Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how to treat a condition that affects 80 million Americans.


Hair loss is a common condition that affects about 80 million people in the United States. Though it is natural to lose a few hairs, a growing bald spot or widening part may be a sign of hereditary hair loss. In this post, Joel Schlessinger MD explains the causes and treatments for thinning hair.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains hair loss.

Hair loss is most often hereditary but may also be the result of a diet lacking essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals or protein. Sudden changes in weight or crash dieting may also cause hair to thin. Hair loss associated with poor diet is usually temporary, but it may take time for hair to return to its natural thickness.

After giving birth, women may experience significant changes in hair volume. A surge of estrogen during pregnancy causes hair to become fuller and lusher. After childbirth, estrogen levels begin to regulate and hair tends to fall out as it resumes its normal growth cycle.

Losing hair may also be a sign of infections to the scalp including ringworm, folliculitis, eczema or staff. These infections are typically associated with symptoms such as itching, flaking skin or irritation. If you experience these symptoms in addition to excessive hair loss, it is best to see your dermatologist.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends hair loss treatments.

PHYTO Phytolium 4 Thinning Hair Treatment is effective option for treating thinning hair. After 16 weeks of clinical studies, 79% of users experienced a reduction in hair loss and 39% of users saw an increase in growth. This natural, paraben-free treatment is specially formulated with capucellpro to prolong the life of existing hair. A blend of essential oils and extracts helps to delay thinning and promote healthier hair blubs, as well.

The HairMax LaserComb is the only home-use laser photo therapy device approved by the FDA. Its laser light energy stimulates hair follicles to reverse the thinning process. It also increases hair density and revitalizes damaged hair. When used for 15 minutes three times a week, most users start seeing improvement in as little as 16 weeks.

Klorane Shampoo with Quinine and B Vitamins strengthens and nourishes hair for healthier growth. This hypoallergenic, silicone-free shampoo contains the natural invigorating ingredient quinine to improve follicle growth. Vitamin B cleanses, detangles and volumizes hair while activating the scalp’s microcirculation to encourage stronger hair.

Nourish hair and promote existing growth with Viviscal Professional Supplements. These dietary supplements are formulated with a blend of marine ingredients, apple extract, biotin, vitamin C and essential amino acids to nourish existing hair and increase density. Taken orally twice a day, they nourish hair from within.

If you experience scalp irritation along with hair loss, see a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Schlessinger.

Hair loss accompanied by itching or flaking may be a sign of infection. Consult your dermatologist who can provide you with the best course of treatment.

Do you have questions about hair loss? Ask Dr. Schlessinger in the comments section.

No Comments | Category: Hair Loss, Uncategorized

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses dermatologist-recommended makeup

The makeup you wear everyday can have a huge impact on your skin’s health and appearance. High-quality makeup can enhance your natural beauty, add a youthful glow to your complexion and even help strengthen and protect your skin over time. Low-quality makeup can clog pores, exacerbate conditions, such as acne and rosacea, and irritate skin. Keep reading to learn which ingredients to look for when choosing your makeup, as well as some of Dr. Schlessinger’s favorite products to suggest to patients.

Dermatologists, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, recommend mineral-based makeup.

Overall, dermatologists recommend mineral-based makeup for optimal skin health. Mineral makeup contains natural minerals mined from the earth and very few additional ingredients. Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, ultramarine and iron oxides are among the most common minerals used in these products, and each is known to protect skin against free radical damage. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, for example, are two active physical sunscreen ingredients, so when you wear a mineral-based foundation, you automatically receive a little sun protection. These minerals may also help protect skin against signs of aging. Another benefit of mineral makeup is that it remains on top of the skin. Not only does this create a beautiful “second skin” effect and a more natural finish, it also means that products will not clog pores or irritate skin conditions.

While the majority of mineral products are pressed or loose powder, there are plenty of liquid options available. You can also find eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, finishing powders, concealers and more, making it easy to form an entire routine that’s good for your skin.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains how to build a mineral makeup routine.

A LovelySkin customer favorite, jane iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation SPF 20 is a lightweight formula that offers medium to full coverage with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It also features antioxidants, like algae extract, to help diminish signs of aging and protect the skin against environmental stressors. The powder’s matte finish helps reduce the look of shine and promote a balanced complexion.

