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 discusses how different pH levels affect your skin care routine

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses how different pH levels affect your skin care routine
When you think of pH levels, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t skin care. In fact, you’ve probably come across the term “pH” before without ever really understanding what these levels mean in relation to your skin. Without getting too scientific, pH levels measure how acidic or alkalinic a substance is. All of your skin care products have unique pH levels, and these don’t always match your skin’s pH level. In this blog post, Joel Schlessinger MD explains what you need to know when it comes to the pH level of your skin care products.

Skin has a natural pH level that is slightly acidic, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

The pH scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkalinic). Although pH levels differ from person to person, skin pH is generally at 5.5 or slightly lower. pH levels also vary from body part to body part and they can change by the minute.

A wide range of pH levels can actually be beneficial for skin. While some soaps are more alkalinic, Joel Schlessinger MD says this doesn’t mean they are less harsh. He also points out that products on the acidic side can actually help to cleanse more effectively.

LovelySkin Luxe Gentle Cream Cleanser, for example, has a pH of 6.7, which is close to neutral. On the other hand, LovelySkin Luxe Clarifying Gel Cleanser has a slightly more acidic pH of 5.84 because it contains 2% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid to better exfoliate skin.  Both formulas are great cleansers, but this is a perfect example of how acidity can affect cleansing properties. While the Gentle Cream Cleanser gently removes makeup and soothes the complexion, the Clarifying Gel Cleanser exfoliates without causing irritation or inflammation.

Joel Schlessinger MD suggests trying products to see what works with your skin.

While testing the pH level of all your products might sound like fun, it’s not necessary. Joel Schlessinger MD says the best way to find the right skin care products for your complexion is to try them.

“Those that are within the two to eight range are generally what we find will work with skin,” Joel Schlessinger MD says. “It is probably best to simply try these out on your skin and see what feels good, what seems to help cleanse your skin and what works for you.”

If you’re curious about a product’s pH level, there is an easy way to test it.

“There are relatively simple tests to find out a product’s pH, including simple litmus paper or relying upon company tests, which are usually available with some research,” Joel Schlessinger MD says. “But the most important test is that of how a product feels and wears on you and that is only done personally.”

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

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.


Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article on why you should wash new clothes before wearing them

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article on why you should wash new clothes before wearing them
People often expect brand new clothing to be clean when they bring it home from the store. But are the clothes clean enough that you don’t need to wash them before wearing? A recent article from The Wall Street Journal titled “Do You Need to Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them?” might change your mind.

Dermatologists like Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggest washing garments to remove common allergens.

Clothing can often be made of materials that are woven, dyed and stitched together in three different countries. Each country has different laws about chemical use, leaving your skin to suffer. The two main allergens often found in clothing are dye and formaldehyde resin.

Synthetic fabrics require the use of azo-aniline dyes, which can cause a severe skin reaction similar to poison ivy. Dyes can also cause skin to become dry, itchy or slightly inflamed. Urea formaldehyde resin is used to prevent mildew and wrinkling in cotton-polyester blends. Fabrics with this chemical can cause eczema, rashes and irritation.

Clothing can also harbor germs from people who’ve tried it on in the store, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

You have no way of knowing how many people have touched or tried on a piece of clothing before you buy it. Dermatologists have seen cases of lice and scabies that were transmitted from trying on garments in the store. Although lice can’t survive very long without a human host, experts say they attach better to natural fibers than synthetics.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends washing new clothing before wearing to help prevent skin irritation.

Because you never know what has come into contact with your clothing, it’s always a good idea to wash garments before wearing. Dermatologists suggest running all new fabrics through one wash cycle with a double rinse, even if you don’t use any soap. This will help keep allergens, germs or worse from wreaking havoc on your skin.

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

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses what causes dark under-eye circles

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses what causes dark under-eye circles
Don’t assume your dark under-eye circles are always from a lack of sleep. There are many reasons why dark circles might form under eyes including age, heredity, allergies, sleep deprivation and stress. In this blog, Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the different causes of dark circles and what you can do to minimize them.

