Do I need to moisturize if I have acne? Dr. Joel Schlessinger reveals the answer

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Do I need to moisturize if I have acne? Dr. Joel Schlessinger reveals the answer

Contrary to popular belief, people with oily skin are not the only ones who have to worry about acne. People with dry skin also experience blemishes and breakouts along with flaking, dryness and irritation. Whether you have skin that’s oily, dry or somewhere in between, hydrating acne-prone skin is essential. Here are Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s tips for finding the right moisturizer.

What sort of formulas should I use? Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends his favorites.

If you consistently experience blemishes in the same areas, clogged pores may be to blame. When excess oil, dirt and bacteria remain in the pores, the skin cannot heal itself and acne returns again and again. Along with regular exfoliation, you should use a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic.

Non-comedogenic products are proven to contain ingredients that will not clog pores. You should also steer clear of pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oils and petrolatum, which are found in many moisturizing products. SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer provides lightweight hydration without a heavy formula.

Another way to deal with clogged pores is to use a moisturizer with an exfoliating ingredient in it such as salicylic or glycolic acid. Jan Marini Bioglycolic Bioclear Face Cream unclogs pores with glycolic acid and prevents dryness, flaking and irritation that can be caused by acne treatment products.

Can I skip moisturizers on some days? Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends against it.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when dealing with acne is to skip moisturizing, especially if you have oily skin. Skipping your moisturizer encourages your skin to produce more oil, which leads to clogged pores. Keeping the complexion hydrated will help regulate oil and reduce shine.

If your skin is oily and you’re worried about shine, try LovelySkin LUXE Mattifying Antioxidant Moisturizer. The oil-free formula does not clog pores and it leaves a matte finish to the complexion. If you have dry skin or are on aggressive acne treatments that dry out the complexion, try Avene Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream.

Do you have a question about whether your moisturizer is right for acne-prone skin? Ask Dr. Joel Schlessinger in the comments!

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how Accutane works to fight acne

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how Accutane works to fight acne

Many teens and young adults struggle with severe acne. This type of acne is characterized by deep, painful cysts and nodules that can be difficult to treat. Additionally, as this type of acne begins to clear, the skin easily scars. For decades, dermatologists have been prescribing Accutane, which is an extremely potent form of Vitamin A, to fight severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments. It has also greatly helped patients who struggle with severe scarring acne. But while Accutane is a strong drug with many known side effects and restrictions, there’s also a lot of myth surrounding this prescription, especially how it affects a patient’s skin and body. In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how Accutane works and what you can expect while on this medication.

Accutane is successful because it targets all four causes of acne, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Accutane is the only acne treatment that fights all four causes of acne: excess oil production, clogged pores, P. acnes bacteria and inflammation. More specifically, Accutane reduces the amount of oil your skin produces, eliminates acne-causing bacteria and reduces skin inflammation. By stopping the source of ‘food’ for the bacteria by drying up the oil, the bacteria die and this usually contributes greatly to improvement.  This treatment also slows down how fast skin cells turn over inside the pore, preventing them from becoming clogged in the first place. Because this treatment targets acne from every angle, it is very effective at eliminating breakouts. Nearly 85 percent of patients see significantly clearer skin after one course of treatment, which usually lasts between four to five months.  Better yet, 73 percent of Accutane patients never have to repeat a course and are clear thereafter.

As with any medication, Accutane does have side effects, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Some common side effects of Accutane include dry skin and chapped lips. Dermatologists recommend keeping your skin well hydrated while on this medication. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends FixMySkin Healing Balms with 1% Hydrocortisone to his Accutane patients. Available for the lips and body, this medicated balm has chemical properties that go beyond moisturizing to relieve itching and heal skin. The hydrocortisone treats inflammation and irritation while moisturizing shea butter and cocoa butter provide relief from dryness and itchiness.

There are widespread concerns that this medication has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and possibly even suicide and depression. Studies have since proven that IBD is not associated with Accutane. Additionally, studies on the correlation between Accutane and depression have not been conclusive. Many dermatologists have found that once a patient’s acne clears up, their depression subsides. As with any medication, dermatologists monitor their patients closely for signs of any side effects. Further, long-term studies are currently being performed.

The most concerning side effect can occur if a woman becomes pregnant while on Accutane. This medication can cause severe birth defects, premature birth and even miscarriage. It is important that women do not take Accutane while pregnant and do not become pregnant while taking this medication. For this reason, all patients who can become pregnant must take pregnancy tests before and while taking Accutane.

Do you have questions about Accutane for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.

Joel Schlessinger MD shares how to treat and prevent acne scarring

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Joel Schlessinger MD shares how to treat and prevent acne scarring
There’s a reason your mother told you never to pop that pimple. Picking is the most common cause for acne scarring. These marks stick around long after the blemish has disappeared, sometimes remaining permanently on the skin.

