Parabens are the most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends paraben-free alternatives.

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not warning people against using parabens. However, the safety of parabens has been called into question by studies that show potential cancer-causing properties of the preservative – so many people are avoiding products with this ingredient.

Here, Dr. Joel Schlessinger chooses his favorites among the 1,100+ paraben-free products available at

LovelySkin Cream Cleanser

LovelySkin Cleanser (Regular) is fortified with nourishing ingredients and removes dead skin cells without over-drying the skin.

LovelySkin Cleanser washes away makeup and excess oil through a paraben-free formulation. This cleanser uses medical-grade ingredients, including amino fruit acids (AFAs). These amino acids exfoliate your skin without irritation and the vitamin C reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Meanwhile, Dead Sea minerals help skin to regenerate and heal from environmental stresses and the overall effect of the cleanser is to leave your skin feeling soft and supple – and looking luminous.

EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Very Light Sunscreen

The EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Very Light Sunscreen is another outstanding paraben-free product recommended by the doctor.

EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 offers both UVA and UBA protection, and the sunscreen contains dual-purpose niacinamide: this ingredient calms acne-prone skin and serves as an excellent sunscreen for people with oily skin.

Besides being paraben-free, this sunscreen is also oil-free, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, and it doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. You can use the product under your makeup – or alone.

Rather than choose a third paraben-free product, Dr. Joel Schlessinger encourages you to check out the entire paraben-free section of

You’ll find more than 1,100 skin care and cosmetic products that do not contain parabens, ranging from more cleansers and sunscreens to:

  • foundations, from pressed base to liquid and more
  • lotions, creams and moisturizers
  • facial scrubs to masks and serums
  • blushes to primers and more and Dr. Joel Schlessinger do an excellent job of providing products that meet unique skin care needs across the spectrum, including paraben-free products.

You’re committed to using natural skin care products – but which ones are best? Dr. Joel Schlessinger makes his recommendations for you here.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Alchimie Forever Line
His first choice is the hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, dye-free, gluten-free and cruelty-free Alchimie Forever line. None of these products are ever tested on animals.

Alchimie Forever was founded to treat sensitized skin that had recently undergone procedures. The brand continued to develop, focusing on gentle anti-aging botanical formulations that are effective, especially for people with sensitive skin.

Products include a body contour gel, firming gel for neck and bust and gentle antioxidant scrub, plus age defying serums, a brightening moisture mask and more.

Clark's Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum

The second choice of the doctor is Clark’s Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum, a powerful blend of botanicals and antioxidants.

Clark’s Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum is a highly effective anti-aging product that helps to fight wrinkles and visible lines. The serum nourishes and hydrates your skin, protecting you against new signs of aging while fighting existing wrinkles and lines.

Products in the Clark’s Botanicals line are paraben-free (parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics) and contain Jasmine Absolute, an essential oil that provides anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. These products work well for all skin types.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger also recommends the Eminence Organic Skin Care line as your natural skin care solution. 
Eminence Organic Skin Care
Eminence Organic Skin Care products contain potent combinations of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs and are free from harsh chemicals. These products are created to hold on to the maximum amount of nutrients and vitamins.

Choose Eminence products to combat aging, wrinkling and sun damage, to fight acne and to prevent the loss of skin radiance.

If you have too much melanin in your skin, this condition is called hyperpigmentation. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends products for you.

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Many women suffer from blotchiness or pigmentation issues. These can be termed ‘hyperpigmentation’ or ‘melasma’ or ‘chloasma’ and are commonly seen after pregnancy or the start of birth control pills. Dr. Joel Schlessinger and his website,, offer advice and product choices for effective treatment of these conditions and more.

At the Medline Plus site by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, multiple risk factors are listed for hyperpigmentation:

  • History of skin inflammation
  • Medication use
  • Endocrine diseases
  • Too much iron
  • Sun exposure

If you have hyperpigmentation, you’re probably more concerned about what to do than the causes – and so Dr. Joel Schlessinger offers his recommendations here.

The Obagi Nu-Derm Starter Kit: the #1recommendation

Obagi Nu-Derm Skin Care Starter Set (Gentle Cleanser - Normal to Dry)

The Obagi Nu-Derm Starter Kit includes the full-sized products you need for your hyperpigmentation, along with a travel bag and the information needed to appropriately use this skin cell renewal kit.

Here’s what is included in the skin renewal starter kit:

Step 1: Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser – For Normal/Dry Skin
Step 2: Nu-Derm Toner
Step 3: Nu-Derm Clear
Step 4: Nu-Derm Exfoderm – For Normal/Dry Skin
Step 5: Nu-Derm Blender
Step 6: Nu-Derm Sunfader SPF 15
Step 7: Nu-Derm Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35

Neocutis Blanche Skin Lightening Cream

Neocutis Blanche Skin Lightening Cream: the #2 recommendation

The Neocutis Blanche Skin Lightening Cream contains 4% hydroquinone and actually disrupts the skin’s darkening cycle, so you should see noticeable improvement in your hyperpigmentation in as little as four weeks. This is a fast-absorbing cream that improves your skin’s brightness and radiance.

