Whitney Bowe: Celebrity Dermatologist, Mom, and Master of Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle
You’re one of the leading dermatologists in the city, you lecture internationally and share your insights regularly on TV and in the press, and your book, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, has just come out in paperback form with the title, Dirty Looks -- how do you find time to manage all of these professional roles?
People tell me every day that I have endless energy and motivation. This is likely because I often feel as though I’ve been given a second chance at living a healthy life, as I share in The Beauty of Dirty Skin and now, in Dirty Looks.
My sister lovingly calls me an octopus because I seem to have eight arms doing different things at once both personally and professionally. I love to set goals in motion, plan a path to achieve them, and work towards them with a genuinely passionate and enthusiastic attitude that keeps everything in focus.
This mentality and approach applies not only to my own goals, but to my patients’ goals as well. I am so inspired to share my knowledge and research surrounding healing your skin and body from the inside out and the outside in. I watch the transformation in my patients – and now, I hear about it from my readers- as we heal their skin through diet, lifestyle changes and the most effective products available – healthy radiant skin and a healthy, strong body often pave the way for substantial changes in every aspect of life.
You have an adorable daughter, with so many hats to juggle, how do you balance being a mom and being an awesome boss lady?
Believe me, it’s a work in progress! I do believe (and hope) that seeing mommy be so passionate about my career will have an impact on my daughter and inspire her to follow her dreams and believe in herself. I want my daughter to always know that she’s the center of my world, which she most certainly is. With my demanding schedule, that can be tricky, and takes a lot of advanced planning!
At the beginning of each school year, I make it a point to request every date for every performance, field trip and concert. I block those dates months in advance and they are off limits for any work event, no matter how pressing it may feel when I’m invited! Weekends are all about family, whether we’re going to NYC to see a show together, heading out to our beach house to kayak and swim, or baking and snuggling while we watch a movie on a rainy day.
My days are pretty intense. I work straight through the day and grab bites when I can. I also try to include my daughter in my work when I can, so she can understand why I love it so much! She came on GMA with me and met Michael Strahan last summer, and this summer she’s modeling the children’s pieces for my Dr. Whitney Bowe x Cabana Life Summer Escape collection. She loves that she’s helping to educate kids like herself on ways to protect their skin and prevent skin cancer!
When life gets busy, it’s so easy to put wellness in the backburner, how do you prioritize a healthy lifestyle?
My approach is unique in that I view the skin as a window into your overall health. Skin reflects not only what you put on it, but also what you’re eating, drinking, the supplements you’re taking, your sleep habits, your stress levels, your exercise routine and even your coping mechanisms. That approach is at the core of my book, Dirty Looks, and I live and breathe by the plan I propose in that book.
I work out 6 days a week, and that is MY time. On the days when I can’t make it to the gym, I have a Peloton treadmill in my basement, and I absolutely love that I can tailor my workout to the time I have available that day. When we are away, I run outdoors with a hat and sunblock! But if I’m feeling run down, I listen to my body - recovery is essential now that I’m 40!
When it comes to eating, I focus on nourishing my body and my skin, not on depriving myself or cutting calories. Every now and then, I like to indulge - we are all human, after all! Anyway, when I do end up eating foods that are processed and loaded with unhealthy fats and sugars, it zaps my energy, fogs my mind, and breaks out my skin. After feeling that way, it’s easy to jump right back on track the next day! One of the sports drinks I’ve been loving this spring and summer is called HALO. I love that it has only 2 grams of naturally sourced sugar and is only 10 calories per bottle. I find that if you have healthy options you love, it’s much easier to stay on track!
How are you helping to pass along healthy habits to your daughter?
I lead by example. She sees mommy eating salmon and veggies for dinner and breaking a sweat almost every day. It’s natural for her to do the same. Yes, I let her have pizza and cake at birthdays, but for the most part, we focus on developing healthy habits. My 7-year old daughter, Maclane, also loves sipping on HALO. I pack one for birthday parties so that when the other kids drink juice, she has a naturally sweet alternative that's not loaded with sugar.
I help her to make choices that build a strong, healthy brain and body, and that is the kind of language we use surrounding food and exercise. I talk to her about power, strength, and focus, and I don’t use words like fat, skinny, or diet.
What are some life lessons you hope to teach her?
I want my daughter to understand that perfect is not an attainable goal. I want her to allow herself to explore the things she finds challenging, even if it means failing and falling down, sometimes! The most important thing I can teach her is to get back up, to be persistent, to have grit, to have passion, to release the concept of perfection and flawless, and to embrace everything she is with open arms.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
I always end my day with chocolate, and my husband and we watch a show together that has nothing to do with medicine! We’re both doctors, so we escape into shows that have absolutely nothing to do with the medical world!