Dark circles under eyes are often considered a sign of aging but they can also be hereditary, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

As we age, the skin around our eyes becomes thinner and more fragile, exposing tiny blood vessels beneath the skin and creating dark circles. The shadows you see are actually blood flowing through the veins that are located just below the skin’s surface. Loss of elasticity can also contribute to dark circles. As skin loses its ability to regenerate, dark circles become more prominent no matter how much beauty sleep you’ve had.

Darkened pigmentation under the eyes can also be hereditary. Under-eye circles can run in families so, if your parents have them, chances are you will too.

Joel Schlessinger MD recommends his favorite products for minimizing the appearance of dark circles.

The best way to minimize dark circles is to treat the area before concealing discoloration. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair to treat existing damage and prevent future signs of aging around the eyes. This treatment contains growth factors, antioxidants and proteins to diminish dark circles, hydrate dry skin, minimize crow’s feet and soothe under-eye puffiness.

Then, cover dark circles with a concealer that offers additional anti-aging benefits. Teamine Concealer camouflages dark circles with a sheer, natural finish. This concealer contains vitamin C and licorice extract to brighten skin while troxerutin strengthens capillaries to prevent future dark circles. Its anti-aging formula also includes ingredients like peptides, green tea extract and grape extract help minimize other signs of aging.

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

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the dangers of sharing makeup brushes

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the dangers of sharing makeup brushes

Early last week, news broke of a woman in Australia who was left paralyzed after she contracted a dangerous infection from borrowing a friend’s makeup brush. Her infection was caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph called MRSA. In light of this recent event, Joel Schlessinger MD highlights the dangers of sharing makeup brushes.

Many people don’t understand the risks of sharing makeup brushes and cosmetics, Joel Schlessinger MD.

Sharing makeup tools can spread harmful bacteria and infections. Everyone has bacteria that sit on the skin’s surface. When you apply makeup every day, these bacteria are transferred onto the brush and end up contaminating your cosmetics. While these bacteria may not be harmful to you, they could be hazardous to your friend’s health.

“I always shudder when I see references in movies to sharing makeup or lipstick,” Joel Schlessinger MD says. “Sadly, this is seen in real life as well and we see the results of it.”

Staph infections are often mistaken for acne breakouts, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Approximately one-third of the population carries the staph infection, many times without showing any symptoms. Staph bacteria can cause rashes, redness, blisters, tenderness and swelling.

“Many individuals confuse staph infections with acne and often it is too late to halt the spread when they realize it is more than acne,” Joel Schlessinger MD explains. “For this reason, I implore people to not share brushes and makeup.”

Joel Schlessinger MD hopes stories like this will put an end to such a common practice.

“It is a terrible idea, but common in some industries such as the modeling world and among theatrical individuals,” he says. “I hope that this situation brings light to this significant issue.”

If you think you’ve been exposed to dangerous bacteria, wash your face and hands immediately. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends washing with CLn Cleanser because it contains bleach, a natural antibacterial agent that eliminates germs and bacteria without the worsening of antibiotic resistance.

Do you have a question for Joel Schlessinger MD? 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.

Skin purging: fact or fiction? Joel Schlessinger MD has the answer.

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Skin purging: fact or fiction? Joel Schlessinger MD has the answer.

There is a common myth in skin care that starting a new treatment or regimen leads to skin purging. The idea is that when you start a new skin care treatment, breakouts are a good sign because your skin is purging itself of impurities. But is there any truth behind this myth? Read on to find out.

Your skin can react to any change in your daily routine, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

When your skin reacts to a new product, it’s not purging itself of impurities. In fact, it’s the skin’s job to keep things out, not detoxify the body. Any reaction you’re seeing to a new product is the skin naturally trying to restore balance. This can happen whenever you make a change to your skin care routine.

