Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the difference between sulfite and sulfa allergies

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the difference between sulfite and sulfa allergiesThere is often a lot of confusion surrounding sulfite allergies and sulfa allergies, particularly when it comes to skin care. Many people believe that if they are allergic to one of these agents, they are allergic to all of them. However, this is not the case. Dr. Joel Schlessinger sheds light on this common misconception and explains the differences between a sulfite allergy and a sulfa allergy.

Sulfa and sulfite are two different things, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

“Sulfa is an antibiotic and sulfite is a preservative that is in a huge amount of things you eat or come in contact with each day,” explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Sulfa is the basis of many common medications. It is a synthetic antimicrobial agent that helps fight off bacteria. Sulfite, on the other hand, is a very common ingredient found in a number of food and drink products to increase shelf-life.

“Sulfite allergy and sulfa allergy are very different,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “While it is always possible that you could be allergic to sulfites, being allergic to sulfites applied to your skin it is very unlikely.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends Obagi for sulfa-sensitive patients.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, routinely suggests Obagi for individuals who are allergic to sulfa. This line is both gentle and powerful on the skin without causing harm to sulfa-sensitive skin.

“If you have eaten at a salad bar or eaten salad out of the bags then you likely have had sulfites,” explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Obagi doesn’t place a warning on their packaging about sulfites because they are such a common ingredient.”

Do you have additional questions about sulfa or sulfite allergies? Ask Dr. Joel Schlessinger in the comments below.

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 supports complaint against Jersey Shore TV show

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger supports complaint against Jersey Shore TV showThe Skin Cancer Foundation recently lodged a formal complaint against the Federal Trade Commission about the television show, Jersey Shore. The Skin Cancer Foundation claims that this television show is a “health-hazard” because the “still available episodes of the show promote tanning, especially in tanning beds, which encourages young viewers to engage in a cancer-causing habit.”

Jersey Shore is a reality television that follows eight housemates spending their summer at the Jersey Shore. In the show, the eight stars consistently use tanning beds to darken their skin.

The Skin Cancer Foundation would like to see the Federal Trade Commission look into this claim while MTV puts warning labels on all reruns and online episodes. They would also like to see warning labels on all products, advertisements and games tied to the television show, warning of the dangers of tanning.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is very passionate about this issue and supports The Skin Cancer Foundation’s efforts.

“Shows like this end up encouraging young people, including children, to take up a habit that has been shown to cause cancer,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

“Just like television and the film industry essentially toned down the appearance of smoking in their movies and shows, this can do the same for tanning.”

MTV has responded to the request, saying that while it does not plan to include warnings on the show, it does applaud the organization’s “efforts to bring attention to these issues, which are important to our audiences and the public health.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger hopes to see a change in the portrayal of tanning beds on television.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger has high hopes for this complaint as he sees this as a serious issue in our society today.

“I hope it succeeds and wish Dr. Sarnoff and the Skin Cancer Foundation success!”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is passionate about stopping the spread of skin cancer, especially in adolescents. Learn more about Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s involvement in the fight for skin cancer.

Do you think Jersey Shore leads to more tanning bed use? Tell us your opinions in the comments.

Click here to read the article “‘Jersey Shore’ still promotes tanning, group says,” featured in USAToday. 

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses a new drug to treat bedbugs

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses a new drug to treat bedbugsWith the recent onslaught of bedbug contaminations across the United States, researchers around the country are studying new drugs and methods to kill these parasitic creatures. One common deworming drug could be the answer to the bedbug problem. Joel Schlessinger MD shares more about this new development below.

What are bedbugs? Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Bed bugs are parasites that feed on human blood. They typically live in houses and hide in beds and bedding. Although not necessarily nocturnal, they are active at night when they feed on their host.

Bed bug bites can cause numerous health problems, Joel Schlessinger MD explains. Skin rashes, allergic symptoms and psychological effects can affect those that have been bitten by this insect.

Joel Schlessinger MD supports the use of common deworming drug to kill bedbugs

A drug usually used to deworm humans and animals, known as Stromectol, might be the key to killing bedbugs. This drug uses a technique called xenointoxication, which means that the host poisons the guest.

