Skin and Hair Care

Chondroitin and melanoma: How worried should you be?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research in mice found that the supplement chondroitin sulfate led to the growth of melanoma cells, and though this does not mean it will do the same in people, there isn’t much evidence to support taking chondroitin anyway.

4 ways to protect against skin cancer (other than sunscreen)

While sunscreen is essential for skin protection when spending time outdoors, there are other options (lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter products) that can help lower your risk of skin cancer.

Celebrities get shingles, too

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, though it can be dormant in a person for decades before flaring up suddenly. Not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles, but it is more common in those who are older or who have a weakened immune system.

Stem-cell transplant: A possible high-risk/high-reward treatment for scleroderma

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Scleroderma is a painful, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease without good treatments. A novel approach to treating severe scleroderma using stem-cell transplantation to “reboot” the immune system shows great promise but not without potentially serious side effects.

A doctor answers 5 questions about dry skin

The winter months are hard on skin, with cold, dry air depriving it of needed moisture. A Harvard dermatologist offers advice and tips for taking care of your skin and protecting it from the cold.

Frozen (the cold will bother you…)

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

When it’s really cold and windy, frostbite can set in more quickly than you might think. But it’s also easy to take the right precautions to protect yourself and your family during outdoor activities this winter.

What parents should know about tattoos

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Parents grappling with whether to allow an adolescent child to get a tattoo may find answers to some of their questions in a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Why does hair turn gray?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It may be surprising to learn that hair does not “turn gray.” The reason for the loss of hair color is rooted in the cycle of hair growth, death, and regeneration.

Shopping for sunscreen: Are all brands equal?

The variety of sunscreens available can be confusing to consumers who want to know they are choosing a product that offers appropriate protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. New sunscreen ingredients currently in use in Europe are still in the pipeline waiting FDA approval in the US.

The problem with tanning (and the myth of the base tan)

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The earlier one starts tanning, the longer the lifetime skin damage and the higher the skin cancer risk. As the number of people with skin cancer increases, it has become especially important to convey to teenagers the message that tanning is an unhealthy choice, whether it’s outdoors or in a tanning bed.