Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses heat rash

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains heat rash

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat or miliaria, is a red or pink rash that is usually found on areas of the body covered by clothing. Though it’s most common in babies, anyone of any age can develop heat rash under certain conditions.

Heat rash is common in hot, humid environments, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Heat rash appears in the form of tiny pink or red dots that look similar to pimples. In adults, it is usually found in skin folds and in areas where clothing causes friction. In babies, heat rash typically appears on the neck, shoulders and chest, but it may also show in skin creases, underarms or the groin area. The rash develops when sweat ducts become blocked and swell, which leads to soreness, blisters and often, itching.

Heat rash usually begins with excessive perspiration in a hot, humid environment. It is most common in infants since well-meaning parents often dress their babies warmly no matter the climate. Those newborns in incubators are also more at risk to experience heat rash. Active adults and those patients who experience a severe fever accompanying an existing medical condition may also be more at risk.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains different types of heat rash.

There are several types of heat rash, and each is diagnosed by the severity of blocked sweat glands. Miliaria crystallina is considered the mildest form, affecting the sweat glands in the top layer of skin. It is characterized by fluid-filled blisters that tend to break easily.

Miliaria rubra occurs a bit deeper in the skin and involves red bumps, itching and a prickly sensation. When fluid-filled blisters that often accompany miliaria rubra become inflamed and fill with whitish material, the form is known as miliaria pustulosa.

The least common, but most severe form of heat rash is called miliaria profunda. It affects the dermis, the deep layer of skin. In this form, the blocked sweat leaks out of the gland onto the skin, creating firm, flesh-colored lesions that are similar to goosebumps. In rare cases, heat rash could become irritated from the friction caused by clothing and develop infection.

Follow Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s tips to treat mild heat rash at home.

While heat rash is uncomfortable, it does not usually require medical attention. The rash usually disappears on its own in two to three days with no additional side effects. The best way to address a heat rash at home is to keep it cool and try. Let skin air-dry after a bath or shower and avoid any tight clothing or irritating fabrics. There is no need to apply topical treatments, as these could irritate the skin and further block sweat glands. If the rash does not disappear within about four days, or if blisters burst and appear to be infected, see your physician.

To prevent heat rash, stay cool when being active outdoors. Limit the time you spend outside, wear loose, lightweight clothing and allow skin to dry if it becomes sweaty. In hot weather, infants should be dressed similarly to adults. Fleece-y fabrics and onesies may prove too warm for comfort, so opt for light cottons and two-piece ensembles when dressing your child. It’s also important to keep your baby cool during sleep, so adjust blanket weight, pajamas and swaddling practices accordingly.

Do you have a question about heat rash? Let us know in the comments section.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article linking tattoos and bacterial infections

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article linking tattoos and bacterial infections
Over the years, several studies have focused on the risks of tattoos, including the safety and sterility of the facility. A recent review in The Lancet looked at these health and safety concerns and found that one to five percent of people with tattoos contract bacterial infections, while others have an allergic reaction to the ink. In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses these risks and why it’s best to think twice before permanently inking your skin.

Tattoo ink is not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which puts consumers at risk, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

In many countries, tattoos are classified as cosmetics. While the skin’s barrier keeps topical cosmetics out of the body, tattoo ink is injected into living tissue. This is why many dermatologists and skin care professionals believe tattoos should be classified in a separate category. Tattoo parlors are currently regulated by each state and training requirements for artists vary widely.

Contaminated ink could lead to bacterial and viral infections, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

Much like the parlors and artists, tattoo ink is also fairly unregulated. There is no standard in place for ink ingredients. Most tattoo inks contain organic pigments, but some also contain dangerous preservatives, as well as contaminants like nickel, lead and arsenic. These additives can trigger infections and allergic reactions, especially in those with sensitive skin.

As a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Joel Schlessinger has seen many patients with infections and other complications after getting a tattoo.