Lumixyl MD Products

Lumixyl MD products: the # 3 recommendation

The advanced peptide technology of the Lumixyl product line reduces the production of melanin to improve skin tone. You’ll notice a brighter complexion with only 8 to 10 weeks of use. This formula will not cause an allergic reaction and your skin will not become more sensitive to the sun. Plus, it’s safe for prolonged use.

If you suffer from the chronic skin condition of rosacea, Dr. Joel Schlessinger can help: here are his three favorite products for the condition.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

If you have Rosacea, the blood vessels beneath your skin are swelling, causing redness and perhaps skin sores that resemble acne. Typically, people with this condition are between the ages of 30 and 50, with fair skin. Women get Rosacea more often but, if a man gets the condition, symptoms are often more severe. See the PubMed Health article on Rosacea from the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more information about the condition.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream

The doctor recommends that you use La Roche-Posay products if you have Rosacea.

The entire line is good for people with the condition, but he especially recommends La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream. This is a creamy, water-activated, fragrance-free and preservative-free cleaner specifically designed for people with intolerant skin. The lather is smooth and gentle as it rinses away traces of makeup and impurities.

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Anti-Redness Moisturizer

A second product from this line is one of the doctor’s favorite products for Rosacea: La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Anti-Redness Moisturizer. This is a light green fragrance-free moisturizer than neutralizes the redness in your skin. Plus, it’s a soothing product, providing relief. After use, your skin will be calmer and more radiant.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger has a final recommendation: use the Oxygenetix line to heal and camouflage multiple skin conditions, including Rosacea.
Oxygenetix line of moisturizers and foundation makeup
This line (Oxygenetix moisturizer and foundation makeup) contains medical-grade ingredients and so is only available through physicians and medical professionals. This product line is also an excellent choice if you have wounds, rashes, injuries, scars and/or dry skin.

The ‘Hunger Games’ and dermatology/medicine

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

SPOILER ALERT: HUNGER GAMES BOOK 1 – Having recently finished the Hunger Games series, I found it interesting that there were many medical and dermatology references in the books. In general, I found them to be well thought out, but some had technology or medical inventions that clearly aren’t available now, such as Peeta’s bionic leg he receives at the end of the first book. On the other hand, there are many dermatologic happenings in the books that are true or close to true. I am going to go over a few of these now and will continue to comment over the next few weeks or so.

The first medical event in the Hunger Games is the burn that Katniss suffers from the Gamesmakers’ fire. What she does after the burn is perfect – she takes the area and immerses it in cold water. Then, she takes off her burnt outfit in that area and cleans it off, which is again outstanding. Next, the book details the fact that there are blisters and red tissue, but no black/charred skin. This means that she has a 2nd degree to deep 2nd degree burn. If there were charred or white discoloration to the burn that would make it a 3rd degree burn, which would have had a more serious outcome (but who knows what the medical advances of the Capitol could have done with even that?).

2nd degree burns are treatable, but generally need a thick paste called Silvadene, which is a ‘sulfa’ drug antibiotic paste. If patients are allergic to sulfa, then we use other antibiotics like Bactroban or Polysporin. But guess what: I can assure you that these weren’t what were parachuted into the arena as they wouldn’t have resulted in immediate pain relief or clearance of the burn in such a short time period.

Burn treatments take weeks for a deep second degree burn as Katniss had. Additionally, they almost always end up with a scar (and I will be talking about scar treatments later on in future blogs and the reality of what can and can’t be done for a scar). Pain, on the other hand, is something that just doesn’t disappear with one application of an ointment.

Sadly, pain is the most difficult aspect of a burn to control and generally, it is treated with morphine or other injectable pain killers. It takes weeks to heal as the nerves are injured and this is what causes the pain. If there is no pain, then this generally means it is due to a 3rd degree burn, which is only treatable at present with a skin graft. That would be tough to parachute into the arena!

For very minor burns (1st degree or superficial 2nd degree), a healing balm such as the FixMySkin 1% Hydrocortisone Healing Balm, which my son and I invented ( is a great choice, but it doesn’t appear that Haymitch knew about this or he would have certainly sent that to Katniss immediately or it would have had product placement in the movie…

Thanks for being a part of my blog and I will be posting other thoughts on the medical aspects of this book/movie over the next few weeks as I find it fascinating as a book and sometimes it helps to know what really is possible at present and what is fancy. Until then, take care! Joel Schlessinger MD