Meet Dr. Whitney Bowe
Dr. Bowe views skin as a window into overall health. As a world-renowned expert in the gut-brain-skin connection, the link between nutrition and skin health, she is famous for optimizing skincare routines in a way that gives her devoted patients that recognizable and coveted “Bowe Glow.”
A pioneer in her field and passionate lifelong student, Dr. Bowe is one of the first dermatologists to take a deep dive into the world of clean beauty. Dr. Bowe is regularly asked to lend her expertise on national platforms from Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, and Dr. Oz, as well as features inThe Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Allure, and InStyle. She is the author of the best-selling book The Beauty of Dirty Skin, which has been translated into 7 languages, as well as over 50 scientific articles and book chapters.
Credo: Dr. Bowe, you explain that healthy skin is equally about healing and nourishing the skin from the inside out and from the outside in. Tell us more about your approach to skin health and your practice.
Dr. B: In my New York offices, I treat celebrities, tv personalities, models, influencers, musical artists, stay-at-home moms, teachers, lawyers and doctors. My practice is high-energy, warm and vibrant and fully focuses on the naturally beautiful aesthetic. My procedures are minimally invasive - no surgery - and my techniques incorporate an artistic eye and mathematical ratios to deliver my signature natural aesthetic. My goal is to thoughtfully listen to my patients and to focus together on those confidence-enhancing small changes that can have such a meaningful impact on daily lives and overall outlook.
Before and After – Client: Tory Johnson, Good Morning America
One thing my patients all have in common is that they want clear, radiant skin that glows with health. I believe a highly effective skincare ritual, geared toward your skin’s personal and specific needs is integral to achieving this beautiful glow. Equally important is focusing on healing skin from the inside out...this is the piece people often overlook! That’s why i frequently talk about the gut-brain-skin axis - an approach grounded in science and studies surrounding nutrition and lifestyle habits to optimize skin health and dial down inflammation. By optimizing that gut-brain-skin connection, you can calm the inflammation manifesting in your skin that can cause acne, eczema, premature aging, and even sensitivity. I spent a decade of my life devoted to the study of this subject matter and it eventually culminated in my book called The Beauty of Dirty Skin. Watching my patients’ - and my readers’ - skin transform through simple, accessible changes, that anyone can accomplish at home, has been incredible.
Credo: You’ve been a pioneer in your field for many years. What inspires you to think outside the box and to take on these scientific debates head on?
Dr. B: Growing up in my family was anything but conventional, in the best way possible. My dad was completely deaf and dedicated his life to empowering the disabled community as a disability rights activist and leader. My mom was a sign language interpreter and special needs therapist for 25 years. Our family not only embraced differences as beautiful and powerful, but we lived outside the lines. My dad wholeheartedly believed that the world had so much to learn from the disabled community and, of course, he was right! So, empowering others is literally in my genes and in my blood. Both of my parents helped me to see that hard work, dedication, passion and compassion are the best tools you can have to make a difference.
When I was in medical school, we were taught that diet and nutrition had no impact on skin’s health. In fact, we were specifically told to disregard that information when assessing skin conditions. Everything in my entire being told me that this was not true and eventually I took a position that stood against many established thought leaders at the time. Ultimately, this thinking earned an award from the AAD on the subject matter of yes...diet and nutrition!
I was also one of the first dermatologists to speak internationally on the subject of protecting and nourishing our skin’s natural microbiome - more than one trillion bacteria in and on our skin, originating from approximately one thousand different species. Actually, this is an area of science that holds a very personal meaning to me.
Credo: That’s right. Can you share a bit about that story? How your childhood illness influenced your wellness journey?