“As with any procedure, it is very important to be aware of the risks associated with tattoos, including infections,” he says. “We have seen both bacterial and serious viral infections with tattoos so my advice is to think twice before getting a tattoo.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger also stresses the importance of seeing your dermatologist if you have any concerns. Experts believe the majority of tattoo complications go unreported and this further contributes to the problem.

“If you have a tattoo and are worried it may be infected, go to your dermatologist for an evaluation as it is best to treat it early,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

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

Omaha teen takes lip balm idea from concept to completion — Omaha World Herald

Monday, August 17th, 2015

This post originally appeared on Tuesday December 13, 2011 in the Omaha World Herald.By Leia Mendoza

Daniel Schlessinger is known around campus as the “lip balm guy.”

The 17-year-old Omaha native and freshman at Northwestern University has had his college neighbors and buddies swarm his dorm room to get samples of his creation: FixMySkin Healing Balm.

Daniel even mingled with celebrities at the Emmy Awards in September to give red carpet walkers a sneak peek of the product before it was released to the public last month.

FixMySkin Healing Balm is a medicated body balm intended to heal a number of skin issues, including chapped lips and cuticles, dry elbows and heels, psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy and insect bites.

Daniel, who aspires to follow in his dermatologist dad’s footsteps, came up with the concept when he was only 12.

It was winter in Nebraska and the Kiewit Middle School seventh-grader had dry, cracked skin on his hands. So he rubbed some lip balm on his skin and wondered why it worked better than lotion, but didn’t completely heal his skin.

“It was my intellectual curiosity, I guess,” Daniel said by phone. “I was just really curious about why something like lip balm didn’t work there.”

Turns out, he learned from his father, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, that his lips and hands have two different types of skin and the hand requires a stronger medication.

“It was more complex of a problem than I imagined,” Daniel said. “And it led us into this whole journey.”

The journey began with Daniel’s idea, but his father saw potential in it and stepped in to advise and mentor his son.

Daniel researched the market to see if a medicated balm existed that could be used on lips and hands. There were lip balms with medications in them, but no skin balms that contained medications, such as hydrocortisone, or any that were specifically aimed at dry, cracked skin on the fingers or other targeted areas.

To be sure, his father hired a patent attorney to research it.

Their attorney, Roberta Hastreiter based in Atlanta, gave them the green light to move forward. The patent for FixMySkin Healing Balm is pending.

The mission to create a body balm that was portable, easy to use and medically effective had begun.

Daniel was still young and could help only so much because he didn’t understand much of the medical jargon and discussions. Even so, his father had him sit in on meetings and on conference calls with attorneys and manufacturers.

“This was really Daniel’s baby,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Even the business professionals they worked with during the process took time to explain details to Daniel, making sure he felt a part of the deal.

But, “it wasn’t an easy process,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Joel Schlessinger brought his father, Bernie Schlessinger, who has a PhD in physical chemistry, on board to help develop formulas. They knew they wanted to add 1 percent hydrocortisone in the balm, but hydrocortisone tends to glob and be messy and has a bitter taste in lip balms. So figuring out how to make it glide on smoothly and taste good was a challenge.

After roughly four years of research and 54 different formulations, they finally found the right one.

During the last few years, Daniel, who was attending Millard North High School and had taken advanced science classes, was able to understand more and get back into his creative role.

He worked with chemists after school, before track practices or whenever he had free time. He used vacations and time off from school to travel to potential manufacturers. Most recently, he spent most of his summer familiarizing himself with all of the Food and Drug Administration’s requirements and worked with a liaison for the FDA to make sure the product met all of the guidelines.

“These professionals couldn’t believe they were dealing with a high school senior,” Joel Schlessinger said.

But Daniel won’t take all the credit. Turning his idea into a reality was a “family affair,” with his sister, Claire, his mother, Nancy, and his grandmother June throwing in ideas and giving advice.

The FixMySkin Healing Balm, which went on sale a few weeks ago, has been featured in national health and beauty magazines such as Allure.

The healing body balms come in three sizes: a small jar, a chapstick size and a glue-stick size, ranging from $8 to $12. They can be purchased at Joel Schlessinger’s Omaha store, Lovely Skin, near 144th Street and West Center Road, or online. Visit Omaha.com for a link to the site.