If you prefer a liquid formula, try Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation. This safe, breathable foundation is gentle enough for those with acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and injuries. It features advanced technology that works to deliver oxygen to the skin and encourage healing and healthy collagen production, all while creating a flawless complexion. The water-resistant formula stays put through swimming and perspiring and it offers an SPF of 25.

glo minerals offers a wide selection of mineral blushes, bronzers and highlighters in both cream and powder forms that contain green tea, plus vitamins A,C and E for antioxidant protection. Each offers high color pay-off and a beautifully natural finish. Pick up GloBlush, the Contour Kit and the GloShimmer Brick to complete your face routine.

If you have sensitive eyes, you’ll want to stay away from makeup that contains artificial dyes, fragrance and preservatives. Dr. Schlessinger recommends Mirabella Eye Colour Matte for a gentle eyeshadow, Dr. Hauschka Eyeliner Liquid and jane iredale PureLash Lengthening Mascara.

There is no such thing as makeup that works for everyone, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Remember, even though these formulas are the preferred choice among dermatologists, there is no makeup that is right for everyone. Allergies to mineral ingredients are rare, but they do exist, and just because a product claims to be mineral-based doesn’t mean that it is free of parabens, fragrance, oil or other known irritants. Always check labels for a full list of ingredients to be sure you’re using the best products for your needs and skin type.

You’ll also want to be sure to remove your makeup thoroughly at the end of every day to prevent irritation. A wonderful solution for all skin types is glo minerals GloEye Make Up Remover, a liquid that is soothing to the skin and gentle enough to use on the entire face. To prevent the spread of bacteria, wash your makeup brushes weekly with a special cleanser, like jane iredale Pure Shampoo & Conditioner.

Do you have a question for Dr. Schlessinger about the best makeup for your skin? Let us know in the comments below.

No Comments | Category: Makeup & Cosmetics, Makeup Advice

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses five reasons to see a dermatologist
Visiting the dermatologist is an important step to maintaining your health. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it’s essential that you take good care of it. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what requires professional attention, so Dr. Joel Schlessinger is here to explain five of the main reasons you should see a dermatologist.

Dermatologists can handle a variety of skin, hair and nail concerns, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

If you’ve ever sat in the doctor’s office wondering if your condition falls under the realm of dermatology, you’re not alone. The bottom line: if it affects your skin, hair or nails, chances are you’re in the right place. Read on for five main reasons you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

Stubborn acne

If you struggle with acne, the sooner you can see a professional, the better. Acne can easily cause severe scarring and, once scarring has occurred, there is little that can be done to improve it. By addressing breakouts early, you can avoid unsightly scars altogether. Your dermatologist can create a custom treatment plan to address your specific needs and even suggest an effective skin care routine that will help keep your acne under control.

New or changing moles, freckles and dark spots

A change in a mole or growth is generally the first sign of skin cancer. Self-examination and yearly checkups are essential to catching skin cancer in its early stages. If diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer is easily cured. Even if you’re diligent about looking for changes in your skin, it’s still important to schedule an annual exam with your dermatologist. These experts are uniquely qualified to recognize, evaluate and treat skin cancers, ensuring the earliest possible detection.

Unexplained changes in your skin, hair or nails

Whether it’s a sudden rash or itchy, irritated skin, sudden changes in your skin can sometimes be a sign of something bigger. If you notice your skin changing, it’s best to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. It could be an easily treatable skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, but it could also be a symptom of a bigger health concern.

The same goes for your hair and nails. Gradual or sudden hair loss could be caused by a variety of things. Similarly, nail discoloration, peeling and splitting could be the result of a number of factors. Visiting your dermatologist will ensure you receive the right treatment for all your concerns.

Cosmetic concerns

Aside from treating a variety of skin conditions, dermatologists can also address cosmetic concerns. If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure like Botox or laser hair removal, your dermatologist should be your point of contact. Day spas might offer these treatments at a discounted rate, but they often don’t have a qualified or experienced professional on staff to perform the procedure. When it comes to your appearance, you want to choose a board-certified dermatologist with the knowledge and experience to help you achieve your best results.

Expert advice

Lastly, the biggest benefit of regularly visiting your dermatologist is tapping into their wealth of knowledge. Your dermatologist can help you better understand your skin concerns, learn how to protect your skin from the sun and answer any lingering questions you might have. They’ll also be able to recommend the best products for your skin type and concerns. Armed with all of this information, you’ll be well on your way to healthy, beautiful skin.

Visit Dr. Joel Schlessinger for all your skin, hair and nail concerns.

