A skin biopsy is a procedure that involves removing a small sample of skin tissue that is then processed and examined for abnormalities. Biopsies are a crucial step in diagnosing many skin conditions, most commonly melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. There are several different methods used to remove skin during a biopsy, and the technique your physician uses will depend on the type and extent of the suspected cancer or abnormality. The two methods most often performed are punch and shave biopsies.
Punch biopsies may be useful for treating acne scars, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
A punch biopsy involves using a special tool to remove a circle of skin that is usually anywhere from two to six millimeters in diameter. This process is similar to using a cookie cutter. Punch biopsies are most advantageous when an abnormality deep below the skin’s surface is suspected. A punch biopsy is ideal for this type of processing, as it ensures that the entire suspicious mole or spot is removed in one attempt. This method is almost always necessary for a flat mole, one that isn’t raised above the skin’s surface.
Punch biopsies are also sometimes used to successfully minimize depressed scars caused by acne or injury. In this instance, the punch biopsy tool is used to excise the scar, and then the skin’s edges are sutured together to produce a new, much less noticeable scar.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger finds shave biopsies useful for identifying certain types of skin cancer.
Generally, Dr. Schlessinger tries to avoid punch biopsies for extracting abnormalities that can be obtained with a surface-level procedure. Shave biopsies involve using a tool to shave or scrape abnormalities off the skin’s surface, and are used often to detect forms of skin cancer like squamous-cell carcinoma and basal-cell carcinoma. Raised moles and spots can usually be shaved off with success.
Physicans like Dr. Joel Schlessinger will decide between a punch or shave biopsy based on your unique needs.
When it comes to choosing between a punch or shave biopsy, there is no hard and fast rule. Your physician will make the best choice for your unique circumstances, and for those patients concerned with pain and scarring, there is no method that is more preferable than the other. Tolerance and then the subsequent healing process depend on the individual, the physician and the physician’s experience and technique. Dr. Schlessinger stresses that this area of dermatology is particularly variable, and that patients should bring up any questions or concerns with their physician.
Do you have a question for Dr. Schlessinger about biopsies? Let us know in the comments section.
No matter what your skin type or concern, most people experience a bout of skin irritation at some point in their lives. When skin is irritated, the complexion usually becomes red, inflamed, flaky and itchy. There are a number of factors that can cause irritation and it can sometimes be difficult to determine the source. Here, Joel Schlessinger MD explains some common causes of aggravated skin and what you can do to minimize the symptoms.
Examining the products you use and your lifestyle can determine the cause of irritation, says Joel Schlessinger MD.
Certain products and ingredients may be the cause of your skin sensitivity and switching out these products for gentler formulas can relieve symptoms. A common ingredient found in many soaps, cleansers and other household items is sulfate. Sulfates can cause dryness, irritation and itching so stick with sulfate-free shampoos and cleansers.
Other household items such as laundry detergents and household cleaners can contain harsh chemicals, dyes and fragrances that aggravate skin. Choose formulas that are dye-free and fragrance-free to protect yourself.
One last item to examine when determining the cause of irritation is your clothing. Heavy and rough fabrics rub against skin causing itching, inflammation and redness. Choose lightweight, cotton fabrics that are loose-fitting to reduce the likelihood of irritation on the arms and legs.
Joel Schlessinger MD recommends his top products for reducing irritation.
Once your skin becomes irritated, there are products you can use to heal and soothe the area. FixMySkin Healing Body Balm Unscented with 1% Hydrocortisone contains a topical steroid that helps heal skin to relieve itching, inflammation and dryness.
A healthy skin barrier helps cells retain moisture, which prevents further irritation. Epionce Medical Barrier Cream is a daily moisturizer that strengthens this barrier to restore soft and smooth skin that is free of irritation.
Do you suffer from skin irritation? Ask Joel Schlessinger MD more questions on how to deal with this issue in the comments section.
You can’t log in to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without seeing at least one of your friends’ latest selfies. These self-portraits have become more and more popular due to the rise of smartphones and social media sites and are especially popular among teens and young adults. According to studies, there is also a connection between the rise of selfies and an increase in plastic surgeries. Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article from Reuters that explains the connection.
The 25% increase in surgeries may be influenced by the rise of selfies, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
According to the article, there has been a 25% increase in requested surgeries such as rhinoplasty, hair transplants and eyelid lift surgeries over the past two and a half years. A poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reveals that one in three surgeons have seen an increase in requests because patients are becoming more aware of their appearance on social media. Individuals are bombarded by pictures of themselves every day on social media sites, which make them more likely to notice what they would like to change about their appearance.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger cautions against using selfies to judge whether you need plastic surgery.
