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.

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Research and Studies, Tattoo Removal

This post originally appeared on Tuesday December 13, 2011 in the Omaha World Herald.By Leia Mendoza

Daniel Schlessinger is known around campus as the “lip balm guy.”

The 17-year-old Omaha native and freshman at Northwestern University has had his college neighbors and buddies swarm his dorm room to get samples of his creation: FixMySkin Healing Balm.

Daniel even mingled with celebrities at the Emmy Awards in September to give red carpet walkers a sneak peek of the product before it was released to the public last month.

FixMySkin Healing Balm is a medicated body balm intended to heal a number of skin issues, including chapped lips and cuticles, dry elbows and heels, psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy and insect bites.

Daniel, who aspires to follow in his dermatologist dad’s footsteps, came up with the concept when he was only 12.

It was winter in Nebraska and the Kiewit Middle School seventh-grader had dry, cracked skin on his hands. So he rubbed some lip balm on his skin and wondered why it worked better than lotion, but didn’t completely heal his skin.

“It was my intellectual curiosity, I guess,” Daniel said by phone. “I was just really curious about why something like lip balm didn’t work there.”

Turns out, he learned from his father, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, that his lips and hands have two different types of skin and the hand requires a stronger medication.

“It was more complex of a problem than I imagined,” Daniel said. “And it led us into this whole journey.”

The journey began with Daniel’s idea, but his father saw potential in it and stepped in to advise and mentor his son.

Daniel researched the market to see if a medicated balm existed that could be used on lips and hands. There were lip balms with medications in them, but no skin balms that contained medications, such as hydrocortisone, or any that were specifically aimed at dry, cracked skin on the fingers or other targeted areas.

To be sure, his father hired a patent attorney to research it.

Their attorney, Roberta Hastreiter based in Atlanta, gave them the green light to move forward. The patent for FixMySkin Healing Balm is pending.

The mission to create a body balm that was portable, easy to use and medically effective had begun.

Daniel was still young and could help only so much because he didn’t understand much of the medical jargon and discussions. Even so, his father had him sit in on meetings and on conference calls with attorneys and manufacturers.

“This was really Daniel’s baby,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Even the business professionals they worked with during the process took time to explain details to Daniel, making sure he felt a part of the deal.

But, “it wasn’t an easy process,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Joel Schlessinger brought his father, Bernie Schlessinger, who has a PhD in physical chemistry, on board to help develop formulas. They knew they wanted to add 1 percent hydrocortisone in the balm, but hydrocortisone tends to glob and be messy and has a bitter taste in lip balms. So figuring out how to make it glide on smoothly and taste good was a challenge.

After roughly four years of research and 54 different formulations, they finally found the right one.

During the last few years, Daniel, who was attending Millard North High School and had taken advanced science classes, was able to understand more and get back into his creative role.

He worked with chemists after school, before track practices or whenever he had free time. He used vacations and time off from school to travel to potential manufacturers. Most recently, he spent most of his summer familiarizing himself with all of the Food and Drug Administration’s requirements and worked with a liaison for the FDA to make sure the product met all of the guidelines.

“These professionals couldn’t believe they were dealing with a high school senior,” Joel Schlessinger said.

But Daniel won’t take all the credit. Turning his idea into a reality was a “family affair,” with his sister, Claire, his mother, Nancy, and his grandmother June throwing in ideas and giving advice.

The FixMySkin Healing Balm, which went on sale a few weeks ago, has been featured in national health and beauty magazines such as Allure.

The healing body balms come in three sizes: a small jar, a chapstick size and a glue-stick size, ranging from $8 to $12. They can be purchased at Joel Schlessinger’s Omaha store, Lovely Skin, near 144th Street and West Center Road, or online. Visit Omaha.com for a link to the site.

Already, 3,000 individual containers have been sold in store and online.

Joel Schlessinger distributed the product to roughly 200 dermatologists and skin specialists at a recent convention in Las Vegas and sold an additional 200. The hope is to eventually sell the product through other vendors and retailers.

“It’s a good feeling to see all the work come together and produce a product people like,” Daniel Schlessinger said.