As a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Joel Schlessinger sees patients every day at his practice in Omaha, Neb. He and his staff have the skill, expertise and knowledge to find the right treatment plan for you. From simple to complicated skin conditions, Dr. Joel Schlessinger has the medical background to properly diagnose and treat your concerns.

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

No Comments | Category: Dermatology, Skin Care

Joel Schlessinger MD explains stacked tattoo removal

Before and After – 1 single treatment and 2 stacked treatments

When patients want to have a tattoo removed, their first concern is often how long the process will take. There’s no way to remove a tattoo in just one office visit other than via excision, which is reserved for the smallest of tattoos and doesn’t work in many areas, but luckily, there is a way to speed up the process from about a year to just a few months. In this blog post, Joel Schlessinger MD discusses stacked tattoo removal and how this procedure works.

Stacked tattoo removal allows for several sessions of tattoo removal in just one sitting, Joel Schlessinger MD shares.

Since the 1960s, cosmetic surgeons have used lasers to remove unwanted tattoos. With early laser technologies, the results were not always ideal. The tattoos were difficult to remove and often left behind some scarring. Today’s lasers do a much better job of removing the pigment in tattoos. Even if the tattoo cannot be completely removed, many times it can be diminished or significantly lightened.

Stacked tattoo removal is a recent advancement that has made the removal process much quicker and easier for most patients. The stacked treatment offers the ability to perform four sessions in just one sitting. During this treatment, the doctor uses the same basic laser settings and each session is separated by approximately 20 minutes. This can shorten treatment time from a year or more to several months in many cases.

However, it’s important to remember that not all tattoos respond to the same treatment. Many cosmetic surgeons prefer to perform one single session first to make sure the pigments in the tattoo are responsive to treatment and there are no adverse reactions. Once your doctor knows how your tattoo will respond, he or she will be able to determine the best treatment plan to meet your needs.

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses how the tattoo removal process works.

Tattoo ink is made up of tiny particles that are placed into the skin with a needle. The tattoo removal laser works by delivering an intense pulse of light into the skin. When the color of the light matches the color of the ink, the ink heats up and vaporizes the particles. As these particles become smaller, they absorb into your body.

Some tattoos are easier to remove than others. Black, brown and blue inks are usually easier to remove while lighter colors like green, yellow, white, orange or purple can be more difficult. Generally, the ideal tattoo for removal should be no bigger than five inches in length and width. It’s possible to remove tattoos that are larger than this, but the area will need to be separated in to smaller sections and treated over a longer period of time.

Choose a board-certified cosmetic surgeon like Joel Schlessinger MD to remove your tattoo.

When you’ve decided you want to remove a tattoo, it’s important to seek treatment from a board-certified professional to avoid skin damage or other complications. Your cosmetic surgeon should be able to tell you what kind of results you can expect prior to any treatment. Because each tattoo responds differently, the professional you choose should also be comfortable working with various types of lasers.

Joel Schlessinger MD has been treating unwanted tattoos at his practice in Omaha, Neb. since 1997. He has three different lasers available to use, allowing him to treat a variety of colors and tattoo patterns that are usually difficult to treat. Before your procedure, he can answer any questions you might have, including how approximately many treatments you might need, if your tattoo will respond to treatment and what results you can expect.

Do you have questions about tattoo removal for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Tattoo Removal

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses scary skin disorders on Halloween

Every year on Halloween, people spend hours using makeup and props to create scary scars, blood stains and other disfigurations. Some of these issues that people try to recreate have a basis in dermatology and skin disorders. Certain myths associated with creatures such as vampires and werewolves can be explained by dermatology. Here, Joel Schlessinger MD mentions a few scary skin disorders and their symptoms.

Certain unnatural symptoms could be related to porphyria, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Porphyria is the name for any condition that causes a buildup of natural chemicals in the body that produce porphyrin. This substance is essential for the proper function of red blood cells. High levels of porphyrin can cause problems for some people and some forms of it can cause sun sensitivity as well.

These conditions are generally passed down genetically and they can affect the nervous system, organs and skin. In recent years, we are better able to understand these conditions and realize that this is simply a medical condition, but hundreds of years ago the science wasn’t advanced to know this. Myths about werewolves and vampires were more common and people may have used them to explain certain symptoms associated with porphyria.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains some of the “scary” symptoms of porphyria.

Sensitivity to the sun and artificial light can be a symptom of cutaneous porphyria. Skin can also become fragile and pale with this type of condition. Conditions like this may have been attributed to vampires who traditionally have an aversion to sunlight.

