Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how firming body lotions work

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how firming body lotions work

Plenty of skin care creams promise to tighten and tone skin while reducing cellulite. These firming body lotions might sound like a miracle, but there’s really no quick fix for dimpled or “orange peel” skin. In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how firming body lotions work and what kind of results you can expect.

Firming body lotions work by moisturizing skin, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

The creams that promise to firm and tone skin are a temporary fix, meaning these formulas might initially provide results but they aren’t going to eliminate cellulite for good. Cellulite’s characteristic dimpled appearance is the result of uneven fat deposits under skin. Firming lotions provide a much-needed dose of hydration to smooth the appearance of skin. This moisturizing action also helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, helping skin look more youthful and radiant. Additionally, firming products that are specifically designed to target cellulite often contain caffeine, which acts as an antioxidant and can help improve circulation.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says the best way to fight cellulite is by combining a firming lotion with professional treatments.

Diminishing cellulite requires a combination of healthy diet and exercise, but sometimes even this isn’t enough. Fortunately, there are professional treatments that can help diminish the appearance of stubborn cellulite. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends VelaShape, a non-surgical procedure that uses elos technology to tone, contour and shape targeted areas.

There are also several at-home treatments to prolong your results following an in-office procedure. bliss FatGirlSlim Lean Machine is a vacuum massager that targets cellulite with a combination of rolling, lifting, suction and pulsing motions. The device provides temporary results, and best results are seen when it is used alongside healthy diet and exercise. SkinCeuticals Body Tightening Concentrate tightens, firms and lifts targeted areas with a cooling sensation. This treatment helps smooth and tighten skin on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and upper arms in as little as eight weeks. ResolutionMD Cellulite Treatment System contains a body wash, a firming moisturizer and a renewal cream to firm, tone and tighten skin. When used as directed, this three-piece system provides results after six to eight weeks of use.

Do you have a question about firming body lotions for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses Botox for hairstyles.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses Botox for hairstyles

From correcting wrinkles to easing migraines, Botox has a wide range of applications that continue to evolve with changing trends. Most recently, Botox has been used to rectify excessive sweating in patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis, a condition that involves overactive sweat glands. Now, the process is being used to combat scalp sweat, keeping hair cleaner and more voluminous as a result. In this blog entry, Dr. Joel Schlessinger responds to an article from Medical Daily called, “Women Are Getting Botox Injections for Their Scalps to Keep Hairstyles Intact.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains Botox.

Botulinum toxin type A, or Botox, is a neurotoxic protein used for a variety of medical and cosmetic procedures. It is typically injected in small amounts over a set period of time. Botox is most commonly used to correct wrinkles by limiting the ability of nerves to make muscles contract, essentially relaxing muscles to keep skin looking firm and youthful. Botox injections are also capable of decreasing nerve stimulation of sweat glands. This process is often used for underarms, hands and feet to reduce the activity of sweat glands in those areas. Now, the process is also being used to combat scalp sweat.
Botox injections to the scalp decrease the amount of sweat produced by sweat glands in the scalp. This keeps hair cleaner and helps maintain style and volume long after you’ve left the salon. Botox injections in the scalp are similar to injections in the face but affect a greater surface area. Typically, a dermatologist will inject around 20 units of Botox to the face. For the scalp, about 100 units of Botox are injected to cover the entire surface area.

Botox for the scalp has potential, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

The FDA has yet to approve Botox injections for the scalp. As a result, the procedure is not being widely performed by dermatologists, but Dr. Joel Schlessinger says that Botox injections for the scalp have potential. “While this sounds intriguing, I still have yet to do it,” explains Dr. Schlessinger. “I do think it would work well and lengthen the time between styling of hair. Clearly, there is work to be done before this is ready for prime time but it could be something that is common in 10 years so I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility!”

Ask a dermatologist, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, about Botox injections to the scalp.

As with any medical procedure, Botox injections to the scalp come with certain risks. Typical side effects of injection, such as swelling, pain and bruising, are possible. If you are interested in exploring Botox injections for your scalp, it is important that you choose a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who has the skills and expertise to provide the best treatment for your needs.

Can pores shrink? Dr. Joel Schlessinger puts an end to this skin care myth.