For Joel Schlessinger, “It was a beautiful thing to see Daniel grow alongside the development of this product.”

Contact the writer:

402-444-1336, leia.mendoza@owh.com

Copyright ©2011 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Buy your own FixMySkin Healing Balm here.

No Comments | Category: Business Run by Family

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses the causes of hair loss

Every year, millions of men and women experience hair loss, some as early as their 20s. There are a number of different medical and environmental factors that can contribute to hair loss, and seeing your physician to pinpoint the cause is key to receiving the right treatment.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses normal hair shedding and growth.

Hair loss is not the same as regular shedding. It may be alarming to pull loose hairs from your ponytail daily or have a clump of hair clog the shower drain weekly, but the average person sheds between 50 and 100 hairs a day as part of the natural growth cycle. Everyone is a little different when it comes to the natural shedding process, and only you will be able to tell if you’re losing more hair than usual.

It’s also important not to confuse hair breakage with hair loss. Frequent heat styling and chemical treatments can leave hair dry, dull and brittle, with split ends. When split ends travel up the hair shaft, they may break off close to the root, giving the illusion of hair loss. Severely damaged hair should be rehabilitated through a deep conditioning regimen and a hiatus from hot tools.

Genetics is the leading cause of hair loss, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

The single largest cause of hair loss is genetics. Hereditary hair loss is referred to as female-pattern baldness or male-pattern baldness, respectively. In female patients, it’s characterized by thinning hair around the crown. Male patients may experience a receding hairline in an M shape or loss that begins at the temple and extends to the crown.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can contribute to hair loss for both men sexes, but more commonly, women. It happens directly after childbirth due to quickly falling estrogen levels. This loss usually peaks around four months post-birth and then hair returns completely back to normal after one year. Occasionally, the shifting hormones associated with menopause can cause hair loss, but this is relatively rare, and it is also temporary.


Certain antidepressants, birth control pills and drugs to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure and arthritis can interfere with the hair’s natural growth cycle and cause loss. Radiation therapy for cancer also causes hair loss, as well as change the color and texture of hair.

Pre-Existing Skin Conditions

Ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis and certain types of fungus can all cause irritation, inflammation, scarring and then eventual hair loss. Folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles, may look similar to acne in appearance, with little rings around individual hair follicles. This condition can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss due to inflammation. Alopecia areata is a condition that usually affects the scalp and results in patchy hair loss. It is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation.

Thyroid Disease

Changes in the thyroid may affect hormones and the rest of the body’s systems, including the hair growth cycle. When the thyroid is hyperactive, hair may grow finer and thinner, and when the thyroid is underactive, thinning and loss may occur. Also, certain medications that are frequently prescribed for an underactive thyroid count hair loss among their side effects.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is a form of gradual hair loss that occurs by pulling force to the hair. It is most common in those individuals who frequently style hair in tight braids, cornrows, pigtails and buns, and it is characterized by a receding hairline. If left untreated, traction alopecia can cause scarring and permanent loss.

Consult with your dermatologist about treating hair loss, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

Treating hair loss depends entirely on the type of hair loss being experienced. For temporary hair loss due to medication or hormone fluctuations, a supplement can help encourage healthy growth. Try Viviscal Professional Supplements. These exciting new dietary supplement tablets contain AminoMar Marine Complex, apple extract, biotin, vitamin C and a blend of essential amino acids to help rehabilitate hair in four stages. Hair is first nourished, then thin wispy hair is strengthened. Breaking and thinning continues to decline, and hair becomes stronger, healthier and more vibrant. The supplements work wonderfully for both men and women suffering from hair loss due to everyday stress, medication, hormonal changes and more.

The Rene Furterer Triphasic Progressive Hair Loss Kit and Rene Furterer RF80 Sudden Hair Loss Kit include comprehensive regimens to help strengthen and fortify thinning hair. Triphasic Progressive Hair Loss Kit is perfect for those struggling with hereditary hair loss. It contains Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract to help strengthen hair at the root, Forticea Stimulating Shampoo to increase microcirculation and Triphasic Regenerating Treatment to target and correct hair loss.

