Is That Beer Causing Your Psoriasis?

Alcohol, in particular strong beer, is related to an increase in psoriasis in women.

Growlers craft beer & ales taps

Craft beer is hot. This is probably good for the world, but maybe not if you’re a woman.

We know that alcohol increases the risk for psoriasis. A recent study showed strong beer (insert favorite San Diego IPA here), increases the risk of psoriasis in women.

It’s not clear why, although some speculate it’s related to the gluten found in beer. Alcohol, especially heavy drinking, seems to disrupt hormones, increase inflammation, and inhibit the effectiveness of psoriasis treatment.

Limiting alcohol, and perhaps avoiding beer, might be helpful for some with this heart-breaking skin disease.

Photo credit: FCC, Beaufort’s, The Digitel

What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

Dark under-eye circles are a common cosmetic problem. Here I’ll explain a few reasons why you might develop dark circles. Do you have any tips for improving dark circles? Post them in the comments and I might include it in the next video!

Which Comes First, Toners, Creams, or Serums?

Serum or Face Cream?

It’s complicated; you have a cabinet full of toners, creams and serums and you don’t know what goes on when. Using products in the wrong order could mean you’re not getting the most for your money. Here’s a guide to make it easy for you.

1. Toners

Toners are astringents, which means they contract tissue like pores, making your face feel tighter. They often contain alcohols and are used to remove oil from the skin as well as tightening. Therefore, you should use them first. If you have dry or sensitive skin, however, you might skip them completely because they can make dryness worse.

2. Serums

Serums are liquid cosmetics. They usually have antioxidants or peptides to minimize the day’s damage done to your skin and to give you a more youthful appearance. Serums are applied first so that there’s nothing between their expensive ingredients and your skin. The exceptions are serums that contain silicone or dimethicone. Silicone helps lock moisture in your skin, but it also acts as a barrier hindering anything above it from getting to your skin. Silicone serums should be applied last. Like expensive serums, any prescription medications should also be applied first to ensure that their active ingredients penetrate the skin unhindered. If you have both, then apply the prescription first and the serum second.

3. Eye Cream and Face Cream

Face and eye creams can be simple moisturizers or complex anti-aging products. Eye creams usually have antioxidants to help restore this most delicate skin. If you have one, then apply it before your face cream. Otherwise, by applying your face cream first, you risk rubbing it into your eyes. Once your prescription medications (if any) serums, and eye creams have absorbed, then apply your face cream last. If your serum has silicone or dimethicone, then apply it last, so its protective ingredients are the outermost barrier.

Photo: Kavehkhkh, Flickr

5 Questions to Ask At Your Medical Spa


True or False (answers below):

1. Botox and laser treatments are easy and can be done by an aesthtician or spa staff.

2. A physician must be present at all times in a spa that performs procedures.

3. Chemical or facial peels are safe and can be done in a beauty salon.

The term “spa” is derived from a town in Belgium where healing waters have been used to promote health since Roman times. “Spa” is now loosely used to describe any relaxing environment or beauty salon where rest, health and beauty are promoted.

At one time it was easy to distinguish among a beauty salon, barber shop and a doctor’s office. Not anymore. As cosmetics has become more medical and medicine has become more cosmetic, the two have met in the ubiquitous Medi-Spa. An establishment labelled a medical spa or medi-spa is generally one where medical procedures are performed or medicines are administered in the pursuit of beauty.

There is nothing inherently wrong with extending the field of medicine to include the state of beauty. Nor do I think it is problematic for the field of cosmetics and aesthetics to use medicine and surgery to accomplish its goals of making you more beautiful. But as a consumer, the burden is upon you to know what you are buying and from whom.

The allure of income from cosmetics is great, and physicians of all specialties have incorporated it into their medical practices. Gynecologists offer Restalyne, opthamologists offer Botox, family practice physicians have laser hair removal in their offices.

You do not need to be a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to perform cosmetic medicine. In Southern California there is even a pediatrician who treats cellulite (on adults, of course). This does not mean that he is unqualified to perform your cellulite treatment — he might be quite good at it.

More concerning is the fact that many people with no medical license are performing procedures. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ask what qualifications and experience people treating you at the medi-spa have so you can make an informed decision.

Anytime an injection is given, a prescriptive device (such as a laser) is used, or a drug is prescribed, a licensed physician must be responsible for your care. Only licensed providers such as registered nurses, nurse practioners, or physician assistants can perform procedures. Other staff such as medical assistants or aestheticians are not licensed and are prohibted from practicing medicine.