“I agree that this is probably a good reason for some people to consider cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “On the other hand, it isn’t exactly a fair assessment of their face as selfies are often distorted.”
You should discuss with your doctor your options for cosmetic surgery and whether it is right for you. If you are not ready for a procedure, clean makeup and a hint of color to the lips and cheeks can make a big difference in how you look in your selfies.
Questions or comments for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Ask him in the comments section!
Teoxane offers a line of medical-grade cosmeceutical products that are specially designed to work synergistically with a variety of aesthetic procedures. The powerful formulas promote healing and allow you to maintain your anti-aging results.
Teoxane products contain high-quality hyaluronic acid, explains Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
Hyaluronic acid is found in nearly all filler injections. It is a naturally occurring substance found in the body that is responsible for keeping the skin plump, firm and hydrated. As we age, our bodies produce less and less hyaluronic acid, and skin becomes drier and more tired and deflated in appearance. When injected or applied topically, hyaluronic acid has the power to moisturize, plump and firm the skin, filling in folds and creases, and creating a smoother, more radiant appearance at the surface level.
Teoxane products contain the same patented hyaluronic acid used in the company’s range of Teosyal injectable fillers. It is the richest concentration available on the skin care market, and when applied topically, it can help prolong the results of fillers.
Resilient Hyaluronic Acid, or RHA, along with the Dermo-Restructuring Complex, make up the key ingredients in this prestigious skin care line. The Dermo-Restructuring Complex combines three antioxidants, eight amino acids, two minerals and vitamin B6 to help stimulate collagen production, protect the cells and facilitate healing.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends Teoxane products for those undergoing cosmetic procedures.
Teoxane products are perfect for those undergoing procedures such as filler injections, laser treatments, microdermabrasion and others. Since the products contain the same medical-quality hyaluronic acid as filler injections, they are a superior choice for maintaining results. Teoxane products are also gentle enough for those who struggle with skin disorders such as eczema and rosacea, and they are wonderful for anyone who would like to address aging concerns in general.
Try Teoxane RHA Serum from LovelySkin.com, owned and operated by Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
Teoxane RHA Serum Fundamental Revitalizing Concentrate works with the skin’s natural renewal processes to help encourage cell turnover and tissue restructuring. It has the power to intensely hydrate the skin for an instant tightening effect and a visibly more youthful appearance. In clinical studies, patients experienced minimized skin fatigue in as little as 14 days. Applying just a few drops morning and evening will give the skin the boost of moisture, vitamins and antioxidants it needs to regain its glow and radiance.
Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger about Teoxane products? Let us know in the comments section.
By Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy
I have been attending Cosmetic Surgery Forum since its inauguration in 2007. I had known Dr. Schlessinger to be a stand-out lecturer, aesthetic innovator, compassionate physician and warm friend for sometime, so I was not only eager to support the conference, I knew that it would be well worth my time academically.
Attending the conference every year since then has been more educationally-rewarding and enjoyable than I expected. The registration and accommodation process is streamlined, while the Cosmetic Surgery Forum staff is friendly, competent and efficient. Requests are handled in a warm, personal style, rather than the “cold” corporate style of most other medical conferences I have attended. The format of the meeting itself invites total audience engagement, so that discussions are lively and entertaining. Plenty of time is allotted with each session for Q & A, which both encourages spontaneous learning from a larger variety of colleagues and discourages long “canned” lectures (with too many slides!) seen in many of our society meetings.
Because Cosmetic Surgery Forum is fun (Las Vegas during the holiday season is FABULOUS!) and educationally-unique, it attracts the highest-level aesthetic physician experts. This further adds to its value from a networking and extra-curricular perspective. My mother usually meets me in Las Vegas when I attend Cosmetic Surgery Forum, it is out “holiday season trip” together, and we never plan to stop! I cannot overemphasize how valuable Cosmetic Surgery Forum has been in my practice growth. You should attend – Cosmetic Surgery Forum is more than worth your time…
S. Manjula Jegasothy MD
President, Miami Skin Institute
Clinical Professor of Dermatology
University of MiamiMillerSchool of Medicine
AQUAGOLD Fine Touch is a new microneedling device that boosts collagen production while treating common signs of aging. It takes the classic microneedling process a step further by simultaneously addressing concerns like dryness and fine lines with a targeted treatment.
AQUAGOLD Fine Touch complements any in-office treatment, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.
