According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than half of Americans ages 14 to 49 carry the virus that causes cold sores. In this blog entry, Dr. Schlessinger shares an article from HealthDay.com called “Many Americans Under 50 Living With Cold Sore Virus,” as well as helpful treatment advice.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains cold sores.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, appear as small, fluid-filled blisters on and around the mouth. Tingling, itching or burning typically occurs in the general area a sore will form before a hard, painful blister appears. Usually grouped together in clusters, these blisters may break and form a crust and subsequent sore. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, a highly contagious virus that, once contracted, remains in the body even when there are no active or visible sores present. While symptoms that arise from the herpes simplex virus are treatable, there is currently no cure.
The herpes virus is transmitted between individuals through close contact, such as kissing and sharing drinking glasses and food utensils. Cold sores remain contagious at every stage, so the virus may also be spread through contact with hands that have recently touched a weeping sore.
Sores may appear just once in an individual’s lifetime when they initially come into contact with the virus, or they may be reoccurring. An initial cold sore outbreak may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as headache, joint pain, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and fever. These symptoms should not occur again during subsequent reoccurrences. Factors known to trigger cold sores include illnesses such as the common cold or the flu, hormonal fluctuations, stress and fatigue, prolonged sun exposure and trauma to the skin from things like shaving, dental work or surgery.
Address cold sores when initial tingling occurs, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
Fortunately, most cold sores go away on their own without scarring. However, healing could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on an individual’s immune system and the severity of the sore. There are a few things you can do to make the healing process go more smoothly. As with any illness or condition, addressing the issue early on it the best way to ensure a less painful cold sore and a quicker recovery.
Dr. Schlessinger and other dermatologists recommend applying an over-the-counter antiviral cream or ointment like Abreva at the first sign of tingling, before a cold sore has even appeared. Abreva is FDA-approved to shorten healing time to as little as two and a half days and block the virus that causes cold sores, protecting healthy cells. Ibuprofen can help with any pain you might experience, and applying a cool, wet towel to the sore for up to 10 minutes at a time can help soothe the area.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests avoiding highly acidic foods such as fruit juices and tomatoes to keep from irritating or exacerbating sores. Avoid spreading cold sores by abstaining from kissing and all other intimate contact, and by not sharing towels, food utensils, toothbrushes and drinking glasses.
If you find yourself suffering from frequent and/or severe cold sores, it’s time to see a doctor. There are several prescription antiviral medications available that can help alleviate pain and expedite healing time. One of the most commonly prescribed medications for cold sores is Valtrex, an oral medication that helps fight the virus responsible for cold sores, as well as the virus that causes chicken pox in children and shingles in adults. Valtrex works best at the first sign of an outbreak, and it may also be taken regularly or semi-regularly for prevention even when no cold sores are present. Taking anti-viral medication for prevention purposes is called a prophylactic treatment regimen, and your physician should be able to recommend a course of medication that is best suited for your unique needs.
Do you have a question for Dr. Schlessinger about cold sores? Let us know in the comments below.
Every so often a new buzzworthy skin care ingredient appears on the market. For the past several years, many people with anti-aging concerns have been turning to products with growth factors, which are known for their ability to rejuvenate skin. In this blog, Joel Schlessinger MD explains the power behind growth factors and why they’re a great addition to any anti-aging skin care routine.
Growth factors help diminish wrinkles, dark spots and other signs of aging, Joel Schlessinger MD says.
Growth factors are natural proteins that send messages between living cells. Their primary job is to tell fibroblast cells when to produce collagen. As we age, our bodies produce lower levels of natural growth factors, leading to a breakdown in collagen and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Topical growth factors help regenerate and repair aging skin tissue. These proteins essentially trick aging skin cells into behaving like younger, healthier skin cells. With continued use, topical growth factors can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven tone and a rough texture. The result is a more radiant and youthful appearance.
Joel Schlessinger MD recommends adding growth factors to your daily skin care routine.
Growth factors work to maintain elasticity, enhance the skin’s repair process and rejuvenate the complexion. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends adding growth factors to any anti-aging routine.
Dr. Schlessinger suggests Alphaeon Beauty Epidermal Growth Serum, a new serum that pairs growth factors with hyaluronic acid, peptides and antioxidants to help promote the appearance of youthful, rejuvenated skin. In clinical studies, more than 80 percent of patients experienced an overall reduction in the appearance of wrinkles with this serum.
SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum has a best-selling formula of growth factors, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides to hydrate, firm and revitalize aging skin. With continued use, you’ll see results after just one month with best results appearing in three months.
For the delicate eye area, try Neocutis Lumiere Eye Cream (with PSP), which contains a proprietary blend of growth factors, cytokines and interleukins that help smooth fine lines and wrinkles. This hydrating eye cream also minimizes puffiness and dark under-eye circles for a more youthful appearance.
Do you have a question about growth factors for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.
Medical research shows that there is a direct link between common chemicals found in nail products and the risk of serious disease. In this blog entry, Dr. Schlessinger weighs in on a recent article in The New York Times titled, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers,” and shares important nail salon safety tips.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger lists common nail product chemicals that are linked to health risks.
