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.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses ATX-101, a new drug to treat double chins

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses ATX-101, a new drug to treat double chins
ATX-101, a new treatment designed to address excessive fat on the chin, was recommended for approval by an FDA advisory committee this week. Along with his staff at the Advanced Skin Research Center, Dr. Joel Schlessinger has conducted studies on this treatment over the past several years. Dr. Schlessinger has enjoyed working with ATX-101 since the beginning and is excited to add it to his practice.

ATX-101 offers a new way to treat excessive fat on the chin, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

This in-office procedure is a new treatment option to address double chins without invasive surgery. Dr. Joel Schlessinger has seen great results during clinical trials and is looking forward to offering ATX-101 for his patients.

“Based on the clinical trials, I am quite excited to have this in my clinic and will be using it for many of my patients who have issues with excessive fat on the chin,” he says.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says this treatment is ideal for patients who want to address chin fat without liposuction.

“I don’t think it will entirely take away the need for chin liposuction, but it will clearly treat many individuals who have too little fat for liposuction but still have a clear need,” he says. “This is a huge bonus for our specialty and patients!”

The studies performed by Dr. Joel Schlessinger played an integral role in ATX-101’s success.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and his team worked hard to see ATX-101 through its preliminary stages. Now with the treatment one step closer to receiving FDA approval, Dr. Schlessinger is excited to add it to his practice.

“Having worked on ATX-101 since 2007, it feels like my ‘child’ has been born at this point,” he says. “It has been a wonderful experience to be involved with this exciting new treatment option from the beginning.”

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the link between skin and psychology

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the link between skin and psychology

The American Psychological Association recently published an article titled “The link between skin and psychology,” which focuses on the relationship between psychological and dermatological problems. The field of study, called psychodermatology, embraces the idea that common skin conditions are affected by psychological issues. In this blog, Dr. Joel Schlessinger sheds light on this idea and why we shouldn’t always blame skin conditions on stress or other psychological factors.

It’s difficult to prove skin conditions are caused by stress, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

According to the APA, psychodermatology focuses on “skin problems affected by stress or other emotional states, psychological problems caused by disfiguring skin disorders, and psychiatric disorders that manifest themselves via the skin, such as delusional parasitosis.” Psychodermatology is common in Europe but not as commonly noted in the United States.

“I think this is a really easy thing for some doctors to blame skin conditions on stress, but stress is very difficult to prove as a cause as it is nearly impossible to reproduce or quantify,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says. “Therefore, the onus of improving the disease is placed onto the patient (‘You are causing your disease’), rather than the physician. That doesn’t seem fair to me and would only serve to increase a patient’s stress level.”

Dermatologists should holistically treat skin conditions, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Even if stress does play a role in worsening skin conditions, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says patients shouldn’t have to treat themselves. Instead, he prefers to do what he can as a dermatologist to treat their concerns using more traditional methods in combination with other natural and environmental factors being addressed when necessary.

“Stress is something that is part of everyone’s life and while we all try to be care-free, we can’t be in most cases,” he says. “Therefore, I would rather try to focus on what I can change as a dermatologist and avoid throwing salt on the wound by insisting on a daunting task for my patients in order to treat their condition. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to be as stressful as possible and work on improving it when we can, along with other natural and holistic treatments, however.”

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger comments on the rise of plastic surgery due to selfies

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger comments on the rise of plastic surgery due to selfies

You can’t log in to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without seeing at least one of your friends’ latest selfies. These self-portraits have become more and more popular due to the rise of smartphones and social media sites and are especially popular among teens and young adults. According to studies, there is also a connection between the rise of selfies and an increase in plastic surgeries. Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article from Reuters that explains the connection.

The 25% increase in surgeries may be influenced by the rise of selfies, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

According to the article, there has been a 25% increase in requested surgeries such as rhinoplasty, hair transplants and eyelid lift surgeries over the past two and a half years. A poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reveals that one in three surgeons have seen an increase in requests because patients are becoming more aware of their appearance on social media. Individuals are bombarded by pictures of themselves every day on social media sites, which make them more likely to notice what they would like to change about their appearance.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger cautions against using selfies to judge whether you need plastic surgery.

“I agree that this is probably a good reason for some people to consider cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “On the other hand, it isn’t exactly a fair assessment of their face as selfies are often distorted.”