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Can pores shrink? Dr. Joel Schlessinger puts an end to this skin care myth.
One skin care myth that never seems to lose any steam is the idea that you can shrink your pores with a splash of cold water or an egg white mask. This is completely false. In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains why it’s impossible to shrink your pores and what you can do to help them appear smaller.

Pore size is largely determined by genetics, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Although you may not like the way they look, pores actually serve a pretty important purpose for your skin. Each pore is home to a sebaceous gland, which produces the oil that maintains your skin’s natural moisture levels.

The size of a person’s pores is mainly determined by skin type and genetics. Men naturally have larger pores than women. If you have dry skin, you might not see your pores upon first glance. Oily skin types, however, have pores that are more noticeable. Additionally, those with fair skin often have pores that appear smaller while darker skin tones have pores that look larger. Different areas of the face have larger pores, as well. You can probably tell that the pores on your nose are the largest, followed by your forehead, chin and, finally, cheeks.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses other factors that affect pore size.

Pores can appear larger if skin is not cared for properly. Over time, they become clogged with debris, excess oil and impurities that can lead to breakouts. Sun exposure can also affect pore size as UV rays weaken the collagen and elastin that act as your skin’s structural support. Additionally, popping pimples can damage skin, permanently widening pores.

There are steps you can take to minimize the appearance of large pores, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

The contents of pores can be exfoliated and cleaned out, giving them a smaller appearance. Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests washing your face with a cleansing brush like Clarisonic Mia2 Sonic Skin Cleansing System. Although it’s gentle on your skin, this cleansing brush is powerful enough to remove impurities, cleansing your skin six times better than with hands alone. After cleansing, apply an exfoliating gel like LovelySkin Exfoliating Gel Mild 11% to gently retexturize skin. Then finish with a mattifying moisturizer like LovelySkin LUXE Mattifying Antioxidant Moisturizer, which will minimize shine and leave skin feeling soft. You can also minimize the appearance of large pores with a professional peel or extraction procedure at the spa.

Do you have a question about pore size for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.


Joel Schlessinger MD discusses navigating the cosmeceutical market on DermTube Journal Club

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses navigating the cosmeceutical market on DermTube Journal Club
From the publishers of Practical Dermatology, DermTube offers a wealth of educational videos developed specifically for dermatologists and other industry professionals. Joel Schlessinger MD serves on the advisory board for DermTube and frequently contributes his expert knowledge through videos and other methods. In a recent video titled “Navigating the Cosmeceutical Market,” Joel Schlessinger MD talks to Nancy J. Samolitis MD about how cosmeceuticals are evolving and what effect this has on the skin care industry.

Dermatologists carefully consider products before recommending them to patients, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Ever since cosmeceuticals hit the market, many dermatologists have incorporated these products into their practices. Joel Schlessinger MD says that the only way for doctors to know which products are the best for their patients is to try each and every one.

“There are a huge variety of products out there and the benefit that we have as dermatologists is that we don’t just evaluate them based on the color of the tube or whether the product smells good, but we’re going to evaluate them based on their merits,” he says.

Dermatologists evaluate each product by looking at several factors including ingredients, clinical data, safety and affordability. This means that patients can feel good about using products recommended by their dermatologist.

“I think that there are a lot of things that we look at as dermatologists and we scrutinize with a much different eye than the average consumer.”

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the possibility of the FDA regulating cosmeceuticals.

Recently, there has been some talk of the FDA starting to regulate cosmeceuticals. Joel Schlessinger MD discussed how this could potentially change the cosmeceutical market.

“Based on the FDA’s willingness or unwillingness to introduce sunscreens, I’m a little concerned about . . . the FDA getting cosmeceuticals under their purview,” he says. “At the same time, I like the thought of having some science behind cosmeceuticals and having the ability for companies to have a different track for approval of cosmeceuticals.”

When recommending products to his patients, Joel Schlessinger MD always returns to a few favorites.

Joel Schlessinger MD has tried many products over the years and he always comes back to a couple tried and true formulas.

“When I look for a sunscreen, it’s almost always going to be EltaMD,” he says.

Two of his favorite products from this brand are EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Untinted and EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Tinted.