The RF80 Sudden Hair Loss Kit is specially formulated for those experiencing sudden hair loss from temporary factors like hormonal changes, lack of nutrients and certain medications. It includes Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract to strengthen hair at the root, Forticea Stimulating Shampoo to help encourage microcirculation and RF 80 Concentrated Serum to provide nourishment to weak, thinning strands.

There are also at-home devices available to address hair loss. Try the Hairmax Lasercomb Advanced 7, a laser photo therapy device that is clinically proven to stimulate hair follicles. With just three 15-minute treatments a week, you can enjoy new growth in as little as 16 weeks.

Do you have a question for Dr. Schlessinger about hair loss? Let us know in the comments section.

No Comments | Category: Uncategorized

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares how to tell if your skin is aging well
Signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are often not welcome. You do everything you can to keep your skin looking youthful for as long as possible. But how do you know if the signs you’re seeing are normal for your age? In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how to tell if your skin is aging well and how you can maintain a more youthful appearance.

Fine lines and wrinkles are a normal sign of aging, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

The first signs of aging often appear in the form of crow’s feet around eyes. These fine lines develop as a result of frequent facial expressions like squinting and smiling. Repetitive motions create creases in the skin that break down collagen and elastin fibers over time. The body also starts to produce collagen and elastin at a slower rate, preventing skin from bouncing back as quickly as it did when you were younger.

Next, you’ll see wrinkles start to form on the forehead, around the lips and between the eyebrows. Much like crow’s feet, these wrinkles are caused by repeated facial expressions. You can pair skin care treatments with in-office procedures like Botox and wrinkle fillers to minimize these signs of aging. However, wrinkles are not out of the ordinary.

There’s a good chance you’ll also start to see dark circles under your eyes, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Dark circles under eyes could be caused by a number of things including natural aging, heredity, allergies, sleep deprivation and stress. The skin around the eyes becomes thinner and more fragile with age, exposing tiny blood vessels beneath the skin. Loss of elasticity can also contribute to dark circles. As skin loses its ability to bounce back, dark circles become more prominent.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares a few things that could contribute to signs of aging.

If you smoke, you will start to see premature signs of aging much earlier than normal, including deep wrinkles, bags under eyes and dull, sallow skin. This is because cigarettes starve your skin of oxygen and constrict blood flow, which affects circulation and breaks down collagen and elastin. Smoking also depletes your body of vitamin C, a necessary nutrient for collagen production. Because smoke is a form of pollution, you’re also exposing your skin to harmful free radicals.

Skipping sunscreen is another way to encourage dark spots and wrinkles. Most signs of aging can be delayed with proper sun protection. Going without any sunscreen, however, can lead to dark spots, wrinkles and other signs of photoaging. UV exposure causes collagen and elastin to break down, which leads to signs of aging.

Maintain a youthful appearance with some of Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s favorite products.

The best way to prevent premature signs of aging is to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every single day. One of Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s favorite sunscreens is EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Untinted. This oil-free formula protects skin with 9% zinc oxide. Plus, its sheer formula won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.

Building an anti-aging regimen will also help you maintain a youthful appearance. Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests pairing clinically proven ingredients like peptides and growth factors for best results. After cleansing, apply NuGene NuCell Universal Serum. Formulated with growth factors, polypeptides, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, this serum helps encourage collagen and elastin production. Then, moisturize skin with LovelySkin LUXE Ultra-Rich Peptide Moisturizer. This hydrating cream contains peptides to help repair skin and argan oil to nourish and revitalize the complexion.

Do you have a question about anti-aging treatments for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.

No Comments | Category: Aging Skin Care, Dermatology

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how firming body lotions work

Plenty of skin care creams promise to tighten and tone skin while reducing cellulite. These firming body lotions might sound like a miracle, but there’s really no quick fix for dimpled or “orange peel” skin. In this blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how firming body lotions work and what kind of results you can expect.