You should discuss with your doctor your options for cosmetic surgery and whether it is right for you. If you are not ready for a procedure, clean makeup and a hint of color to the lips and cheeks can make a big difference in how you look in your selfies.

Questions or comments for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Ask him in the comments section!

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses a new study that links probiotics to beautiful skin and hair

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses a new study that links probiotics to beautiful skin and hairAchieving glowing skin and shiny hair could be as easy as opening the fridge and grabbing a yogurt. In a recent study titled “Probiotic Bacteria Induce a ‘Glow of Health,’” researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that ingesting probiotics like those found in yogurt may lead to an improvement in the appearance of skin and hair.

Probiotics could improve the look and feel of skin and hair, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

In the study, scientists studied the effects of a yogurt containing the probiotic L. Reuteri on the fur and skin of lab mice. The researchers then used a light reflectivity test to measure a change in fur luster. All of the female mice that were observed had shinier coats while the male mice didn’t show a significant difference. The study also looked at increased skin thickness, which appeared in both the male and female mice after eating probiotic yogurt. Based on these results, it’s possible that probiotics could have a positive effect on the appearance of skin and hair in humans.

These results are an interesting start but more study is required, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes that these early findings are interesting, but more research needs to be done. The sample size for this study was very small and a broader range would yield more conclusive results. Additionally, it would be beneficial to conduct the same study with human subjects to see if there is still a significant correlation.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger weighs in on a recent study that suggests Botox could improve your mood

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger weighs in on a recent study that suggests Botox could improve your mood                                                                                                                                                               A new study out of Georgetown Medical School suggests that it might be possible to treat depression by relaxing a patient’s facial muscles with Botox. This injectable contracts the muscles, preventing patients from frowning. The research, which will be published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, followed 74 patients with major depression who were assigned either Botox or a saline placebo. Six weeks later, 52 percent of the subjects who were given Botox showed relief from depression, compared with only 15 percent of those who were given the placebo.

Similar studies have found Botox to have the same effects, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

The results of this study are not entirely unprecedented. A study at Cardiff University found that non-depressed patients at a cosmetic dermatology clinic who received a Botox injection above the eyes frowned less and felt better than those who did not receive Botox. A similar study at the University of Basel found that Botox had a more positive effect than a placebo when given to depressed patients. Further research on the effects of Botox will be able to shed more light on this issue.

Other treatments for depression use similar facial feedback, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

It’s still unclear whether Botox is an effective anti-depressant, but there are a few treatments for depression that use facial feedback in a similar way. Light therapy stimulates the retina, exciting the optic nerve and sending signals directly to the brain. This technique is used to treat seasonal depression. Another method includes direct electrical stimulation of the brain’s vagal nerve, which is thought to have anti-depressant effects.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses study that found indoor tanning causes more cancer than smoking

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the study that found indoor tanning causes more cancer than smoking It’s no secret that indoor tanning is dangerous. To see just how harmful tanning beds can be, researchers recently compared prolonged UV exposure with other negative habits. The study results suggest that indoor tanning may result in more cases of cancer than smoking alone.

Tanning beds are often linked to skin cancer, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger strongly urges his patients to avoid indoor tanning. The UV lamps in tanning beds give off 10 to 15 times more radiation than the sun, which puts users at an even higher risk of developing melanoma.

The study included research that showed how common indoor tanning is among adults and teenagers. Out of the 500,000 people who participated, nearly 36 percent of the adults and 20 percent of the teenagers admitted to using a tanning bed.

Researchers also examined cancer rates and found that the number of skin cancer cases outweigh the number of lung cancer cases each year. While smoking causes around 363,000 cases of lung cancer annually, there are an estimated 419,000 cases of basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Additionally, there are around 11,000 cases of melanoma that could be linked to the use of tanning beds.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is passionate about proper sun protection.

As a board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Joel Schlessinger is a strong advocate for practicing healthy skin care. He supports the ban of tanning beds for all minors in hopes that it will save future generations from melanoma and other skin cancers.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger also recommends wearing sunscreen every day, even if you aren’t exposed to direct sunlight. He is especially supportive of the use of sunscreen in schools, where many administrators have banned the use of sun protection for children.  Dr. Joel Schlessinger appeared on the Huffington Post last year to discuss the implications of this ban.