“Additionally, we love products in our practice that have unique things that they treat,” Joel Schlessinger MD continues. “My son and I actually came up with a product called FixMySkin with 1% hydrocortisone in it. This product is a little balm that we can put on and it helps patients that might have dry skin issues, eczema, psoriasis or facial dermatitis.”

Joel Schlessinger MD and Practical Dermatology have partnered up several times over the years.

Practical Dermatology has been a co-sponsor of Cosmetic Surgery Forum since its inception in 2009. Led by Joel Schlessinger MD, this multi-specialty educational symposium focuses on the latest research, treatment and techniques in dermatology and cosmetic surgery. Practical Dermatology has been a valuable partner to Cosmetic Surgery Forum over the last seven years. Recently, the publication has also made significant strides in developing creative outlets to bring relevant content to the field.

Do you have a question for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains misleading SPF labels

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD explains misleading SPF labels
To prepare for days in the summer sun, sunscreen with the proper SPF is a must to protect against harmful UVB rays that increase the risk of skin cancer. Higher SPF numbers correlate with better UVB protection, but a recent study shows that the SPF labels do not always match the SPF protection provided by sunscreens. In this blog entry, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article from CBS News called, “Some sunscreens don’t live up to their SPF claims” and explains the study and ways to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the dangers of harmful UV rays.

SPF, or sun protection factor, measures a sunscreen’s ability to block dangerous UVB rays that cause sunburn. UVA rays, or rays that lead to wrinkled and aging skin, are not measured by SPF but can be just as damaging to skin. Both types of UV ray increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, making sunscreen an important factor for healthy skin. Skin can be damaged by UV rays after just 10 minutes of intense sun exposure.

In a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, 34 sunscreens were evaluated for their effectiveness in blocking UVB and UVA rays. To test UVB protection, different sunscreens were applied to patches of skin and exposed to six levels of UVB light. The effectiveness was evaluated by how red the skin appeared the next day. To test UVA protection, Consumer Reports applied each sunscreen to a plastic plate and shined a UV light through it to see how much light passed through each sunscreen. According to the study, 11 of the sunscreens tested were 16% to 70% less effective than advertised and did not provide the amount of SPF protection listed on their labels. Of the 34 sunscreens tested, only 15 performed well enough to earn Consumer Report’s recommendation.

“This is something that every dermatologist has known for years and has been extremely hard to convince our patients of until now,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “It seems wrong that numbers lie but in the case of sunscreens they just do. That’s why I only trust EltaMD or CoTZ on my skin when I go out. They have different standards that are clearly better.”

What I’ve been telling my patients for years, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Sunscreen is an important part of a daily skincare regimen, and there are several ways to ensure its effectiveness. Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists have several recommendations for preventing sun damage to your skin:

  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 every day, but choose a higher SPF on days when you know you’ll be outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Avoid being outside when the sun is at its peak, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Protect your skin with proper clothing including wide-brimmed hats and loose-fitting long sleeve shirts.
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen to protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays.
  • In addition to these sun protection measures, supplements such as Heliocare Sun Protection Pills provide added UV protection.

Do you have questions about sunscreen? Ask in the comments section below.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how to minimize under-eye puffiness

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how to minimize under-eye puffiness.

Sagging, swelling or puffiness under the eyes—sometimes referred to as “bags”—is a common side effect of the natural aging process. As we grow older, tissues and muscles that support the upper eyelids can weaken, causing fat that is positioned around the eye to migrate to the lower eyelids and the area below the eye. Fluid can also accumulate beneath the eye, which contributes to under-eye circles and a puffy appearance.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the causes of under-eye puffiness.

Under-eye puffiness often runs in families. Some individuals never experience bags and others experience bags prematurely. If your mother or grandmother have them, there’s a good chance that you will eventually have them too. In addition to genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can worsen under-eye puffiness:

• A High-Sodium Diet: A diet that is high in sodium can cause fluid retention and a puffy appearance throughout the body, including the area around the eyes
• Alcohol: Alcohol can be dehydrating, pulling water from your skin and worsening the appearance of an aging eye
• Smoking: Smoking can dry out facial skin and cause collagen breakdown, resulting in a more wrinkled, sagging eye area
• Lack of Sleep: Lack of sleep can worsen fluid retention in the eye area, and discoloration can grow darker due to dilated blood vessels
• Hormone Levels: Fluctuating hormones can lead to fluid retention

Under-eye puffiness is primarily a cosmetic issue, but in certain circumstances, it may be indicative of allergies or other medical issues, particularly concerning the kidneys. See a doctor if the swelling is severe, accompanied by pain, redness and itching or if these symptoms have spread to other areas of the body.