The host takes a pill and goes to bed. The bedbugs will then bite the host and a few days later, the bugs will die.

Many people are terrified of bedbugs and spend thousands of dollars fighting them. The xenointoxication method is cost-effective and is very safe for almost all individuals.

“We don’t have this available in our area,” said Joel Schlessinger MD, “but I wouldn’t hesitate to use the drug in the case of a bedbug infestation.”

Joel Schlessinger MD says he has used this kind of treatment before and he has seen excellent results.

“I use it quite often to treat other conditions, such as scabies and various mite infections that occur in conditions like rosacea.”

Take other precautions to avoid bedbugs, Joel Schlessinger MD advises.

Although this medicine can help kill bedbugs, you should not rely only on this form of treatment to entirely disinfect your home.

“Most importantly, make sure the bedding is treated and any offending materials are decontaminated,” Joel Schlessinger says.

Would you ever try xenointoxication treatment? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

Electronic health record system comes to Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s dermatology clinic

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Electronic health record system comes to Dr. Joel Schlessinger's dermatology clinic
According to an article published in Modern Healthcare, nearly four in ten office-based physicians now use an electronic health record system. This is up from about one in three a year ago.

Electronic health records are a digital format of health records that can be shared across different health care settings, helping to advance the accuracy of care. These records include statistics such as demographics, medical history, medications, allergies, immunizations, lab test results, vital signs, personal statistics and billing information.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and the staff at Skin Specialists PC recently implemented an electronic health records system. This new system has given the clinic great opportunities but it has also posed some challenges.

“Pictures can be seen much better and we can take pictures of any removals so they can go into the patient’s chart immediately,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Also, I love the fact that our prescriptions are sent electronically to pharmacies – the patients love it, too!”

In the office, Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff use iPads to take down information from patients. Although iPads aid in both speed and accuracy of clinic records, they do sometimes have issues such as disconnecting from the network.

“The biggest challenge with electronic records is to make them accessible for patients who may not be computer savvy,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Many of our patients don’t even own a computer, so we help them out with the process. Luckily, we have an amazing front desk staff that is very patient.”

Although there have been some challenges, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says that the clinic has been doing much better with it.

“It was brutal for the first two or three weeks, but it got much better. Now we are pretty much used to it and certainly liking most aspects of it,” he said.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says to keep on the lookout for this new system in offices around the United States.

“This is something that is coming to all medical practices soon, so while we are part of the ‘first adopters,’ it will be in many offices by next year or later.”

Do you use electronic health record systems in your practice or have you seen it in practice? Tell us your thoughts on this new system in the comments.

What time of the year is best to get liposuction done? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

What time of the year is best to get liposuction done? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.Liposuction is a surgery that is performed to remove unwanted localized deposits of fat cells from the body. The procedure performed at Skin Specialists, PC is meant to aid in body contouring and removing areas that have had difficulty responding to exercise and diet. This effective and safe procedure can give tremendous results, however it can take some time to heal. We asked Dr. Joel Schlessinger what time of the year is the best to get liposuction done.

“Winter and spring are our busiest seasons,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger said. “Our patients wear a garment for 30 days after the procedure, which makes it challenging to do during the summer or if a trip that involves water activities is planned.”

For best results, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says you should be fully recovered and the garment should be completely off by the time you want to be in water. For this reason, it is best to have the procedure performed in the winter or spring when there is little chance that you will be around water.

“We see a huge influx of patients for liposuction procedures around late winter and early spring. They are always trying to get ready for summer, so it is best to schedule early if you wish to avoid running into the summer during recovery time.”

The procedure performed at Skin Specialists, PC is not intended to treat obesity. Learn more information about the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction here.

Now is a great time to schedule your liposuction appointment. To find out more information or set up a consultation, contact Skin Specialists, PC here.

