Fully Exposed


Posted on: March 01, 2015

Hair does not grow any faster and does not get any thicker if you shave. As hair grows out, however, the blunt tip of the hair may cause the area to feel coarse or "stubbly" for a short period of time.  A hair fiber is made of a protein called keratin. The visible portion of the hair that is cut by shaving has no biological activity. Since this "dead" hair shaft cannot send information about being cut to the hair follicle (the site of hair growth), growth continues as usual. Similarly, clipping a fingernail, also made of keratin, does not cause the fingernail to grow any slower or faster because it was trimmed.

Early research done in 1928 by forensic anthropologist Mildred Trotter, published in the journal, Anatomical Record, found that shaving had no effect on hair color, texture or growth rate. More recently, a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology also concluded, "No significant differences in total weight of hair produced in a measured area, or in width or rate of growth of individual hairs, could be ascribed to shaving."

False: Shaving does NOT cause hair to grow back thicker.


Posted on: February 26, 2015

Did you ever wonder why the tips of the fingers wrinkle like a prune when exposed to water for a long period of time? People often think that osmosis causes water to enter the outer layer of skin making the fingertips swell. But since the 1930's, scientists have known that fingertips don't swell or wrinkle when there is nerve damage to the fingers, even with prolonged submersion in water. 

So if it's not osmosis, what causes this phenomenon? A recent study may give us an answer. Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist at 2AI Labs in Boise, Idaho, and his colleagues, propose that wrinkling of the fingertips has an evolutionary function. That our nervous system, by causing vasoconstriction of blood vessels below the skin, is responsible for this involuntary reaction that offers an advantage in gripping wet objects.

The study demonstrated that wrinkled fingertips make it easier to grasp objects underwater. Participants in the study had to move dry and wet objects with both dry fingertips, and again, with wrinkled fingertips. The results showed that participants were able to move wet objects 12% faster with wrinkled fingertips than with dry ones. But wrinkled fingertips made no difference when it came to moving dry objects. Basically, when the pads of the fingers are wrinkled, they provide a better grip in wet conditions, like treads on a car tire that increase the surface area of tire on the road. 

So why do our fingertips wrinkle when in water? Our brain causes this evolutionary trait to enhance the gripping ability of the fingers underwater! Perhaps this was beneficial to our ancestors who might have had to gather food from wetlands and streams.

And if it happens to you, don't worry, it goes away all on its own. Skin is truly an amazing organ!


Posted on: February 21, 2015

Many people have them, those dark circles under the eyes. They make the face look tired and older. They affect our self-esteem. Dark under eye circles can be seen with any skin type but are definitely more common in individuals with darker complexions.  

There are few scientific studies about the cause of this condition. Some blame fatigue, and for some, a few good nights of sleep does seem to remedy the situation. But for others, even getting 8 hours of sleep regularly doesn't seem to help. For some, it runs in the family, "mom has it" and "grandma had it."  As we age, the skin thins, the fat under the skin atrophies allowing the blood vessels around the eyes to become more obvious. As a consequence the skin appears darker.  Dark circles around the eyes are often accompanied by puffiness under the eyes and are a mere result of shadows that are cast due to the puffiness. Disorders that increase lower lid sagging, by increasing water retention, can worsen the appearance of dark circles (thyroid disease, kidney disease, and heart ailments.) Sleeping in a more upright position using pillows to elevate the head seems to improve puffiness for some, but for others, it seems to make no difference. Eczema sufferers often have inflammation around the eyes. This inflammation may leave a footprint of pigment around the eyes called Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Constant rubbing or scratching the area exacerbates the problem. Treating the eczema may often lighten the dark circles around the eyes. Sun exposure may induce the production of pigment around the eyes. When outdoors, always wear sunscreen and UV protective sunglasses.

Since there are many causes of dark eye circles, there is no real consensus on treatment. The following recommendations, however, may improve the condition:

  • Get adequate sleep (8 hours/night)
  • Sleep with extra pillows elevating the head
  • Wear broad spectrum sunscreen daily (SPF 30+)
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection
  • Apply cool compresses to relieve puffiness
  • Moisturize the area twice a day
  • Cover up with a concealer

Seek medical attention to manage allergies and eczema and to rule out any underlying medical cause.

