Category Archives: Cosmetic


You May Be Putting Mercury On Your Face

It is very important to check the ingredient lists on your facial products, as you may by applying an incredibly toxic chemical to your face and hands.

Many anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cremes have been found to contain traces of mercury, and even occasionally soaps and lotions. As it is illegal for skin products to contain mercury in the US, these products still manage to find their way to US store shelves from other countries. Buyers should be wary when they see un-branded and unfamiliar brand products, as they may have been imported, and when buying skin products in another country. But even at home, the internet market is a hotspot for these items to be easily sold, so special caution should be taken when purchasing skin products online.

Mercury exposure is very dangerous and must be taken seriously. Mercury can effect the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs of people of all ages. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and unborn babies, as it can harm their developing nervous systems, affecting ability to think and learn. Mercury can be passed to other people in a household by contact with the person who applied a mercury-containing product to their skin, or even with washcloths on which the product was applied. These products are even dangerous without direct contact to the skin, as they can release mercury in the form of vapor.

The ingredients on a skin product may not list “mercury” out-right, but if you have any product that lists the ingredients “mercurous chloride”, “mercuric”, “mercurio”, or “calomel”, use should be discontinued immediately. Before purchasing anti-aging or any type of face creme in the store, check the ingredient list for these key words. Products that do not list ingredients should be avoided. If throwing out any products at home, be sure to dispose of any mercury-containing product in a sealed plastic bag or container.


New research suggests tattoos could be healthy?

New research suggests that getting tattoos might actually strengthen the immune system. – Anthropology professor Chris Lynn led a study that showed that people who get multiple tattoos have a better immune response than those with little experience with the needle. His paper, which also included work from University of Alabama graduate students, appeared online March 4 in the American Journal of Human Biology.

Lynn and his students measured the amount of immunoglobulin A and cortisol in the saliva of people receiving tattoos, and asked questions about their tattoo history. People receiving their first tattoos showed evidence of immune system stress, but the immune response of veterans indicated they had adjusted, and even benefited from receiving multiple tattoos.

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Getting tattoos creates immune system stress, however, the response diminishes after a particular person has had multiple tattoos. This seems to indicate that the immune system has hardened through the tattoo process.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Is it healthy to suffer multiple stresses to strengthen our immune system, or should we just pass on the stress?

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The Many Uses of Botox

By now, you are most likely familiar with botulinum toxin, more commonly referred to by its brand name, Botox®. The FDA approved Botox® in 2002 for the temporary improvement of the appearance of frown lines between the eyebrows. Since then, it has been approved for the treatment of lines in the forehead and around the eyes as well. Dermatologists often use it off label for the cosmetic enhancement of lines in many other areas, including the chin, neck, and lips. Its effects last about four months.

What you may not know is that botulinum toxin is also used for many non-cosmetic uses as well. It is used in neurology for the treatment of cervical dystonia and migraine headaches. Ophthalmologists use it to treat blepharospasm and strabismus. In dermatology, we also use Botox® to treat localized excessive sweating in the armpits, hands, and feet.

It provides temporary relief to those who suffer from overactive sweat glands

Excessive sweating is also called hyperhidrosis and can be treated with injections of Botox®. The toxin has an effect on the nerves that control the activity of sweat glands. It provides temporary relief to those who suffer from overactive sweat glands by blocking the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “turning on” the body’s sweat glands. The injections are performed every four to six months, and the effects are usually apparent two to seven days after the procedure is performed.

Botox® injections are covered by many insurance companies, since hyperhidrosis is considered a medical condition that can significantly interfere with a person’s ability to maintain employment and have successful intimate relationships. The condition can also impair confidence and lead to depression. It is typically the treatment of last resort after topical and oral medications have failed to effectively control the sweating.

Botox® injections are covered by many insurance companies

The procedure is quick and associated with no downtime. There is mild discomfort associated with the needle used to administer the medication, but it is short-lived and does not linger after the procedure is over.

by: Dr. Corey Hartman at Skin Wellness Center of Alabama

Acne facial care teenager woman squeezing pimple

How can you help your child with acne?

(Dr. Seiler) Many teens and young adults suffer from different forms and severities of acne.  Unfortunately, the “old school” philosophy of treating acne with topical and oral antibiotics and even Accutane is not always the best or even necessary for the child, adolescent or young adult.  Kids are too often diagnosed with “acne” and are prescribed some form of antibiotic or Accutane when simply addressing skin health and cleanliness may be all that is necessary to significantly improve their acne.

Kids are too often diagnosed with “acne” and are prescribed some form of antibiotic or Accutane when simply addressing skin health and cleanliness may be all that is necessary to significantly improve their acne.