What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

What's the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.Many people believe the only way to achieve a smaller, flatter stomach from surgery is with a tummy tuck. However, this isn’t the case. Dr. Joel Schlessinger offers an alternative to this invasive surgery with liposuction. Read more to discover the difference between a tummy tuck and tumescent liposuction.

“Many patients come to me thinking they want and need a tummy tuck,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger, “but find that liposuction offers a less expensive and more effective result.”

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. It is often performed on patients that have sagging skin following pregnancy or major weight loss.

Tumescent liposuction is an alternative to a tummy tuck. This form of liposuction removes unwanted localized deposits of fat to help contour the body.

Why should you choose tumescent liposuction over a tummy tuck? Dr. Joel Schlessinger says tumescent liposuction can give more effective results with only a day of down time compared to a tummy tuck that can leave someone out for up to 12 weeks.

“While tummy tuck is a cute name, it leaves individuals with lifelong scars from one side to another, along with an artificial and somewhat odd appearing belly button,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

“There are times when a tummy tuck is the only thing that can be used, but about 90% of the time I find that tumescent liposuction, the best and safest form of liposuction, does just as well, if not better, at about half the cost.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger performs tumescent liposuction regularly in his clinic. He also offers SmartLipo procedures, a laser surgery form of liposuction. To learn more about SmartLipo, click here.

Make a consultation today with Dr. Joel Schlessinger and find out of tumescent liposuction is right for you.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains possible vampire myths and how they may have medical origins

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Joel Schlessinger MD tackles the “vampire” condition known as porphyriaWith Halloween just around the corner, everyone’s on the lookout for zombies, werewolves and goblins. But one of the most common supernatural beings in this day and age is the elusive vampire. Joel Schlessinger MD explains the legend of vampires and how they are related to dermatology.

“There is a condition called porphyria that occurs very rarely and, in one even rarer form of it, teeth can turn red (like blood on a tooth!),” said Joel Schlessinger.

The doctor says porphyria is a genetic disorder that can cause abdominal pain, blisters, scarring and muscle problems. It is caused when hemoglobin is not made properly, leading to a deficiency of enzymes and necessary chemicals for body function.

“Individuals who suffer from it are extremely sensitive to sunlight.  This condition has been seen in the area that roughly corresponds to Transylvania.”

Joel Schlessinger MD says that many legends have a medical basis and this is one of them.

“While patients who suffer from porphyria clearly aren’t vampires, it is believable to think that people could make up a tale when seeing these sorts of traits in people.”

What legends are you aware of that have a medical basis? Tell us in the comments.

Learn more about tattoo removal from Dr. Joel Schlessinger

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


If you’ve been debating tattoo removal, take a look at this great video highlighting the procedure. While tattoo removal has been around for many years, treatments have become much more successful according to Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

During this informational video, you get to see a patient’s beginning and end results as well as how the laser works. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains that while this specific patient experienced impressive results, not all treatments will turn out the same. The effectiveness of a procedure depends on a variety of factors from ink color to size and tattoo placement.

If you’re interested in tattoo removal, set up a consultation with Dr. Joel Schlessinger and Skin Specialists PC today.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff have a run-in with celebrities in Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Dr. Joel Schlessinger's staff member, Ashley Bell, gets a photo taken with Kevin Connolly from EntourageDr. Joel Schlessinger and a few of his staff members attended a meeting last week in Los Angeles where they spotted several celebrities. The staff traveled to Los Angeles to learn about a new clinical research trial when they happened to run into several celebrities at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

Halle Berry and Tom Hanks were at the hotel for an event surrounding the release of their newest movie, Cloud Atlas.

Other celebrities that were at the hotel at the same time as Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff were Ben Whinshaw, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Cedric the Entertainer and Kevin Connolly.

The Beverly Hills Hilton was also the hotel where famed singer and actress Whitney Houston passed away last February.  According to Dr. Schlessinger, the room she was found in, number 435, is no longer available for rent and has the room number taken down.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and his family are large supporters of cinematic arts – learn more about their involvement in Omaha’s local independent film theater, Film Streams, here.

See more photos of Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s Flickr photostream.

Have you ever had a celebrity sighting? Tell us about it in the comments.