Trusting anyone with the health and overall appearance of your skin is difficult. Even dermatologists, who are supposed to be the messiahs of the skin care world, don’t always know what they’re talking about. Dr. Paul M. Friedman, a Houston and New York-based dermatologist, just released a book entitled Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin. So, is the doctor’s new book an impressive tutorial for wisdom-seeking patients – or just another list of crappy products being peddled to unsuspecting people?

Beautiful Skin Revealed is a coffee table book filled with glossy before and after pictures and large fonts. There are twelve chapters, each of which focuses on a different issue; everything from acne to stretch marks to skin cancer is covered. There are personalized patients’ stories in every chapter, along with tips, an explanation as to why the skin ailment occurs, a “conversation with the doctor” that explains the science behind the treatment and more. I must say that the book is extremely user friendly and engaging. And the pictures are not drastic or shocking in any way; they are images of real people with real results. But a few things still managed to put me off a bit.

In the chapter on birthmarks, a woman named Tara shares her laser treatment story and how happy she is to be rid of a tiny birthmark on her left cheek. That is all well and good. But there is also a whole page dedicated to “Manning’s story;” Manning is Tara’s two year old daughter who was born with a hemangioma, a commonly found birthmark that affects ten percent of infants. Although the hemangioma (located on the child’s arm) “was not a health risk” and would “most likely resolve by age 10,” Tara decided to have it treated with a laser because she had such “great luck” with her own laser experience.

I was completely floored that a mother would put her child through a cosmetic procedure at such an early age. And I am surprised that Dr. Friedman would feature the story in his book. Several reputable sources, including the Children’s Hospital Boston and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center claim that laser therapy merely lightens a hemangioma’s color, and is not an effective form of treatment; in fact, it may actually cause scarring and changes in skin pigmentation.

The other aspect of Dr. Friedman’s book that made me think twice is his stance on beauty products. I do like his advocating of general, “not glamorous” products like a daily sunscreen, topical retinoid and moisturizer, but I’m not a fan of the “whatever brand, consistency and smell you prefer is the best choice for you” approach to skin serums. I think it would have been helpful and responsible of the dermatologist to discuss the importance of ingredients. He does discuss looking for product components that are not “irritating,” but that is an annoyingly broad term. When I asked Dr. Friedman if he noticed patients being more concerned about product ingredients in recent years, as TIA readers certainly are, he said that he noticed the trend with his “acne and rosacea patients.”

It would probably be beneficial for Dr. Friedman’s other patients to jump onto the ingredient bandwagon, as they would be more inclined to notice the unfortunate inclusion of products like Latisse in Beautiful Skin Revealed. The eyelash growth product has garnered several complaints from TIA readers and an FDA warning for downplaying the risks associated with it (including eyelid and eye color changes, irritation, excess hair growth and more).

Still, if you are fairly educated about beauty products and procedures, and tend to take everything with a grain of salt, then Beautiful Skin Revealed could be a treat. While it does have its negatives, there are some interesting mentions of unique (and often overlooked) ingredients, like mushrooms and boswellia, for example. I can also see how the book would be a great introduction to skincare for those who want an easy read that isn’t overwhelming.