The next time you go to the spa, be sure to ask the following questions for your safety:

  1. Who is performing the procedure?
  2. What is his or her license?
  3. What experience has he or she had?
  4. What are some complications or bad outcomes that have occurred?
  5. Is a physician present in the facility or nearby to assist if there is a problem?

Photo: Axel Hecht

Answer to questions 1-3: false.

Eating Sunscreen, Dirty Makeup, Bad Botox and Bedbugs

Post image for Should You Eat Sunscreen?

  • Summer is over. What should you do with all that left-over sunscreen? Don’t eat it. Nano particles in some sunscreens can be harmful to your insides according to the fabulous Beauty Brains.
  • Are you a dirty girl or is it just your makeup that’s dirty? Dr. Baumann gives you tips on keeping cosmetics clean.
  • Ewwwwh! Bedbugs are everywhere. What the heck are bedbugs anyway? And no, they are not from undocumented immigrants.
  • Bad, bad, Botox. Bella Sugar breaks down Botox maker’s bad behavior. How often do you think Big Pharma goes too far in marketing their drugs?

5 Things You Should Know About Organic Beauty Products

“All natural. Certified organic. Made from natural ingredients. Pure botanicals. Chemical free.”

You might guess I’m standing in the farmers market. Nope. I’m in the health and beauty aisle at Target. The ubiquitous all-things-natural trend has overtaken the cosmetic industry. How do you know what is real and what is marketing hype? Here are 5 things you should know about organic beauty product labels:

1 – Labels that say “natural ingredients” or “botanicals” are not certified organic. These statements are not regulated. Most natural ingredients used in beauty products are actually modified in a lab. Truly botanical ingredients, like you’d pick in your garden, are usually unstable and would spoil like food.

2 – Natural doesn’t always mean better. Would you buy: Poison Ivy Eye-Cream? Stinging Nettles Anti-Itch Gel? The most toxic and allergy-inducing ingredients are naturally occurring substances, not manufactured ones.

3 – There are many standards of “organic.” USDA Certified Organic is the gold standard. Products with this label must be at least 95% organic and must not contain toxic ingredients. Products that are less than 95% but at least 75% can be labelled “made with organic ingredients.” If your product is not certified by the USDA, then inquire who certified it — some businesses will certify a product for a fee, which some people find improper.

4 – Organic products can still contain non-organic ingredients that are harmful. Your shampoo might be mostly organic, but it can still contain preservatives or fragrances that can cause a rash.

5 – All natural and organic beauty products are not necessarily more effective. The most potent skin care ingredients are prescription products, which are not organic.

There is value to choosing beauty products that are labelled organic — they may be better for you, and they’re probably better for the planet. Ultimately, the choice is yours. So now that you know what “organic” means on a label, at least it will be an informed choice.

Which of your products are organic? Do you think they are better? Why?

Photo: Rick Harrison

Gluten-Free Skin Products And Cosmetics

I just returned from the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference in Portland, OR with @foodblogga (she was at the conference, I was just there to eat Voodoo Doughnuts). One of the hottest topics in food now is the gluten-free diet.

Gluten sensitivity isn’t new; it was first described in the first century AD. Celiac disease (the medical diagnosis for gluten-sensitive patients) was known in the 1880’s.

Despite the recent attention, true gluten sensitivity is uncommon and affects < 5% of the population. People who are sensitive to gluten develop an autoimmune reaction to wheat, barley, rye and other grains which leads to inflammation of their small intestine. Some gluten-sensitive people actually develop a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis (we derms love the big names, don’t we?).

Being the only dermatologist at this food conference (weird, huh?), people wanted to know: “If someone is gluten sensitive, must they also avoid applying cosmetics or using products that contain gluten?”


Gluten sensitivity is specific to your intestines; applying gluten to your skin will not trigger a gluten reaction. You can trigger a reaction if you eat your cosmetic, which is not that crazy when you consider that lip balms or toothpaste can contain gluten.

Other gluten-free products including shampoos, conditioners, makeup, etc. are unlikely to have any significance. If you develop a rash from your cosmetics, then see your physician — allergic contact dermatitis to fragrance or preservatives might be the cause for your rash.

If you develop a rash after eating several Maple and Bacon Voodoo Doughnuts, it was the gluten.

Photo: Bern@t (flickr)