This unique device is the perfect finishing touch for your in-office treatments. AQUAGOLD Fine Touch is a glass vial topped with 20 hair-thin needles. As these needles make contact with the dermis, they deliver whatever liquid is in the vial to the complexion, such as hyaluronic acid or a topical serum.
This microneedling treatment is gentler on skin than roller techniques, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
Because the needles pass over skin, AQUAGOLD Fine Touch is relatively painless. Unlike classic roller techniques that can cause microtears in the skin, this device won’t cause bleeding because it applies the microneedles perpendicular to the skin. The treatment requires no downtime so you can immediately continue with your daily routine.
AQUAGOLD Fine Touch is also innovative in that the device is an individual unit that isn’t reused from person to person. This makes the treatment sterile for each patient, unlike rollers and other techniques that require reusable units and materials. This cleanliness is ultimately why Dr. Joel Schlessinger chose to add AQUAGOLD Fine Touch to his practice.
Do you have questions about AQUAGOLD Fine Touch? Share with us in the comments.
Many of us have opened products in our drawers and cabinets that we purchased months or even years ago. It’s natural to want to hold onto a pricey product, or one that we think may come in handy someday. However, much like the jars and cans in your kitchen, skin care and cosmetics have a shelf-life, and applying products past their suggested use-by date could potentially harm your skin.
Once a container has been opened and exposed to air, the product begins to oxidize, and bacteria will naturally begin to spread. Though many products include preservatives to help combat bacteria, after a time, the amount of bacteria will grow too large, and the effects of the preservative will dwindle. Once bacteria contaminates the face, it can cause breakouts, disrupt the skin’s natural balance and exacerbate other skin issues.
Active ingredients can become more potent over time, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
In addition, certain active ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid may become more potent over time. This can cause irritation, dryness and allergic reaction in the form of a rash. Unstable anti-aging ingredients, such as the vitamin C found in many serums, can break down quickly when exposed to air, rendering the formula ineffective and potentially irritating to the skin. Similarly, sunscreen actives break down over three to five months once opened and lose their ability to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
In the United States, expiration dates for skin care and makeup are not necessary for certain products. You’ll find dates on products with potent active ingredients (namely sunscreen and acne treatments), but you will rarely find them on other types of products. Many companies are choosing to include a use-by date or manufacturing date on their packaging for your convenience, but it is not a requirement and it can vary as to usefulness. This is why it is important to understand the shelf-life of various types of products.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger suggests replacing makeup regularly to avoid bacteria.
Though not every product comes with an expiration date, there are definitive guidelines for a product’s shelf life. When it comes to cosmetics, be especially cautious with eye makeup and any products with packaging that is reached into with fingers. Eyeliner and mascara, the two products that are applied closest to the eye and tear duct, have the most potential to cause a bacterial infection of the eye. Mascara should be discarded after about three months, along with liquid and gel eyeliners. Eyeliner pencils may last anywhere from six months to two years.
Powder cosmetics have a longer shelf-life than liquids because bacteria typically need water in order to thrive. Powder eye shadows and foundations should be good for two years. Liquid concealers and foundations last from six months to a year. Lip liners and lipsticks last for two to three years.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends Klix brushes to ensure that you always have a clean brush on hand.
Old cosmetics aren’t the only culprit for harboring bacteria. If they are not cleaned regularly, your makeup brushes can trap dirt, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria, contaminating the face and exacerbating acne. Brushes should be cleaned as often as possible.
If you’re short on time, Klix brushes are the perfect solution. These face brushes are the only tools on the market that come complete with removable heads. Available in powder, blush and concealer brush varieties, you can simply click on a new one without replacing your entire brush. Purchase replacement heads separately for your convenience, and place a new one on daily to assure that you always have a clean brush on hand. This will help keep bacteria out of your makeup as well.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares advice for keeping track of product use-by dates.
Cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens last about a year after opening. Serums last from six months to a year, depending upon active ingredients. Acne spot treatments can last up to two years. Remember that if a skin care product changes color or texture or develops a foul odor, throw it away. And keep in mind that many natural or organic skin care companies choose to leave preservatives out of their formulas, making shelf-life even shorter.
Keeping track of your products can be difficult. I recommend writing the date you opened the product on the container in permanent marker. This way, you won’t have to guess just when it’s time to let it go.
Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger about expired products? Let us know in the comments section.
Vampire and werewolf stories are popular all year long but during Halloween these stories become even more prevalent. The myths surrounding these creatures have been around for centuries but recently scientists have been studying whether or not these myths may be based on facts. Many believe that there may be an explanation for certain symptoms that are associated with vampires and werewolves. Professor David Dolphin from the University of British Columbia released a study that explains how these symptoms may be related to a group of disorders known as porphyria.