Stories of illness and tragedy have grown all too common in nail salons across the country. A cumulative and expanding body of medical research shows a direct correlation between cancer, abnormal fetal development, miscarriages and other reproductive issues. In addition, many manicurists report respiratory problems accompanied by asthma-and/or allergy-like symptoms, chronic nose bleeds and sore throats.
Chemicals that allow nail polishes and other beauty products to be chip-resistant, quick-drying and brightly colored are to blame. Dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, an ingredient that allows polishes to be pliable, is known to cause fetal harm. Toluene is a type of solvent that helps polish to glide on smoothly, but it can also cause cognitive impairment and affect healthy kidney function. Formaldehyde, a hardening agent in nail glues, is a known human carcinogen.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares tips for keeping yourself safe from harmful fumes.
Proper ventilation is crucial, both in and outside the nail salon.
“[Nail salon] fumes can cause many unintended consequences for individuals, both in the industry or in their own homes. For this reason, I recommend putting on nail polish in an open and safe area where other individuals are not present to breathe in the fumes. This includes, in particular, closed spaces such as airplanes, small rooms and cars,” says Dr. Schlessinger.
Always choose a clean, reputable salon, and one that has sufficient air circulation. Even if you do not visit often, you and others are still at risk for harmful exposure.
“When going to a nail salon, make sure that you are protected as well,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “If the salon doesn’t have adequate air movement, inquire about this and, if necessary, explain the importance of it to the owner of the salon.”
Zoya nail polishes, recommended by Dr. Joel Schlessinger, are free of harmful chemicals.
For a purer polish, try Zoya. The DBP-, toluene- and formaldehyde-free line of polishes are long-lasting and come in a variety of colors and finishes.
Just like the neck and chest, the hands are an area that is often ignored when it comes to anti-aging. Your hands, however, are one of the first areas to show signs of aging because they are frequently exposed to the sun and harsh conditions. According to Joel Schlessinger MD, a combination of sun protection and anti-aging products is the way to keep your hands looking youthful.
Sun protection on your hands is an absolute must, says Joel Schlessinger MD.
We know that sun exposure is one of the main causes of aging which is why it is so important to wear sun protection every day. When you’re applying sunscreen to your face, take a few extra seconds to apply it to the backs of your hands. This will help prevent fine lines, dark spots and sagging skin.
If you love applying a hand cream in the morning, try jane iredale HandDrink Hand Cream with SPF 15. The formula softens hands and locks in moisture, plus it contains ingredients that defend against UV damage.
Joel Schlessinger MD recommends products that fade signs of aging on the hands.
The same ingredients that are effective at fading signs of aging on the face are beneficial for the hands. Revision Skincare Lumiquin is an anti-aging hand cream that contains peptides to encourage collagen production and reduce the appearance of sagging skin. The formula also contains licorice extract that brightens skin and fades dark spots.
Harsh weather, rough working conditions and frequent hand washing can also lead to thin, damaged skin that shows signs of aging. StriVectin-SD Volumizing Hand Treatment targets thin, sagging skin with reparative and hydrating ingredients. Fine lines appear less noticeable and the skin’s elasticity is improved after using this product.
Ask Joel Schlessinger MD questions below in the comments section!
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.
Those of you who have spoken with me in the last two to three years have probably heard that the Ulthera® ultrasound laser is rapidly becoming the gold standard treatment for lifting and tightening mild to moderate skin or fat sagging of the face and neck. Anyone who has been pregnant or had any internal issue knows that ultrasound waves have been used safely, painlessly and effectively to image and diagnose a variety of normal and abnormal medical issues. Ultrasound devices, which penetrate into internal organs such as the uterus, kidneys and heart, have been proven safe and effective for 50 years. The Ulthera® laser harnesses the power of ultrasound waves delivered at a very precise depth of deep (dermal) skin and subcutaneous fat to tighten the fibrous connective tissue in those areas.
The first model of the Ulthera® laser was effective, but painful to deliver. Knowing that the device would improve, I now perform Ulthera® treatments using the updated version of the laser, which only requires Tylenol® or Aleve® (we can discuss which one is right for you) 30 minutes before the procedure.
Who are the best patients for Ulthera®?
If you have a thin face/neck/body and are starting to notice mild or moderate sagging skin only (without underlying sagging fat), then Ulthera® is a great treatment for you at any age, improving skin tightness by about 50 to 70 percent in one treatment, which may persist for three to five years!
If you are in your late 30s or 40s and are only 15 to 20 percent heavier than your ideal body weight, the Ulthera® laser can tighten skin and reduce fat in the neck, cheeks or body by about 50 percent in one treatment; results should persist three to five years, if your weight remains stable.
If you have had a face or neck lift in the past three to 15 years and feel that you need a “touch-up,” Ulthera® may be the perfect nonsurgical option for you.
Those who are more than 20 to 30 percent overweight or have severe skin sagging are not good candidates for the Ulthera® laser.
The logistics of Ulthera® are great.