Firming body lotions work by moisturizing skin, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

The creams that promise to firm and tone skin are a temporary fix, meaning these formulas might initially provide results but they aren’t going to eliminate cellulite for good. Cellulite’s characteristic dimpled appearance is the result of uneven fat deposits under skin. Firming lotions provide a much-needed dose of hydration to smooth the appearance of skin. This moisturizing action also helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, helping skin look more youthful and radiant. Additionally, firming products that are specifically designed to target cellulite often contain caffeine, which acts as an antioxidant and can help improve circulation.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says the best way to fight cellulite is by combining a firming lotion with professional treatments.

Diminishing cellulite requires a combination of healthy diet and exercise, but sometimes even this isn’t enough. Fortunately, there are professional treatments that can help diminish the appearance of stubborn cellulite. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends VelaShape, a non-surgical procedure that uses elos technology to tone, contour and shape targeted areas.

There are also several at-home treatments to prolong your results following an in-office procedure. bliss FatGirlSlim Lean Machine is a vacuum massager that targets cellulite with a combination of rolling, lifting, suction and pulsing motions. The device provides temporary results, and best results are seen when it is used alongside healthy diet and exercise. SkinCeuticals Body Tightening Concentrate tightens, firms and lifts targeted areas with a cooling sensation. This treatment helps smooth and tighten skin on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and upper arms in as little as eight weeks. ResolutionMD Cellulite Treatment System contains a body wash, a firming moisturizer and a renewal cream to firm, tone and tighten skin. When used as directed, this three-piece system provides results after six to eight weeks of use.

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

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Skin Care

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses Botox for hairstyles

From correcting wrinkles to easing migraines, Botox has a wide range of applications that continue to evolve with changing trends. Most recently, Botox has been used to rectify excessive sweating in patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis, a condition that involves overactive sweat glands. Now, the process is being used to combat scalp sweat, keeping hair cleaner and more voluminous as a result. In this blog entry, Dr. Joel Schlessinger responds to an article from Medical Daily called, “Women Are Getting Botox Injections for Their Scalps to Keep Hairstyles Intact.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains Botox.

Botulinum toxin type A, or Botox, is a neurotoxic protein used for a variety of medical and cosmetic procedures. It is typically injected in small amounts over a set period of time. Botox is most commonly used to correct wrinkles by limiting the ability of nerves to make muscles contract, essentially relaxing muscles to keep skin looking firm and youthful. Botox injections are also capable of decreasing nerve stimulation of sweat glands. This process is often used for underarms, hands and feet to reduce the activity of sweat glands in those areas. Now, the process is also being used to combat scalp sweat.
Botox injections to the scalp decrease the amount of sweat produced by sweat glands in the scalp. This keeps hair cleaner and helps maintain style and volume long after you’ve left the salon. Botox injections in the scalp are similar to injections in the face but affect a greater surface area. Typically, a dermatologist will inject around 20 units of Botox to the face. For the scalp, about 100 units of Botox are injected to cover the entire surface area.

Botox for the scalp has potential, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

The FDA has yet to approve Botox injections for the scalp. As a result, the procedure is not being widely performed by dermatologists, but Dr. Joel Schlessinger says that Botox injections for the scalp have potential. “While this sounds intriguing, I still have yet to do it,” explains Dr. Schlessinger. “I do think it would work well and lengthen the time between styling of hair. Clearly, there is work to be done before this is ready for prime time but it could be something that is common in 10 years so I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility!”

Ask a dermatologist, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, about Botox injections to the scalp.

As with any medical procedure, Botox injections to the scalp come with certain risks. Typical side effects of injection, such as swelling, pain and bruising, are possible. If you are interested in exploring Botox injections for your scalp, it is important that you choose a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who has the skills and expertise to provide the best treatment for your needs.

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Injections and Fillers

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.


No Comments | Category: Dermatology, Skin Care, Skin Care Myths

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses navigating the cosmeceutical market on DermTube Journal Club
From the publishers of Practical Dermatology, DermTube offers a wealth of educational videos developed specifically for dermatologists and other industry professionals. Joel Schlessinger MD serves on the advisory board for DermTube and frequently contributes his expert knowledge through videos and other methods. In a recent video titled “Navigating the Cosmeceutical Market,” Joel Schlessinger MD talks to Nancy J. Samolitis MD about how cosmeceuticals are evolving and what effect this has on the skin care industry.

