The glossy advertising for the product, “it,” is not only glamorous, but also dressed up in medical terminology. The packaging and containers are first-rate.

The treatment feels creamy on your fingertips.

“It” looks rich.

“It” smells fresh.

“It” is an over-the-counter treatment for acne. You can hardly wait to slather it on your face.

Stop! It might be the latest acne treatment from your local “Big Box” Store, but it could cost you a trip to the Emergency Room!

You have a FDA Warning:

Skin is in the Orlando Cosmetic Surgery Blog news again this summer because of a recent FDA alert, concerning the risks associated with over-the-counter acne treatments. The FDA has documented some severe hypersensitive and allergic reaction symptoms when these products were utilized without medical supervision.

44% of the reported cases ended up in the hospital with such symptoms as “throat tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, low blood pressure, fainting, or collapse.” The FDA has also recorded “isolated instances of hives, itching of face or body (even of parts of the body where the person did not apply the medication), and swelling of eyes, face, and lips…”

At Orlando Cosmetic Surgery, we think it is important to note these warnings for several reasons.

1. Some “after sun” over-the-counter (OTC) treatments contain many of the same ingredients as acne medicine, but they are marketed to heal you after sun exposure. Beware! Both of these products “include benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid as their “active ingredients.” Until more studies are completed, it is unknown if these are the triggers, or if the reactions are caused by some of the inactive ingredients. No after sun treatment is as good as a sunscreen during your time in the sun.

2. These OTC treatments are often self-prescribed. We think it is safer for you to visit your professional health care provider if you notice any unusual break-outs, rashes or redness in your skin.

3. The FDA does not issue these alerts lightly, and we are genuinely concerned that you maintain healthy skin for your entire life. Reactions to these products are not respectful of age. The reports range from age 11 to age 75. Likewise, the FDA warns that these reactions go far beyond the warnings for “irritation and slight swelling,” as listed on their labeling.

According to a recent issue of “Plastic Surgery Practice,” Mona Khurana, MD, a medical officer at FDA, stated, “There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product labels.” She added, “It’s important that consumers know about them, and that they know what to do if they occur.”

4. Although no deaths have been reported, these are life-threatening reactions and are far more risky than the warnings listed on the box.

The FDA Warnings have been listed for the following brand names: “Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear. They are available as gels, lotions, face washes, solutions, cleansing pads, toners, and face scrubs.”

Some FDA Cautions:

1. If you have never used the product, and you just can not get to your doctor, at least use only a tiny amount in a selected area, and watch it for three days. If you have no reactions, it is probably safe for you.

2. If you have had a previous reaction, you could have a more serious one, so avoid it. By the way, if it itches, stop using it. If you develop hives, do not shrug them off;  they are your body’s way of telling you to stop using the irritant.

3. Please, call the doctor or go to the emergency room if your throat tightens up or if you have swelling in your eyes, face, lips, or tongue. Likewise, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance if you feel faint; light-headed or if breathing becomes difficult.

4. “The FDA encourages consumers to report any negative reactions or side effects from use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch program. You can see more details at this online resource.

The doctors and staff at the Orlando Cosmetic Surgery Clinic want you to have a wonderful summer season. Just remember, you can not believe everything in a magazine ad, or on those nightly infomercials. Take care of the skin you are in, and see your doctor if you are concerned with “break-outs.”  We can see an invisible label on your skin. It says, “Handle with care!”