Another symptom that is sometimes present with porphyria is excess hair growth. Hair sprouting up on the arms, face and legs could have been associated with werewolves hundreds of years ago. Because they did not have a medical explanation for the symptoms, people often associated them with the supernatural.

What do you think of the link between these Halloween myths and this medical condition?

No Comments | Category: Skin Care

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.

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

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends the best time of year for cosmetic procedures
Deciding to have a cosmetic procedure done is a big decision and you want to make sure that you get the best results possible. Having certain procedures performed at certain times of the year will help you achieve this. Dr. Joel Schlessinger is here to explain when you should schedule your treatments throughout the year.

Treatments on the body may take longer to see results, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Some procedures require multiple treatments over a period of several weeks. To get your body ready for the beach, you’ll want to have your cosmetic procedures performed in early spring. Laser hair removal generally requires a series of five to seven treatments over a period of eight to twelve weeks to catch the entire growth cycle of hair. It is also important to schedule your appointments in the winter or early spring because laser hair removal cannot be done when skin is tan. The laser targets and destroys the dark hair follicle which is easier to pinpoint when skin is lighter so if your skin is too tan, the procedure cannot be performed.

Procedures that help reduce fat around the stomach, abdomen and thighs require multiple treatments. CoolSculpting, a non-invasive procedure, targets and eliminates fat cells by freezing them. The fat cells are gradually eliminated over a period of several weeks following your treatments. UltraShape is another non-invasive fat reduction procedure that delivers bursts of energy to target fat cells that dissipate over a period of a few weeks. With both of these treatments, it can take a couple of months to see the full results so Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests having the treatment performed in the spring before you have to hit the beach.

Anyone who is looking to reduce the appearance of fat around the neck and chin can treat the area with Kybella. During a series of two to six sessions, the treatment is injected into skin and eliminates fat cells without harming the surrounding tissue. After the treatment, the area can swell for up to three days to a week so you want to avoid having the procedure performed right before a big event. . Generally, patients see results in six to eight weeks so now is the best time to schedule the procedure so you are ready in time for the holiday season.

Fillers and BOTOX®, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger, can be performed any time of year.

Treatments that reduce the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, nose, mouth and forehead can be performed any time of year. Occasionally, fillers can cause bruising so you do not want to have them done immediately before a big event. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends having the treatment performed at least two to three weeks before the event.

Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane and JUVEDERM generally only require one treatment and the results can last up to six months. JUVEDERM VOLUMA™ XC is an FDA-approved hyaluronic acid filler that adds volume to the cheek area. The injectable gel gently lifts skin to create a fuller and more youthful contour. This treatment lasts up to 18-24 months so it is the best option for anyone who is not able to schedule an appointment every six months.

BOTOX® works by preventing repetitive muscle contractions that cause deep furrows on areas such as the forehead and between the brows. Dysport™ is similar to BOTOX® and is a newly approved FDA wrinkle relaxer that reduces the appearance of frown lines and wrinkles. With both of these treatments, you will see a relaxing of lines anywhere from three to four days after the treatment.

Do you have a question about these treatments for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Ask him in the comments section!

No Comments | Category: Cosmetic Surgery, Injections and Fillers, Laser Treatments

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses questions to ask your dermatologist about eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by a red, itchy rash. Though it’s most common in children, adults often struggle with eczema as well. An estimated 30 million Americans are said to have it, with many going undiagnosed. If you’ve noticed symptoms of eczema in you or your child, you’ll need to make an appointment with your dermatologist right away. They are your best resource for information, and the earlier the case is assessed, the easier it will be to manage in the long run.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends keeping a log of eczema symptoms.

Before your first appointment, there are certain steps you can take to help your dermatologist give you the best possible care. In the days or weeks leading up to your session, keep a detailed log of signs and symptoms, jotting down as much as you can about the condition of your or your child’s skin. You’ll want to list symptoms, any changes that occur in symptoms over time and a list of potential triggers. If you noticed that the rash appeared to worsen after a long, hot shower, for example, you’ll want to make a note. Be on the lookout for other common irritants such as soaps and detergents, sweat, pet dander and sun exposure.

Certain foods are suspected to cause or trigger eczema, especially in infants and toddlers, but studies are inconclusive. If you suspect a link between eczema and diet, you may want to log your or your child’s meals and snacks, and also any vitamins, supplements or medications. It’s a good idea to bring these items to the appointment so that your dermatologist can look over dosages and directions. This is especially important when it comes to prescription medications for preexisting conditions.