Dermatologists carefully consider products before recommending them to patients, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Ever since cosmeceuticals hit the market, many dermatologists have incorporated these products into their practices. Joel Schlessinger MD says that the only way for doctors to know which products are the best for their patients is to try each and every one.

“There are a huge variety of products out there and the benefit that we have as dermatologists is that we don’t just evaluate them based on the color of the tube or whether the product smells good, but we’re going to evaluate them based on their merits,” he says.

Dermatologists evaluate each product by looking at several factors including ingredients, clinical data, safety and affordability. This means that patients can feel good about using products recommended by their dermatologist.

“I think that there are a lot of things that we look at as dermatologists and we scrutinize with a much different eye than the average consumer.”

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the possibility of the FDA regulating cosmeceuticals.

Recently, there has been some talk of the FDA starting to regulate cosmeceuticals. Joel Schlessinger MD discussed how this could potentially change the cosmeceutical market.

“Based on the FDA’s willingness or unwillingness to introduce sunscreens, I’m a little concerned about . . . the FDA getting cosmeceuticals under their purview,” he says. “At the same time, I like the thought of having some science behind cosmeceuticals and having the ability for companies to have a different track for approval of cosmeceuticals.”

When recommending products to his patients, Joel Schlessinger MD always returns to a few favorites.

Joel Schlessinger MD has tried many products over the years and he always comes back to a couple tried and true formulas.

“When I look for a sunscreen, it’s almost always going to be EltaMD,” he says.

Two of his favorite products from this brand are EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Untinted and EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen – Tinted.

“Additionally, we love products in our practice that have unique things that they treat,” Joel Schlessinger MD continues. “My son and I actually came up with a product called FixMySkin with 1% hydrocortisone in it. This product is a little balm that we can put on and it helps patients that might have dry skin issues, eczema, psoriasis or facial dermatitis.”

Joel Schlessinger MD and Practical Dermatology have partnered up several times over the years.

Practical Dermatology has been a co-sponsor of Cosmetic Surgery Forum since its inception in 2009. Led by Joel Schlessinger MD, this multi-specialty educational symposium focuses on the latest research, treatment and techniques in dermatology and cosmetic surgery. Practical Dermatology has been a valuable partner to Cosmetic Surgery Forum over the last seven years. Recently, the publication has also made significant strides in developing creative outlets to bring relevant content to the field.

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

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Dermatology, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, Skin Care Innovation

Joel Schlessinger MD explains misleading SPF labels
To prepare for days in the summer sun, sunscreen with the proper SPF is a must to protect against harmful UVB rays that increase the risk of skin cancer. Higher SPF numbers correlate with better UVB protection, but a recent study shows that the SPF labels do not always match the SPF protection provided by sunscreens. In this blog entry, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article from CBS News called, “Some sunscreens don’t live up to their SPF claims” and explains the study and ways to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the dangers of harmful UV rays.

SPF, or sun protection factor, measures a sunscreen’s ability to block dangerous UVB rays that cause sunburn. UVA rays, or rays that lead to wrinkled and aging skin, are not measured by SPF but can be just as damaging to skin. Both types of UV ray increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, making sunscreen an important factor for healthy skin. Skin can be damaged by UV rays after just 10 minutes of intense sun exposure.

In a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, 34 sunscreens were evaluated for their effectiveness in blocking UVB and UVA rays. To test UVB protection, different sunscreens were applied to patches of skin and exposed to six levels of UVB light. The effectiveness was evaluated by how red the skin appeared the next day. To test UVA protection, Consumer Reports applied each sunscreen to a plastic plate and shined a UV light through it to see how much light passed through each sunscreen. According to the study, 11 of the sunscreens tested were 16% to 70% less effective than advertised and did not provide the amount of SPF protection listed on their labels. Of the 34 sunscreens tested, only 15 performed well enough to earn Consumer Report’s recommendation.

“This is something that every dermatologist has known for years and has been extremely hard to convince our patients of until now,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “It seems wrong that numbers lie but in the case of sunscreens they just do. That’s why I only trust EltaMD or CoTZ on my skin when I go out. They have different standards that are clearly better.”