A topical treatment can help combat the appearance of bags, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

There are many home remedies for under-eye puffiness that have been passed around for decades, such as placing tea bags, cucumbers or cold spoons over the eyes. These can temporarily reduce swelling, but they are not a viable long-term solution. Dr. Schlessinger recommends skipping out on these practices and applying a topical treatment instead. When used regularly and combined with a healthy lifestyle, these creams can help nourish the skin around the eyes and minimize puffiness.

LovelySkin LUXE Brightening Eye Cream, a brand-new product developed by Dr. Schlessinger, is a light-diffusing formula that helps to brighten dark circles and minimize under-eye puffiness. Hyaluronic acid helps to plump and hydrate skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines, while Persian silk tree extract and horse chestnut extract help to address signs of fatigue.

Try Neocutis Lumiere Eye Cream (with PSP), a formula that helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with growth factors. The cream also features hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate the skin around the eyes and caffeine to help reduce under-eye circles and puffiness.

Dr. Schlessinger also recommends Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Cream. Perfect for normal to dry skin, this cream contains the gentle exfoliator, malonic acid, to help remove dulling debris and restore elasticity. It also helps to tighten sagging skin around the eyes and eliminate dark circles and puffiness for a more youthful appearance.

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex contains peptides, plus a blend of antioxidants, to help prevent collagen breakdown and loss of firmness. Exclusive anti-inflammatory ingredients help to combat dark circles and puffiness for a visibly improved appearance in as little as 12 weeks.

Ask a dermatologist, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, about cosmetic procedures.

Cosmetic procedures are also available for under-eye bags, with fillers and laser treatments among the most common options. However, success can vary greatly by individual with these treatments, and they can carry added risk since the skin around the eye is thin and fragile. If you’re interested in exploring cosmetic surgery, it’s crucial to choose a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who has the skills and expertise to provide the best treatment for your needs.

Do you have a questions for Dr. Schlessinger? Let us know in the comments section.

Why do birthmarks happen?

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses what causes birthmarks

Birthmarks are largely harmless skin irregularities that appear at birth or shortly thereafter. It is estimated that more than 80% of babies are born with some type of birthmark, and they can vary greatly in appearance. Certain moles may be classified as birthmarks, but most recognizable marks are light brown, pink or red with irregular borders. Remember Dr. Schlessinger’s post about The Grand Budapest Hotel for the 2015 Dermies? Agatha, a lead character in the film, has a port-wine stain birthmark on her cheek in the shape of Mexico!

Doctors aren’t sure why birthmarks occur, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

While real birthmarks don’t usually have a definitive shape like Agatha’s, our marks still often help emphasize individuality and they feature prominently in many cultures. From good luck symbols to evidence of a mother’s diet during pregnancy, people have speculated for centuries about their significance. None of these stories has proven to scientifically explain birthmarks.

Dermatologists aren’t quite sure why some people develop certain birthmarks and others do not, but genetics and skin tone appear to play a role in some cases. While the exact cause of most birthmarks remains largely mysterious, dermatologists can define the skin phenomena that give the various types of marks their appearance. There are several subcategories, but for the most part, birthmarks can be divided into two types: pigmented and vascular.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains pigmented and vascular birthmarks.

Pigmented birthmarks are characterized by areas that are a different color than the rest of the skin. They are typically light brown or tan, but they can also be black, blue or blue-gray. These marks are caused by clusters of pigment cells. When there is an abnormal level of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color) per square millimeter of skin, a birthmark forms. Size and color depend on the amount of melanin and location of the mark. Types of pigmented birthmarks include moles, café-au lait spots and Mongolian spots.