Note: Various treatments available from your dermatologist include topical depigmenting products, chemical peels, injectable fillers, and various light and laser therapies.


Posted on: February 21, 2015

  1. Apply prescription medication to a clean face first.
  2. Moisturizer
  3. Sunscreen (if moisturizer does not contain sunscreen)
  4. Facial Foundation
  5. Powder
  6. Blush and other colored cosmetics.


Posted on: February 19, 2015

Acne is a chronic condition caused when hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and oil (secreted from an attached sebaceous gland.) Although acne most commonly appears in puberty, it can be experienced in adults, as well. Acne typically appears on the face, chest, back, and shoulders, the areas with the largest number of oil glands. Acne can take several forms.

Noninflammatory lesions:

Comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) form when hair follicles become clogged and blocked by oil secretions and dead skin cells.

  1. When the clog has an opening at the skin's surface, the clog appears dark and "blackheads" form.
  2. When the clogs are closed at the skin's surface, the clogs appear white or skin color and "whiteheads" are formed.

Inflammatory lesions:

  1. Papules: are small red and often tender raised bumps indicating inflammation or infection in the hair follicle.
  2. Pustules: are small red and often tender raised bumps with white pus at the tips of the lesions.
  3. Nodules: are larger, painful bumps with a component beneath the surface of the skin. These are due to a build up of secretions deep within the hair follicle.
  4. Cysts: are red, painful, pus-filled lesions, occurring beneath the surface of the skin. These lesions may result in scarring of the skin.

Acne treatments aim at reducing the production of oil from the sebaceous glands, reducing bacterial infection, reducing the inflammation and normalizing skin cell turnover.

Treatment for very mild acne sufferers may include the use of over-the-counter (OTC) products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that help dry up facial oil and help slough dead skin cells.  These ingredients are found in leave-on lotions, creams and gels, and wash-off cleansers. Although these ingredients may be beneficial for those with mild acne, they can cause irritation, redness or flaking. Benefits may not be seen for four to eight weeks after beginning OTC acne therapy products.

Individuals with moderate acne or for those where OTC products are ineffective, a dermatological evaluation is recommended. The dermatologist may prescribe a topical vitamin A derivative like tretinoin (Retin-A) or adapalene (Differin) that aims at normailizing cell turnover and decreasing oil production to minimize clogging of the hair follicles. Topical antibiotic creams are also used to decrease skin bacteria. A combination of topical products is often prescribed to treat acne. 

For moderate to severe acne sufferers, a dermatologist is more likely to prescribe systemic antibiotics to reduce skin bacteria and minimize inflammation. Combination therapy with topical vitamin A derivatives and/or topical benzoyl peroxide may also be prescribed to maximize therapy and minimize antibiotic resisitance.

For severe cases of scarring acne and for those resistant to other forms of therapy, systemic isotretinoin therapy is an option. This powerful medication can be very effective but due to potential side effects, is reserved for the most severe forms of acne.

Tips For Acne Sufferers

  • Wash the face with a mild cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil from the skin surface.
  • Moisturize the face with a fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer as frequent facial washing can remove the lipids and proteins that maintain a healthy skin barrier.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich with fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Obtain carbohydrates from low glycemic index foods like whole grains, beans and vegetable. Limit high glycemic index foods like white pasta, bread, cakes and cookies.
  • Get adequate nights of sleep. Sleep deprivation has been shown in several studies to increase stress and may exacerbate acne.
  • Exercise. Studies have shown that moderate exercise can reduce stress and may  minimize acne formation. Be sure to hit the showers after heavy sweating to remove the excess oil from the skin's surface.


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​Hello, and welcome to FryFace!

I've been a New York based dermatologist for over 25 years. I love music. I love triathlons. I love chemistry. (I love Petrolatum jelly.) I study skincare ingredients and product formulation. I listen to skincare "advice" from self-proclaimed ......Read More

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