What I’ve been telling my patients for years, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Sunscreen is an important part of a daily skincare regimen, and there are several ways to ensure its effectiveness. Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists have several recommendations for preventing sun damage to your skin:

  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 every day, but choose a higher SPF on days when you know you’ll be outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Avoid being outside when the sun is at its peak, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Protect your skin with proper clothing including wide-brimmed hats and loose-fitting long sleeve shirts.
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen to protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays.
  • In addition to these sun protection measures, supplements such as Heliocare Sun Protection Pills provide added UV protection.

Do you have questions about sunscreen? Ask in the comments section below.

No Comments | Category: Skin Cancer, Sun Damage, Sun Protection, Sunscreen Tips

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses how to minimize under-eye puffiness.

Sagging, swelling or puffiness under the eyes—sometimes referred to as “bags”—is a common side effect of the natural aging process. As we grow older, tissues and muscles that support the upper eyelids can weaken, causing fat that is positioned around the eye to migrate to the lower eyelids and the area below the eye. Fluid can also accumulate beneath the eye, which contributes to under-eye circles and a puffy appearance.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the causes of under-eye puffiness.

Under-eye puffiness often runs in families. Some individuals never experience bags and others experience bags prematurely. If your mother or grandmother have them, there’s a good chance that you will eventually have them too. In addition to genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can worsen under-eye puffiness:

• A High-Sodium Diet: A diet that is high in sodium can cause fluid retention and a puffy appearance throughout the body, including the area around the eyes
• Alcohol: Alcohol can be dehydrating, pulling water from your skin and worsening the appearance of an aging eye
• Smoking: Smoking can dry out facial skin and cause collagen breakdown, resulting in a more wrinkled, sagging eye area
• Lack of Sleep: Lack of sleep can worsen fluid retention in the eye area, and discoloration can grow darker due to dilated blood vessels
• Hormone Levels: Fluctuating hormones can lead to fluid retention

Under-eye puffiness is primarily a cosmetic issue, but in certain circumstances, it may be indicative of allergies or other medical issues, particularly concerning the kidneys. See a doctor if the swelling is severe, accompanied by pain, redness and itching or if these symptoms have spread to other areas of the body.

A topical treatment can help combat the appearance of bags, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

There are many home remedies for under-eye puffiness that have been passed around for decades, such as placing tea bags, cucumbers or cold spoons over the eyes. These can temporarily reduce swelling, but they are not a viable long-term solution. Dr. Schlessinger recommends skipping out on these practices and applying a topical treatment instead. When used regularly and combined with a healthy lifestyle, these creams can help nourish the skin around the eyes and minimize puffiness.

LovelySkin LUXE Brightening Eye Cream, a brand-new product developed by Dr. Schlessinger, is a light-diffusing formula that helps to brighten dark circles and minimize under-eye puffiness. Hyaluronic acid helps to plump and hydrate skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines, while Persian silk tree extract and horse chestnut extract help to address signs of fatigue.

Try Neocutis Lumiere Eye Cream (with PSP), a formula that helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with growth factors. The cream also features hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate the skin around the eyes and caffeine to help reduce under-eye circles and puffiness.

Dr. Schlessinger also recommends Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Cream. Perfect for normal to dry skin, this cream contains the gentle exfoliator, malonic acid, to help remove dulling debris and restore elasticity. It also helps to tighten sagging skin around the eyes and eliminate dark circles and puffiness for a more youthful appearance.

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex contains peptides, plus a blend of antioxidants, to help prevent collagen breakdown and loss of firmness. Exclusive anti-inflammatory ingredients help to combat dark circles and puffiness for a visibly improved appearance in as little as 12 weeks.

Ask a dermatologist, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, about cosmetic procedures.

Cosmetic procedures are also available for under-eye bags, with fillers and laser treatments among the most common options. However, success can vary greatly by individual with these treatments, and they can carry added risk since the skin around the eye is thin and fragile. If you’re interested in exploring cosmetic surgery, it’s crucial to choose a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who has the skills and expertise to provide the best treatment for your needs.

Do you have a questions for Dr. Schlessinger? Let us know in the comments section.

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