Soaps and detergents that contain fragrance and dyes are often linked to eczema. These can often leave behind an irritating residue that triggers or worsens eczema symptoms. You’ll need to write down the soaps, detergents and other household products you or your child come into contact with to begin the process of elimination. Keep in mind that sometimes responses are delayed. It could be up to 48 hours after contact with the substance before symptoms are noticed, so it helps to monitor signs as they occur within a specific timeframe.

Ask the right questions to better understand eczema, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Prepare a list of questions to ask your dermatologist that will help you better understand your unique case. Treatment for eczema is never one size fits all, and you’ll want to be sure you’re taking the proper steps and precautions to prevent flare-ups. Start with the following questions and add as many of your own as you’d like.

How severe is my/my child’s eczema?

Understanding the severity of your or your child’s eczema can help you form goals for the treatment and management of the condition. It can also help shape realistic expectations for controlling flare-ups.

Is the condition temporary or chronic? Will it go away on its own?

Some individuals develop eczema in childhood and then overcome it as they grow older. Others experience their first flare-up well into adulthood. Eczema has also been linked to asthma and allergies, so understanding the nature of your or your child’s case can provide clues about other health concerns.

What is causing my/my child’s eczema?

Knowing your or your child’s unique eczema triggers is crucial to controlling symptoms. Every case is different, and managing eczema may be as simple as switching detergents or it may involve bigger lifestyle changes.

What treatment do you recommend?

There are several treatments available for eczema. These range from creams or balms, like FixMySkin Healing Body Balm with 1% Hydrocortisone, for mild cases, to corticosteroid injections for more severe cases. Other options include light therapy, wet bandages and oral medications. Your dermatologist will likely have a specific treatment in mind for your individual needs, however, it’s always a good idea to understand other options to explore if needed. There is no cure, for eczema, but symptoms can be managed with diligent treatment. In addition to FixMySkin, you might explore Avene TriXera+ Selectiose Emollient Cream, a dry skin formula that can help protect skin and restore the natural moisture barrier. Dr. Schlessinger also likes EltaMD Melting Moisturizer. The lightweight treatment helps keep 90% of moisture in skin for up to 12 hours.

What lifestyle changes can I make to help manage my/my child’s eczema?

Managing eczema triggers can involve extensive trial and error. Your dermatologist can help pinpoint likely causes and help you get started with any changes you’ll need to make. They can also recommend the best irritant-free products available for you and your family. Dr. Schlessinger recommends Free & Clear detergents and strongly discourages the use of fabric softeners and dryer sheets with synthetic fragrance. Switching to a pure detergent as soon as eczema symptoms begin can go a long way toward managing the condition in the long run. For soaps, shampoos, sunscreens and more that are free of fragrance and dyes, try Vanicream products. The formulas are gentle enough for the whole family and perfect for daily use.

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

No Comments | Category: Dermatology

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains hangnails

A hangnail is a small piece of skin that separates from the side of the cuticle, creating a tiny tear. Contrary to its name, a hangnail does not affect the actual nail at all. Rather, hangnails are tears in the skin that are caused by several common scenarios, making them a regular occurrence for the majority of individuals.

Dry skin is the biggest culprit for hangnails, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Cold winter weather can dry out skin, as can harsh chemicals, such as household cleaners, and frequent hand washing. Another common cause is nail biting. Biting at nails can damage the skin underneath the nail bed or actual fingernail and lead to hangnails. Lastly, manicures can lead to hangnails, particularly if cuticles are clipped, a practice dermatologists strongly discourage. Nail clipping with an unsteady hand, whether performed at home or by a nail technician, can lead to nicks, which may split into hangnails.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares hangnail care tips.

Hangnails aren’t dangerous and most aren’t painful. However, if not properly cared for, they can become infected with bacteria, yeast and fungi and grow red and swollen. Treat hangnails early, before they become irritated. Start by soaking your finger or fingers in warm water for a few moments. This will help soften the hangnail and stop the tearing. Next, use a clean nail clipper or nail scissors, like Tweezerman Rockhard Cuticle Nipper ½ Jaw, to gently nip off the skin. To finish, massage a little moisturizer or hand cream into the nail bed. With a formula like NIA24 Sun Damage Repair for Decolletage and Hands, you can treat dark spots, fine lines and other signs of aging, all while preventing hangnails. For an intensely hydrating formula, you might like Epionce Medical Barrier Cream.