Vascular birthmarks are red or pink in appearance. They are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels from a deficiency in the nerve supply during fetal development. Clusters of these tiny blood vessels form in a concentrated area, giving the mark its pinkish or reddish look. Common vascular birthmarks include macular stains, port-wine stains and hemangiomas.

See a dermatologist, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, for certain types of birthmarks.

Birthmarks may disappear over time or grow larger, depending on their type. Most won’t require medical attention, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on moles. Moles that are present at birth are thought by some to pose a greater risk of becoming cancerous later in life. If the spot changes shape, color or size, seek a physician’s care. In infants, certain hemangiomas in areas such as the chest may also require treatment since they can grow deep into skin tissue and affect organ functioning. If your baby’s hemangioma begins to bleed or form a sore, contact your dermatologist.

For more information on common types of birthmarks, see Dr. Schlessinger’s post and video.

Do you have a question for Dr. Schlessinger about birthmarks? Let us know in the comments section.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains what causes collagen to break down

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD explains what causes collagen to break down
Collagen is a structural protein that gives skin its strength and durability. Think of collagen as the structural wall that supports skin. Healthy collagen levels give skin a plump and smooth appearance. But as we age, collagen production slows and healthy collagen begins to break down. When collagen breaks down, skin loses its firmness and fine lines and wrinkles begin to form.

Environmental factors like sun exposure and pollution have an effect on collagen, Joel Schlessinger MD says.

Collagen breakdown is an unavoidable part of aging. Around 35, we start producing less collagen and skin begins to lose elasticity. But there are also environmental factors that contribute to collagen breakdown, including the sun and pollution.

We’ve all heard that sun exposure contributes to signs of aging. While UVB rays burn skin, UVA rays penetrate deeper, breaking down collagen and elastin. Sun exposure also stimulates the production of melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for pigment formation. So even when the sun doesn’t burn your skin, it’s still contributing to the formation of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.

Pollution and oxidative stress penetrate into the deep layers of the dermis, causing inflammation, dehydration and loss of firmness. When these tiny particles of smoke, soot and other pollutants come in contact with your skin, they begin creating free radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that break down collagen and impair the skin’s barrier functions.

Bad habits like smoking and poor diet also contribute to collagen loss, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

A poor diet, specifically one that is high in sugar, can damage your skin from the inside out. Sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin through a process called glycation. This process produces advanced glycosylation end products, or AGEs for short. AGEs are free radicals that lead to inflammation, breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin.

In addition to being harmful to your overall health, smoking has a negative impact on your appearance. This bad habit leads to premature signs of aging, deep wrinkles, bags under the eyes and dull skin. Cigarettes starve your skin of oxygen and constrict blood flow, which affects circulation and breaks down collagen and elastin. Additionally, smoking depletes your body of vitamin C, a necessary nutrient for collagen production. Because smoke is a form of pollution, you’re also coming in contact with those harmful free radicals.

Joel Schlessinger MD shares how you can help prevent collagen loss.

In addition to kicking bad habits, there are changes you can make to your skin care routine that will help you maintain healthy, youthful skin. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends adding growth factor products to your daily routine. These powerful ingredients work to boost collagen production and rejuvenate aging skin.

Alphaeon Beauty Epidermal Growth Serum pairs growth factors with hyaluronic acid, peptides and antioxidants to help diminish the signs of aging and revitalize skin. In clinical studies, more than 80 percent of patients experienced an overall reduction in the appearance of wrinkles with this serum.

Formulated with growth factors, polypeptides, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, NuGene NuCell Universal Serum encourages collagen and elastin production, helping skin repair and prevent environmental damage. With continued use, you’ll see a visible improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots and rough skin texture.

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum contains growth factors, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides to hydrate, firm and rejuvenate mature skin. This best-selling serum minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. With continued use, you’ll see results after just one month with best results appearing in three months.

To target loss of collagen around the delicate eye area, apply Neocutis Lumiere Eye Cream (with PSP). This eye cream contains a proprietary blend of growth factors, cytokines and interleukins that help smooth wrinkles and revitalize skin. This hydrating eye cream also minimizes puffiness and dark under-eye circles for a more youthful appearance.

Do you have a question about collagen for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.