The best way to avoid acne scars is to seek professional treatment, Joel Schlessinger MD says.

Acne scars are different than post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is a dark spot that forms after the breakout disappears. Scars take longer to remove and sometimes require laser treatments. Atrophic scars appear as indentations while hypertrophic scars are thick, raised bumps on the surface of your skin.

Scar treatments won’t completely erase the mark, so it’s important to seek the professional care of a board-certified dermatologist like Joel Schlessinger MD before the damage is done.

“Once scarring happens, it is very difficult to reverse,” Joel Schlessinger MD says.

If it looks like your acne might be scarring, it’s time to see a dermatologist. It’s much easier to prevent scars before they’re permanent. With the right medications and treatments, it is possible to avoid permanent scarring.

To prevent scarring, Joel Schlessinger MD recommends using the LovelySkin Acne Care Starter Set. This kit includes a cleanser, toner, treatment and moisturizer to heal and renew the complexion. Each product uses ingredients like amino fruit acids, vitamin C and Dead Sea minerals to remove debris and exfoliate skin. When used alongside other acne treatment products, this system helps prevent unwanted scarring and promotes a clear, healthy complexion.

Scar treatments can help minimize unwanted marks, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Minimize mild discoloration with a gentle facial peel like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel. These daily-use pads exfoliate skin to reveal healthy cells underneath. This treatment also helps your other skin care products become more effective.

SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel with Centelline™ helps treat fresh scars as well as older marks. Naturally derived ingredients in this cream hydrate damaged skin, stimulate collagen production and repair wounds.

While these products can produce results, professional treatments are usually much more effective on stubborn marks. An IPL Intense Pulsed Light treatment can help diminish the look of acne scars and other skin imperfections. Retin-A can also soften the look of scars over time.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger weighs in on adolescent acne and the best time to take your child to the dermatologist

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses when to take your child to the dermatologist

Acne is painful. It can leave adolescents feeling embarrassed and isolated from their peers, and certain types can even leave behind permanent scarring. Though you may have already noticed changes in your teen or preteen’s skin, you might be wondering when to take them to a dermatologist. The answer is simple: the sooner, the better. While you’re busy helping your children prepare for their new experiences this fall, consider putting a dermatology appointment on your back-to-school to-do list.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger often sees patients who suffer from more than one type of acne.

The vast majority of teens and preteens will experience acne at some point. Breakouts occur when a substance called sebum clogs pores, causing a red, inflamed pimple to appear. Acne can also appear in the form of whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads are pores that have become impacted with oil and then covered by layers of skin, while blackheads are impacted pores whose material pushes out through the follicle.

More serious forms of acne include papules, pustules or nodules, which appear as red, swollen lesions, and cysts, which are deep, pus-filled pimples. Breakouts generally occur on the face, neck, back and chest and it’s common to experience multiple types of acne at once.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends taking your child to a dermatologist as soon as you notice mild to moderate acne.

At his clinic, Dr. Schlessinger often encounters parents who elect to bring their children to the dermatologist after acne has already caused severe scarring. Once scarring has occurred, there is little that can be done to improve it. Luckily, this heartbreaking situation can be avoided by addressing breakouts early.

Dr. Schlessinger strongly recommends taking your child to a dermatologist as soon as you notice acne. However, when it comes to keeping acne under control, preventative care is key. If you’ve noticed the first signs of puberty in your child, oily, acne-prone skin is probably not far behind. Getting them started on a skin care routine early can keep acne under control and help them form good habits for life. This is especially important if you have a family history of acne.

Pinpoint the cause of acne and discover cost-conscious treatments with Dr. Joel Schlessinger and Skin Specialists P.C. of Omaha.

There is a misconception that dermatological care and acne treatments are expensive. Dr. Joel Schlessinger assures that this is usually not the case. At his Omaha clinic, he can pinpoint the cause of acne and recommend a variety of treatment options, including many that are less expensive and more effective than popular infomercial alternatives.

Dr. Schlessinger likes to recommend the Obagi CLENZIderm MC Acne Therapeutic System to many of his patients. The products in this set use 2% salicylic acid to fight acne without over-drying or irritating the complexion. In as little as four weeks, patients saw improvement in their skin.

Patients also see success with the LovelySkin Acne Care Starter Set for Oily Skin. This complete regimen contains LovelySkin Cleanser Gel, Toner Mist, Acne Care Gel and Sheer Oil-Free Moisturizer to not only address current blemishes, but to prevent future breakouts. The products use gentle exfoliators to help balance your child’s skin, remove excess oil and protect it from irritation.

Remember that stress only exacerbates acne. Keep your child healthy and happy by scheduling a dermatology appointment before the new school year is in full-swing.

Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger about adolescent acne? Let us know in the comments below.

Joel Schlessinger MD answers frequently asked questions about adult acne

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Blemishes and breakouts aren’t just for teenagers. Many adults battle acne as well. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat unwanted breakouts both at home and with help from your dermatologist. In his most recent presentation, Joel Schlessinger MD discusses this common skin concern and highlights a few of his favorite treatment products.

Adult acne is often caused by a combination of things, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Stress, fluctuating hormones and excess oil production all contribute to the formation of blemishes and breakouts. Additionally, mature complexions have a slower cell turnover rate, which leads to clogged pores and congested skin.

There are three main causes of adult acne. First, the skin could be affected by a hormonal imbalance. Hormones cause breakouts by increasing oil production and trapping bacteria inside pores. This type of acne often occurs for women during menstruation. Second, breakouts on the skin could actually be caused by rosacea. Often called adult acne, this condition is characterized by areas of flushing and blushing with occasional blemishes. The third main cause is yeast-based acne, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis. This condition appears as tiny bumps on the forehead. In some cases, these bumps may spread to the chest and back.

Joel Schlessinger MD shares a few of his favorite formulas that will help treat and prevent adult acne.

There are several ways you can treat blemishes and breakouts at home. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends starting with a comprehensive skin care routine like LovelySkin Acne Care Starter Set. If you’re battling signs of aging as well as breakouts, try SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense.  This salicylic acid treatment works to correct blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation all at once. Finally, protect your clear complexion with a sunscreen like EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. This gentle, oil-free formula is perfect for acne-prone skin.

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

Acne Through the Ages: Young Adult Acne

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Acne Through the Ages: Young Adult Acne

Teens are not the only ones who have to worry about acne, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Just because you escaped acne during your teen years does not mean that you are immune to this issue for the rest of your life. According to an article in Skin Inc, more and more young adults find themselves dealing with breakouts well into their twenties and thirties. Generally, the blemishes affecting this age group have different causes than teen acne so it is important to approach treatment differently. In this post, Joel Schlessinger MD highlights the best way to deal with blemishes affecting young adults.

Medications, hormones and lifestyle all affect acne in young adults, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

Women over 25 often experience acne because of hormone fluctuations that occur during their menstrual cycles. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also cause breakouts to occur more often. A number of other medications taken by men and women can increase oil production and aggravate blemishes.

Dermatologists can recommend medications for treating acne in young adults. These treatments decrease testosterone levels to help control breakouts. Blue light therapy devices are also effective at eliminating bacteria that cause blemishes.

Joel Schlesinger MD explains how treatments from aestheticians can diminish breakouts.

Many young adults with blemishes are searching for an immediate treatment that can diminish the severity of their acne. For these patients, facials and chemical exfoliation treatments once a month may help control their breakouts. These procedures unclog pores and renew the skin to create a healthy complexion.

As part of their daily routine, patients should use cleansers with exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acids. A lightweight moisturizer and a daily sun protection product are also an important part of an effective regimen.

Stay tuned for information on how to treat mature acne and take a look at Joel Schlessinger MD’s recommendations for teen acne.

Acne Through the Ages: Teen Acne

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Acne Through the Ages: Teen Acne

Acne treatments are dependent on an individual’s age, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Whether you’re 15 or 50, dealing with acne is always frustrating. From occasional blemishes to widespread breakouts, it is estimated that between 40 and 50 million Americans deal with acne at some point in their lives. According to a recent article in Skin Inc., however, not all treatments are created equal. Joel Schlessinger MD points out that an individual’s age affects not only the type of acne a person experiences, but also the best way to treat it.

Here, Joel Schlessinger MD will explain the best way to deal with blemishes that affect teens. Treatments, medications and topical products can all make a difference in the severity of teen acne.

Joel Schlessinger MD says that most acne affecting teens is a result of hormone changes.

An increase in testosterone during puberty is one main cause of blemishes. This increase occurs in both males and females, although males experience higher levels during development. Testosterone can increase oil production and affect the frequency of breakouts.

Dermatologists generally treat this type of acne with medications or topical treatments that reduce oil and bacteria on the skin’s surface. Recently, more teens are experiencing relief by using light therapy to treat their breakouts. Light therapy uses laser light to eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation. These types of treatments can be performed in-office or by using at-home devices.

Aestheticians can help patients create a simple and effective routine, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

For teenagers, a quick and easy routine is the best solution. A regimen should include a cleanser, spot treatment and moisturizing sunscreen to heal and protect the skin. Ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are effective for treating blemishes because they reduce bacteria on the surface and exfoliate to unclog pores.