The treatment takes about 20 minutes, and Dr. Jegasothy has personally perfected the “least painful” protocol for every area. There is mild swelling in the treated area for one to two days. Then you will return to baseline, and notice a slow, gradual tightening and lifting of the treated area from months one to six, when you will achieve your maximal improvement.
Do you have a question for Dr. Jegasothy? Share with us in the comments.
Most people who wear makeup every day or shower at night are used to cleansing their faces before they go to bed. Why then, if you just washed your face before bed, do you have to cleanse it again in the morning? Dr. Joel Schlessinger is here to answer that question.
According to Dr. Joel Schlessinger, your skin is active while you sleep.
As we sleep, our skin takes advantage of this time to naturally rejuvenate and heal itself. Cell turnover is active while you sleep, which is why many skin care professionals suggest using a night cream. With this cell turnover, however, comes dead skin cells that remain on the skin’s surface and lead to a dull appearance. Cleansing in the morning removes these dead cells to keep your skin looking healthy and vibrant.
Cleansing your skin in the morning is also extremely important to prepare the complexion for your other skin care products. Properly removing excess oil, dead skin cells and debris in the morning allows your anti-aging, acne or treatment products to absorb more easily into the skin.
Sweat and oil can accumulate on the complexion as you sleep, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
If you’ve ever woken up with a layer of shine of your face, it may be sweat that is the result of temperature changes throughout the night. If left on the complexion, sweat can harbor bacteria and clog pores so it is important to cleanse your skin after waking up. If you have oily skin, sebum can collect in your pores over night so using a cleanser in the morning is especially important.
A gentle yet effective cleanser such as SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser can help clear pores and refresh your skin in the morning. You can also use a cleansing device such as the Clarisonic Mia2 Sonic Skin Cleansing System to gently exfoliate the complexion and unclog pores.
Questions for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Ask him in the comments!
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.
Long lashes are a staple of just about everyone’s makeup look. New research shows that lashes are not only about looking good, however, they also help protect eyes. Here, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article describing Dr. David Hu and his study to help determine the purpose of eyelashes. One huge benefit he discovered was that lashes help protect eyes from dryness.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes the importance of this study and how it affects our understanding of lashes.
Throughout the study, Dr. Hu examined the lashes of several different species of mammals and found many similarities. For the majority of species, the lashes were about one-third as long as the eye is wide, which is the ideal length for diverting air flow around the eyes. By diverting air away from the eyes, the lashes help prevent them from drying out which leads to itching, irritation and redness.
LATISSE® is a favorite of Dr. Joel Schlessinger for increasing lash length.
Patients who experience dryness of the eyes may benefit from using LATISSE®, a prescription product that is proven to grow longer lashes. LATISSE® has many benefits and uses which is why Dr. Joel Schlessinger often prescribes it to his patients.
“We know that LATISSE® has many uses, not the least of which is to prevent dry eyes,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says. “My favorite is still the beautification and enhancement of my patients and their eyes.”
Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, also notes the importance of LATISSE® for patients.
“LATISSE® represents a giant step forward in our thinking of periorbital rejuvenation,” Dr. Jegasothy says. “Not only do eyelids need cosmetic enhancement, eyelashes and eyebrows also thin out significantly as we age and so LATISSE® completes a total eye rejuvenation package. Young people also love it because let’s face it, everyone loves to have long lashes without applying mascara every single day!”
LATISSE® can be prescribed by your dermatologist to improve the thickness, length and darkness of lashes. There are also several non-prescription products that help keep lashes healthy. RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner contains peptides and botanical extracts that nourish lashes and Jan Marini Lash Eyelash Conditioner creates healthier eyelashes with hydrating ingredients. While these products do not reverse or cure lash loss, they do promote healthier lashes that are less likely to become damaged.
Questions for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Let him know below in the comments.
ATX-101, a new treatment designed to address excessive fat on the chin, was recommended for approval by an FDA advisory committee this week. Along with his staff at the Advanced Skin Research Center, Dr. Joel Schlessinger has conducted studies on this treatment over the past several years. Dr. Schlessinger has enjoyed working with ATX-101 since the beginning and is excited to add it to his practice.
ATX-101 offers a new way to treat excessive fat on the chin, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.
This in-office procedure is a new treatment option to address double chins without invasive surgery. Dr. Joel Schlessinger has seen great results during clinical trials and is looking forward to offering ATX-101 for his patients.
“Based on the clinical trials, I am quite excited to have this in my clinic and will be using it for many of my patients who have issues with excessive fat on the chin,” he says.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger says this treatment is ideal for patients who want to address chin fat without liposuction.
“I don’t think it will entirely take away the need for chin liposuction, but it will clearly treat many individuals who have too little fat for liposuction but still have a clear need,” he says. “This is a huge bonus for our specialty and patients!”
The studies performed by Dr. Joel Schlessinger played an integral role in ATX-101’s success.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger and his team worked hard to see ATX-101 through its preliminary stages. Now with the treatment one step closer to receiving FDA approval, Dr. Schlessinger is excited to add it to his practice.
“Having worked on ATX-101 since 2007, it feels like my ‘child’ has been born at this point,” he says. “It has been a wonderful experience to be involved with this exciting new treatment option from the beginning.”
Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.