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

A new study shows daily sunscreen use could slow signs of aging. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

A new study shows daily sunscreen use could slow signs of aging. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Wearing sunscreen every day may help prevent photoaging of the skin, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled “Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial.” The study found that regular sun protection helps prevent signs of aging, helping people look younger longer.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger isn’t surprised that sunscreen could be beneficial in more ways than one.

Daily sun protection is something Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists have stood by for years, but this is the first large-scale study to support this advice.

The study had one group of participants use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day while another group used the product at their discretion. After four and a half years, the people who wore daily sun protection were 24% less likely to show more rapid signs of aging.

The importance of a daily sunscreen is something Dr. Joel Schlessinger stresses to all his patients. A broad spectrum sunscreen is essential because, while all sun protection products fight UVB rays that burn the skin, not all formulas protect against UVA rays that age the skin. Shielding your skin from both aging and burning rays promotes a more youthful appearance.

It’s also important to apply sunscreen correctly, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

UV damage can reach your skin even if you’re inside all day. For optimal results, apply sun protection to your face, neck, arms, hands and any other exposed areas every day. Additionally, most people only apply about 25% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. A full ounce, or the equivalent of a full shot glass, is enough to completely cover your skin. The product should also be reapplied after swimming, heavy sweating or whenever you spend more than a few hours outside.

Do you wear sunscreen every day? Share with us in the comments.

Research highlights gray hair treatments that also address symptoms of vitiligo, reveals Joel Schlessinger MD

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Research highlights gray hair treatments that also address symptoms of vitiligo, reveals Joel Schlessinger MD

Treatments that reverse gray hair may also be used to treat vitiligo, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Gray hair is an issue that most people will have to deal with at some point in their lives. While many individuals do not have to cope with this issue until later in life, others may experience gray hair as a result of vitiligo, a skin condition that causes cells to lose melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair its color.

According to a recent article on Nature World News, a new treatment to reverse graying hair may also be used to treat vitiligo.

This UVB-activated treatment may reverse gray hair caused by vitiligo, reveals Joel Schlessinger MD, but can also cause damage.

Gray hair is caused by a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle that causes the hair to bleach itself from the inside out. This report suggests that this buildup can be combated using a topical treatment that is activated by UVB light.

“The unfortunate part of this research,” Joel Schlessinger MD says, “is that UVB (ultraviolet light) can also induce skin cancer and aging. If this ever proves to work, you may get rid of gray hair but look much older due to the UVB damage.”

Research into this skin condition and possible treatments needs to be ongoing, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

Vitiligo is a condition that affects millions of people and, while the cause is unknown, it is important to continue to research this issue.

“While this seems very promising, the reality is that a cure is still far away and this treatment may not work once the damage has been there for a while,” Joel Schlessinger MD says. “It is encouraging, however, to see research on vitiligo, a very challenging disease for dermatologists.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes the importance of studying historical research when dealing with bed bugs

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes the importance of studying historical research when dealing with bed bugs

Taking notes from history, researchers are studying natural and safe ways to eliminate the common bed bug problem. The article “How a Leafy Folk Remedy Stopped Bedbugs in Their Tracks” recently published in the New York Times discusses one study that may remove the need to use harsh chemicals when dealing with bed bugs.

Researchers are attempting to replicate an old European technique where women would cover the floors of infested rooms with bean leaves. The unique texture of the bean leaves would hook onto protrusions on the bed bugs outer shells to prevent them from escaping. Research such as this, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger, highlights the importance of studying history when conducting new research.

Historically, bed bugs are a common problem that cause rashes and other allergic reactions, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Bed bugs dwell in dark, confined places and they often cause allergic reactions that can itch or become irritated. Traditionally, bed bugs are treated using a combination of chemicals and pesticides that can have drastic effects on an individual’s health and the environment. Research into a natural and safe alternative, such as replicating the bean leaf technique, is an important area to study.

“This is a natural, chemical-free and pesticide-free way to treat the problem, as opposed to the alternative, DDT, which nearly killed off an entire species,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Learning to replicate historical techniques is an excellent way to develop technology today, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Scientists are continuing to study the effectiveness of the bean leaf technique and how it can be replicated today. Because bed bugs are developing a resistance to pesticides, it is becoming increasingly important to eliminate the need for harsh chemicals.

“It pays to know what was researched years ago,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “If people knew what had been discovered historically, we would have a much better world.”