Here is what we will address in the consult:
  • We will take a full medical and lifestyle history of the child.  This goes beyond the medical part of the history by addressing skin health and daily routine.
  • How does the patient clean his/her skin?
  • Does the patient have any undiagnosed allergies or abnormal hormone levels that can be treated?
  • What are the patient’s daily activities that may cause the skin to be dirty (touching the skin, studying with hands touching the lower face, picking the skin, sports activities)?
Most of the time, the patient can be successfully treated with better medical grade skincare, twice daily skin cleansing, minimal time between “sweat producing” activities (sports and exercise) and skin cleansing, sunblock, and careful attention to everything that might touch the skin (clothes, shampoos, fabric softeners and detergents, sports equipment like helmet straps, and the patient’s own fingers and hands).   My approach is education on skin cleanliness, habits and medical grade skincare.  Antibiotics and/or Accutane (which can have significant short and especially long term side effects) are almost never necessary.

Antibiotics and/or Accutane (which can have significant short and especially long term side effects) are almost never necessary.

One great example in my practice is a cosmetic patient of mine who brought in her 16 year old son.  He had significant acne and had seen multiple dermatologists in the past few years.  He had been prescribed many topical and oral antibiotics and even had Accutane suggested.  He had not seen significant improvement with any of the drugs and luckily he did not take Accutane.
I spent some time with him asking him detailed questions about everything that he did during the day.  He was a very healthy and athletic kid who got up early in the morning and showered.  He would go all day (school, sports activities, etc.) and not wash his face before bed.  He also would keep sweat drenched clothes on for hours and he never cleaned his sports equipment (especially his helmet chin strap).
I educated him about these things and told him to shower more often, especially after each type of exercise and to clean his equipment.  I also encouraged him to try to not touch his face during the day and not lean on his hand to study.  We put him on Seiler Skin’s recommended acne treatment plan without any type of antibiotic.  He came in for his first two week follow-up and his mom was in tears about how much his skin improved.  He just needed to be educated about cleaning his skin and using better medical grade skincare and sunblock!
By: Dr. Seiler Source

Fewer U.S. teens using sunscreen

Acute pain in a neck at the young womenThe number of U.S. teens using sunscreen dropped nearly 12 percent in the last decade, a new report shows.

During that same time period, the number of teens using indoor tanning beds barely decreased. Both indoor tanning and failure to use sunscreen increase the risk of skin cancers, including deadly melanomas, the researchers noted.

“Unfortunately, we found a decrease in the overall percentage of teens who reported wearing sunscreen, from 67.7 percent in 2001 to 56.1 percent in 2011,” said lead researcher Corey Basch, an associate professor in the department of public health at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

“Using sun-protective behaviors like applying sunscreen and avoiding intentional exposure to tanning devices will be key [to lowering cancer risk],” she added.

Use of indoor tanning devices by white girls decreased only slightly, from 37 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2011, she said.

The reasons for the decreased use of sunscreen among teens aren’t clear, Basch said, but she thinks future research should focus on finding out why.

“High school years are important years that can impact the future,” Basch said. “High school students are starting to make decisions for themselves. This research and other research suggest that adolescents continue to put themselves at risk.”

The report was published in the August issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Jeanine Daly, a dermatologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., said she was surprised at the drop in sunscreen use despite all the warnings about UV exposure leading to skin cancer.

“It’s still in vogue to have that suntanned color,” she said.

Daly thinks that the message that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer is still not getting through, especially to young girls. “No matter how hard we’ve been trying to get that message out, we need to keep at it and work harder,” she said. “The bottom line is that skin cancer is largely preventable.”

The best sunscreens are those that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. “Both are involved in skin cancer,” she said.

An effective sunscreen should contain a physical sunscreen such as zinc or titanium dioxide and a chemical sunscreen, she said. “The best sunscreen is one that contains zinc, because it covers both UVA and UVB rays,” Daly said.

“The most important thing to remember about sunscreen is that it doesn’t last very long,” she added. Sunscreen needs to be applied every two hours, Daly said.

In addition, it takes a lot of sunscreen to be fully protected, Daly explained. “The average tube of sunscreen is usually only four to six ounces — that should last maybe a day at the beach, but for a lot of people it lasts the entire season. We are just not using enough,” she said.

For the study, researchers used the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to collect data on the use of sunscreen and tanning devices from a sample of U.S. high school students.





Convenient spray sunscreens may come with allergy risks

sunscreenLet’s go back to the basics.  In the old days we had more ozone protecting us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, wrinkles and of course skin cancers.  Now more than ever it’s important to have a proactive sun protection plan in place. My colleague Dr. Henry Lim has often said, “the best sunscreen is one you will use again and again, so be sure to choose one that offers broad-spectrum protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is generally water-resistant.”

Individuals who wish to protect their skin often make choices based upon the type of preparation such as oils, pastes, creams, lotions and gels. More recently there has been a trend toward a variety of sunscreen spray products.  In fact, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the inherent risks and health concern of using a “spray” product.  As an allergist, I am also concerned with “inhaling” a spray sunscreen, or any aerosol, if you already have allergies and/or asthma, as the airways and respiratory passages are likely more sensitive.  Any irritant or aerosol particle inhaled can trigger respiratory symptoms such as cough and/or asthma.

Consumer Reports has even gone further and recommended, “While the FDA completes its analysis, spray sunscreen products should generally not be used by or on children.” They also suggest that if no other product is available, to avoid spraying on or around the face or mouth when using them.  The question is whether spraying the sunscreen on your hands and then applying it on your skin will reduce the “misting” or inhalation of the chemicals.  Additionally, the FDA has also become aware of incidents in which spray sunscreen products resulted in burns when they are used near a flame source.

