m facing or if I have to be up at 4 AM to get to a studio for a live tv appearance. I will not miss that time with her. When I travel for work, as much as I possibly can, I take her.
Every day, I am learning new ways to balance and to juggle and to prioritize self care amidst it all. I encourage my patients to make time to nurture and nourish their bodies from the outside in and the inside out because it’s not only empowering, but it’s also very essential to your overall health and wellness.
5. You have a 21-day plan in your book. Can you tell FutureDerm.com readers more about it?
DR. BOWE: The alliance between your gut, brain, and skin – called the gut-brain-skin axis – is the soul of healthy skin. My 21-day plan focuses on each of these areas to heal your skin from the inside out AND from the outside in. In Week 1, I focus on healing the gut through dietary changes that are easy to follow and recipes you can readily make at home. In Week 2, I focus on the mind and its relationship to the health of your skin and your entire body. This week focuses on meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise, and how simple lifestyle changes on any budget can transform your skin’s health. And finally, in Week 3, I focus on the most cutting edge skincare and ingredients available today to achieve skin that is glowing with health. I initially shared this plan with my patients and their incredible transformations and stories inspired me to include my plan in The Beauty of Dirty Skin. Healthy skin was, of course, the main focus of my plan, but my patients reported that they also gained energy, felt less stressed, lost weight, and felt more focused and inspired as a result of these changes! I can’t wait for my readers to feel as empowered as my patients and I do through this very accessible action plan!