Valerie Monroe, O Magazine beauty director
Dear Val:
My dog licks every inch of my face. I love the affection, but could her saliva irritate my skin?
Response:
The bacteria in your dog's mouth probably won't harm you, says Cherie Ditre, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. So there's not likely any problem in succumbing to your dog's kisses, unless you have an abrasion or a compromised immune system. Our cocker spaniel, Arthur, frequently—and fervently—kisses my husband on the lips; my husband appears to remain hale and hearty (though I now prefer to kiss him on the cheek). And while we're on the subject of saliva, here's an unexpected finding: There is new data from a study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggesting that a bacterial enzyme in human saliva may be useful in treating acne, says Ditre. More details as study results become available.

Bottom Line: Your dog's kisses aren't bad for you.

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