Bottom line: Sunscreens are an extremely valuable and useful product that can certainly reduce exposure of harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Thanks to their UVA-blocking effects, they may also help prevent wrinkles. Remember, another big mistake is to not use enough— the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using at least one ounce of sunscreen to cover all sun-exposed areas.

Remember, one in five of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer, so be prepared this summer and use your sunscreen, especially on high UV index days.



Love Your Legs

Legs-Life-Saver_FatwireMore than 80 million Americans suffer from some form of venous disease, including spider and varicose veins. The good news? At the UAB Vein Clinic, there is help, including cosmetic and minimally invasive treatment options. If you’ve considered getting treatment, why wait? Showing your legs some love now means you’ll be showing them off all summer long.

Comprehensive Treatments
As the only comprehensive vein program in the state, the UAB Vein Clinic offers evaluations and treatments for the full spectrum of vein conditions, from very common spider and varicose veins to more serious problems like deep vein thrombosis.

Spider veins are small, thread-like veins that resemble a spider web and lie close to the skin. For some people, spider veins cause no symptoms except unsightliness. In other cases, spider veins can be associated with discomfort and other mild leg complaints. UAB offers several treatment options for spider veins, including Veinwave, which uses heat to shock the veins, causing them to disappear, and sclerotherapy, which involves injecting an irritant into the vein that cause it to regress over a few weeks.

Varicose veins are larger, bulging veins that can look like a cluster of grapes. In many cases, varicose veins cause symptoms, including leg discomfort, aching, burning, itching, throbbing, heaviness, tiredness, cramping, or swelling. There are several ways to prevent varicose veins, including regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, and compression stockings. Compression stockings are especially helpful if you stand for many hours each day. Although compression stockings can be purchased from a pharmacy, it is important to see a vein specialist to ensure proper fit and use. If preventive measures are unsuccessful, UAB offers several minimally invasive treatment options performed in clinic, including endovenous ablation (closure of vein) andmicrophlebectomy (varicose vein removal through tiny incisions).

A Thorough Diagnosis
While spider and varicose veins are sometimes an isolated problem, other times they can be a sign of more severe vein problems. Director of the UAB Vein Clinic Marc Passman, MD, says that diagnosing venous problems is like looking at a tree.

“Spider and varicose veins are like the leaves of the tree, but you really need to make sure the trunk and big limbs are okay first,” says Passman.

When meeting with a patient with spider or varicose veins for the first time, the vein specialists at UAB perform a thorough evaluation. A typical evaluation includes gathering the patient’s personal and family vein history, as well as an evaluation of the patient’s symptoms as they relate to exercise, heat, compression, and current medications. Doctors then conduct physical exams and perform ultrasound testing to determine extent of the vein problem and decide how to best treat a patient’s varicose and spider veins.

An appointment at the UAB Vein Clinic is all it takes to discover which treatment is best for you.



Top Fixes for Winter Skin Woes

WinterSkinEntering the heart of winter means a lot of cold weather, which can wreak havoc on your skin. For patients with eczema, dry winter air can make symptoms even worse. The best offense against harsh, dry skin is a good defense, says UAB dermatologist Marian Northington, MD. We asked Dr. Northington for her top tips to keep skin healthy and hydrated this season.

Shower Smarter. The easiest way to avoid dry skin is to start with a mild bar soap such as Dove and to moisturize with a cream (Northington likes Eucerin, Cetaphil, and CeraVe) instead of lotion. She also advises patients to avoid extremely hot showers during winter, which can dry skin out even more.

“Really hot showers can be drying, but no one wants to take a cold shower in the winter, so maybe compromise and use a slightly lower temperature,” she says.

Northington adds that it’s best to apply your moisturizing cream right after you shower, while skin is still damp. You get the same effect of a humidifier by just patting dry and applying moisturizer while the skin is still damp, which locks in the moisture.

Heal Dry Hands. Winter coincides with cold and flu season, when frequent hand washing is key. To prevent parched skin, “try to avoid hand sanitizers and liquid soaps, which are harsh, drying, and exacerbate hand eczema, and opt for gentler bar soap whenever possible,” Northington says.

After each hand washing, apply a cream such as Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream or an ointment such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment.

Drink Up. Though winter’s cold may leave you less thirsty than summer’s heat, staying hydrated is essential for good health and happy skin. “It is important to drink plenty of fluids, because dehydration can lead to dry skin, and dry skin is not only itchy, but it can also increase the appearance of wrinkles,” Dr. Northington says.

Humidify Your Home. Humidifiers can ease several forms of winter dryness, from sore throats to itchy skin. If you do use one, be sure to monitor your room’s humidity level and clean the humidifier regularly. Dirty humidifiers can actually breed mold and bacteria that can cause illness.

Get More Skin Secrets
Join Dr. Northington in her webinar: Look Your Best at Any Age, on Friday, January 25, at 12 pm.