Already, 3,000 individual containers have been sold in store and online.

Joel Schlessinger distributed the product to roughly 200 dermatologists and skin specialists at a recent convention in Las Vegas and sold an additional 200. The hope is to eventually sell the product through other vendors and retailers.

“It’s a good feeling to see all the work come together and produce a product people like,” Daniel Schlessinger said.

For Joel Schlessinger, “It was a beautiful thing to see Daniel grow alongside the development of this product.”

Contact the writer:

402-444-1336, leia.mendoza@owh.com

Copyright ©2011 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Buy your own FixMySkin Healing Balm here.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the causes of hair loss

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the causes of hair loss

Every year, millions of men and women experience hair loss, some as early as their 20s. There are a number of different medical and environmental factors that can contribute to hair loss, and seeing your physician to pinpoint the cause is key to receiving the right treatment.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses normal hair shedding and growth.

Hair loss is not the same as regular shedding. It may be alarming to pull loose hairs from your ponytail daily or have a clump of hair clog the shower drain weekly, but the average person sheds between 50 and 100 hairs a day as part of the natural growth cycle. Everyone is a little different when it comes to the natural shedding process, and only you will be able to tell if you’re losing more hair than usual.

It’s also important not to confuse hair breakage with hair loss. Frequent heat styling and chemical treatments can leave hair dry, dull and brittle, with split ends. When split ends travel up the hair shaft, they may break off close to the root, giving the illusion of hair loss. Severely damaged hair should be rehabilitated through a deep conditioning regimen and a hiatus from hot tools.

Genetics is the leading cause of hair loss, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

The single largest cause of hair loss is genetics. Hereditary hair loss is referred to as female-pattern baldness or male-pattern baldness, respectively. In female patients, it’s characterized by thinning hair around the crown. Male patients may experience a receding hairline in an M shape or loss that begins at the temple and extends to the crown.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can contribute to hair loss for both men sexes, but more commonly, women. It happens directly after childbirth due to quickly falling estrogen levels. This loss usually peaks around four months post-birth and then hair returns completely back to normal after one year. Occasionally, the shifting hormones associated with menopause can cause hair loss, but this is relatively rare, and it is also temporary.


Certain antidepressants, birth control pills and drugs to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure and arthritis can interfere with the hair’s natural growth cycle and cause loss. Radiation therapy for cancer also causes hair loss, as well as change the color and texture of hair.

Pre-Existing Skin Conditions

Ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis and certain types of fungus can all cause irritation, inflammation, scarring and then eventual hair loss. Folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles, may look similar to acne in appearance, with little rings around individual hair follicles. This condition can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss due to inflammation. Alopecia areata is a condition that usually affects the scalp and results in patchy hair loss. It is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation.

Thyroid Disease

Changes in the thyroid may affect hormones and the rest of the body’s systems, including the hair growth cycle. When the thyroid is hyperactive, hair may grow finer and thinner, and when the thyroid is underactive, thinning and loss may occur. Also, certain medications that are frequently prescribed for an underactive thyroid count hair loss among their side effects.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is a form of gradual hair loss that occurs by pulling force to the hair. It is most common in those individuals who frequently style hair in tight braids, cornrows, pigtails and buns, and it is characterized by a receding hairline. If left untreated, traction alopecia can cause scarring and permanent loss.

Consult with your dermatologist about treating hair loss, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

Treating hair loss depends entirely on the type of hair loss being experienced. For temporary hair loss due to medication or hormone fluctuations, a supplement can help encourage healthy growth. Try Viviscal Professional Supplements. These exciting new dietary supplement tablets contain AminoMar Marine Complex, apple extract, biotin, vitamin C and a blend of essential amino acids to help rehabilitate hair in four stages. Hair is first nourished, then thin wispy hair is strengthened. Breaking and thinning continues to decline, and hair becomes stronger, healthier and more vibrant. The supplements work wonderfully for both men and women suffering from hair loss due to everyday stress, medication, hormonal changes and more.