If the area around a hangnail has grown red and swollen, you likely have an infection. If this is the case, you can follow the above steps, then apply an anti-bacterial ointment and cover the area with a bandage. The infection should heal in one to three days. Be sure to change the bandage twice a day and reapply ointment if needed. To minimize minor irritation, pick up FixMySkin Healing Body Balm Unscented with 1% Hydrocortisone. This convenient balm stick contains soothing shea and cocoa butters, plus 1% hydrocortisone, to heal damaged cells.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares tips for preventing hangnails.

The easiest way to prevent hangnails is to keep your hands moisturized. If you’re especially prone to them, you may want to apply a hand cream or lotion two to three times a day. FixMySkin is perfect for moisturizing skin on the go. You can also use a little cuticle oil a few times a week if needed. We like Qtica Solid Gold Cuticle Oil Gel, a nourishing 12-oil blend. If you tend to pick or bite at your nails, it’s time to kick the habit once and for all. Not only will you save yourself the headache of regular hangnails, you’ll also lower your risk of contracting warts and infections, plus communicable illnesses, like the cold and the flu.

When caring for nails at home, be sure not to clip your cuticles. Cut your nails straight across and gently file the edges for a rounded corner. When opting for a professional manicure, choose a clean, reputable salon and be sure that tools are sterilized between uses.

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

No Comments | Category: Uncategorized

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains ichthyosis
Ichthyosis is a condition characterized by dry, scaly accumulations of skin cells. This condition is usually inherited and is most common in babies. Though it typically disappears during early childhood, adults may develop ichthyosis under certain circumstances. In this blog post, Joel Schlessinger MD explains the causes, symptoms and treatments for this skin condition.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains ichthyosis.

Ichthyosis slows your skin’s natural shedding process, causing an excessive buildup of protein in the upper layer of skin. Dry skin accumulates in patches on the surface and result in a scaly, rough texture. Ichthyosis is most often an inherited condition that typically appears at birth or during the first few years of life. In most cases, the condition disappears during early childhood but for some ichthyosis may return during adulthood. Ichthyosis that is not inherited from one or both of your parents may be associated with another condition such as an underactive thyroid, kidney disease, lymphoma or HIV infection.

The symptoms of ichthyosis include flaky, scaly skin that appears white, gray or brown. The condition may also cause deep, painful cracks in the skin that are worsened in cold or dry environments. Mild cases of ichthyosis are confined to specific areas such as the elbows, legs or shins. More severe cases cover larger areas of the body such as the back, abdomen, arms or legs.

There is no cure for ichthyosis, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Ichthyosis has no cure but you can control the symptoms with continued treatment. Because the condition causes dry skin, it is important to moisturize the affected areas regularly, especially after bathing or swimming, to restore lost moisture. Choose a product formulated to provide long-lasting hydration such as EltaMD Intense Moisturizer. This hydrating cream nourishes while relieving the uncomfortable effects of ichthyosis. FixMySkin Healing Body Balm hydrates with shea butter and cocoa butter to improve dryness. This formula contains 1% hydrocortisone, a topical steroid that soothes inflammation and irritation, to reduce the irritating symptoms of ichthyosis.

To rid your skin of the dead cells that accumulate due to ichthyosis, exfoliate the affected areas with a product that contains alpha hydroxy acids or polyhydroxy acids. NeoStrata Problem Dry Skin Cream moisturizes dry areas while exfoliating with glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids. These ingredients gently sweep away debris to reduce cell accumulation and help achieve a smoother skin texture without causing irritation. NeoStrata Bionic Lotion employs lactobionic acid to remove dry, flaky skin without aggravating ichthyosis. It also contains nourishing vitamin E and soothing meadowfoam seed oil to improve skin health and comfort.

In addition to regularly moisturizing and exfoliating, there are further measures to help comfort your skin. Avoid products that are harsh or drying. If you must use chemicals or products that dry your skin, wear gloves or other protective clothing to reduce skin’s exposure to the irritant.  It may also be beneficial to use a humidifier, particularly if you live in a cold or dry climate. This will add moisture to the air around you to help your skin retain its natural hydration levels.

If the symptoms of ichthyosis are present, see a board-certified dermatologist.

If you expect a loved one may have ichthyosis, it is best to consult a board-certified dermatologist who can provide an individualized course of treatment. If the condition is not inherited, it may be symptomatic of an underactive thyroid, kidney disease, lymphoma or HIV infection. Your physician can pinpoint the cause of ichthyosis and help you proceed with the appropriate treatment.

Do you have questions about ichthyosis? Ask Dr. Schlessinger in the comment section.

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