A friend of mine and one of the best dermatologists I know, Dr. Jerry Litt, put together a fantastic list of common myths in dermatology.  I am putting them on my blog with comments regarding them:

Acne is caused by lack of cleanliness

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  Dermatologists know that acne is caused by many things and cleanliness, while possible as a cause for infections, doesn’t often cause the run of the mill teenage acne.  What does cause it is hormones, heredity, what you use to clean and put on your face and some foods (milk, in particular!).

Poison ivy (dermatitis) is contagious

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  Poison ivy isn’t contagious, but the clothes you wore around the time you picked it up and animals who might have rolled in it ARE!  So be careful after an outbreak of poison ivy and also remember to clean under your fingernails for best results as the resin from it can be quite tough to get off!

Shingles is caused by “nerves”

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  Shingles is a reactivation of chicken pox.  While being under a great deal of stress or having had an illness/flu can bring it on, if you haven’t had chicken pox in the past you can’t get shingles.  There is now a vaccine for it and I recommend it to my patients as it can be very difficult to treat even with medications and pain can linger for years after the main episode.

Ringworm is caused by a worm

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  We all know this is wrong.  Ringworm is a fungus and is caused by contact with that.  Cats and dogs may carry the fungus, especially if they are outside animals.  Treatment is a cream like Lamisil OTC.

You can change the size of your pores

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  NO NO NO!  You can’t change the size of your pores, whatever the cream or process or beautician says.  On the other hand, you can empty your pores of contents, such as keratin and debris and this allows them to look less prominent.  A good exfoliation is much better at making pores less obvious than anything else.

Certain creams, ointments, and massages can eliminate wrinkles and stretch marks.

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  No cream, ointment or massage is going to eliminate wrinkles or stretch marks.  We do have creams that can make them slightly better and the best of these is Retin A.  Others, such as forms of Retin A or scar treatments, can minimize them, but they will still be there.  Lasers work in a so-so manner for stretch marks, but they can definitely take out the redness of stretch marks.  Lasers can work very well on wrinkles, however (especially the CO2 or Fraxel CO2 lasers).  There are creams, however, that can do a great job on pigmentation.  Obagi is the best of them (www.LovelySkin.com/Obagi) and is typically mixed with Retin A for best results.

Cellulite is a disease

Comment by Dr. Joel Schlessinger:  Cellulite is a condition that happens to mainly women after a certain age.  At present, there is no cure, but certain creams can help a little bit for this tough condition.  We do treatments in our office such as Velashape and that helps a great deal, but it is temporary.  Also, some people simply don’t respond to it at all.  If you have had cellulite for a long time and haven’t had any treatments it may not work.  If you start when you see the first signs, it will be better.  Don’t expect miracles and it may help!

My thanks you to Jerry Litt MD!

Posted Sunday, January 1st, 2012 at 9:55 am
Filed Under Category: Skin Care Myths
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