The Rene Furterer Triphasic Progressive Hair Loss Kit and Rene Furterer RF80 Sudden Hair Loss Kit include comprehensive regimens to help strengthen and fortify thinning hair. Triphasic Progressive Hair Loss Kit is perfect for those struggling with hereditary hair loss. It contains Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract to help strengthen hair at the root, Forticea Stimulating Shampoo to increase microcirculation and Triphasic Regenerating Treatment to target and correct hair loss.

The RF80 Sudden Hair Loss Kit is specially formulated for those experiencing sudden hair loss from temporary factors like hormonal changes, lack of nutrients and certain medications. It includes Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract to strengthen hair at the root, Forticea Stimulating Shampoo to help encourage microcirculation and RF 80 Concentrated Serum to provide nourishment to weak, thinning strands.

There are also at-home devices available to address hair loss. Try the Hairmax Lasercomb Advanced 7, a laser photo therapy device that is clinically proven to stimulate hair follicles. With just three 15-minute treatments a week, you can enjoy new growth in as little as 16 weeks.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares how to tell if your skin is aging well

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares how to tell if your skin is aging well
Signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are often not welcome. You do everything you can to keep your skin looking youthful for as long as possible. But how do you know if the signs you’re seeing are normal for your age? In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how to tell if your skin is aging well and how you can maintain a more youthful appearance.

Fine lines and wrinkles are a normal sign of aging, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

The first signs of aging often appear in the form of crow’s feet around eyes. These fine lines develop as a result of frequent facial expressions like squinting and smiling. Repetitive motions create creases in the skin that break down collagen and elastin fibers over time. The body also starts to produce collagen and elastin at a slower rate, preventing skin from bouncing back as quickly as it did when you were younger.

Next, you’ll see wrinkles start to form on the forehead, around the lips and between the eyebrows. Much like crow’s feet, these wrinkles are caused by repeated facial expressions. You can pair skin care treatments with in-office procedures like Botox and wrinkle fillers to minimize these signs of aging. However, wrinkles are not out of the ordinary.

There’s a good chance you’ll also start to see dark circles under your eyes, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Dark circles under eyes could be caused by a number of things including natural aging, heredity, allergies, sleep deprivation and stress. The skin around the eyes becomes thinner and more fragile with age, exposing tiny blood vessels beneath the skin. Loss of elasticity can also contribute to dark circles. As skin loses its ability to bounce back, dark circles become more prominent.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares a few things that could contribute to signs of aging.

If you smoke, you will start to see premature signs of aging much earlier than normal, including deep wrinkles, bags under eyes and dull, sallow skin. This is because cigarettes starve your skin of oxygen and constrict blood flow, which affects circulation and breaks down collagen and elastin. Smoking also depletes your body of vitamin C, a necessary nutrient for collagen production. Because smoke is a form of pollution, you’re also exposing your skin to harmful free radicals.

Skipping sunscreen is another way to encourage dark spots and wrinkles. Most signs of aging can be delayed with proper sun protection. Going without any sunscreen, however, can lead to dark spots, wrinkles and other signs of photoaging. UV exposure causes collagen and elastin to break down, which leads to signs of aging.

Maintain a youthful appearance with some of Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s favorite products.

The best way to prevent premature signs of aging is to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every single day. One of Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s favorite sunscreens is EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Untinted. This oil-free formula protects skin with 9% zinc oxide. Plus, its sheer formula won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.

Building an anti-aging regimen will also help you maintain a youthful appearance. Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests pairing clinically proven ingredients like peptides and growth factors for best results. After cleansing, apply NuGene NuCell Universal Serum. Formulated with growth factors, polypeptides, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, this serum helps encourage collagen and elastin production. Then, moisturize skin with LovelySkin LUXE Ultra-Rich Peptide Moisturizer. This hydrating cream contains peptides to help repair skin and argan oil to nourish and revitalize the complexion.

Do you have a question about anti-aging treatments for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.