Dr. B: Sure. I actually share my story in The Beauty of Dirty Skin and, although it’s personal, I feel like it’s really critical to understanding my wellness philosophy as well as my attraction to the gut and skin microbiome. When I was ten, I got very sick due to a bad bug, a parasite, which found its way into my intestines. My doctors, unable to identify the source of my chronic pain, gave me a myriad of antibiotics which wiped out the good, healthy bacteria in my digestive tract alongside harmful bugs. I was left with a very dangerous type of bug called C. diff, which wreaked havoc on my body. At just 10 years old, I was introduced to the concept of what we now call our microbiome – the family of “bugs” (more specifically, bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that live both inside your body (your gut microbiome) and on your body, throughout your skin’s various layers. I learned first-hand how a healthy, balanced microbiome is critical to maintaining our health. Once my body was strong enough to leave the hospital, uncovering the science behind this balance, and harnessing the strength of our body’s good warrior bugs, became my passion - and I followed through.
Knowing that my work - stemming from my personal journey - has helped to bring this critical subject matter to the forefront of skin health where it belongs has been such an honor. It’s extremely emotional for me because it reflects over a decade of hard work and a personal journey. Speaking internationally, having my book translated into 7 languages, it’s just all a bit surreal. If my dad were here today, though, I know he would not be surprised! I also know he would be so proud.
Credo: What makes you so passionate about clean skincare? Why is clean important to you?
Dr. B: I was initially drawn to the clean world because of the pivotal conversations this space was sparking – the focus on how products we use impact our overall health, the environment, and about how important transparency, integrity and information sharing was becoming. When I think about the work I’ve done in my field - this all resonates with me. When I speak about the skin barrier and the acid mantle, I explain that we need to respect our body’s natural biome and to nourish the diverse rainforest of organisms that coexist with us. We want to heal our skin by strengthening our immune system starting with our gut flora – and this is all fueled by a healthy, clean diet. I eat clean for my health, so naturally I was drawn to the concept of using clean skincare as part of my clean lifestyle. I believe in optimizing our skin care so that it is not only effective, but also thoughtfully formulated and as healthy as possible for our skin.
I acknowledge and fully respect that there is still a lot of debate in this space surrounding how we define clean, which clean ingredients also reflect the science of our microbiome and our healthy skin barrier, how we determine which ingredients are on our “dirty lists” and so forth. The voice that emerged in this space which really spoke to me, with full candor, was Credo’s, specifically through Mia Davis. I felt tremendous synergy with her vision and with Credo’s vision to truly elevate and define this space and to provide the clarity that the market and the consumer so badly need right now.
I am so excited to be a part of this community, this vision, and this entire evolution of skincare. I am honored to share insights in this space from my perspective with you!
Credo: Last question: You’ve been sharing a lot about how being outside in nature has been incredibly helpful to you and your family throughout the past few months – we love all the photos and videos that you’ve been sharing on Instagram! Can you tell us more about the types of activities you love to do with your family that help keep you feeling balanced and grounded?
Dr. B: I’ve always loved being in nature, ever since I was a kid. I love rock climbing, hiking, and swimming (in my sunscreen, of course - I am a derm!). It’s been so much fun to do these things with my daughter, Maclane, as she’s getting older - she’s now 8 and going into third grade! After a day at the office, I’ve been taking long walks with Mac after dinner – and I keep the phone in my pocket and only pull it out if my husband calls because we’re taking too long and he’s worried it’s getting dark! I find that we just talk and decompress together and hearing her share her thoughts is one of my favorite things in the world. My husband loves boating and being out on the water, so I’ve been learning a lot about sailing this summer. We’ve been married for 17 years and I think the fact that we’re both doctors helps us to really understand each other’s worlds and also to embrace our time off together very completely. Balancing and feeling grounded lately has been especially challenging with all that’s going on in the world, so I feel very grateful that I have my sister as a sounding board. We have been navigating so much together, especially as moms. Overall, I really feel that just letting yourself unplug and disconnect in nature - and spend some time either alone with your thoughts or with the people who support you most - is the best medicine.
We couldn’t agree more. Laughter, nature, clean-eating, and her vast and fascinating knowledge around clean beauty all adds up to “we are so very glad you are here!” Let’s take this journey to the next level together and never stop learning alongside one another. Once again, welcome to the Credo family.We are so excited to have you join the Credo Clean Beauty Council.