Joel Schlessinger MD explains porphyria, a rare genetic disorder.
Porphyria is any condition that causes a buildup of natural chemicals that produce porphyrin which is essential for the proper function of red blood cells. These conditions can affect the nervous system, organs and skin and the condition is usually passed down genetically. While we have a better understanding of porphyria today, many of the symptoms may have been difficult to explain hundreds of years ago when myths about vampires and werewolves became popular.
The symptoms of porphyria can vary widely, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.
Some symptoms of porphyria include red teeth, skin damage caused by sunlight, pale skin and light sensitivity, all symptoms that can be associated with vampires. Some studies also suggest that drinking blood may help alleviate some of these symptoms.
Some individuals with this condition also experience excessive hair growth. This symptom can be associated with myths surrounding werewolves who sprout hair all over themselves. While some mythical elements cannot be explain, such as a werewolf’s dislike of silver, it is easy to believe that stories were created to explain a disease that was unknown hundreds of years ago.
What do you think about the possible link between porphyria and these Halloween myths? Let us know in the comments!
Cosmetic surgeons around the country are seeing an increase in the number of patients seeking reconstructive surgery to repair earlobes that have been stretched. In this blog, Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses this procedure and what kind of results patients can expect.
After the earlobe has been stretched to a certain point, it will never return to its original shape, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.
This practice involves placing a cone-shaped taper or larger-size tunnels into a piercing every few weeks until the hole reaches the desired effect. Once the piercing hole stretches past 1.5 centimeters, however, the earlobe will never bounce back to its original shape.
This reconstructive procedure involves bringing the ear back to a more natural shape, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.
Many patients seek reconstructive surgery to achieve a more professional appearance but once the damage is done, it can be hard to repair.
“I have seen more and more of these in my practice and it is becoming quite a problem,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.
After reconstructive surgery, Dr. Schlessinger says the appearance of the ear is usually improved but far from perfect.
“The results aren’t ever all that great, sadly,” he says. “It is quite a difficult thing to hide or repair, and in many cases leads to a lifelong deformity.”
Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.
Whether you’re considering your first tattoo or you’re a long-time tattoo parlor veteran, it’s important to review the health risks associated with permanent ink. First, note that tattooing is not closely regulated by the FDA. Though the FDA has reviewed the contents of tattoo ink, the actual practice is generally mandated by individual county and city governments. This means that in addition to your own immune system’s reaction to the procedure, you must consider the safety and sterility of the tattooing facility, as well as the equipment and ink.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes that tattoo ink could be unsanitary due to unclean manufacturing processes.
The safety of your tattooing procedure begins with the sterility of the ink. The FDA does not regularly inspect ink-manufacturing plants for sanitation, and any of the ingredients or machines at the facility could harbor harmful bacteria. In a recent case, it was discovered that water used to dilute the ink was contaminated. Similar cases are reported each year. A bacterial infection could be mild to severe, ranging from a red, swollen rash with discharge to fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms. There is also a risk of bacteria spreading through the bloodstream, a potentially life-threatening condition called sepsis.
In addition, a number of viruses can be transferred to the skin via unsterile tattooing equipment. Cases of warts and more serious blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B have been reported.
Though allergic reactions are rare, they can happen, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
Even if the ink, facility and equipment are safe, there are still risks to keep in mind. Tattoo ink ingredients vary depending on brand and color, but they could contain common allergens, like nickel or mercury. Allergic reactions to tattoo ink are considered relatively rare. However, they could produce a painful, itchy rash resulting in infection, and lead to permanent scarring down the road. You could even experience an allergic reaction years after initially getting the tattoo.
Also, note that everyone heals differently, and even with proper after-care, complications could arise. There is a risk of developing granulomas, painful bumps that form when the body’s immune system attempts to ward off foreign substances like tattoo ink. The skin could also form keloids, raised, pink, shiny lesions that form within scar tissue to produce a permanent mark.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses tattoo removal.
Though the risk of infection is a real concern, the most common risk you’ll encounter is tattoo regret. Though Dr. Schlessinger has produced excellent tattoo removal results at his Omaha, Nebraska clinic, not everyone is a good candidate. The color and location of a tattoo play a large role in successful removal, and your skin may still bear some discoloration. It’s crucial to consider the health concerns of your tattoo, as well as the social and personal implications.
Do you have a question about the risks associated with tattoos? Let us know in the comments section.