Another explanation could be that you’re having a reaction to the ingredients in the products. Products that contain alcohol, fragrance or other additives can sometimes cause irritation. Additionally, if you’re using products with too many active ingredients, this can cause skin to become overly sensitive. The products in your skin care routine should work together to improve your skin.

Joel Schlessinger MD says it’s important to determine what caused the reaction and adjust accordingly.

If you notice a sudden breakout or increased sensitivity, stop using any new products and see if the reaction clears. Once your skin calms down, you can slowly add products back into your routine. Try only applying formulas every other day or alternating treatments in the morning and the evening. If the reaction persists, it’s time to see a dermatologist.

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

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses skin mistakes you’re making at the sink

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses skin mistakes you're making at the sink
Most people don’t think twice about their skin care routine. Cleanse twice a day and exfoliate twice a week. But even if you’re diligent about taking care of your skin, there are small mistakes that could undo all your hard work. In this blog, Joel Schlessinger shares skin mistakes you could be making at the sink.

The way you wash your face affects how your skin care products work, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

If you’re not cleansing correctly, oil, bacteria and other debris collect in your pores, preventing your skin care products from providing the best results. Before cleansing, wash your hands to remove any dirt and oil on your fingertips, which can transfer to your face and clog pores. If you’re wearing makeup, use a gentle makeup remover before cleansing to prevent irritation.

While washing your face, use tepid water as hot water will strip skin of its natural moisture and cause irritation. With most cleansers, you’ll only need to use about a dime-size amount. Massage the product into your skin for at least 30 seconds to help remove oil and debris. After rinsing the cleanser off your skin, splash your face with cold water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

Joel Schlessinger MD warns against cleansing with a washcloth.

While many people use a washcloth to exfoliate as they cleanse, Joel Schlessinger MD says it could do more harm than good for your skin.

“I recommend that my patients not use a washcloth when cleansing,” says Joel Schlessinger MD. “This is very irritating to the skin and ends up causing dry areas and even sores. Additionally, it frequently harbors bacteria that can make the face break out even more.”

For gentle exfoliation every time you cleanse, Joel Schlessinger MD suggests using a tool like Clarisonic Aria Skin Cleansing System along with your regular cleanser.

Properly washing your hands helps prevent the spread of bacteria, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

In addition to facial cleansing, it’s also important to pay attention to how you wash your hands. By practicing good hygiene, you can help prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria like MRSA.

Joel Schlessinger MD suggests washing your hands with CLn products. Bleach, the main ingredient in CLn, is a natural antibacterial that eliminates germs and bacteria without the worsening of antibiotic resistance.

Wet your hands with water, apply soap and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands under clean water and dry them with a clean towel. Then, use the towel to turn off the faucet. These tips will help you stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the link between vitamin D and your skin

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the link between vitamin D and your skin
We’ve all heard the myth that sun exposure is a must if you want your daily dose of vitamin D. With sunscreen use on the rise, some are worried that constant UV protection could cause a vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the link between this essential vitamin and your skin.

Sun exposure isn’t the best way to boost your vitamin D levels, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

When exposed to direct sunlight, skin reacts with the UVB rays by producing vitamin D. The body’s ability to create this vitamin decreases with age so it’s impossible to get enough vitamin D without harming your skin in the process. Even people with tan skin can have low levels of this essential vitamin, so the idea that tanning will increase levels of vitamin D isn’t always true.

UVB rays, along with UVA rays, can cause skin cancer. For this reason, it is important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen like EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen every morning. Instead of risking harmful sun exposure, Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests taking vitamin supplements that provide about 2,000 units of vitamin D3 each day. These will also help support healthy teeth and strong bones.

Vitamin D can also be applied topically for additional skin care benefits, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

In addition to daily supplements, vitamin D can also be applied topically to provide skin care benefits. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Active Vitamin D Serum-Oil helps minimize acne, improve skin elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance skin radiance, minimize fine lines and diminish dark spots. Unlike most vitamin D oils, this serum does not need sunlight to activate the vitamin D. You’ll enjoy a more youthful complexion with regular use of this anti-aging formula.

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