Stay tuned to Joel Schlessinger MD’s blog for more information on how to deal with young adult acne and mature acne.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger advises against waxing if you use retinol products

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger advises against waxing if you use retinol productsThe national media has recently reported that women using skin care products that contain retinol should be cautious when it comes to waxing. Although this may seem like common knowledge to some, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says that this is very important to remember in order to avoid skin damage.

Retinol is found in many skin care products, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Retinol is a common ingredient found in both over-the-counter and prescription skin care products. It is commonly used to fight the signs of aging and treat acne blemishes. One of the side effects of this drug is that the skin cells become sensitive and are less likely to stick together.

Because the cells are less likely to stick together, the force of pulling wax off the skin would cause the skin to come off deeper than it should, causing irritation or even scarring.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says waxing can cause pain and scarring to those that use retinol products.

“We advise all of our waxing patients to avoid retinol products,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “If you regularly use a retinol product, you should stop using it about 5 days before getting waxed.”

Waxing is commonly used to remove hair from the upper lip, eyebrows and other areas of the face where retinol products may be used. A thin spread of wax is applied on the skin and then ripped off against the direction of the hair growth in order to remove the hair from the root. While this form of hair removal is effective, it can be abrasive to sensitive and retinol-treated skin.

There are alternatives to waxing if you use retinol products. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends his favorite below.

“Be sure to tell your esthetician if you use any retinol products before you get waxed so they can choose the right form of hair removal for you,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Other forms of hair removal are readily available and some of them are even permanent!”

As an alternative to waxing, Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends using the me smooth Hair Removal Device. This FDA-approved at-home laser hair removal device makes hair removal quick and easy. Learn more about the me smooth Hair Removal Device here.

Do you use retinol products? How do they affect your normal skin care routine? Share with us in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger sheds light on the banning of French drug for acne

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger sheds light on the banning of French drug for acneBloomberg News recently reported that French health authorities are planning on suspending the sales of Bayer AG Diane-35 acne treatment. This drug, commonly used as a contraceptive, can increase the risk of blood clots.

Various sources have reported that this drug has led to four fatalities over the past 25 years. After a review of the treatment’s risks and benefits, the drug was found to be unfavorable. In a recent press conference, it was noted that this drug provides an unnecessary risk to women who use it as a contraceptive.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how this could affect the United States use of contraceptives.

“France suspending sale of acne treatment is topical in that, while this treatment is not available in the U.S., there are other drugs that have similar effects,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Diane-35 is closest to Yaz and Yazmin, two oral contraceptives that we frequently see used for acne in young women.”

The suspension of Diane-35 will take effect in three months. This drug has not been approved for use in the United States.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger believes the ban of similar drugs may be coming soon.

“This may eventually happen in the United States as these medications have been associated with blood clots and other issues in women,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

“We recommend that anyone on these should be carefully screened for any clotting issues before using them.”

Learn more about other pharmaceutical drugs from Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

A new form of Accutane is now available in the United States to treat recalcitrant nodular acne. Dr. Joel Schlessinger is excited about this effective treatment – learn more about it here.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recently commented on the outbreak of bed bugs across the United States and the new drugs that can be used to treat them. Read more of Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s commentary on bed bugs here.

Do you have a question about a pharmaceutical drug? Ask your questions in the comments.

Joel Schlessinger MD shares more insight on the link between milk and acne

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Joel Schlessinger MD shares more insight on the link between milk and acneEarlier this year, Joel Schlessinger MD gave his expert commentary on the relationship between milk and acne. Recently, new revelations have been published that support his theory.

Family history, body mass index, selected dietary factors, menstrual history, and risk of moderate to severe acne in adolescents and young adults,” was recently published in the December 2012 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In this article, experts discuss the impact of different factors on moderate to severe acne.

In the study, experts conducted a control-based study on the diagnosis of moderate to severe acne by assessing the impact of family history, dietary factors, personal habits and menstruation history. It was concluded that many of these factors led to a risk of moderate to severe acne, especially when the patient consumed large quantities of cow’s milk.

“If you have a child with acne at an early age or acne that doesn’t respond to medications, please consider stopping milk entirely. This could make a huge difference in acne and other conditions,” said Joel Schlessinger MD.

“Acne is frequently worsened by exposure to milk,” Joel Schlessinger said. “The reason for this is that milk has hormones in it, which are active on humans. Cows pass these hormones onto milk  . . . [and these hormones] can further complicate the situation.”

Besides causing acne, milk is also the culprit in many other health problems in adolescents and young adults.

“It is my thought that milk actually ‘beefs up’ our population in many ways,” Joel Schlessinger MD said. “While many kids can tolerate the hormones that it contains, the same ones that make cows large and fatty, many just end up getting larger and starting puberty too early.”

To learn about other health risks associated with milk, read Joel Schlessinger MD’s earlier post “What causes acne? Learn more about the link between milk and acne prone skin.”